Must have been around 9 p.m. when it began. Shouting rattled our hotel room.
My husband turned up the volume on the TV as the argument continued, peppered with expletives. I picked up the phone.
“Yes, there’s a hostile conversation in the room next door. Well, I think it’s next door. Can you check? It’s really loud.”
We waited. The yelling permeated the walls. My husband called this time.
“Will you send someone up to our floor right away? Sounds like a fight.”
I stood on my toes and watched through the peephole. A man in a uniform appeared and knocked on our neighbors’ door. “Security. Open up.”
A sing-song voice answered. “Everything’s all right in here.”
“Open the door!” said the security guard. He knocked some more, but the door was shut tight and the yelling inside escalated.
“He’s gone!” I said as they guard left. My husband held our wide-eyed son.
The voices cut loose, cursing and screaming. Then we heard what sounded like fists punching a feather pillow in staccato jabs. Thump, thump, thump!
I grabbed the phone again. “This is the third time we’ve called! You have to do something! Call the police! It sounds like he’s hitting her!”
Through the peephole I watched four officers rush the hall.
“Police!” Bang, bang, bang, they pounded on the door. “Open up!”
“I’m scared,” said our son.
Finally our neighbors opened their door. A middle-aged man dressed in pajamas marched out into the hallway. The police checked his identification.
“Who’s in the room?”
“Were you yelling at your wife?”
“You argue with your wife a lot?”
“You ever hit your wife?”
An officer entered the room. Minutes later, he came out of the room, released the husband, and the police left.
Guess she didn’t want to press charges. No law against punching pillows, right?
The room next door was quiet the rest of the night, but our room lost sleep.
Our neighbors were gone by morning. Our business-class hotel was apologetic. No harm done, right?
You keeping things on the down-low? Think no one will ever find out what’s done in secret? Don’t kid yourself.
Sin is never a private affair.
Our behavior impacts those around us. Boils over. Burns bystanders as well as those in our line of fire. Leaves us all in dire need of redemption.
You spread out our sins before You—
our secret sins—and You see them all. Psalm 90:8 NLT
In America, one in four women and one in nine men will suffer physical or emotional violence at the hands of an intimate partner (Centers for Disease Control, 2008).
If you or someone you know is being abused or is an abuser, please reach out for help. Contact local authorities, your pastor, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.