Saturday, January 6, 2024

Stand Where I Stood: I Know the Evil That Comes in the Dark

**Trigger Warning**

The silence that falls is deafening as the night creatures go quiet and I know he is making his way home to our tiny ramshackle trailer on the back of the property.  It’s as if the animals that are out at night all sense the danger radiating from him and hide themselves, I wish I could hide too. He has been drinking but how much I do not know and that will determine everything.  So I lie here pretending to sleep, praying, praying tonight will be different, that he will finally mean the kind words he has said.  I hear the screen door slam and the front door swing wide and my body stiffens because I know the evil that comes in dark.


I pray he’s only drunk enough to be in a good mood because then he usually just passes out and I don’t have to deal with him much.  As he stalks into the room I can smell him and quickly realize he’s been into the brown liquor. He’s way past good mood, we are in dangerous territory tonight.  He’s been drowning some memory or something and his mood will be particularly foul.  Three guesses as to who will be punching bag for all his frustrations.  He starts in with a slurred


          “You awake?”


          I pretend to stir, and reply “I am now.”


          “Good, get your fat ass naked, I need to fuck something.” He says dryly.


          “Um, how romantic, I’m gonna need a bit more than that to get in the mood because I am not really feeling it. Thanks.”  I say. I may be scared shitless but I at least try to defend myself.


          “I do not give three shits about what you need or don’t. I will cut those clothes off your body if I have to and fuck you dry as a bone, whether you are ready or not. I want it now. He said as he exposed himself. He was stumbling around and taking off his clothing.


I tried to get up and go past him to go to the bathroom and he grabbed my arm with surprising strength for a man who seemed barely able to stand and his whiskyed breath hit me as he said


          “You better come out of there naked, if you know what’s good for you..”


His eyes darted to the guns in the corner. I wrenched myself from his grip and shut the bathroom door between us and shuddered. He frequently used the guns to threaten me and I hated it. I slid down the door and sat on the floor, what the fuck am I supposed to do with this? I don’t want to have sex but he certainly does and seems perfectly willing to take it if I don’t offer it up.  How do I keep getting myself into these relationships? What’s wrong with me? I start to cry and pray but I feel utterly alone.  Part of me loves the man in the next room, not the monster he is at the moment but the man he is when he is kind and gentle. It is like living with Jekyl and Hyde.  I am jolted from my thoughts and prayers as he starts beating on the door to let me know I am taking too long.  I rise and reluctantly undress.  Swallowing every ounce of pride I have I open the door and he looks me up and down.  He says


          “You’ve gained weight. Bend over the bed.”


I took too long moving to the bed so he grabbed me and pushed me into place and held me there and I felt him position himself and roughly take me.  His calloused hands groped my “fat” body, thankfully it was quick enough that my bruising was minimal. As he finished he threw a dirty towel at me and told me to clean myself up he didn’t want to sleep next to me if I was dirty and I couldn’t put my night clothes back on in case he decided he wanted more while we were sleeping.  He also said he didn’t want me trying to run off and being naked would make that harder but just in case he was going to sleep with his shotgun.


I literally laid stiff next to him afraid to move or so much as go to the bathroom the whole rest of the night for fear he would think I was trying to leave.  I have never been more thankful to see a dawn in my life! When he wasn’t drunk he wasn’t like this, he had a temper that was terrible yes, but drunken him was the worst to deal with and the worst of it was he never remembered his actions. I know now that he was very violent with past girlfriends, because I have gotten to know them and I seemed to avoid that somehow.  What I didn’t avoid was the emotional abuse he constantly put me down and then would build me up so high and let me ride there for awhile and BAM! Tear it all down…. I never really knew where I stood with him.  He was a master manipulator and a liar.  It was those drunken nights that I saw his truly evil face though. 


It took me getting a puppy and seeing his treatment of it to finally break the spell.  That’s when I screwed up the courage to leave.  And when I left I took everything! I even took the toilet paper.  I didn’t even leave a grain of rice for him.  I had bought everything, so I took it with me. I took the sheets off the bed, all the linens, towels, food, spices, baking ingredients, laundry supplies, ceiling fans, window a/c units…. I am not joking when I say I stripped that little trailer. And of course I took the dog too.   I never looked back.  Sometimes I wonder if that little puppy, my beloved Griffin, was an answer to a pray.  All I know is there is a reason I sleep with my light on to this day, nothing is sneaking up on me in the dark anymore.