She is a professional woman, middle aged, working on the front line of harrowing health and social care. She arrives home from work, tired out and weary, troubled by the plight of some children. It’s late.
She greets her little canine friends and tummy growling – lunch time was a long time ago – asks what’s for supper. He shows her a cheap as chips pizza from a cheap as chips shop. ‘I thought you’d like this – there’s nothing ready’
The thought of a cheap as chips processed pizza does not appeal –
That’s all she says looking around the kitchen, checking the fridge for something to make but he’s told her the cooker is ‘out of action’
‘You effing C++t! You effing bitch! You effing C++t! Get your own effing dinner! And from now on make your own effing food when you get back from work! effing C++t! I’m moving out! Pay the house off yourself you effing bitch!’
He makes a move towards her – she stands stock still, frozen, shoulders hunched, waiting for the blow.
He brushes past her and she flinches
‘I’m not going to hit you bitch. Get your own meal.’
She ushers the dogs out into another room and they sit with her for the rest of the evening, little comforters, as she watches tv, silent tears blurring her vision.
He comes into the room carrying a plate – it’s 9.30pm
‘Here’s some Hake and salad.’ He says as though a different person and the last conversation (?) had not happened, confusing her
At a loss how to react, all she can say is
‘I don’t want it after the names you called me’
She cannot make sense of the turnaround and is too shaken for normality.
He shrugs, tells her to eff off and leaves the room, humming a tune.
That’s all she sees of him. He stays in another room. She feels bereft. Completely alone. Who wants to hear this account. How can she phone anyone to listen. She has no one. Her grown children are far away and there is no other family for her and no friends in the place she is – no one to turn to.
Her heart is too heavy to bear. She sees in her mind’s eye a heart breaking off bit by bit and underneath the heart becomes metal. Silvery steel. Unable to feel.
She knows he will spin the incident around to others – he will project his behavior onto her and he will be the victim in others’ eyes.
She knows she cannot influence that.
There is no way out. This is her life behind closed doors.
Tomorrow she will hide behind a smile