(Also posted on Fanfiction.net)
Every time. Without fail. When you said you’d be gone for a week, I knew something would happen. It always does. I never would’ve guessed it would be this bad, but I couldn’t shake the eerie feeling of something going down until it did. Then again, if I was able to pinpoint what would happen ahead of time, there’d be no crime. We’d have no jobs.
Now that I think about it though, I’d gladly be unemployed if it meant people were no longer hurting each other.
Since that’ll never happen, my job is safe until I finally crack up, burn out or fall in the line.
I don’t know how it’ll end; just that it will. Don’t know when either. Should’ve left years ago. Even though I go back every day, I’m never quite ready for the fresh hell that awaits me.
You shut the door, stifling in a curse when you realize it won’t close all the way now that you’ve kicked it in again. Call the super. Explain the situation. Show him your badge. It’ll be fixed tonight.
Your keys land on the table by the now-disabled door. Your footsteps become lighter as you toe off your shoes. You lose your belt before you reach my bedroom. You call my name, looking for me like you don’t know where I am or what I’m doing already.
You see my reddened body as soon as you push the bathroom door open. You stare at me for a moment. I don’t know whether it’s because of how I look right now or because you’re a man looking at a naked woman. I can never tell with you. All these years we’ve known each other and I still can’t read you as well as you can read me.
Never did I imagine that I could have less to hide than someone else. Not after everything that happened to me growing up. Then I think about everything you’ve gone through. You’re not supposed to compare crappy childhoods, but compared to yours, I enjoyed picturesque formative years.
After the nostalgia of seeing my naked body passes, you sigh and grab my towel. You open my shower door and turn off the water, wrapping me in the towel after prying my loofah away from me.
“I can’t stop yet. I’m not clean,” I tell you.
“You’re okay,” you respond, kissing my temple as you wrap a second towel around my damp hair.
No I’m not. I’m not okay. I’ll never tell you or anyone else this, but I’m not okay. Somehow, you sense this, running one hand down my arm as your other one is busy towel drying my hair.
“I brought take out. Your favorite,” you say like I’m hungry. Like I can eat after what I saw today.
But how would you know what I saw? You weren’t here. I sit and watch as you eat. We’re in a standoff. Will be until you give me my glass of Merlot back. I will sit here, all night, letting this food get cold until I get my way. You know how stubborn I can be.
Then again, you can be a jackass too when you want to be.
Hence, the standoff.
We look at each other, waiting for the other to crack first. Won’t be me. Not tonight. I earned this glass. This bottle.
I haven’t spoken to you since throwing those insults at you. They rolled right off of you like you were coated in Teflon, but I know you’re not. I wonder when this night will come back to bite me. It always does with you. You hold onto every slight. Every hurt. I’ve done both.
I don’t touch the food you brought for me. I don’t get to have any wine, but you can’t force a morsel into my mouth. I’m not sure if this is a victory or not.