My head is pounding, my neck is sore. My heart starts racing, and the panic sets in. He knows. I sit up, frantically, searching for my purse. Matt walks in with a glass of water and two white pills.
Matt sits beside me on our bed, “I’m not asking,” he growls, pressing the pills into the palm of my hand, “Take them, now.” I put the pills under my tongue and reach for the glass of water. He hands it to me, and I take a drink, keeping the pills underneath my tongue.
“I texted Marcy from your phone. Let her know you wouldn’t be in yesterday.”
“Yesterday? What day is it?”
Saturday? How is that possible? There’s no way I’ve been out for a full 24 hours. Not without being drugged… The white pill was still under my tongue, dissolving into my saliva.
“This is your fault, you know,” he scolds me, “had you just been faithful to me, I never would’ve had to do that.” He’s talking to me like a child. “Now I can’t trust you. Now I can’t treat you like a normal wife. Normal wives don’t cheat on their husbands. Whores cheat on their husbands.” Matt’s face is turning red, the vein in his forehead is becoming more prominent, he walks out of the room. I swipe my finger under my tongue and scrape off the partially dissolved pills, wiping them on the comforter.
He returns with my phone. “I called your little boyfriend James. You’re really pathetic, you know,” Matt rolls his eyes, “he won’t be bothering us anymore.”
“What did you do?” my voice was trembling, hands shaking.
“I very kindly asked him to stay away from my wife, of course. I did what any loving husband would do, Linds.” His tone was so cold and condescending.
“Loving?” I can feel my voice getting louder, “You call yourself a loving husband?!” I debate how to reveal that I know all about his affair, but something stops me. Something tells me to keep it to myself. So I wait.
“Here’s what’s going to happen – we’re going to have breakfast together. Like a husband and wife should. You’re going to be the wife I want you to be. Or I’m going to make sure you regret ever fucking with me. Ok, baby?” He grabs me by the hair – tugging at my scalp – and lifts me to my feet. I suddenly realize how light-headed I am. He leads me to the kitchen.
“Now… Make us something to eat, sweetie.”
I open the refrigerator, bending over to reach the carton of eggs. All the while his hand is attached firmly to the back of my scalp. I grab the bread and start to make French toast. He releases my hair but stands over my shoulder. I can smell his breath. Smells like whiskey, imagine that.
We awkwardly sit across each other at the breakfast table. Oddly enough, he compliments the French toast.
“Well, this is delicious sweetie,” he wipes some syrup from his chin, “where was this a few days ago? You’ve been saving it all for James, haven’t you?”
“He’s not a bad looking guy, Linds. Tall, dark, real buff…” he scoffs, “I at least wish you would’ve cheated on me with someone who had a real job. You can do better than that.”
“Can you at least give me back my phone? I won’t call him, I promise –“
“Just how stupid do you think I am, Linds?”
“I dunno…” My voice is a tiny whisper. I’m scared.
“I can’t let you use a phone. You might call the police and tell them what a bad husband I’ve been. I’m a broke abusive alcoholic. I can’t let you ruin this.”
I wonder what exactly he thinks I might ruin. What’s left to be destroyed? We have no money. Our marriage is doomed. I’m at a loss for words.
“…so… You’re just gonna keep me here?”
“I haven’t decided yet, ok? But I can’t let you go. Not yet.”
“Shouldn’t you be at work?”
Matt usually works all day on Saturdays. I start to wonder if maybe he lied about ever having a job.
“I took the day off. We’ll go back to work on Monday. I think this weekend we need to spend some time together and work on what’s left of this.” He sounds delusional. He can’t seriously think any of this is salvageable.
He notices my raised eyebrows and sighs. “It’s not over yet, Linds. We can save it. Marriages aren’t perfect. We can fix this.”
He leans towards me, grabbing my face, and puts his lips to mine. I instantly pull away. Disgusted.
“No, we can’t. You spent all of our money, you drank it all away. And you expected me to be happy and stay loyal. Well I’m sorry, I couldn’t do that. I was lonely.” He stayed quiet.
“And now you’re trying to hold me hostage in here!” I can feel the tears filling up my eyes. My face turns hot and my hands start to shake, “YOU did this! YOU ruined everything!” I’m crying now, everything’s a blur. He pulls me into his lap, still at the kitchen table.
“NO! I don’t want this. I don’t want any of this!” I pull myself away from him and go towards our bedroom. Suddenly, I’m dizzy. Sleepy. I catch myself in the doorway of our bedroom and barely make it to collapse into our bed. I’m reminded of the pills that started to dissolve in my mouth.
“What did you…”
“Shhh Linsday, relax.”
He’s pulling my clothes off of me, but I can’t move my arms or legs to stop him. I’m drifting. I try to mouth the words. Any words. “No, stop, please.” But nothing comes out. I can’t keep my eyes open. I feel his lips moving all over me. I will myself to roll over, kick him off, anything. But I can’t. So I just lay there. And try not to pay attention.
Hours have gone by. I don’t know how many. I shake off the drowsiness and force myself to sit up. I feel like I was hit by a truck. This is a massive hangover times ten.
“What the hell did he give me?” I muttered, pulling myself out of bed. I grab the door frame, for balance and make my way to the kitchen. I poor myself a glass of water and start to make my way through the house.
Having made my way through every room in the house, I finally get to the garage. To my surprise, his car is gone.
I take a few more gulps of water, and head back to our bedroom, hoping he’d be stupid enough to leave my phone or keys somewhere in there. I rummage through his nightstand, finding nothing but change and socks. Plus a few condoms. I sit on the floor and look under the bed. A wooden box.
I lie on my stomach and stretch my arm underneath the bed. It takes me a few minutes, but I finally managed to pull it out from under the bed. It’s heavy, looks like a cigar box, except it has a padlock on it.
This has got to be it. My keys, my phone. All I need to run away from this man. Suddenly, I hear the jingling of keys, and my heart drops.