“You’re such a lazy bugger.”
Every time she berates and belittles me, she destroys a piece of our relationship and we can never get it back.
“I asked you to do one thing.”
I’m not blameless. I know that. I can be moody and forgetful, cruel even, but my so-called ‘sins’ are always seen as so much worse than hers.
“I forgot,” I mumble, barely lifting my eyes from her pink heeled slippers. “I’ll do it now.”
She won’t let me.
“No, don’t bother.”
Those three words are never a good sign, she’s angry now.
“I’ll do a better job of it,” she adds, to really rebuke me.
She wears blinkers to her own faults, her own mistakes.
“Just let me do it.”
I shouldn’t have contested her. She won’t let me do it.
“No, I am doing it.”
Ever the martyr, the righteous.
“What were you doing instead? Working on your ‘classic’ car?” She lifts up her hands in air quotes.
“I just forgot,” I reply again.
She grunts and turns away from me, but I start to wonder. What would it take to hurt her? I could just pick up the iron and hit her. Over and over again, until I can’t hear her voice anymore.
“Are you listening to me?” she cries, turning to face me, her hands full of soap suds that fly towards me.
“No,” I answer, honestly.
She starts again, that raspy voice that I used to love, now grating. I watch the back of her dark ponytail, littered with grey and I wonder what went wrong. We’re older now, shouldn’t we be more mature? More in love?
“Do you know you never apologise?” I whisper. She doesn’t hear it. She doesn’t need to. I just need to say it. “After every argument you return to the kind and overly helpful woman I fell in love with...”
“What are you mumbling about?”
“...until the other you returns.”
“I can’t hear you.”
I turn from her, walking away from the terracotta tiles that I despise; realising they are not the only thing I hate.
“Where are you going?”
I gave up so much for her. The Rocky Mountains, Eiffel Tower, Pyramids of Giza. She never wanted to go anywhere, see anything and so we didn’t. We remained in one place.
“Everywhere,” I tell her, still walking away. “Everywhere you never wanted to go.”
Danielle Linsey (she/her) lives in England, where she got her first taste of writing after winning a poetry competition in school, and hasn’t stopped reading or writing since. She has had pieces shortlisted for Flash 500, The Michael Mullan Cancer Fund, and been published by Mum Life Stories and CafeLit.