When it’s all said and done, only a simple truth remains. This applies to so many situations, it’s not even funny. For my situation, it definitely isn’t funny… Not funny ha-ha anyway. It is a little funny, though. Maybe that’s just my hysteria kicking in.
Whenever he gets home I always clam up, like I don’t have a tongue in my face. Of course it’s still there, but he makes me so anxious that it hides in the back of my throat. I know my husband shouldn’t make me feel that way, but it’s probably my fault. It usually is.
Today, I’m cooking dinner and hoping he gets home a few minutes late so it can all be on the table for him by the time he walks in. He doesn’t like dinner to be late. I realize as I’m stirring soupy-looking Hamburger Helper that I left a load of clean laundry on the couch.
And there’s his car pulling in.
Scrambling, I leave the half-cooked food and snatch the laundry basket to stash it somewhere until I get a chance to fold it. Hopefully he won’t notice.
By the time I make it back to the kitchen, he’s standing there in his BDU’s, eyebrows furrowed, stirring the contents of the oversized skillet, silent. He has that intense glare on his face that I used to think was sexy but now just makes my stomach knot up.
“I thought we went over this before,” he stated.
“You understand why I’m angry.”
“Yes, sir.” I swallow hard.
He turns toward me and glares for a moment.
The next thing I know, I have a skillet flying toward my head. I duck just in time but boiling goo still lands all over my feet. I yell out but move anyway; I know he’s lunging at me.
I manage to dodge him and run toward the bedroom to get to the closet. He’s right on my heels and my feet hurt. He reaches out and grabs my hair, yanking me backwards, and I hit the floor.
“Do you think I like hurting you!” That wasn’t a question. “You know what you did and now you have to pay for it. Stop running from me!”
He’s still got my hair in his fist and is screaming in my face. I can feel his spit on my nose and notice my nose tickling like when someone is just almost touching it.
I muster up my courage and twist out from under him, ripping out a chunk of my hair. I scream in agony as I keep twisting and kick as hard as I can. My foot connects with his cheek. Good enough! He lets go and I trip into the bedroom.
There are guns in the closet.
By the time he gets to the bedroom doorway, I’ve already got the gun pointed at him. He stops dead in his tracks.
“Whoa, whoa,” he says, letting out a nervous laugh. “Baby, what are you doing?”
“Yea, all sweet talk now, aren’t you? You ripped my fucking hair out!” I scream, letting my simmering rage get alarmingly close to a hard boil.
He puts his hands up in surrender and smiles as he approaches. I’m pointing the loaded .45 at him, my hands trembling with nerves and adrenaline.
I smile back at him. He’s still coming. Pretty soon, I can’t help myself… I burst into an insane, hysterical bout of laughter. He slows down and stares at me as I keep wailing insanely.
Finally, he stops and looks at me – for the first time – with fear in his eyes.
I stop laughing suddenly and shoot him an evil grin. “My turn now,” I whisper.
The simple truth is this: I took his power away.
Jennifer-Crystal Johnson is originally from Germany, but was raised all over. She has published one novella under her former last name, The Outside Girl: Perception is Reality (Publish America, 2005 – out of print), a poetry book, Napkin Poetry (Broken Publications, 2010), and a collection of poetry, art, and prose called Strangers with Familiar Faces (Broken Publications, 2011). Her poem, Yin & Yang, was featured on Every Writer’s Resource’s Poem a Day site, along with two other poems (listed below). One of her short stories, The Clinic, has been featured on Jack Meets Jill, and her short horror story, The Huntress, has been featured in Zombie Coffee Press (no longer online). Her poetry has appeared in various anthologies including Theatre of the Mind (Noble House, 2003) and Invoking the Muse (Noble House, 2004). She currently works as the Managing Editor for phati’tude Literary Magazine published by the IAAS and as a freelance writer and editor. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her three kids and four cats. Her annual domestic violence anthology can be found at www.soulvomit.com and her publishing company is Broken Publications: www.brokenpublications.com. As of 2013, a new literary magazine will be published every 2 months beginning in February. The magazine will be titled Chronicles [insert story here]. You can find her author site and portfolio at www.jennifercrystaljohnson.com.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.