One woman's story of escaping fists of rage

Soundtrack of Life: An occasional series of columns about music mirroring life

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Columnist Darryl Owens talks with Amy Barnes who survived domestic abuse.

He said "A man's home is his castle; It always has been and so it remains"

But he holds the keys in a fist of rage

His home is his castle

And mine is a cage

"A Man's Home is His Castle," by Faith Hill

This time, when she stirred from blackness, laughter greeted her.

Her eyes were swollen nearly shut. But it wasn't his malicious, mocking laughter. She turned toward the flickering light.

Conan O'Brien. Must be nighttime. It had, in fact, been three days since he first knocked her out.

Manacles bit into her ankles — he'd shackle her whenever he took a breather from the poundings. After all, wailing on her always exhausted the 6-foot-8, 290-pound mountain of mean.

Marcus? Terrell?

Amy Barnes always thought of her boys during the beatings. Kept her focused on hanging on. For them.

Her face throbbed. Pain clarified her thoughts: Would this be it? The time he finally kills her?

She glanced at the man she loved at the other end of the fist.

Forgive me, God. She must break a commandment this night.

It was him or her.

When they met years earlier, it was all about her. He was handsome and made her feel beautiful. Showered her with the undivided ardor she'd longed for in her first marriage.

Then, slyly, he isolated her.

Nine months in, Prince Charming became Mr. Hyde. He flew into a rage when his brother defended Barnes during one of her boyfriend's verbal assaults. Then he popped her.

Only later did she realize she should've seen it coming.

Growing up in Minnesota, she never saw her parents argue. And while interning at a domestic-violence shelter, she puzzled: Why do these women go back?

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