I can’t shake it. This restlessness. An anxious stirring that overtakes my body, quickens my heart rate, and compels my muscles into action. It’s as if I’ve forgotten to do something. Something big. Important, maybe. Something vital.
The oven is off and so is the stove. All the doors and windows are locked. Hell, the alarm is on. My keys are in my purse, and my cell phone is plugged into the outlet beside my nightstand. So no, it’s not any of that. I’ve done everything I should have. Nothing is lost or forgotten or even missing.
And I’m not in danger.
It’s the middle of the night. Somewhere close at least, and I can’t fall asleep. It’s this feeling that’s keeping me awake. Feeding my unease as it churns the boiling acid in my stomach. I blow out a breath, trying to shake the urgent thoughts that will no longer be silenced. Listen to us, dammit, they demand, and for once, I do.
Some might call it intuition. Some a conscience.
For me, it’s the voice in the back of my mind.
My stupid meter, and it’s firing on all cylinders. It’s not the first time my mind got its rocks off by shouting, you couldn’t be any stupider if you tried. Not the nicest sentiment in the world, but not wrong either. How long are you going to take this? How many times does he need to screw up or lie through his apology or treat you like you’re nothing better than a cockroach he stepped on before you’ve had enough?
Yep, it’s all coming out tonight. No holds barred.
A growl slips past my mashed lips before I can stop it, and I can’t decide who I want to hit more, me or my husband. Flopping onto my back, I stare up through a pinched brow at the vaulted ceiling of our bedroom, the ceiling fan twirling around and around, circulating the stale, miserable air around me.
Stale and miserable. Just like my life.
The cool sheets, which are nothing if not expensive and soft, rub my skin raw. The blanket fashioned from silks and satins is smothering me. The memory foam pillow, a brick. I roll over again and for a contemplative moment, stare at my husband’s sleeping form. His breathing is heavy, not quite a snore but not quiet either. The sort of breathing that tells me he’s in a deep sleep.
Of course he is. What would he have to be sleepless over?
He’d have to have a heart or a conscience or actually give a shit about anyone other than himself for that to happen.
My husband went out tonight to a charity dinner of some kind and came home drunk. He doesn’t typically do that. Drink. Not since shortly after we were married anyway. But when he does, all the burning acrimony he tries so hard to hide from the world lashes out.
And I’m its prime target.
He’s smart enough not to have lipstick on his collar or perfume on his jacket. Hell, I don’t even know if he cheats, though I wouldn’t be shocked if he does. “I go out and this is what I have to come home to,” he had snarled, meaning me in my yoga pants and oversized T-shirt, my hair up in a ponytail, and my face void of makeup. “Can’t you at least attempt to look like the beautiful woman I married instead of this ugly trash?” It went on from there until he stormed off to his putting green in the back with a glass of something, and I went to bed.
Well, pretended to anyway.
Then he came in, woke me up with his mouth and his hands and his body. Thousands of dollars of counseling talked me into staying, into working on our marriage and allowing my husband to put his hands on me and his dick inside me whenever he wants.
“It’ll keep the passion alive. When there’s passion, there’s hope,” my therapist had said.
And yet, every time he touches me, I’m revolted. I must have lain there like a dead fish because that’s exactly how I feel. Dead. Lifeless. Soulless. That last one might be the worst of all. There was a time when I thought I’d die without his love. Now I realize his love was a weapon. One he wielded proudly, claiming my best pieces as his trophy while leaving me scrambling over my leftover parts.
What life is there when you’re reduced to missing pieces and leftover parts?
I hate my husband for the woman I’ve allowed him to turn me into, and as I stare at his unconscious form, I wonder if killing him in his sleep would stick me in prison or if a jury of my female peers—the ones whose husbands have stolen their souls—would vindicate me. It would be justice, they’d claim. Only at this point, I don’t feel much of anything.
Not enough hatred to kill him. Not enough pain to yell. Not enough sadness to cry.
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