Friday Night

It was a bad night.

One I have the great misfortune of becoming accustomed to on a Friday. Actually, any night now. I don’t know when, but the beast had changed. Drinking with the guys at the end of the work week became Wednesday as well. Hump day as they referred to it; a midweek pick me up.

Now it was sporadic.

Any night could be a bad one.

He stood on the porch, swaying. Trying to punch a hole in the door. Practicing.

“Love, let me in”, came a loud slur.

My heart, once full on his return home, now crumpled into a nervous wreck. But it was his home as well, so I tell myself.

He loves me, just as I love him.

My resolve hardens just enough to unlatch the door. It’s going to be different. He’s going to go straight to bed. He wouldn’t dare beat me like last time… and the time before.

I sound stupid even to myself.

It was as though I had opened the door of a whiskey distillery, the strong odour wafting through. He stood - barely - with a stained sour grin. A blue plaid shirt with jeans and a heavily worn, brown belt struggling to contain his beer loving gut. His thinning black hair and unkempt beard peppered with years.

Nothing like the man I had met 26 years ago. The young enthusiastic lad just starting out as an electrician.

“Help me woman!”, he fell towards me, a trust exercise. I caught him, as I always had, and took the strain.

Awkwardly we waddled through to the sitting room and I dropped him into his armchair. Bed would have been preferable, for me at least.

“Get me a beer!” He shouted, ready to extend the binge.

Shit. I have not restocked and he drank the last a couple of nights ago.

I steeled myself, “we don’t have any…” It was a whisper. Barely audible in hopes of sparing myself his ire for a moment longer.

“What?!” His arm raised, an open palm, even though he had not heard, he assumed. The look on my face evidence enough of my failings. I began to back away.

My steps confirmed his fear and he lunged, hand heading for my cheek. A merciful slap.

I screamed and span and he missed, too heavily intoxicated to aim. He fell forward onto his knees with a grunt.

“Come here you witch!” He began to crawl as I ran out into the corridor and slammed the door behind me. There was no lock.

The familiar game of tug-of-war began.

He beat on it, not realising that his role was to pull. This was quickly remedied and I clutched the handle with every ounce of my strength and pulled. Tiers began to streak down my cheeks as the door opened and closed, a dangerous ebb and flow marked by a loud banging.

“Come… here…” he huffed between exertions.

He is stronger, his entry only a matter of time. My desperation the last bastion of defence.

I sniffed as the banging continued, ebbs now shorter than flows.

This was it. My arms aching from the strain wouldn’t hold much longer. His beckoning had warped to a string of obscenities. Anger stoked by the hunt.

It was not my husband. This beast, gripped by alcohol. Uncaring. Merciless.

A loud knock comes from the front door.

“Susan, are you there?” Comes Abigail’s voice as if from a distant cave. The door bangs shut and stands silent, the beast’s anger given away to fear.

“Y…y…yes.” I stutter between sniffs.

“The police are on their way!” She shouts back.

Slowly I release the pressure on the door handle, images of the door wrenched open and being assailed by the demon flashing through my mind. But it stands strong.

I turn and open to Abigail.

She stands dazed, eyes of saucers, tasseled bed hair, in a pink floral dressing gown and slippers.

A hero.

I step out onto the porch and to her surprise embrace her.

“Thank you.” I say, as the tears continue to flow.

She now embraces me back.

“You can stay with me tonight,” she whispers in my ear, returning my hug. “He won’t have you tonight.”

Comments 0