A Heart Can Break!

Junior Adrian Green

All of the greatest religions speak of the soul’s endurance beyond the end of life, so what then does it mean to die, not as in going to your final resting ground, but for your love for your husband to die? Even if we separated though we have vowed to love one another till death do us part, does it mean our souls are entwined forever? Or do we roam freely until we find the one we are destined to be with? March 12th 2010: 8:58p.m. Ben stands in the living room, motionless, without as much as a sideward glace. Tiny dewdrops of sweat escape from his scalp, his jaw is clenched, and his whole frame is trembling, and the blackened shadow under his eyelids tells me he’s running on empty. After taking in the evil glare of the statue I run up the stairs straight to the bathroom. I can’t bear to look at him any longer. I clatter open the bathroom window, lift up the toilet lid and then rest against the body of the toilet. I take a deep breath before heaving out the contents of my stomach, sticking my head in the bowl to get it all over and done with. My brain rattles and my head spins. After I am done, after I am calmer, I flush the toilet and rinse my mouth with mouthwash, concealing the signs that I am a liar. It’s unquestionably one he deserves, one of words and actions, and it’s necessary because now I can see the doubt in his eyes. He isn’t in the living room, slumped on the leather sofa, irritably flicking through the TV channels, rummaging through my belongings, looking for a piece of evidence that will spell out the fact that I have cheated on him and the baby in my womb is not his. He is in the dark hallway, leaning aside the bathroom door so only his outline is distinguishable, his palm resting flat on the wall. “I want to try make and make it work, for the baby’s sake,” Ben says to me, through the door. His words are like an Anker that weigh me down, but I have to put up with it, I know when the time comes to deliver the final blow, he will buckle similar to a stack of faulty blocks. I open the door, slight enough to see his face illuminated from the bathroom light, and I can feel the anxiety pouring out of him. I look intently at him, but my mouth won’t open. “Don’t you dare ignore me you spiteful woman. You’re no better than me.”

March 12th 2010: 9:06p.m. I know he means it. I know he means it when he says I’m a spiteful woman. Between his whores, his guilty pleasure, and me, he would choose them. Between a night out and spending time with me, Ben would choose the night out. Always, I’d be the last resort. I know this, and, if truth be told, I have accepted the sham that is our marriage. I accept playing the role of the mice, who cries out to be heard, but never given the opportunity to speak when all is quiet. But I refuse to wear the smiles, and groom his ego, and act as though it is a pleasure to be with him; it might be with a guilt-heavy heart, but I’ll show everyone what I am capable of in the end.

I close my eyes, and the words finally come to me. After a deep exhale I speak. “What do you want from me? I mean… all we do is fight and bicker. I’m tired of it.” “You’ve changed,” he observes, “and I don’t like it, not one little bit.” He pushes his foot in the gap of the door, and with his hand he finds the space on my body reserved for unnoticeable markings, that only he scratches. “I want you to change your attitude.” He digs his nails deeper into my collarbone, and I wince, but he doesn’t care. He continues degrading me, his voice low, which sends a cold shiver down my spine, a livid frown on his thin lips. I don’t want to be hurled round like a ragdoll. But I am.

March 13th 2010: 00:34a.m. I haven’t cried. During the five lashes I received to the back of my calves, I didn’t shed a single tear. I think the only person who’d be more surprised than me at that is Aaron. He hates what I have to live through, though he knows it’s necessary. He thinks meddling with my husbands motions is dangerous grounds to venture. He’s right, my husband is best described as unpredictable. But then, I have to. It’s the only way. He needs to know how it feels to have your heart ripped out of your chest, because, like him cheating, I have this all-consuming urge to act on impulse. Very few people are able to see my hell. Ben has a knack for creating a perfect mirage to outsiders. When I was pregnant with my first son and left my job at Gregg’s bakery, I was left in the house twenty-four hours a day, caged like a prisoner. I was feeling isolated and lonely; yes, but Ben assured my friends that I needed my rest, he even went as far as to say that he rubbed my feet of a night time and cooked all the meals to ensure I had a much needed rest. Little did they know, he locked me in the house everyday before he went to work, unplugged every phone in the house, fully aware that the sockets were far to low for me to reach. When I’d begged for him to give me space, or spend the day with my mother, he looked at me through glazed eyes, and said, oblivious as anything. “But I’m just trying to take care of you.”

May 13th 2010: 08:15a.m. I exhale deeply, running bitter by the flood of ghastly memories; angry and fuelled with determination to break free. I don’t need to keep rationalising it, because deep down, in that special space that no longer belongs to Ben, but his brother; I understand in six moths my plan will be complete. If I dared to turn my back on everything I want, no, deserve out of life, for even a fraction of a second, the chasm of pain will open up and swallow me whole. The bigger picture is imperative. Today is a new day. Though the sky is filled with thick darkish clouds, rain is belting down on any and everything, and the neighbour’s dog is itching for a fight, all of yesterdays problems are in the past. I sit up and wipe the sleep from the corner of my eyes. Instantly, I can sense him. I climb to my feet.

As I cross the carpet, I stop and take in his scent; it’s repulsive. Overwhelming like skunk juice, distinguishable like body odour, spicy like curry paste, belittled with a sharp twang of rotten eggs. Without really paying attention, I drop to one knee, then wrap my arms round my stomach as I wince in agony. From the ground, I know he is looking down at me, uncaring and unsympathetic, his lips, a sliding bow of emptiness. I had seen this very moment play out in my mind many, many times before, but was more excruciating than I could ever have thought possible. I crawl; it’s the only way I can make it to the bathroom, after all, who is likely to help…

May 27th 2010: 18:02p.m. After the void Ben displayed two weeks ago, when I was overcome with abdominal pains, I suspect he knows there is a shift. He notices things. Every pore, every scar he has given my body, every tear I shed over him, every plate he has smashed against the wall when I have not had his dinner on the table for when he gets in from work, but most of all, every cold shoulder I haven given him when he pressures me for ‘adult time.’ Last night, while Ben decided to spend the early hours of the morning drowning the fact that his wife refuses to perform like a circus monkey, with countless shots of sambucca, I spent the night absorbed in a loving conversation with Aaron, planning our new life together. A down payment has been made on our quaint three bedroom house overlooking the moors, we recently found out we’re having a little girl, in which we’ve made a list of possible names. So far our favourite is Isabella “What are you looking at?” drunken Ben asks coldly from the other side of the kitchen as he downs his third can of lager. I’m dashed from my daydream. I don’t reply. For I moment I feign hard of hearing, so whatever’s on the tip of his tongue, he can keep it all to himself and can’t pollute my happy thoughts. Even if it was, “you look repulsive,” something I’ve heard whenever we’re stuck in the same room for more than fifteen minutes. It doesn’t hurt me, or make me question the love he has for this baby, though, because I’ve found the stash of clothes he’s stored for my little girl in his part of the closet, the twenty-four carat gold christening bracelet which had ‘daddy’s little girl engraved on it, the new crib that can double up as a infant bed for when she gets older stored out of sight. This is the way he tends to show his love for my unborn child, and I know to him, I’ll always be nothing more than the vessel, but, oh well. “I pressed redial last night thinking I’d give Jerry a call – Ben’s work colleague – but when I pressed one-four-seven-one I got Aaron, why?” Because he’s my partner and we’re going to destroy you, I scream in my head. If it wasn’t for Ben taking an unexpected day off work, I’d probably be with his brother right now, and it felt good living on the edge, but still, was he reaching an explanation for weeks of giving him the cold shoulder?

He crosses the room, his footsteps light, and as I watch him guardedly, my throat runs dry. I shift to the counter so I can make out the expression on his face. My eyes give his whole body the once over; he is tipsy. I tuck a strand of loose hair behind my ear. I was trying to conceal my anxiety because his face was soft, a daring reminder of the man I once loved. He inches closer, and I know he doesn’t want to hurt me. His reddish lips are moist, his eyes are brightened by the side lights underneath the kitchen cupboards, which were full of lust and new like entry into this world. In no time at all, it’s as though he’s smothering me; he takes my hand gently in his large hands, kisses my fingers and then held them over his heart. His smouldering eyes ransacked my soul. He had something to say. “I don’t want to play this tick for tact game anymore.” He leans in closer, the slight stubble delighting my cheek as he whispers in my ear. “Can we go back to the way things were?” Can we go back? Can I forgive and forget? Is this Gods way of telling me to cancel all the plans in motion because the first man I’ve ever loved has truly opened his eyes, and understands his behaviour is unacceptable? Is this the start of something beautiful? I don’t have the answers, but I say…

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