He is a man.

He is the man she has married. Willingly.

He is the man that she has dedicated her life to serving. Willingly.

He is the man for whom she would do anything. Willingly.

He is the man for whom she has sold anything she owned that was worth something, that meant something to her, while he sits on his ass all day, swearing at her to give him another beer, bottle of vodka, or whatever he feels like drinking right then.

And she has done it oh-so-willingly.

And she has even slept in his bed willingly every night, for the past twelve years.

But she wakes up one day, to see a new world unfolding in front of her. Because, as she went to sleep, the night before, a piece of her spirit disappeared. Vanished.

And now it's gone forever.

Without it, she had thought that she would feel empty, useless.

But instead, she feels something that she's never quite felt before.

She feels free.

Because the thing that is gone forever, is her willingness.

Her willingness to put his every need before her own.

Her willingness to sacrifice her own happiness for his.

Her willingness to put up with the way he treats her, and still love him in spite of it.

What happened the night before was nothing special. There was no momentous occasion that lead to her ever-startling moment of clarity.

He slept with her, as he had many times before, without asking her if she wanted it.

He didn't ask for her consent. Some may say, that he didn't need to ask. That they were married, that he had every right to use her any way he wanted.

But it's her body. She has the right to say no.

She said it once. He didn't listen.

And now she feels free. Free to let go. Free to leave him forever, to his drunken life.

Free to be happy.

The day after that, she is in a hotel overlooking the beach, sipping a cocktail, as she chats with a cop.

She tells him how unwilling she is, and how happy that makes her.

Three years later, she visits the man that she had married in his prison cell. He has changed now, his face haggard, his clothes scruffy. No one has waited on him hand-and-foot for the past three years.

He pleads with her to get him out of there.

She smiles once, and says "You'll never be free."

He was a man once, on top of the world.

Now he is gone.

Now she is a free woman.

At last, she is free.