Morbid Love

 

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The first time I hit a woman – and the second time, in fact – was a calculated decision. The first time was my first serious girlfriend. One day, I came home from having breakfast with a mate after a long Saturday night at work to be confronted by a raging girlfriend. She was ranting about me being unfaithful to her.

She struck me as I came in the door and continued shouting as I followed her down the hall to the bedroom. I made all kinds of excuses and explanations, trying to calm her down.

She was a lot shorter than me and climbed up on the bed. I said something and in response, she swung a great looping slap, catching me on the jaw.

She was a strong girl anyway and understood that she had to drive the hand with the hip and shoulder. It was a solid hit; I remember it making me dizzy. I also remember tears spilling out of my eyes from the impact.

I turned to leave with her following down the hall, berating me. I’d been working all night, dealing with drunken fools who wanted to fight each other and when deprived of the opportunity were quite happy for me to substitute. It was probably also to do with lack of sleep, but I was exhausted.

I turned to face her at the front door. Every time I was confronted by my father’s violence, I had been the one who had to leave. To that time, my girlfriend was the only person in whom I had really confided these things. My fondest hope was that because she cared for me, she would understand.

She drew back her hand and as soon as she hit me, I hit her back.

It was a perfectly clean slap, right on the cheek. Above her jaw and below her cheekbone, clear of all her bones so as not to bruise or actually harm her. It did, however, knock her down. Unfortunately, it did not calm her down.

She got up and started throwing kicks and punches. Some of the kicks mashed against my shin, which I feared would break her toes. When she ran flat, I turned around and left anyway.

The second time – in fact, the second, third and fourth were all the same girl, probably fourteen years later. I’ve had other girlfriends become physically violent over the years in between but remembering how that first incident did nothing to change anything, other than make me feel worse, I’d just leave.

This woman was considerably younger than me – fourteen years – and I was desperately in love with her. I’ve come to hate her now, but I am well aware that is a veil covering something much more painful. Sometimes I talk to myself when I’m cooking or lying awake late at night and when I catch myself, it’s always to her.

She had an appalling temper. Temper doesn’t quite describe it; she didn’t always seem to become angry at the same things, but certain things would set her off. And when she went off, it was thermo-nuclear. Interestingly, I never saw it until we had moved in together after we’d been in a relationship for about a year.

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