She is truly seeing stars-
and sight hindered,
grasps for a hand that is not
taken a clean swipe; walked out, unfazed.
she had fooled herself into thinking
those days were over.
The flesh on her cheek burns where he struck her.
She wonders how, anymore, she can still feel stunned and she blinks away fresh tears.
She needs not
She needs to think.
She needs to take
When her vision clears, she glances up and to the right, hoping to God, he hasn't found her
She listens for him - the
telltale clink of his keys when he
digs them from his pocket; the clop of his
monstrous, heavy work shoes making their way down the driveway-
sharp as a night creature anymore.
most likely, he'll be gone for hours,
is at the bar....or with the other woman. No-
She rises more quickly than she should-
She needs to leave now, but she sits on the
edge of her bed for one brief second to collect her thoughts and to will herself still.
She is shaking.
When at the bookcase, her fingers gently
sweep the dust off one shelf,
then pluck down the first book. The money
She feels like she is floating.
Will it be
She grabs another book, then another,
quickly stuffs the now fat wad into her pocket,
glancing, occasionally behind her.
He does not read, but is arrogant and just stupid enough to pride himself on the many books he owns.
He is a man of appearances.
Urbane, reserved, quietly rigid. He plays his self created role well.
He is well respected and refined but she knows his
of some senseless
sense of shame,
of his often calculated violence,
his clandestine affairs, his double life;
suppressed concreteness of his cruelty, at times, from even self.
But she knows.
He is a fake.
this- he is mean.
and by design, she never knows just what will
spark the kindling inner rage, uncage his brutal savagery.
She never knows what imagined
injury she might inflict with innocent words,
what motive he might infer.
What she does know is that he will return with reasons. Reasons weighted with blame.
She has learned the rules, grown clever
at hiding weakness and emotion. He has
changed her. She is not the girl who stood, shivering on the pier in a white, long, but wispy, too thin dress
That girl who pictured a happy little nest of a home took flight, perhaps, with the seagulls, before they'd even left their honeymoon. For when they'd made love that night, it was not. He was unceremonious and vulgar and scoffed when she wept.
has taught her who not to
She does not question when he speaks, his mouth frothing with lies,
distrusts, now, the slobbering apologies, infrequent as they are His nostrils give away what's close, flaring with an undeserved and misplaced hate, a sign that a second round is coming.
He revels at any rare instance he
might catch her frazzled and off guard.
He will return.
Fear is rising in her throat.
She needs to go.
The Sunday Whirl