Once upon a time a young girl and a slightly older man were living happily ever after in their urban-variant of a perfect home. They didn’t have a garden but they had a roof that overlooked the rundown buildings of the city when there wasn’t too much smog to be able to see at all. She liked watching the city lights twinkle at her from a distance; he liked the soft silence of the night. They didn’t have children but they had adopted a diseased street dog that they would feed each night that they were home. They didn’t have unstained, satin linen but upon their rough cotton sheets they could never get enough of each other in the vilest and most depraved manners possible.
She didn’t have the airs and graces to make their house a beautiful home and he alone could not be responsible for bringing home the bread; together they toiled from morning to night to fulfill their dreams and fill their bank-accounts.
This was their bliss.
Late one evening as she dusted her bookshelf and danced around the room listening toMotionless in White awaiting the return of her beloved, the phone rang.
It was a menacing ring.
Sometimes certain times of day and a practiced instinct will tell you even before you answer the phone that the news isn’t good.
She knew that tone all too well. Death had come knocking at someone’s door too soon for it to be acceptable. Someone close enough to her love to debilitate him completely. He gave her the bad news and the familiar shock of terrible tidings took over her body. Chills crept from her neck to her spine and down to her toes. He hung up and she sat down on her bed to process all she had just heard.
She didn’t see him for two days.
She finally saw him again at the funeral.
He looked nothing like the man she knew and loved. He was gloomy and distracted. He didn’t say much either. That wasn’t like him; he was usually making terrible jokes and jumping around making people happy wherever he went. He was the harbinger of joy and optimism. Usually so familiar to anyone he met today he seemed like a stranger even to the one he had spent almost a third of his life with.
She stood by his side mourning his loss with him and trying to find the words that would heal him. But if you know this story and so many of us do, there are no magic words. She held his hand, he took it for a few minutes but his touch was so cold and compromised she realized she would have to let go. They stayed well into the night. Not saying a word to one another. Finally, people started to come up to her and urged her to take him home. He had done enough, apparently.
She took his car keys and led him to the parking lot. Usually he would insist on driving, today he slipped soundlessly into the passenger seat as she turned on the engine.
After her few attempts at conversation were met with silence, she gave up and focused on driving. In forty minutes, she was pulling into the perfect parking lot of their perfect home.
They went upstairs; she gave him dinner that lay cold and stale on the floor until she picked it up the next morning. She ran him a bath that he took silently. She made their bed and when she woke up the next morning he wasn’t in it.
For days this continued, long enough for her to worry and consider seeking help. Their perfect relationship turned into the silence of the night.
Ten days into the stony silence and stepping on egg-shells she decided she would have to come right out and have a talk with the man who usually had so much to say she needed earplugs by the end of the day. When he came home from work that night, much later than he usually did, she brought him his coffee and announced that she needed to talk to him. He looked at her; sinister eyes almost daring her to speak another word.
“You need to talk to me,” she said with a little more anger in her voice than she usually had. He took her hand way more gently than he ever had before, and in one swift motion dunked it into the still hot mug of coffee lying before him.
“No, I don’t,” he said pushing her onto the floor.
What came next can be extracted from the testimony of any textbook abuse victim.
Fists in her face until her jaw was sore, blood in her mouth that decorated the floor. His hands in her hair until her head hurt, palms raining down until it was fit to burst. Him pulling her back as she tried to run away; kicking her sides forcing her to stay. Blood from her nose mixing with her tears, her begging words exhibiting her fears. Resistance from her swollen lip as he pulled her by the hip. A teary instance of forced sodomy; not of lust but of sad desperation.
And after it was over, he lay back on the bed crying. She lay on the floor whimpering and alternating between silent sobs and helpless howls.
The adrenaline wore off and everything in her body began to ache. The adrenaline wore off and everything in his body was overcome by sadness.
And then she heard the rain.
Slowly it came on at first, she heard the first droplets falling, magic took over her feet as she felt herself get up and follow the rain outside.
The universe cried.
The next day they went back to happily ever after.