Sunday, 10 April 2011

Another evening in

Yet another depressing post. A story which you may find interesting, and revealing of a certain mindset which is difficult to understand but which certainly exists:

I sit quietly, and think. I plan a strategy. I will be compliant, pleasant- no not cheerful, that’s too much. Whatever you do don’t argue, or answer back. 
So that’s my plan. I wait. The key in the door still startles me, though I‘ve expected it long. I arrange my face. Carefully. Hello I say, in a tone I’ve practised. Endlessly. You Bitch, comes the reply. I desperately scan my opening word, to work out what was wrong with it. You Bitch. I’ve heard all about you, in the pub.  
How can I stick to my plan? How can I comply with this. I know that silence will be punished too, but can’t think of a thing to say, that isn’t wrong. I’ve heard about you, you dirty bitch. You fucked them all. Now I have no words. I don’t know what to say. But silence- silence, is guilt. He starts to tell me, graphically, all the things he’s heard, from the men, in the pub, about me. About the things I’ve done with them, and to them, and even though it’s so untrue I still feel stained, guilty, appalled at what I didn’t do. I want to say I never go out, how could this be, when could this be, I’ve been here all the time with your children, our children. But my strategy, my plan, carefully thought out in hours of waiting, is still in place. Don’t answer back. I don’t look up. I know already that contorted face as filthy details spout from spitting mouth. I keep my eyes averted as the look that’s on my face might be the wrong expression, and only provoke him more. But I have no choice, I have at last to play the game, and so I rise to the bait. I try to defend myself, explain, question, who? how? why? Knowing that every word I speak digs the hole deeper, but knowing that to say nothing does the same.  
He knows he has no answers though, knows he can’t make this one stick, so he decides to quit the game with one last spiteful parting shot. As he opens the door to go to bed he says something unspeakable, and strangely I can’t even remember now exactly what was said. Whatever it was, it was enough. I throw the glass that’s in my hand in frustrated fury and it hits the closing door, smashing into fragments. How dare he throw those lies at me, then leave when he knows his game is bust, without an apology, at least? 
I pick up the biggest shard of glass and follow him, find him in the bathroom where his anger has turned cold and blank, now that mine is red hot. I throw the shard of glass, cutting his chin, and tell him to explain exactly what his problem is- as if he knows. We’re standing on the landing now, and I’ve grabbed a clump of toilet paper so as we argue I dab the blood from his chin, to save the carpet from the mess. Eventually I give up and he goes to bed, while I retreat downstairs and mull for hours on how this could have happened, how my careful strategy unravelled once again.
Next morning, we speak little, at first, and then I have to pick at the scab of the night before. You have to tell me, I demand, who it was who said those things about me, in the pub, last night. You have to know it was a lie. You owe me this. Oh, he replies, no-one was talking about you in the pub, at all. 
I made it up.      
I just wanted to see what would happen.

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