The whiskey is thick on your breath. The fire that you say I stoked, all night, burns in your eyes like a preview of Hell. Your red, angry eyes. The fire that, once again, I unwittingly fanned licks at my feet, my hands, as I try to remember what it was…that I did or said…
Spittle dots your lips, gone slack now, from the amber-colored fuel. Was it one pint, or two? Definitely, two. You never stop at one. Those lips, that once spoke of love, and devotion and eternity, now exude a different kind of heat, as we sway, together, in this unholy dance.
My trembling hands cover my ears as your words, your threats, your venom continue to flow like the river, where you proposed, on its very bank, a ring nestled in your trembling hand.
A voice in my head screams, “run!” But I am too far, too far from the door in our home. And, you are too close. But, not in the way I remember. For not the first time, I am scared. No. Terrified of you and your temper. And your hands. Those hands you keep rubbing together until the knuckles crack like a gunshot.
What was it this time? What did I do to set you off? I asked you to slow down, to put the bottle aside, for just a little while. Was that so bad? I made dinner. Pot roast. Your favorite. But, you were too far gone, to care. Too far into the bottle that you drained and smashed against my clean wall. Now look what you’ve done. Even our dog has fled. The dog you professed to love. Like you professed to love me. You scared our dog. You bastard.
I think these things. I don’t say them because I know it will only go worse for me. Like that one time. When the police came. When I thought I was finally, saved. But, you were so smooth, telling those cops, “Everything is fine, officers. My wife is just a real klutz.” (Cue laughter.) “This isn’t the first time she’s fallen.”
Like a knife jab to my heart, I realize I hate you with a passion I haven’t felt in years. So different than the desire that once burned in me, for you. I wish I had a gun.
Like a hyena stalking its dying prey, you follow me around this room. We move in circles. We bob and we sway. Like a dance that only we can know. Remember dancing? A flicker in your eyes. You remember. We used to do so many things. Expressions of your wanting to please me, and I, you. Until you decided Jack Black was a better companion…
This particular dance will soon come to an end. The only music — my harsh, ragged breathing and your mumbled epithets. Your symphony of hate.
I’m backed up against a wall now. My head against a framed photo of us in “happier times.” We look so young. You look so benign.
Now, you are malignant. A cancer I should have excised long ago. Too late now. Like so many things in life, too f**king late.
A reflex: My head jerks as I move away from the wall and the photo falls to the floor with a tinkle of breaking glass. Oh no. Now, look what I’ve done.
As you peer at me, with those eyes, reflecting, deciding, I raise my hands in a gesture of sublimation. “Please. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…”
And, just at that instant, as quick as a viper, you raise your hand, your drinking hand, and with every muscle in your body, every fiber of your being, strike me once, twice, in the face, with such force, my neck snaps.
And, finally, thankfully, I am alone in the dark.
You weren’t expecting that, were you?