The Saturday chill, at 7:05 a.m., makes me curl my toes inside the cosy blanket as I turn on the other side. The rumbling in my stomach paves way for gas, before I reach out under my pillow for the phone.
That doc I sent you, may I have it by noon, please?
The laziness turns into guilt as I scramble out of the bed, into my office desk. Noon? Noon? It is a fucking 200 page doc, Peris. I wont be done by noon!
Still, I need to bag this client if I am to survive this month. I draw my curtains and just when I slide to open the door, a white envelope greets the tips of my toes;
It has been eight years since I met him, and instinctively fell in love with him. Seven years since he first convinced me that I owe him my virginity. Five years since your name first came up in our conversations. Four years, I hear, since you threw up in his face and made for the door. Three years since he first started having nightmares of you. Two years since I found him locked in the bathroom, wanking to a picture of you.
It has been one year since it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, I was built for this shit.
On the day he blasted a glass bottle on top of my head, in the dead of the night, at the watch of our two-year-old, I couldn’t sleep. Heck, I couldn’t even breathe for fear of being another nuisance. I cuddled our baby in my arms, willing him to sleep in vain. He stared continually at my face, the baby, until all I could see were his father’s eyes in his face. Until all I could see was his innocent self, asking me to flee.
At 4.00 am, I remember my body giving in to the sleep, and falling asleep beside his snoring self. I remember the smell; like ruptured intestines and mold-stained walls. I remember, with ease, because the vomit slipped right into my mouth; his vomit. I remember the night, with ease, because even with the vomit in my mouth, I couldn’t throw up. Instead, I swallowed it, and as it settled in my stomach, I think it was the first time I allowed him to trample on me.
I remember his face in the morning; grey drool at the sides of his mouth, a breath full of nastiness and greed, and huge steps that landed straight on our baby’s chest.
I remember the morning, with ease, because even after the baby shrieked in pain, he didn’t release his foot. I remember, with ease, because even as he, the baby, struggled to breathe, I stood there helpless, unable to move. I remember the morning, with ease, because it is the day our baby died. It is the day he died in my watch, under the feet of the man whose blood flowed in him.
I remember that morning, with ease, because I still didn’t leave.
The funeral; not so much. It is the one memory I keep burying deep inside my heart. Why? He, my husband, was not there. He showed up at 6 p.m., and in his drunken stupor, peed on top of the fresh grave.
On the day he slit his wrists and threatened to take his own life because I refused to let him go in the dead of the night, I remember wishing I could die, instead, and maybe find peace. I remember his blood all over me, suddenly, after moments of begging me to let him go. After moments of threatening to break the door. After moments of saying he would die if he didn’t drink. After hours of telling me I was not the same woman he married.
I remember his fingers around my neck, and my gasping for air. I remember my son’s face in my mind, saying, ‘I pleaded with you to leave. Why didn’t you?’
I remember my legs kicking in the air, and feeling my lungs caving into the cavity. I remember the light in my head and the tingling sensation at the soles of my feet. I remember my fear slowly turning into relief, then happiness, as I began imagining a happy ever after after with our kid; in the life after death.
Again, I didn’t leave; I didn’t die.
I remember him parting my legs, and forcing himself into me. I remember the pain, the urgency, the nausea, the sickness in my stomach. I remember the helplessness in my eyes driving his fury to even greater heights. I remember my sniffs and tears making him shake with rage instead of intended pleasure.
It was like a ritual, the sex; him getting the pleasure, myself filling another blank page of my life with misery.
I remember him lifting his weight off me, and before I could even sigh in relief, a glass bottle broke, again, into pieces on my head. It’s like it had become its favourite place, my head, to smash into. However, I remember the smashing, with ease, because it did not end at the breaking.
I remember, with ease, because I couldn’t stop bleeding. The pain couldn’t subside. My screams couldn’t subside, even long after the nurses had assured me that I would be okay. I remember, with ease, because the look on the nurse’s face when she asked ‘How did a broken bottle find its way inside your vagina?’, is still engraved in my mind.
I remember, with ease, because I still feel the blood in my mouth when I remember him squeezing the broken pieces into me, one by one, until there were no more pieces. I remember him finally breaking the door and leaving me for the dead.
I remember, with ease, because even after I was discharged, I still found my way back into his home. I didn’t leave.
I remember, with ease, because it is the day I found him locked in the bathroom, wanking to a picture of you.
I remember, with ease, because it finally dawned on me that I am not the only one who is stuck; he is also stuck with you, even though somehow, you managed to leave; unscathed
There is still a lot I haven’t said here, because I understand that you might not even remember me. I understand that maybe, you do not want anything to do with him. I am writing because I realize I need help, and you are the only one who can do that.
How did you cope? How did you leave? I need guidance, even just for a day, because I realize that I keep coming back to him, even when I am too tired to stand his face
Did it hurt? Was it more than the physical pain? I am so used to the taste of blood; I am dying to see the other side of it.
I forget about the client I need to bag; money can wait, ghosts; not so much. I slip into my pair of jeans and favorite t-shirt, and step out to face the ghosts of my past; the ghosts of Jamie, Felicity’s husband.