I place my head between his legs. It smells good here, warm and sticky. If I close my eyes and lay very still, maybe he won’t wake. Maybe I could just lie here forever and nothing bad would have to happen. I close my eyes.
I can’t sleep. He’s going to find out. Now, or later, or tomorrow if I’m lucky. He’ll see what I’ve done and then he’ll know that I haven’t changed - that I don’t want to change. Not yet. Then he’ll beat me.
He’s not a bad man. I’ve met plenty of bad men - men who don’t have a thing in their heart that isn’t angry. He’s not like that. Not always.
And I’ve loved him too, for my part. I’ve loved him the same way that I’ve loved everyone in my life. Unconditionally. The good times with the bad, the cuddles with the beatings.
He is waking.
I could jump all over him. Distract him, play with him, lick him from head to toe. I could remind him of all the fun we have together. Show him all the ways that I make him happy. Then. Maybe?
No. Sooner or later he’d see through me. Then he’d make me pay double for trying to fool him. He’s not a man who likes to be fooled. Besides, I’m not afraid of a beating. Not anymore.
It is time for me to be brave. This has happened because I want it to happen. I need it to happen. When he sees it, when he knows, maybe then I can start to change.
He is sitting up on the bed, rubbing his forehead and his wild brown hair. I can hardly breathe. I wait for the room to shatter, but nothing happens. I walk backwards to the corner. I wait.
He is putting on his trousers. The blue denim ones, the ones he always wears with the brown leather belt - with the heavy steal buckle. He looks at me.
“Hey,” he says absently. “Come ‘ere girl. What have you been up to?”
I stare at him from the corner. Through my eyes I try to communicate everything that I could never say. I try to make him understand what I did and why I did it. How I need him to love me in the same way that I love him. No matter what I do.
For a moment, nothing moves.
I see something. It’s in his eyes, somewhere behind the sleep and the hangover. I can see something small and new, something almost happy.
He understands. Finally, after all these years of loving him despite everything, he is ready to love me back. No matter what I do. I’m so happy. I could howl, but I don’t.
I step to one side and reveal the mess in the corner of the room.
He takes a slow step forward.
“Come ‘ere you piece of shit dog. I’ll teach you to shit on my floor.”
He grabs me by my collar and lifts me one handed. I run but it’s no use. My legs spin, searching for the ground, but there is nothing there. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.
“Now,” he says, as he opens the door to the garage.
“Now you’re gonna pay.”