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There are a number of quotes that describe Cleofilas' abuse, which was both physical and mental.
Soon after her marriage, "the moment came, and he slapped her once, and then again, and again; until the lip split and bled an orchid of blood".
Then later, symbolically profaning all her dreams, "He had thrown a book. Hers. From across the room. A hot welt across the cheek. She could forgive that. But what stung more was the fact that it was her book, a love story...what she loved most now".
Cleofilas' husband cheated on her while she was delivering his first child - "A doubt. Slender as a hair...No. Her imagination...Coming home...something comforting...Her pillow. Their bed...Sweet sweet homecoming. Sweet as the scent of face powder in the air, jasmine, sticky liquor...smudged fingerprint...Crushed cigarette in a glass".
Cleofilas has to beg her husband to let her go to the doctor when she is pregnant again. She promises "not to mention it", she will "say she fell down the front steps, or slipped...". But the doctor finds "this poor lady's got black and blue marks all over".
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