‘My shout!’ announces Frank as he pulls himself out of his chair. ‘Can I get any of you lot another?’
You look at your watch. 6.30—shit, how did this happen? You’ve only had one. If you leave right away you might just make it.
You spring to your feet making your apologies to a chorus of Off so soon? The night’s still young. Got somewhere better to go? Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
You hurry to the tube.
6.44—‘We are experiencing delays on the Northern Line.’ Typical. Think they’d learn from all these years of “experience”.
Twelve minutes later you board your train.
7.23—You arrive at your station. As you exit—a bus is pulling in. You hop on. First piece of luck.
7.37—Home. You can’t hear anything from inside. You put your key in the lock and enter. It’s dark. Perhaps your luck has held and you’ve made it home first.
And then, from the sofa, his slow, deep drawl.
‘You’re late. Been anywhere…nice?’
You freeze, then stutter, ‘Just—just went for a drink after work. It’s—it’s—it’s Sarah’s birthday.’
He’s on his feet. ‘I can smell it on you. Who is he?’
He’s shaking you, yelling. ‘Who is he?’
You can’t find your voice. A mewling sound. Can this sad, helpless noise be coming from you?
He looks at you in disgust and throws you to the ground like some broken toy and then—starts kicking you.
You shout, ‘Please! Stop!’
He howls, collapses into a chair, and begins to sob.
You try to rise to your feet. It’s a struggle to take off your coat. You hurt.
‘I’ll make us dinner,’ you offer.
‘I don’t want any fucking dinner. I just want you here—with me.’
You sit—dazed. It’s never been this bad before.
He turns on the lights, goes to the bathroom, and runs a bath.
You sit—not daring to move—to do anything wrong.
He comes back, lifts you to your feet, helps you into the bathroom, slowly undresses you and eases you into the bath where he gently bathes you—like a child.
He cries. You will too.
Buy on Amazon
© 2018 Patricia Mahoney
Patricia Mahoney started her writing career as a playwright with five professionally-produced plays and since released a book/CD of stories.