He staggers up the path to the front door and bellows an incoherent song into the dark silent streets; and she listens to him from their bed. Her body is tense and her mouth is dry from the dread of him bringing home the fighting spirit of the pub. Her mind races with memories of drunken insults, of stings of pain inflicted upon her from the fury of his hand, of bruised skin, of being knocked into unconsciousness.
Shall I pretend I am sleeping? Shall I confront him with the little strength I have left? She thinks.
He ascends the stairs to the top landing where he stops, sways and hiccups; and she observes him through the gap in the door.
I will confront him. I will no longer be afraid of him. I will tell him that I don’t fear him, that I no longer love him. I will tell him I am leaving tomorrow, that it’s over.
He enters the bedroom and switches on the light. She observes his face, his hollow cheeks, his enflamed eyes, and her thoughts and intentions dissipate, and her mouth fails to communicate the words she longs to speak.
He approaches the bed and raises his hand, as he finishes off the violence he began eight hours earlier. She closes her eyes, blanks out the pain and pushes her thoughts away from her sunken life into one that is half a world away.