NAKED

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Photo credit: http://www.dopeblackart.com

 

I was half-way through my bath when I heard the commotion outside our wall, and someone ran out of the gate; surely, my husband. You’d think I hurried up, dried myself off and stepped out to see what was happening, or that my heart began racing, fearing the worst because of course, I was hearing the worst. But no, I remained calm, gently passing the lathered sponge down each leg, then up in between my thighs which for months had been starved. It was a cold morning, but I stood unflinching under the even colder shower, partly paying attention to the sounds still coming in; more distinct. Each sickening blow or thud or thump or desperate plea I heard tuned me further off. I felt nothing.

 

Soon, the smell of burning tyre filled the air, and then the stench of roasted flesh and sizzling blood followed, heavy with sounds of jubilation. I sat on our bed; naked, wet, silent. It was the first Sunday of the month; my white dress hung over the pillow on my side of the bed, slightly creased. The power was out and there was no certainty it was going to be back in time for me to get it ironed. I had to get dressed. I needed to get dressed.

 

I heard the gate open then close again; he opened the door to our bedroom, and there he stood, my husband, covered in blood that was not his, panting. We made eye-contact and I saw the rage in his eyes just before he turned towards the bathroom. There were no questions to ask. The sounds had told it all; someone had been murdered outside our wall, his blood was on my husband’s shirt, and I just sat there while the weight of everything finally settled on my heart.

 

Why was I sitting there carrying all of it, most of which were not mine but his? And yet, why did they have my heart in every single one of them? Or, had I cloned it…this heart of mine, and given up on the original? Why am I unable to kill this one that still keeps all of him in handmade boxes?

 

At what point are we broken so badly we spend years of our lives hurting ourselves, we wince when healing love arrives as balm for our gaping wounds, and then run? Why was I still there watching him go straight on to hell? It is too familiar; his resignation. Too familiar.

 

Perhaps he needed to pour himself into the robber that was caught, and so did all the others; pour all their shortcomings into that one. And then when they grabbed sticks and stones and started to break skin and bones, it was their decadence they were killing. Maybe it was a ghastly but necessary catharsis for one bearing so many demons. Why…did I get married?

 

He stepped out of the bathroom; naked, wet, silent. He didn’t look at me again; afraid, perhaps, that our eyes would meet again. So he grabbed his towel from off the door of our wardrobe, wrapped it around his waist and walked out.

 

I had wanted to shout after him, that what he was running away from was latched on to his heel; that he need not run. But I did not. I needed to get dressed.

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