The eggshells crack loudly beneath my feet even though I try so hard to dodge them. The goalposts that are surrounding me are constantly moved and no matter how hard I try, everything I do is wrong, even when it’s right.
The sound of the key in the front door fills me with dread and makes my heart beat so loudly I think it’s going to jump right out of my chest. My tears sting my eyes and taste salty as they trickle down my cheeks, running into my mouth as if that is the safest place on earth. I sit in the armchair, my frail body tense as if shielding me from what might be, I grip tightly on to the arms of the chair as though my who life depends on it. My mouth feels so dry but my tongue doesn’t feel strong enough to run across my lips to wet them. My programmed brain is telling me that even the slightest noise of something as simple as swallowing is going to set the grenades off that lie around me. Even the sound of my own breathing sounds so loud that it’s echoing all around the living room, yet everything else sounds so silent.
I can hear the sound of the footsteps walking down the hallway straight toward the door, that is the only thing between me and him, the only thing that is protecting me right now. The footsteps sound much closer now and quicker too as if they are rushing to see me.
So many thoughts swirling around inside my mind now, whilst still focussing on those footsteps getting closer and closer all the time.
Did I do all the housework today? Yes I did but is it up to standard. His standard.
I didn’t answer the door today and I certainly didn’t let anyone in. No, I would never do that. Ever.
I did go out though but I didn’t speak to anyone and my head was bowed down the whole time. I didn’t look at anyone let alone speak to them, even when I heard someone call my name. I’m sure it was my old neighbour but I didn’t look, they must think I am so ignorant.
Oh God, I hope I didn’t forget anything on the shopping list. I’m sure I didn’t. I went through it twice. I did go through it twice didn’t I? I did because I remember getting his favourite drink, didn’t I? Oh shit, I don’t even know now, I’m doubting myself so much and I haven’t got time to look in the kitchen now because he is almost here.
My face feels so hot right now, as if it’s on fire. Oh fuck. I hope it doesn’t look red, flustered or blotchy because that will only lead to third degree questioning and me admitting to something I haven’t done, just to keep the peace.
I’ve put his change and receipts on the side in the kitchen ready for his inspection. Hopefully I’ve got it right this time, if I haven’t, I’ll know about it.
I’m not wearing my skinny jeans today, he told me I look a right slut when I wear them and he didn’t want random blokes eyeing his missus up. I took off my nail varnish as well because he told me only whores wear that colour. I hope I look okay for him. I don’t want to push his buttons by wearing something that I shouldn’t. Oh shit. I’ve got a headache coming now, but like he always says, I’m not the only one to ever have a headache and why would I have a headache, it’s not as if I do a lot whilst he is out.
I deleted all my text messages and call history too. I just hope I remembered to turn it off silent after calling my mum earlier. Oh God please do not let my phone be on silent. Please.
I hope that he can smell that I am cooking his favourite tea for him. I know it’s his favourite. I’ve cooked him a little extra today because he’s probably had a stressful day. He is right you know, what do I have to be stressed about?
I’ve got a partner who cares for me so much, always calling and texting me when we aren’t together, asking who I am with, where I am, what am I doing and what I am wearing. He’s always took a keen interest like that. He’s so caring, he’s even come to pick me up and take me home because he knows how jealous my friends are of the relationship we have. It’s strange how he can find me when I’ve never told him where I’m going.
He’s always telling me if my outfits don’t suit me, I think it’s because he doesn’t want me to look a mess when we go out together. I mean, I wouldn’t want to show him up or anything. He got so angry with me the night I wore my favourite outfit, the one that gives me an extra bit of confidence, but he told me it was too tight and my tits were hanging out of it. I was shocked but he sulked so much and refused to go out with me if I wore it. So I got changed and as soon as I did he took me out for my birthday meal.
He’s always been generous when it comes to my birthday, spoiling me with gifts and telling me how much he loves me. Like he tells me, my family and friends don’t love me they way he does. He’s right and it doesn’t bother me that he borrows money off me to buy me things, after all, his money is to buy the things he wants.
I could never leave him anyway, he’s the only stable person in my life since we moved out to the sticks and after losing my job when he hid the front door key so I couldn’t go to work, I don’t have any money of my own now so I wouldn’t get very far. I don’t have any numbers for my family or friends either because he got me a new mobile phone with a new number, he destroyed my old phone completely, saying it’s best we had a fresh start away from friends and family because they were jealous of what we had. He still sees his friends and family, it makes him angry when he doesn’t.
He knows everything about me, he knows me better than I know myself, he knows what’s best for me. I remember last tie I told him I was leaving him, I’d never seen him like that before. It was all my fault. I’d upset him, he didn’t mean to do it. I know it was because he was hurting because otherwise he would never have said those things to me. I’m sure he just said them in the heat of the moment, he would never of actually done them, would he? No, he loves me too much, he only did those things to his ex because she was a bitch, she was just being selfish in not letting him see the children. From what he told me she made it hard for him, she was so controlling and jealous. No wonder he left her and it’s because of her, he has these trust issues now.
The footsteps are right outside the door now, I can feel the heaviness of his hand upon the door handle. Everything seems to be happening in slow motion and it feels as though time has stood still.
As I close my eyes tight shut, as if some kind of safety net, in my mind I pray so hard that no one has pissed him off today.
The living room door opens slowly as my whole body shivers and goes completely cold, I shudder with fear as I slowly turn and look in his direction.
I remember the first time we met, he made my knees feel weak and butterflies flying around inside my stomach as if they would explode when he touched me.
As he walked toward me I could feel those butterflies in the pit of my stomach but it was full of fear now not excitement.
He glared at me, not taking his eyes off me for one second. I’m sure he could hear my heart beating. The corners of his mouth lifted as he smiled at me. I hated him when he did that because I was never sure of what would happen next, it would be so much easier if his fists were clenched!
I knew I had to say something soon but it felt as though my voice would crack and crumble. My headache was still there but I smiled slowly as if that would make everything ok.
He held my face in his hands, crouched down in front of me, looked directly at me and said, how the fuck could you do this to me?
My brain went completely into overdrive as I tried to think what I had done wrong this time.
His washing and ironing was done, we’d had regular sex even if I wasn’t in the mood and I had performed his favourite sex act for him, even though he knew I hated it. I’d cooked for all his friends that night they came round for a game of poker. I’d taken that green dress back to the shop because he said he didn’t like it.
My headache suddenly felt worse, my head felt as though it was going to spin right off my shoulders. I gasped for breath, coughing and spluttering, my windpipe felt it was closing. A huge force through me right back into the armchair as we quickly became nose to nose.
His glare was so much more intimidating up close and personal!
Then it dawned on me.
I looked deep into his eyes, they glistened like silver stars as his tears came to the surface. His huge hands were around my neck as his face crumpled before my eyes. I grabbed his wrist, trying to pull him away from me but I wasn’t strong enough.
I’m sorry, I whispered.
It had happened last year, so long ago and a lot had happened since then, which made me forget but looking at it his face it all came back.
I know he hadn’t meant to o it, it was because of the drink, it wasn’t his fault.
He’d been over to see his mate and I’d stayed at home. I didn’t mind. I liked being on my own sometimes – somehow it made me feel safer. His friend lived over the road and anyway, looking out of our window I could see where he lived. I’d got my mobile phone close to hand if he needed me, he would call. They had known each other for many years and it was nice to see them spend time together, after all it was Christmas.
It didn’t seem as though he’d been out long, before he came back. The living room felt cosy with the Christmas lights flashing away on the decorated tree we had put up the night before.
As always, the atmosphere changed whenever he came home from a night of drinking. I tried to seem happy to seem him back as he stumbled into the living room, even though I was petrified.
I couldn’t understand anything he was saying because he was slurring his words so much. I tried to keep the conversation going as much as I could, without saying the wrong thing.
I remember him stumbling over toward the settee but before he reached it he’d pushed over the Christmas tree, destroying all the beautiful decorations that were on it. I stood up as he was mumbling, muttering and swearing. It seemed as though he was trying to hold himself up by holding onto the wall. He looked at me, with the devil in his eyes before swinging his clenched fist straight into the side of my face. The force of his punch throwing me back into the middle of the settee. For what seemed like an eternity, everything suddenly went into darkness.
Right now he was angry with me, he must have found out about the statement I made to the Police.
“You know that wasn’t my fault” he said, like a small child being told off for something they didn’t do. “I love you , you know that. You know I would never to anything to hurt you” he said, almost in a whisper.
His tears came thick and fast as he let go of my neck. My hands went straight to my neck, touching and feeling for any damage that he may have caused.
“I told you it was because of the drink” “If you don’t withdraw that statement I will go to jail because you, you stupid bitch. I won’t be able to cope without you in prison. You’ll get a call saying I’ve killed myself – it will be your fault”.
Looking at his face, I knew what he was talking about. It was that day I told myself enough was enough and somehow I found the courage to report him to the Police. I was so scared for many reasons.
He had always told me no one would ever believe me and if they did, they would blame me for everything. When I did tell them what had happened they just told me to leave, but how could I? I had no job, money or transport. He knew all of my movements, he would find me, he had already threatened to kill me if I dared to leave – and after feeling the force of his fist, that wasn’t a risk I was willing to take.
He was still crying, fear ripped through the whole of my body. I could feel bile rising in the back of my throat, my mouth was dry and my hands wet with seat. I curled my toes and without thinking I quickly said, I’ll withdraw the statement.
He stared at me for what felt like a lifetime, the darkness of his eyes intimidate me, his fists were still clenched but his crying simply stopped.
“You know I only did it because I love you”
We both loved each other but the reality was, his love was the most dangerous love on earth.