Trembling First Aid Kits
Rachel C C
“You hurt me.” I say, keeping my voice controlled, eyes cold and distant.
The cold night air is brisk, stinging my skin like a fresh wound.
I am not unfamiliar with the sensation, thanks to the man in font of me.
“And then you hurt me again.” I repeat, finally uttering those words, recognition.
Giving voice to the things hidden, things I had done, I had caused and let be.
“And again, and again, and again…” my voice fades, a whisper into the night, too many times to count, too many broken tables, smashed pictures, butterfly stitches quickly applied with shaking hands.
I tighten my cardigan around my body, a child clutching a security blanket.
“I know, baby.” Frail words from this terrible, weak man who once stood before me as a god, now fidgets as a schoolboy being reprimanded.
“I’m so sorry, I just…” His voice carries the pungent smell of his companion, Jim Beam across to me. His travelling buddy, accompanying him across the hundreds of miles he drove with a miraculous lack of accident. Almost as if this was needed, the cosmic powers that be decided that this meeting must take place. That we must end this. The night coaxing out what only the sun and moon have seen deep inside of me. This night in a place far from where we began.
“I just miss you, how we were,” he spouts as if we were okay, as if how ‘we were’ wasn’t me becoming skilled at using a first aid kit, making up perfect excuses in the hospital and at work for bruises that would take long to fade.
“The way you’d laugh” he continues, that nervous, shrill sound that erupted out of me, the sound desperate to play pretend. I hated it.
“You waiting for me at the end of a long day,” preened and prepped, ready for go time. Keeping on my toes with the precision of a ballerina and the nerves of an ex-marine.
Steeling myself, I take in a breath, the night sharp on my lungs, I welcome the sensation. I feel the power of the night, clinging to the oxygen cells now entering my blood stream. I loved science at school. Maybe I could study that, once I’m free.
“You need to go.” I really need to stop shivering.
“Baby, no, c’mon let’s work this out,” his eyes plead with me, to be his ‘good girl’. To be his security blanket. His punching bag.
“You really should go, we’re over. We were over the moment you first touched me.” Keeping a firm hold on this foreign bravery, this feels good.
He makes a quick jerky movement, his eyebrows knitted, almost as if he doesn’t believe what he’s doing.
“Baby…” His eyes are confused as he looks from the gun in his hand to me, and back to the gun. I tense up. This is the second time I have seen him with this weapon, the first when he thought I was trying to leave him. We moved in together a week later.
“Honey, no.” My voice is shaking slightly now. A leaf feeling the first breeze that tells of a storm. “Think about this, it doesn’t have to be this way.”
He stands taller now, his shoulder broader, eyes no longer pleading but apathetic, I know they will later be vicious, relishing my begs.
“Oh, I think I’ve thought about this for a while now.” His voice is a razor sliding across my skin. The gun shines in his hand, rubbing salt on my wounds.
“You’re my life, and my love. You’re my belle, my…” His voice fades aways, the whole world fades but his eyes, those eyes that drew me in when I was younger and more foolish.
My eyes are drawn to the gun in his hand, I’ve never known much about them. I hate the idea of them, but there is no denying this is a beautiful, expertly crafted weapon. There’s a voice in the back of my head, reminding me of a statistic that I heard long ago, when I thought that people in abusive relationships were weak and stupid, not worthy of saving if they couldn’t save themselves. Oh, Darwin would be proud.
Most of abusive relationships end when the abused is killed trying to end or leave the relationship.
It makes sense, how he just can’t stand to let me go, see me anything without him, he even had to decide what I wore, why not how I die?
His heavy staggering, faltering, fated steps interrupt my thoughts.
“Baby…” Such a loving voice, a beautiful mouth, quick fists, and flashing eyes, my wonderful, wounded, troubled darling. If only I could have been the one to save him.
The gun is cold against my flesh, between my eyes, a merciless, painless death. I have to assume. After all, no one has lived to say whether it hurt or not.
“I always loved you.” I say these words, my last sentiments those of love, I will not let this define me.
Looking back, I would say the change happened there, his eyes shadowing that little bit, but brightening with the realization.
Looking back, shuddering, I would say that is when he decided to save us. Both of us from this nightmare of his making.
When guns are fired, the air expands to let the bullet fly, faster than the speed of sound. The night was full in a second, bursting with the new wound now dripping,
from my love’s head.