Sunday, March 13, 2016

Guest Fiction Series: On The Other Side, Part 8


I couldn’t remember the last time I had been out when Martin got home and I was sure that it angered him to no end. As I walked into the house, I braced myself for what was bound to be an argument. I knew that Martin would give me a hard time. I needed to make sure that the kids were okay. The house was darker than usual, and there was no sign of the kids anywhere. It was only 5:45 and they weren’t asleep. By the time I made it into the living room, my anxiety had reared its ugly head.

Martin must be in the bedroom.

I went into the kitchen to put up the groceries. Ahmad made it his business to purchase the ingredients needed for the orange dessert that he wanted me to try. As I put the cold items into the refrigerator, I heard a clink. Turning around, I noticed Martin standing at the bar with a glass of whisky in his hand. He sat the glass down on the counter and walked over to me at a pace that would give anyone pause.

“Hi, honey. You wouldn’t believe the crowd at the store. You would think that a holiday was coming up by the length of the lines. It took forever to get the few items that I needed.”

“What store?”

“Publix”

“I drove by there on the way home, and it didn’t appear to be crowded.”

 “Well, I doubt that you passed it while I was there. What time was it?”

 “Kamaria, don’t get smart with me. I know you’re lying.”

“You just saw me walk into the house with bags from Publix. Why wouldn’t you believe me?”

“Because you’re a liar.”

I slammed the door on the fridge and walked to the bedroom. I did not want to have that conversation with him.

Does he want to talk to me about liars? I can’t believe this. I should have known that he would make a big deal about this. I can’t go through this right now. I just have to find a way to calm him down.

When I checked the kids room, Amari was lying on the bed, listening to his music with headphones and Maria was taking a nap. I didn’t want them to hear what was happening. Martin followed me into the bedroom.

“Now what is this about me being a liar?”

“Keep on getting smart with me Mari. I promise you will regret it.”

“Okay, Martin. I’m done. I just don’t like the fact that you don’t believe me. I only went to pick up a few things to try a new dessert recipe. I thought I would be able to surprise you tonight, but you’re the one full of surprises.”

“I’ll show you surprises.”

Not again. There’s that look in his eyes. The bruises were finally starting to fade. He always did this. He never let too long go by without a reminder to stay in my place. I still have the scar from the time he mistook my arm for a turkey and sliced it. Maybe if I think about something else his punches won’t hurt as bad. He’s getting closer to me, and all I can think about is my father. He was always there to protect me. The one time that I need him the most, he’s not here. It hurts. My heart hurts. My ribs hurt. I’ve felt pressure like this before. This moment brings back memories of the moment I told my ex-boyfriend, Jonathan that I was pregnant. He thought that if he could cause me to miscarry things would be okay. It took a month for that bruise to disappear. Hopefully, this one won’t last long. I can’t look at Martin. I can’t.

I turned my head so that maybe, just maybe he wouldn’t bruise my face. I couldn’t risk any more damage to my face. There was no way I’d be able to hide that from Amari again, and I was sure that Ahmad would notice.

His breathing calmed and the veins in his neck minimized. I guessed it was over. I heard him walk away and water running in the bathroom, shortly after. As I lie on the bed almost in a comatose state, he came and picked me up. The next thing I felt was warm water hitting my body. I must have seemed out of it for him to run me a bath. It was hot enough to bring me back to reality. Then came the uncontrollable sobs. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t fathom the idea of looking at myself in the mirror, so I sat there with my eyes closed, sobbing, hugging myself in a way that seemed as though I was trying to hold myself together. If I didn’t keep it together, who would?

Martin washed my face. He washed my back, my shoulders, kissed me on the forehead and whispered “I’m sorry” in my ear. I still couldn’t look at him. I started to vomit. Martin grabbed the trashcan. I cried, I gagged and cried some more. He kissed me, he held me. He dried me off, draped my favorite red night gown over my sore body, and tucked me into bed after giving me an aspirin and a glass of water to drink.

How could someone so violent, be so comforting?

I needed to be held. I needed to know that I wouldn’t fall apart. I guess he knew this because after he had spent thirty minutes in the shower, I felt his arm around my waist. I didn’t want to speak to him. He didn’t make me. He slept, I cried.

This can’t be life.


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Verina Wherry is a writer, poet, and aspiring author who spends her free time listening to music, shopping for incense, and watching Criminal Minds reruns.

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