A New Day
Her body ached from him. He had left his mark all over her body.
She shifted in the bed straining for any sound that came back. Would he come back and join her? She wondered as he rattled around the kitchen.
She lay on the bed sore from last nights games, thinking about his smile and the tenderness that would fill his eyes when he looked at her when they had first met. The look that would lure you in and make you believe that true love wasn’t just a dream. It always worked. She could never resist.
Last night was their anniversary; it was definitely a night she would never forget!
He whistled as he did whatever he was doing. She wondered which child he was talking too as he asked about what his or her plans were for the day?
It was a one side conversation, as always.
She turned again and realized clothes’ were flung everywhere across the room, her favorite meri blouse was ripped in two, one piece dangled off the bed and the other on the plastic chair in the far corner.
They had come in late after a night out at his favorite drinking place Lizard Lounge. She prayed the noise wouldn’t wake the kids or the neighbors but knew that due to the thin walls it was like telling the sun not to rise the next day.
Was it really 10 years ago that they had moved into this unit? It was built on to another house. The two rooms were tiny compared to the kitchen slash living room, every door and window was a different size and the concrete floor rose and fell haphazardly throughout the unit. They shared the shower and toilet with the main house.
They first met one week after she began working at Papindo, Papua New Guinea’s biggest retail chain.
She had not made it into Grade 9 and he looked so handsome in cut jeans and a t-shirt. He was studying accounting at the University of Papua New Guinea.
Just two months after they first met he blurted out that he loved her and wanted to marry her. This was the cheapest place they could find. He reassured her between kisses that it was just until he had finished university and started working.
At K100 per fortnight it was the only place she could afford on her wages. Of course she got pregnant almost immediately, first came Ruth then Tony. After Tony she secretly went on the pill.
She was surprised he remembered their anniversary especially since he had left one morning two years ago for work and never came back.
He looked plump, his clothes looked new and smelt nice. He wore an expensive watch but then again image was everything, right! After all he was with a big accounting firm in downtown Port Moresby.
He came into the room and grabbed a towel. She quickly closed her eyes so he would think she was still sleeping. He had left his favorite toy on the old filing cabinet that served as a clothes’ cupboard. He grinned as he walked past it to go up to the main house and have a shower.
She got up and touched it. Yes… she decided when he came back they would play another game. He had kept her up all night playing games so surely they could play another.
He strode in, still whistling and opened his drawer; he, of course was the only family member with a proper drawer for his clothes’. They had to be folded in a special way.
“Karennnn,” he roared when he saw them all messed up. Then he froze when he heard the click and felt the cold metal against his head.
She put a finger to her lips and ‘shhhhed’ him as he looked turned and gawked at her. It hurt to hold the gun steady.
“You know the rules baby; no screaming until I say so,” Karen whispered.
She knew his roar had sent their children into hiding.
The surprised look quickly disappeared before he roared again, foul words tumbled out of his mouth as he lurched forward. She grinned as she looked at him. He hesitated and stepped backward.
“What’s wrong honey,” she purred not bothering to stop the smile spreading across her face.
“Isn’t this why you came back so we could play?” she asked arching an eyebrow.
Oh he looked so vulnerable.
“Baby…I love you. I’m sorry I know last night I got a bit rough but you should have given me the money when I told you too,” he said, tears slowly sliding down his chocolate skin. He always had perfect skin.
“I know….,” she whispered.
The sound was deafening. She had never heard the gun fired before.
She sat on the floor watching him when the front door squeaked open.
“Karen… the police are here,” the mother from the main house screeched. Karen had heard the heavy slap of her feet followed by unfamiliar footsteps.
The bedroom door crashed open. She heard someone gasp behind her and ever so slowly turned to look at them.
“Oh Karen,” the neighbor groaned almost inaudibly before reaching for the towel he had dropped on the floor. She stopped when she realized it was soaked with blood.
The policeman stepped back and stared at her for what seemed like ages before yelling out to his colleague to call for an ambulance.
“It’s okay I’m fine” she mumbled as the neighbor carefully put a meriblouse on her that she had found somewhere. It looked like a tent but felt like it was made from barbed wire when it brushed against her skin.
As Karen walked to the ambulance she heard her daughter screaming. She smiled and looked around to see if she could see her so as to reassure her. The neighbor kept shoving people aside making sure they did not touch her.
Another cop held the ambulance door open in his sunglasses she saw her reflection. The huge meriblouse didn’t hide much. Was that an M, she saw carved into her skin between her breasts? M for Mathew. Just another one to add to all the others he had carved on her throughout their time together including the slashes and cigarette burns.
They didn’t hurt as much as they normally did. Besides she knew he was careful to never touch the bits that were usually exposed like her lower arms, legs, neck and face. The rest she could cover like she always did.
Sitting in the ambulance she looked out. The sun seemed brighter. The sky so blue so why was her daughter crying and her son looking so serious? Today was a good day. Yes, it was a glorious new day!
note: A meriblouse is a traditional blouse.
I wrote this short story after meeting two women. One was an woman inmate who had killed her husband. She told me she did it to escape from his abuse. Another a women who bears the physical scars of an violent abusive relationship and was made to play games similar to the one in the story.
It’s not a poem. Still got writer’s block. Praying it will go away soon.