Under the guise of nonchalance,
she quickly resets her bones,
stitches her gaping wounds
and paints a smile on her face.
It is imperative he sees her smile.
that smile of gratitude, of humility,
that smile of acceptance,
that smile of knowing her place in his world.
that tiny space, forever closing in.
She sets the table.
(He will be home soon.)
(He is home now.)
She plates the dinner; it must be set so precisely.
The meat from nine to three o’clock,
the potatoes, mashed (absolutely no lumps)
milked and buttered at three to six
and the rest of time filled with peas
(garden) buttered and counted –
their numbers must be even,
God they must be even!
The gravy, shimmering with meat juices,
just the right thickness fills two thirds of the boat.
(Perfect she thinks and feels the excitement the joy of success,
of doing the right things for her man).
(He will be pleased; of this she is (almost) certain...)
He sits, glares at her, his mouth a snarl,
her smile momentarily drops but she quickly resets it;
nervous now, hands shaking, chest near imploding…
He trawls the plate with his fork,
searching for desired imperfections…
he is counting the peas,
looks up with that look in his eyes
and his fists hammer down on the table.
(God the pea count is wrong,
the pea count is wrong, the pea count is wrong!)
He explodes in a fury, his fists battle her body
and battered and bruised she drops to the floor.
YOU’RE FECKING USELESS! (he screeches),
slapping that smile off her face, kicking her foetal-curled body,
and he turns on his feet, shouts obscenities, storms out of the room,
slamming the door behind him. She cries…
She composes herself, resets her bones,
stitches her wounds, paints on her smile,
huddles in her tiny space, her ever so tiny space,
disappearing (as she is)
in ever decreasing circles…
Written for https://poetsandstorytellersunited.blogspot.com/2020/11/weekly-scribblings-44-eye-of-hurricane.html – cheers for the prompt Rommy!
(I can't figure out how to do links on New Blogger so will have to try and get my head round it...)
Image (the nearest I could
find): Courtesy of Flickr Creative
Commons - 'Photo
© Acabashi' ‘Steak and ale pie at Sainsbury's Low Hall, Chingford,