a special class of women that would cry in his stead.
And others that would rage and scream in pain for his afflictions.
His wife fretted consistently, but only exploded on odd weekends.
She rarely ever slept at night. Instead it was as if she felt
a twisting deep inside, every time he lay there at her side.
He decided that two children were enough,
then took a lover on the side to show her
she could never be enough for one like him.
He would hum to himself as he ignored them.
Puttering in the garage or playing those computer games.
When his wife dared to try to speak to him, he always glared.
It was a man's way, he would tell her if she complained.
A man's way...
Is that what a penis does to them...?
She wondered to herself as he went humming out the door again.
Was he really so different than she...? She used her intellect -
quite exclusively to make excuses for him and his behavior.
Ah, he only smoked marijuana of an evening in order to relax.
And those bottles of beer could not make him alcoholic.
She suspected that he was not working out there all alone
with his computer. But she never wished to know the truth
of the depth of his perversity. Her oldest child went quite insane,
following the father figure with her eyes, like a puppy
that is leashed for all too many hours in a cage.
Becoming wild and rebellious every time she reached for free.
Her younger child seemed obedient, but she worried
over the shadows of bitterness that seemed to lie
behind that pair of eyes; as if in the back of a darkened cave,
a beast were waiting for the night to fall.
Had he created her? She vaguely remembered
a time when she felt herself as someone else entirely. Before
those marriage vows had given license to his ownership of her.
The children were almost grown now. They would soon be
leaving home. Who would she be then...? Just a wife
to that lonely, leering man so full of anger. Her only
accomplishment was lying back and gritting her teeth
as he seeded her womb during one of his cold, awful highs.
When he burned her like ice. And the worst of his feelings
somehow lodged themselves within her velvet skin.
Why was it that she ever thought she needed him to have a life?
It was never
really love between them. More a battle of the sexes
that he once let her think she'd won. Then he left her to trod through
so many endless days, alone and unprotected. And always
unprotected from him. She lived in a puddle of fear. Wondering
when his storm would strike again. Would it be quiet this time,
like spring rain on the garden? But no, he'd never learned
to be like that. Nor did her best efforts allow her to be that way
with him for more than just a little bit of time. She'd been
crippled by their relationship. Like polio without the right vaccine.
Life's energy no longer flowed so smoothly through her veins.
Start and stop, then rev it up again. Like his machines.
Once or twice
a year, he might remember that he ought
to treat her like a queen. His kingdom depended on that.
She could no longer convince herself that was ever enough.
And she no longer wished to be his faded fantasy of queen.
He was a king of the dark waters of the heavy underground.
Shining on the outside like a hero or a star newborn within
the nighttime sky. But on the inside, she had come to know
the secrets he thought hidden from her soul. She'd spent
a large part of her lifetime sifting through them. Wishing
she might change the meaning there. Advancing only if
she played his games. Shot down each time she dared
to almost win.
And so she
focused on her children. Thinking to herself
that at least in her old age she would have them and their
own families to dote on. When was it that they'd run away?
No matter, she just knew they would return one day.
And so she waited, even as she cried in silent dread.
Lying more and more through days in bed.
Keeping it warm. Trying to keep herself warm.
But every night, the ice returned again...
? Michaelette ?
Copyright© 2003 Michaelette L. Romano
All Rights Reserved
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