Morbid Love

 

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The first time was over ice-cream. She had eaten the entire carton and when I asked where it had all gone, showing her the carton, she slapped me.

I slapped her back.

She went on a rampage; smashing dishes, threatening to cut herself with a kitchen knife and punching the walls and floor for about half an hour before snatching her keys off the dresser, flinging open the front door and going screaming and raging out into the night.

When I surveyed the wreckage, I found a broken fingernail on the hallway table. She had snapped it off in her fury as she snatched up her car keys to leave.

She came back the next day and apologized, saying she didn’t know what had gotten into her. I said that I understood, but that was probably the last time, because if she did it again she’d probably always do it and I didn’t want to end up like my mother.

Retrospectively, I think she had a mental illness. I believe I’m telling myself the truth when I say that, even though all these things are tainted with excuses and the fact is, no-one ever tells themselves any more of the truth than they are capable of accepting.

Her tantrums got worse, most of them sparked by her paranoid suspicion of infidelities. I told her the same as what I tell you – and you can take it as the truth because as far as you’re concerned, I’ve got nothing to lose – I was never unfaithful to her.

She’d take it into her head that I was seeing someone else behind her back and go berserk. Screaming, yelling, smashing things, threatening to throw herself off the balcony, cutting herself with knives.

She’d project her aggression at herself some of the time, but most of the time it was at me. I think that initial slap had made a positive impression – it was the only time she actually put her hands on me.

But she used to project these enormous waves of hysterical aggression. And almost always, she’d do it late at night.

I wake at four in the morning to meditate before preparing for work at five. She always started her rampages at about ten at night and really hit her stride by about eleven. I was supporting her financially at that time – she was at university, studying on scholarship.

I tried to explain to her that, because I ran my own business, if I didn’t go to work I wouldn’t get paid. Unfortunately, that rationale had no effect.

One night after I switched off the light, she crouched over me, inches from my nose, and continually screamed into my face. In desperation, I slapped her in the dark. When she bought it up the next morning, I told her it was a dream.

The worst part was that it worked. At the time, she said, ‘You hit me!’ And almost immediately stopped screaming, lay down and was perfectly quiet until the next morning.

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