As the words he just spoke register I know it without a doubt, he has been drinking. I can feel it immediately. That devastating acknowledgement that sinks in my stomach like a brick. I have to grab ahold of the stable counter next to me as my knees begin to buckle under me. The granite is ice cold on my skin. I am acutely aware of the heat rising exponentially within me. I did not have to look to know my face was red. One hand gripping the counter, the other shaking at my side.
I have to walk away. Don’t yell, don’t even let him know. Just walk away.
I hear his words again in my mind “Fuck you. I don’t need your bullshit.” This he felt I deserved because I asked him to say please when asking me to put something in the fridge instead of snapping his fingers at me like I was a dog. I knew that allowing my rage to overtake me would not help. So, I walked away.
My body fell into the porch swing. Still shaking I reached for my phone and turned the music on. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath in. I concentrated on the inhale and the long exhale. I felt the breeze soft on my skin. I was grateful for the chill riding in on the breeze as it was helping to cool my body. I slowly allowed my eyelids to rise, still careful to focus my breathing. The light was subtle and easy on my pale eyes. I stared at the horizon as the sun started to make its decent for the day. I felt the tension beginning to dissipate. My heart rate began to slow and find its steady rhythm again.
The sound of the door opening was like a defibrillator being slammed onto my chest. I couldn’t breathe. I hadn’t even had the chance to turn and face him when his verbal abuse lashed out. The venom dripping from his tongue turned my stomach. I dug deeper than I ever have before. I turned my lips in and bit down to keep from reacting with words that I knew would fall on deaf ears. I clinched my jaw and gripped the swing. Each word he spoke a stone of hate and disrespect and I just sat there. Taking it. Allowing him to desolate me.
No, I will not be his punching bag. I won’t be a doormat!
Carefully, I took a much needed breath and was overly conscious of my tone. “Please, do not speak to me like this.” For the first time since he walked outside he stopped talking. He pivoted his body to now face me. I could not read his eyes and was almost hopeful. That moment did not comfort me long. “I won’t be controlled by you. I won’t listen to your mouth!” he exclaimed with an evil laced around each word. “and I will not be your doormat,” I replied softly but confident. I stood and walked away.