Play Nice

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[This is where the summary would go if I'd bothered to write one.]

« Hello dearestWeek 19 »

(ugh. Electricity went down and I lost the first version. That should teach me to write what I know will be a long entry in MT. I have this insane urge to utter every curse word I know. And to make up some new ones, too. But I’ll control myself. UGH!!!!! )

He only came at night. I knew what was going on. One would have to have the IQ of a sloth not to know. Every night he came and I opened the door for him. He would come in and make idle chitchat while we both pretended not to notice the bruises on his face and arms, and the stiffness of his body. Sometimes we would talk late into the night; at other times he would just retire to the back bedroom and close the door. I’d spent long moments standing on the wrong end of that closed door, wondering if I should walk in and keep him company.

The neighbors talked, of course. Oh sure. They pretended they didn’t care. But I knew better. Each morning when I stepped out to get the paper they greeted me with short little nods and puckered lips as if they had just sucked on a lime. “I know what you can do with those puckered lips,” I would think to myself while letting out a quiet giggle.

We always got a good laugh about it all. “Should we go out there and tell them that we hardly slept all night because we were fucking like two sex-starved monkeys in heat?” he would ask.

“Sir, what language! But yes, let’s! I have a reputation to live up to. Or is that down to?” I would reply as we burst into near hysterical laughter.

They would probably believe us. I’m sure they assumed that I intimately knew every inch of his 6ft-frame body. That I’d felt the heat of it as we spent the night wrapped up in each other’s arms.

They would be half-right.

That first night he’d come to me looking like an indoor cat who’d had a run in with a dozen alley cats. I was alarmed, but not shocked. I’d had a feeling something was going on, but had been afraid to ask. He was so tired and in such pain that he couldn’t even take his own clothes off. After a brief argument, I’d convinced him to let me give him a bath.

“Fine,” he said. “But don’t turn on the lights.”

I agreed and went in search of some candles. Never before had I wished so ardently that I were the type of woman who liked to take long, hot baths by candlelight. I scrounged in the kitchen drawers for my emergency tapers. The glow of the 3 nearly spent candles was still enough for me to see the state he was in.  I wanted badly to be able to run my fingertips over the welts that covered his back, to feel the heat of the raised skin. I was afraid to touch him, however, for fear that he’d feel my anger coming through every cell in my body. As I helped him take the rest of his clothes off I forced myself to take some really deep breaths. I needed to calm down if I was going to be of any help to him.

He winced as I helped him into the tub and down into the warm water. “Close your eyes,” I said.


I nodded as I submerged the sponge into the tub and then began to gently wipe the blood from the open cuts.

He cringed and let out a soft moan. I stopped in mid-stroke and apologized.

“It wasn’t you. This doesn’t hurt,” he said.


After I helped him out of the tub I handed him a bathrobe that an old boyfriend had left behind.

“Thank God,” he said. “Having to wear one of yours would have just been the icing on the cake, don’t you think?”

I nodded again and led him into my bedroom. In the doorway he stopped and stared at the king-sized bed. “Would you mind if I just rested for a little bit? I don’t think I’m up for talking about anything right now.”

“Sure. Yeah, okay. I’ll be in the living room if you need anything,” I replied as I walked out of the room, turning off the light on the way.

I sat down on the sofa and closed my eyes, making a concerted effort to slow my breathing down. My heart was racing and my hands kept curling up into fists, my nails digging into my palms. I stood up and started to straighten up the room. But that didn’t seem to help as I was randomly throwing out things, even things I needed. I put everything down and just started pacing from one end of the room to the other, hardly noticing the tears streaking down my face.

I didn’t realize that I was talking out loud until I heard, “Calling her names isn’t going to make anything better” coming from the bedroom.

I took a step into the room and stared at his prone body. He’d finally closed his eyes. If he hadn’t just spoken to me I would have sworn he was asleep. I moved closer to the bed and went down on my knees beside him. “I hate her,” I said. “I hate her in every possible way that a human being can hate another person. Every night I pray that she gets run over by a bus and is dragged 18 blocks over hot tar and gravel. Every morning I read the paper and hope that I will see her obituary. I hate her for making me feel this way,” I said as the sobs I was holding in finally exploded from my body. “I’m sorry,” I said through my tears.

“It’s okay,” he said as he took my hand in his. “I hate her too. We’ll put a stop to it soon.”

Published 06/12/03 in Writing • | Views: 1821 times | Print

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