My breathing was audible in the stillness, and not just because of my heightened state of awareness. I inhaled slowly and deliberately, nostrils flaring out slightly, in an attempt to take in more air – willing the oxygen to push past the lump in my throat, half-trying to conjure up the relaxation techniques I learned long ago, at that acting school in Manhattan. Ah, the good ol’ days, when it was merely a touch of stage-fright that required the use of such methods…Am I still too young to reminisce? Surely at the age of thirty-five, I have earned the right to a few nostalgic moments, while recalling my carefree youth.
I could barely make out the trees, covered in darkness. The moon is just a sliver allowing me to glimpse the outline of the branches swaying in the autumn winds just outside my kitchen window. The darkness is somehow comforting. Now what? I ponder my options, remembering to breath deeply, in a feeble attempt to contain the swell of emotions rising up in mutiny, against me and my breathing exercises.
An undeniable surge of energy flows through me. I am acutely aware of my own desires. I must bury my emotions in the pleasures of a physical release. In my erratic state, I decide that yes, this is what I need right now, to rid myself of the anxiety that is plaguing my every cell. I am overcome by the intensity of this urge. I rise from my seat at the ornate, wrought iron and glass table that Jack and I purchased years ago in Mexico, and make my way towards the master bedroom. I move with feline accuracy up the eight wooden steps leading to the bedrooms, careful to avoid the creaky spots.
I pass the pictures hanging cheerily on the wall in our stairwell, of our two, healthy, blond-haired, cherubic-faced babies. Will is 4 and Lana just turned 2 years old. They are our greatest gifts in this life, looking like they belong in a surfing magazine on the west coast somewhere. I smile at them and know for just a moment that all will be well.
I open the door to our modest master bedroom, the king-sized bed and plush down comforter beckoning me closer. The red 12:22 glowing from the cable box reminds me that it is after midnight. I wonder how Jack will react to this late night waking. I walk around to his side of the bed, reaching for the edge, to help me maintain my bearings in the darkness. As my eyes adjust to the blackness of our bedroom, I can make out his mouth, slightly ajar as he snores out a little tune. This is not hot. But, no matter. He is the man I love, the man I married.
I carefully climb in on his side, sliding one of my legs up and over his torso, straddling him in one swift motion as I have done so many times before in our ten years together. He stirs just a bit, causing the snoring to stop for a moment. Without pause, I slide my hands up his shirtless chest and lock my knees tightly over his torso and arms, which are trapped under the blanket. Wrapping my hands around his throat – I squeeze. I squeeze and I squeeze, until his eyes pop open, wide with the surprise that his ever-loyal wife, and loving mother of his children, has suddenly turned to physical violence against him. In his sleep, no less.
I mean, we have had our ups and downs, but we have never been violent. Until now. I bring my mouth closer to his reddened and contorted face and I hiss out my inquiry, “How the fuck can you do this to me?!?! To our family?!” His gasping for air is a satisfactory answer to me, for now. Since I adore our children, and heaven knows that I would not look cute in an orange jumpsuit, I return to my senses. Choking him to death is not a viable option, appealing as it might be. I release my grip. I am glad we have had this talk.
Photo credit: http://www.myreservoir.net/tag/scorned-woman/