(and then another, bigger one)
The corner of the kitchen counter was cold and stung in the small of her back.
She was used to the feeling. How many times had she stood there before, with him towering over her? She had lost count.
But this time was different.
This time she was prepared, finally. She had brought a knife to a fist fight.
(Figuratively.) (Then literally.)
And so, the blood spread over the kitchen tiles and she stepped over his convulsing body.
There was a calmness to the way she typed in the alarm number on the house phone. She told the operator exactly what happened, with that same calmness in her voice, though her hands were shakingly playing with the phone.
She knew she’d be punished, but her mother had always told her denial had never brought anything good to this world.
What might be justice for her, mightn’t be justice for the law. She would have to accept that. And she did, because her mother had taught her well to always be compliant.
As she put the phone away and sank down on her knees next to her injured husband, she realised her compliance had never wavered. It simply wasn’t in her nature to do anything other than to follow the instructions the operator had given her.
(His body lied unconsciously.
(His body lay unconsciously. He didn’t speak.)
(His body lied unconsciously. He didn’t speak.) (Nor did she.)
And then the ambulance came to take him away, like a garbage truck collecting rubbish.
And later came the police officers, who looked at the blood on the kitchen floor and how she sat in it, seemingly unbothered by the hustle around her.
One of them sat down next to her, but was nervous to ask anything.
She turned to him.
“I will tell you anything you need to know, sir,” she said. “But I will not say I regret it.”