10.9.11

Scars

by M.J. Snow
Sometimes she's numb, and its good. She laughs sometimes, and that's good too. She's almost forgotten what it felt like. Sometimes she cries, but sometimes she can't. Then she goes and hides, curled up in bed and dreams the dream again, and remembers ...


She lay under him, on her stomach and watched the blood drip onto the clean white sheets. Otis Redding was singing in the background, 'These Arms of Mine". One of his hands tangled in her hair, pulling her head back, bending her backwards, the other twisting her right arm behind her back. He would talk sometimes. She could hear his voice, deep and angry, but she didn't know what he said. Pain in her arm, her stomach, her ribs, everywhere. The pain drowned out his words and she crawled into it, hiding from him. You can't make me hear you. That was the only power she had and she embraced it.

She knew what he would say. It was nothing new. Its your fault. Why do you make me do this? Why can't you be good, and sweet and say the right things? But she tried, she really did. She didn't think anyone had ever tried so hard to do things right. She wanted to. She loved him.

She wondered if he'd kill her tonight. Please, I'm so tired. He yanked her head back harder. The blood in her mouth tasted metallic. He wanted her to say something, but she didn't know the right words. She whimpered and he hit her hard in back of her head, slamming her face into the mattress. All she could see was red. Her nose hurt, she couldn't breathe. He'd never broken her nose before. He didn't like to hit her where it would show. He doesn't care any more. He wouldn't let her out again, that was all over now.

He'd been with someone else. She knew it, without knowing how she knew. Even before the friend told her. A woman always knows, maybe. She had ignored the signs, but they were there. The friend who'd told her, he didn't know what her life was really like, though. He didn't know what happened when she made a mistake. He didn't know that his best friend turned into a Monster when they were alone. Only she knew what the Monster really looked like.

She never made any noise when she cried. He didn't like that, so she'd learned to be quiet. She'd learned a lot of things. She thought she might be crying now, but she wasn't sure. He was fucking her, and she could feel him slamming into her. It hurt her at first, she wasn't ready. She didn't want him to. She'd asked him not to, but he punched her hard in the mouth. She felt her lip spit open and she concentrated on the pain as he made her undress, as he turned her around and pushed her over the side of the bed. I love him. But I asked him not to...  

He could be so gentle when he wanted to be. She thought of how he would sometimes not want to pull out of her after they'd finished. He'd tell her she was beautiful, that he loved her. That she was good. I try so hard. How she'd fall asleep with him still inside her, his big, muscled arms wrapped around her and in those moments she felt so safe. Now she wished he'd stop. She wanted him off of her, but she was afraid of what would happen when he was done. 

She'd confronted him. So stupid, but she just wanted to ask him to stop seeing this other girl. Was there just one? The wedding was in seven months. November. She had said yes, she'd been so happy. That weekend had been perfect, they'd gone to Manhattan. He was from New York, he knew where to go, what to do. She'd grown up in the country, in a small town. He knew so much more than she did. New York City scared her a little. Everything scared her though.

He'd proposed to her on top of the Empire State building. The ring was from Tiffany's. He took her to dinner, they went back to their hotel and drank champagne. They stayed there for two days, ordering room service, looking at the skyline outside their window. When they made love it was beautiful, afterward he'd tell her how everything was going to be. It was perfect, of course. He always did everything the right way. When she thought back, she thought maybe she'd have liked something simpler. A picnic, a walk on the beach, a bit less elaborate... she'd always liked simpler things. But it was best to do things his way.

It was hard to breathe. That was good. She hoped that her breathing would stop and it would all be over. Then he pulled out of her, turned her over onto her back, dragging her off of the bed and forcing her down on her knees. Stop crying. He won't like it. She couldn't stop. He grabbed her head and pulled her toward him. She knew what he wanted, but she resisted. Stupid. He slapped her face and forced himself into her mouth. She choked and gagged and he yanked hard on her hair, said something she couldn't understand. She knew she shouldn't fight him, it would be easier if she didn't, so she tried to please him. She always tried.

---

When they got home and she realized she'd forgotten to take a pill, she was afraid. She knew, somehow. She waited a few weeks, then when he was at work, she bought an at home test and it was as she'd expected. She wasn't ready to be a mother. She made too many mistakes. He wasn't ready to be a father, she knew. Sometimes he got so angry. She was afraid, not for herself, but for the child who would be born not knowing how to be good. For the first time she thought about how dangerous he could be. He was 6'4", muscular, very strong, and when he got angry, it was bad. And what if there's a little tiny Monster growing inside of me?What if it turns out to be like him?

She walked into the hospital's registration area. The woman behind the desk looked like a grandmother. She tried to smile back, it was hard to put on her mask today. I'm here to kill my baby. I'm afraid he'll hurt it. Or it will be a Monster. As she filled out the paperwork, she worried that he would find her here. She'd gone out of town, but still he knew people, everyone liked him. As she waited she tried to read the book she'd brought. She'd read it before. She read the same sentence again and again. "He can make me look at the heads, but he can't make me see them." She would say this to herself when she'd made a mistake and made him angry. When he hurt her.

---

She was trying to please him. Blood was in her mouth, she choked and she couldn't do this. There was blood smeared on his stomach and it was so red. He pulled her to her feet and pushed her back onto the bed. She fell there, limp. The falling seemed to take a very long time. He was over her now, pushing her legs apart, thrusting into her again. He said something else and she tried to hide, but he grabbed her face and made her look at him. She tried to bring him into focus, tried hard to hear him. "LISTEN to me! You belong to me. I'll never let you go, not as long as we're both alive. Do you hear me?" she tried to nod her head. He slapped her hard again. "Yes." she whispered. 

---

She had to change out of her clothes and into a hospital gown. She wanted to ask them to keep her here, to let her stay. "Name? Date of birth? Are you safe at home?" they asked her. "Yes." She smiled at them. No. There's a Monster, and he gets so angry sometimes. And he hurts me. She lay back on the table and they gave her injections. That hurt, but it was alright. "Can you feel anything?" they asked. "No." She smiled at them. But she could. Why shouldn't she? She'd made a mistake, this was her fault. The pain was bad, but she went inside of it and curled up there. Afterward, she went home and got into bed. She had her books. When she came home, she kept her mask on. She pretended she had the flu, and somehow he believed her. He was sorry for her and took care of her, because he really did love her.  

---

"I love you more than anything in the world. Why do you do these things? Why?" He wiped his hand across her face and held it up to show her the blood. That's mine. "LOOK what you make me do!" He wiped his hand across her chest twice. Streaky bloody hand prints. He cupped her breast and ran his finger over her nipple, pinching her. It hurt her. He enjoys this. He leaned in and kissed her roughly, forcing her mouth open with his tongue. He moved inside her again. She could taste blood and tears as he kissed her. "He can make me look, but he can't make me see."

---

It was her birthday. He'd come home with two dozen red roses. She put them in a vase. He wanted to know why she wasn't dressed. He'd made reservations. She asked him about the other girl and he denied it. She told him she knew and he apologized. She asked him why and he said it was a mistake. It was only once. She needed to forgive him, and everything would be fine. He would never do it again. He loved her. And he did, she knew. So much that it was hard for him to share her with her friends, her family. He wasn't  very good at sharing. 

She told him she wanted to leave. He cried and begged her not to leave him. He loves me. She picked up her keys and forgot to put on shoes. She walked out the door, down the steps, as he sank down onto the kitchen floor.  He was so big, and so sad. She wanted to go back and hold him, but she didn't. I love him. She opened the car door. Then he was there behind her.

"Don't leave. I'll kill you if you try to leave! I can't live without you." He grabbed her arm, swinging her around. The keys flew out of her hand and went skittering under the car. 

"Please let me go, please I want to go home." Suddenly, she wanted her parents, wanted to be in her old bed in her old room, safe. She couldn't even remember what safe felt like.

She knew it had been too good to be true. He would never let her go. It could never be that easy. She tried to pull away, but his hand on her arm was like a vice. "This is your home." He pulled her toward the house and she tried to hold onto the open car door. He hit her her across the face with the back of his huge hand. She felt her right cheek split open. She let go of the car and he punched her hard in the stomach. She fell and wrapped her arms around her midsection. He leaned over and grabbed her arms, pulling them upward, looping his arms around her chest, he lifted her, dragging her into the house. Nobody saw.

---

When they'd met, she was newly single and not really looking for anyone. She had planned on some time alone, it was too soon. She'd met him at a party, a friend of a friend. He was big and rough looking, and that was what she liked. He said she was enchanting, and she thought he was sweet. He was in construction, he said, and she recognized his company's name. Well known, successful, well off, he was older than her by quite a bit. Nearly fifteen years, but that was alright. She'd never been with anyone who wasn't older. They talked all evening, left together, went to the beach and talked there for hours. 

When he'd kissed her she wasn't surprised. She kissed him back as he ran his hands over the curves of her body. He was gentle as he pulled her onto his lap, kissed her neck, pulled her closer so she could feel how hard he was. She didn't mind when he pushed her shirt away and kissed her breasts, when he unhooked her bra she pulled his head back to her chest. When he pushed her skirt up and moved her panties aside, she wanted him to touch her. He slid his finger into her and she moved against his hand as she undid his belt, his jeans. When he lifted her onto him, she knew she wanted this. And afterward, when he kissed her and told her she belonged to him and that he was going to marry her someday, she believed him.  

---

He threw her on the kitchen floor and she tried to push herself away from him. Monster. He kicked her in the ribs two, three times, hard, and she knew things were breaking inside her. The pain flared hot and white and she tried to crawl into its glow. She could hide there. 

He told her she couldn't leave him, that he would never let her. He told her he'd find her if she tried. That he would kill her. She thought he might kill her now if she tried hard enough. If she could just make him angry enough. She didn't know if she wanted that, but she thought maybe she did.

---

The first time she made a mistake, he got very angry. He didn't hurt her, but she was afraid. Each mistake she'd made had made him grow angrier. She'd tried hard to be good, to remember to do things that made him happy, to say the right words. She only wanted him to be happy. When he was happy, things were wonderful. He loved her so much... she'd never been loved with an intensity like that before. It was like a drug, she always wanted to be loved like that. The way he looked at her, the things he said were so beautiful. She loved that he was proud of her, and she just wanted to live up to his expectations. She really shouldn't make so many mistakes. If I could just be... better

---

He picked her up by her hair, pushing her up against the wall. When she opened her eyes and looked at him, his face was contorted with rage. She turned her head to the side, but he grabbed her face and made her look at him again. He kissed her and she tried to stop him, pushing at his chest with both hands as hard as she could. She couldn't move him at all and he laughed, taking her arms and pinning them to her sides. She fought him, though it was useless. He said one word. "Stop." She did. She was wearing pajamas, a tank top and shorts. He ripped at the tank top with one hand and the straps came away. He pushed it down around her waist. "You belong to me." he said.

---

She'd seen less and less of her family and friends. He needed her to be there for him. He took her out, they went everywhere together. She had to account for any time away. She went to work, but he'd expected her to come straight home. He would be suspicious if she was late. She'd rarely made that mistake. At first she had tested him a little, but she'd quickly learned to be careful, to be quiet, to not ask too many questions. She'd learned to wear a mask, to smile and look pretty and appear happy. He liked her that way. In the books she would read over and over again, there was a true knight, though he didn't believe himself to be. She fell in love with him and with the girl he tried to protect. “Save yourself some pain, girl, and give him what he wants.” he'd said. So she did. She never told anyone at all that she was always afraid. There was never a moment when she wasn't afraid. 

---

"Please let me go..." she whispered. "Please, please let me ..." He slammed her into the wall. She felt the air leave her lungs. Her head hit the wall hard. She bit her already split lip. She did not cry out. She never did. 

He smiled, but there was nothing good in it. "You're nothing. You're absolutely nothing without me. I love you. You're my whore. You belong to me. Without me you have nothing. I should kill you, I love you so much." He wasn't making sense, and yet she understood him. It was true, all of it. Her whole life was him, he'd made sure of that. It was his house, he had control of her money, of everything. She was nothing but his whore. Please let him kill me. 

---

Sometimes she got so tired. She wondered sometimes, if she was even sane. There was psychiatric hospital, was not far from where she'd worked. Sylvia Plath lived there once, and Susanna Kaysen, too. She read everything she could find about the place, it fascinated her. She used to drive by the hospital when he was at work. She told him that she was having lunch with her mother. Often, she drove onto the campus and sometimes she'd even park in one of the lots near the back. The Oaks parking lot. It took her several visits, but eventually she would get out and walk around the campus. There were always people walking around, and no one ever noticed her. Sometimes she'd sit under a tree or on a stone wall and pretend she lived there. Sometimes she'd sit near the Administration Building and think about going inside, asking for help. I think I might be crazy. I live with a Monster and I can't get away. No one knows he's a Monster but me. She knew they wouldn't believe her. 

--- 

"I'm sorry." she said, looking up at him. He smiled and he kissed her gently. He smoothed her hair and held her. "Lets go to bed." she said and he nodded. He stepped back and let her go. She went to the kitchen table. Every tiny movement she made hurt her. Her broken ribs made every movement excruciating. She touched one of the roses. She could feel him taking a step closer. She picked up the heavy crystal vase and swung around, throwing it as hard as she could. She ran. 

He yelled, and was on her as she fumbled with the kitchen door. He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her across the room. She wasn't sure why she'd done it, she'd never expected to get away. He let go of her and yelled at her to get up. She got to her knees and pulled herself up slowly, holding onto a kitchen chair. "Look at me." he said coldly. She did. His face and his shirt were wet where the vase had hit him. He punched her full in the face, as hard as he could. Blood exploded from her nose and mouth and splattered his wet shirt as she fell. She never fully hit the ground because he caught her by the hair again and dragged her down the hall. 

He threw her down on the bedroom floor and pulled his wet shirt over his head. He turned on music. She lay there on her side, pulled her legs up toward her chest until her ribs protested too much. He was standing over her, huge and angry. "Get up." She tried, but she couldn't. He pulled her to her knees. "Get undressed."

"No, please..." she whispered. He hit her in the face again. Her right cheekbone. Maybe broken now, she didn't know. She fumbled with the hooks of her bra, but her hands shook too much. He reached down and yanked it apart. She tried to wriggle out of her pajama shorts. The little sheep that decorated them were all spattered with blood now. I liked the little sheep. 

She couldn't do it on her own, he had to help her. He's helping me. Help me. I want to go home. Blood on her chest. Blood on the floor. "Please ..." she said and he slapped her face, hard. 

"Shut up. You're nothing but a whore. This is all you're good for. You have no right to speak to me. You're nothing. You're a fucktoy."He slapped her again. "I should kill you."

He picked her up and pushed her onto the bed. She was on her stomach. Blood dripped from her face onto the clean white sheets. She watched it spread, red... beautiful. He fucked her hard and it hurt her. She didn't protest any more. “Save yourself some pain, girl, and give him what he wants.” Someone had told her that once, she thought, someone she'd loved. Hours passed. She lost track of time, of reality. He was on the bed with her now, behind her, his arms wrapped around her. He'd fallen asleep, still inside her. She didn't dare move. 

She must have slept because she woke up. Alive. I must be alive. It all hurts so much. He was still holding her, but he was awake. He kissed her neck, turned her toward him. Tears in his eyes. "I'm so sorry. Look at you... look what you made me do! I love you, can't you understand? Why do you do these things?" Kissing her mouth, her neck, her breasts, her stomach. He was between her legs, she could feel his breath on her thighs, he was kissing her, licking. He can make me look but he can't make me see. He was on her now. Heavy. Hurting her. Every breath was torture. He entered her and it hurt her more, still. The pain was good. It took everything away.

He was leaving. He knew she wouldn't go. He didn't need to tell her not to leave. But he did anyhow. He went to work while she curled up in the bed on the bloody white sheets. 

It took her several hours but she finally felt brave enough to try. She didn't really care any more. She knew she needed a Knight, she could not rescue herself from the tower, from the Monster. She could not walk so she crawled to the phone, dragging a white sheet, streaked with red. She called the friend. "Help me. Please..." She blacked out. Too much pain. 

The friend arrived and found her on the floor, curled up in the bloody white sheet. He put some of her things into a bag. Some clothes. Her handbag. A pair of shoes. He picked her up gently and carried her to his truck. "... hospital ..." he said.

"NO!" She tried to get out, to run. He promised not to take her there. He took her home instead. In his house, he put her into his bed and she thought she might have to be his now. He was big, too and strong,  maybe he could protect her. He came back and gently lifted her up. He'd filled the bathtub with warm water. He let the sheet fall off of her and gently placed her in the bathtub. He helped her wash the blood away. She couldn't do it on her own. She could barely move, the pain was so bad. The water turned pink, then red. He drained the tub, filled it again. She tried to be brave, but she cried. Silently she cried. He told her she was safe now and filled the tub around her. Still she cried and he climbed in with her, and he held her. She clung to him and she cried, silent sobs rolling through her. When she stopped he washed the blood from her hair. The water was so red again. He drained the bathtub one more time and turned the shower on. The water rained down on them and she crawled into his lap and cried some more.

He lifted her out and wrapped her in a towel. She dragged the sheet after them as he carried her back to the bedroom. She would not let him take it from her. He dressed her in a Bruins t-shirt that came to her knees and put her into bed. He made her soup but it made her feel sick. He made her drink water and gave her ice packs. They watched the Disney Channel and she ate a cherry Popsicle. He didn't ask her things and she was grateful for that. She wasn't ready to think about it, not yet. They went to sleep and he held her. She could feel him hard against her leg, but he didn't ask her for anything. She didn't know what was expected of her, but it was best not to ask too many questions. 

In the morning, two police officers came to see her and she was angry with him. He'd promised not to tell. The officers, a man and a woman, talked to her for a long time. She told them a little. She watched them, as she was an observer by nature. The man became angry as she talked, and the woman grew sympathetic. They saw the sheet and the man got up and walked to the window. The woman told her she was sorry for what she had been through. She refused to go to the police station. She took off her clothes and the female officer took pictures. She trembled and she started to cry. The friend held her hand and he didn't leave her. They told her she should press charges, but she refused. She couldn't. She gave in to a restraining order. 

The friend kept her there for a long time. Weeks. She healed, physically. It was hard to understand, but he asked her for nothing in return. He was looking for her, she knew. The friend would hear things. There were phone calls. She asked him to throw her mobile phone away and he did. He was big enough to protect her, she thought.

When she was strong enough, she knew she should leave. When he came home, she cooked him dinner. After dinner they were on the couch and she kissed him. He kissed her back, gently. His hands moved over her, still gently. She let him make love to her. It was the least she could do. He asked her not to leave, and she was afraid, but he didn't hurt her. The next morning he drove her home to her parents house. He wasn't angry, he said he understood. She left everything behind. Her friends, her job, her car, her money, possessions, her heart, her soul. She hid from life, from everything. 

And time passed and she healed on the outside. If you saw her now you could not tell she'd been hurt. unless you look very closely, then you'll see her nose might have been broken once. Her scars are on the inside. She looks different now. He'd liked her as a redhead, now there's only a hint of red in her dark hair. She has a new job, new friends, but they don't really know her. No one does, really, save one.

She still has the white sheet. Hidden. Secret. Her blood is dried now, but its still there. If she hears 'These Arms of Mine,' it still makes her shake.

Sometimes she cries, but sometimes she can't. Then she goes and hides, curled up in bed and dreams the dream again, and remembers ...

3 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. That was amazing. Truly amazing.

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  3. It seems your writing is blossoming more each day. I love this story. I love that you get down deep in the muck and tell me the grit of hard detail.

    Put this passion and soul into every paragraph and story you write. Well done!

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