The Step Back
What made me do it, made me leave that day? The tipping point came one night I’d asked him not to go to football training, could he come home after work I’d asked, as I was tired and could use some help with the little one. He still went of course. But when he came back, when that front door opened, I knew there was going to be trouble by the sound of the sharp click of his shoes in the hall. I was sitting on the cream squishy sofa, my little bundle spread out fast asleep beside me on his blue blanket, his little fists curled as if he knew what was coming.
You! Next door.
Snarl, spit. Panic, panic, panic.
Of course I went, or else he would do it infront of my son. I felt like I was Alice in Wonderland shrinking, shrinking as I walked through with wobbly legs into the back room. He seemed to have grown taller; his back arched over wolf-like or was it that I had just shrunk so much?
The verbal punches came quick, he was good at them, knew my weak spots. He hit me again and again on those still bruised parts. After a while he would normally exhaust himself but tonight, it seemed, he was relentless. I could take it, I loved him after all and our new dream home and oh don’t get me started on that little cherub that lay next door. I couldn’t allow all of this to crumble; I couldn’t allow me to crumble. So I ducked the odd punch, then eventually succumbed and just let him get on with it until there was no more left for him to hit. There was something different inside him though, it wasn’t enough. He needed something else. He stood over me mouth foaming, wild eyes considering his next move.
He marched off into the living room and I followed, peeping my head round the door. I watched him as he picked up our sleeping son ever so carefully. He was so gentle, giving him a little kiss, and my son, our son, snuggled straight into his Daddy’s shoulder.
This was when he’d perform his knockout blow.
Verbal punch after verbal punch he performed his best show yet. A fine one-handed act whilst his other hand held softly cradled our child. My pleads of let me put him to bed, let me put him down, give me my child, seemed to delight him; this was what he wanted, this was where he would get his ultimate high.