The white sheets have blood stains on them.
I leave the bed and head to the living room downstairs. I find him, sitting on the couch, his hands cradling his head. The heels of his legs move up and down as if afraid to touch the floor. He is shaking. He is mumbling something. I watch him get up and pace the living room. There is no one else in the house.
I go to my mother’s house. It is dark. The night is as it should be; asleep. And so is everyone in it.
I watch my mother sleeping in bed. My father sleeps beside her. She is facing away from him. That is how she has managed to share a bed with him all these years. That is how she has managed to share him. That is how she has managed to stay married to him. By her turning away. Looking away. Always facing the other side. And offering the other cheek. Always her.
They sleep. Together yet not together.
And that is how I was expected to go through my marriage. By facing the other side, away from Dave.
They sleep oblivious of what the impending dawn has in store for them.
I watch them snore for a minute. And then it is time. Time to visit her. Only because I am curious.
I enter her house. She is in the living room. Reading. An insomniac, I bet. I watch her. I get close to her. Really close. Enough to smell her scent.
She is beautiful.
Explains what he saw in her doesn’t it? There’s her long weave, against my short natural fro. There are her long manicured nails, against my short and well-bitten stumps. There are her soft hands that have never handled rough, against mine that laundered, dug and cleaned every day.
I look around. Her house is impeccably furnished. From her living room all the way to her bedroom.
An equally beautiful girl, around 4 years old, walks into the living room from upstairs.
“…I can’t sleep”
She is rubbing her eyes.
Could she be? Dave and I have been married for 4 years. But there is something about this young girl. Something so like my David. Is it her eyes? Her forehead? The shape of her head? Her ears?
She gets up and carries the girl up the flight of stairs
“You need to go back to bed now.”
I wonder what she will feel when she gets the news in the morning. Will she be happy or sad?
I go back to the house.
Dave is not in the living room where I left him. I find him in the bedroom. Standing next to the bed.
I stand next to him. Both of us looking at my cold body that is sprawled on the bed.
I don’t look good. My fro is all messed up. My broken lip is swollen. My face is stained with blood.
Death is not a good look on me.
Dave bends over the bed to touch my cold cheeks. I watch him hold my hand. He uses his forefinger to cover my eyes with its eyelids. He tries the same trick for my mouth, but he is unable to snap the lower jaw shut.
I look down at my motionless lifeless body. I wonder if he is proud of his handiwork.
This work of art begun late in the night when the food I brought before him was not hot to his liking. Which is strange really because, food can only be so hot. After that it burns. Burning it would have been a problem still. There was no winning. It was at 48 minutes past midnight. I know because I checked the time as I asked him where he had been. I told him to just admit that he had eaten somewhere else and the ‘food is not hot enough’ was just an excuse not to eat.
Knowing he was about to lie (he always lied) I did not wait for an answer. After telling him what I had to say, I went up the stairs with the intention of going to bed.
He followed me. Unbeknownst to me, he wanted to make a piece of art out of my existence.
“You do not walk away when I am talking to you!”
“I am tired Dave. I do not want to get into an argument with you. Just go and eat your food ok?”
“Who do you think you are?”
I saw the anger burning in his eyes. I tried to calm him down just as mother had drummed into my head.
Calm him down.
Don’t talk back.
Always apologize and promise not to repeat the mistake.
I made it sound believable, even if I had no clue what I was apologizing for.
“I am sorry Dave. I am so sorry.”
The slap reached me before I could make the promise. After the slaps, always came the blows. He clenched his fists. I endured the blows. Bowing my head. Taking them to my head. Shielding my face. A stray blow found comfort against my mouth. My lip broke and I tasted my blood. Tired of hitting my head, he pulled at my hand to create room for more body mass to hit. He kept hitting.
I fell on the bed.
He got on top of me, spread out both my hands and held them together above my head. I must have looked like the crucified Jesus. And he rained punches on my face. As he sat on me, he concentrated on his creation. He was too engrossed to notice the blood leaving my womb and soiling the white sheets. Blood flowing without hindrance. A warm gush almost too eager to quit imprisonment.
I passed out.
My heart stopped beating. I stopped breathing.
Minutes later, my baby’s heart followed mama’s lead.
I was weightless.
He looks at my lifeless body now.
“What have I done?”
I look at my lifeless body now. This right here is a piece of art. He has recreated. Turned beautiful into ugly. Turned order into mess. Life into death. And he did it all. My David done did it.
I look at the white stained sheets. The only proof of the life that was growing inside me sits here on these white sheets for the world to see at daybreak.
I leave Dave’s side to take my place inside the lifeless body.
It is cold.
I will rest now.
In peace if you don’t mind.