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Archive for December 5th, 2007

Aubergine – Part Two

Editor’s Note: Readers can find “Aubergine – Part One” here.

She hefted his bag and threw it out the door and down the front steps, watching it tumble to a stop on its side. Not a bad throw, she thought proudly as he brushed by her so closely she had to take a step back or lose her balance completely. And she wasn’t about to lose her balance in front of him. Her red cheeks and the evil glint from her eye struck him harder then the slap on the face – harder than the words she spewed. He was accustomed to her words of hate.

A repetitious history found each of them taking strides to go a little further, say a little more, introduce new flavors of venom whenever the relationship took a nose dive. There seemed a bottomless perdition that opened up its sharp-toothed jaws with an uneasy frequency these days.  His inability to commit coupled with her self-acknowledged obsessive tendencies to need and be needed served as their rusty wedge. A mutual but separate fear of being alone in the world kept them coming back for more torture.

But this was it, she told herself as she kicked his ass to the curb…again. The door slammed shut and he threw his house key at the steel. The key caromed off the door and bounced off the “Wipe Your Paws” welcome mat then took a final bounce into the bushes next to the steps.

“Happy hunting, bitch,” he mumbled.  The comment, with its double meaning, amused him. Then the porch light went dark.

He turned and trotted down the steps into the elements of a December night. The past five months juxtaposed both heaven and hell in rarest of forms.  Heaven when just a few months ago, all stars aligned as their lives merged like skis on fresh powder. For the first time in his life he allowed himself to really let go of his heart. It was a milestone for him to trust someone – especially someone he’d only known a short while. The hell unfolded in the past eight weeks. He felt himself slowly pulling back, closing off and shutting down. He couldn’t express exactly why but something was off when it came to the two of them as a couple.

The car self-navigated to his apartment downtown, where he drove in circles for 20 minutes searching for a open parking spot.  He’d come close to vacating the apartment in October, but kept it. She’d encouraged him to move in with her, even though they both knew the timing wasn’t quite right. Their first heated argument ensued and the breakdown began. This was the fourth time she’d threatened him to…to what?

Her frustration banged loudly through the dishes and pots and pans she put away. The noise was just loud enough to wake one of her two sleeping children who toddled his way into the kitchen and wrapped himself around her right leg. She shifted into mother gear and lifted him up off the floor. “Let’s get you back into bed.”

That’s where she found herself when she woke up…lying next to her three-year-old under a “Transformers” bedspread. It was still dark and something caused her to wake anxiously. Her adrenaline was amped a few notches too high. She stood up quickly and found herself dizzy but managed to quietly slip into the hallway. She paused and listened. Nothing.

“Probably the neighbor’s damn dog barking,” she told herself. Her neighborhood wasn’t the best, resting in a first-ring suburb. There was plenty of diversity and the occasional domestic dispute that drew city patrol cars with their lights flashing. But she always felt safe. Even more-so when he stayed overnight with her. Once he jumped into his jeans and dashed around the house with a ball bat after she woke up thinking she heard someone on the steps. She liked that. She missed him this morning.

Her LED clock said 4:00 a.m. Too early to be awake. Then she heard a creak from the wood floor in the living room, the kind of creak that only happens when someone walks on just the right floorboard. Her spit evaporated from her mouth as she forced herself to steal down the short hallway and peek into the living room.  Where was that ball bat? Why did I have to kick him out tonight? These thoughts flew through her mind.

“What’s wrong, mommy? Mommy wake up.”

Why was she sprawled on the hardwood floor?  Her cheek was sticking to the wood and as her vision cleared she saw the pool of blood, now a dark shade of aubergine, that had formed under her head. And holy shit! Her head ached like a son of bitch. She slowly remembered her mental lights going out just as she stepped into her living room a few hours earlier. Someone had done this. Someone had broken into her home. Someone had knocked her out cold.

“Baby bring me mommy’s cell phone.” She dialed his number and let it ring.

He opened one eye. Who the hell is calling at 7 a.m. on a Saturday? Fumbling for his phone he looked at the caller ID and saw her familiar phone number in the backlit window.

“Nope. Not this time. I’m not answering and I’m not going back. Not ever.”

 -end-

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