Campfire Stories

cropped-boken1.pngWhen glass gets broken

I am reading a note, in my husband’s thin blue handwriting, it starts.

  • ask about prescription
  • appointment at doctors?
  • sick days?

I feel the familiar prickly sting start at the back of my eyes, I do not want to cry so I put his list back down on the table by the bed and continue to hoover.  My husband is in the shower and I have a few minutes to clean up a little, take away old flowers, change the sheets and suck away crumbs.  He can not tolerate the noise, so I work quickly.  The water stops and I turn the hoover off and hit the button that pulls back the chord.  The black line pulls the plug back quickly, the machine and I feel we should not be here. I pull the door shut quietly and wince at the loud click of the lock as I leave.  I do not want him to see how upset I am.

I am standing so the hot water hits the back of my neck, it dulls the continuous ache a little, I have stood under the water for too long but it feels so good I will steal a few more seconds.  I feel calm and peaceful, waiting for the memories to return, I search for normality but my brain is tired.  I think my wife is in the bedroom cleaning again, every time I shower she cleans the sheets, takes away my mess and rearranges my things.  I turn the shower off and dry my body slowly giving her time to leave.  I do not want her to see how broken I am, covered in ugly black and red bruises.  I do not want to talk to her about how angry I am, I do not want her to know that I am dreaming of violence. Another question flutters through, but I can not catch it, it will try again when it returns.

I am standing at the sink in the laundry, pushing the cotton under the soapy water. The air is trapped in a fabric bubble, escaping now it whines and froths in protests. I pull the sheet back out and rub again at the stains.  The bad thing that came knocking at our door has also left marks that can not be washed away so easily.  I hold on to the sink’s edge, the scene pushes back in.  I do not want to remember but I must acknowledge the horror to heal and move on.  I feel it all again and see the dark marks on my wrist which are small and insignificant.  The darkness that creeps around my memory is worse and cannot be seen.  I empty the sink squash the water out and bundle the sheets into the washing machine.  I can smell the fragrance from the carpet that was cleaned by a new person in my life.

I have just woken again, and it is dark outside.  I am not sure what the time is and wonder if I have eaten.  The bedroom door is closed and I can hear a hushed conversation.  Something is wrong, the television is not on, the house feels dim and the children are quiet, no banging doors, loud music or shouted protests of unfairness.  My head hurts and when I turn my head the world swims.  I am not sure.  I have to keep still until the world rights itself around me, I look at the glass of water on the bedside table, there are papers and pills.  Something bad has happened but I can not remember all of it.  My head hurts and I am so tired, I am not sure if I am hungry, I lie still for a little longer, it is safe and warm here.  I open my eyes again and my wife is talking to me.  I am not sure what time it is and wonder if I have eaten.  My head is unbelievably sore, I think I can smell food but have to lie still until the horizon is where it belongs.

I have crept into bed and my husband is sleeping deeply beside me, which seems impossible as he has slept continuously for days and days.  I wish I could borrow some of his sleep because I toss and turn, unable to settle.  I close my eyes and see the danger, think about what could have been, remember what was.  I see the seconds before and after.  My movements are disturbing, making my husband’s head hurt more, so I get up and set up camp on the sofa with a bowl of dried cereal and a head full of images. I think about the deep love and support our family are giving us, dropping their own lives to support ours.  The help, unselfishly given by friends, the assurance by the community that this was shocking and not our fault.  I see the good is more than the bad.

I open my eyes, my wife is not beside me.  I put my hand where she should be, the space is warm so I know she was here, good, I thought so, I remembered.  I think I need to take some pain relief but not sure if I am allowed to yet.  There is a chart by my bed, I try to move but it makes me feel sick.  I wake up and my wife holds out a glass of water and three white pills.  I open my eyes and the room is lighter, I can hear laughter.  My wife is laughing, things must be getting better.  I wonder if I should have a shower and eat something.  I think about work but can not worry about it.  I must rest, I close my eyes.

My friend has come, she has left her job and travelled hours and miles over water to be with us.  She will hold my hand for a week.  She will be my wife.  She will help my family heal, she will help me see the bad thing that happened will not determine our future. I can already see that we are bigger than this, that friends and family really are all that is important.  Broken things will be replaced and we will mend with love and support.  She makes me take more time away from work, shows me the sense of it.

My friend has gone home back across the sea.  My family and friends, assured of our recovery, are moving back into their own routines. My husband makes a joke about not remembering something and I tell him again that he has agreed to buy an expensive coffee machine that I have wanted for ages, he is unsure, we laugh together. He feels the pain in his head, I leave because I know he needs to sleep.  The flowers are dropping petals into the carpet so I pick the vase up on my way out.  It has been two weeks, this time last week……….I push it all away but find time on this anniversary to release my thoughts.  I let them sit here on this page.  I might read them again, I might not.

My phone vibrates I have a snapchat.  I send one back it changes the way my face looks.












7 thoughts on “Campfire Stories

  1. I was so sorry to hear about this Elaine, sounds truly life-changing. I hope your hubby recovers soon and that the damage isn’t permanent, and that you both recover mentally too, although I can tell it will take a while. You’re missed at school (not just for your cooking!). Thinking of you, take the time you need xxx


  2. Wow, if only those tossers had taken a second to think of the consequences of their actions….. Thinking of you all and wishing a speedy recovery xxxx


  3. Love this post and your writing though not the events that preceded it. Glad you have your non-blood family (especially your 2nd wife) for support. Lots of Love & Hugs to your & yours. J xxxx


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