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Jenny's Story

Jenny tells the story of her husband`s mental cruelty.

I feel sick waiting for him to return. The house is spotless, the dinner in the oven, he is bound to find some fault with me. I try so hard to please him.

He once said to me, "Perhaps you try too hard!" He knows I try hard, so why does he delight in being cruel to me? 

I hear the front door slam. He`s here. My stomach is churning. I turn from the kitchen sink.

"Did you enjoy yourself?" I ask, knowing the answer to my question.

He smiles, "I did, superb day." He fails to give me the details of his day . He has been out walking with members of the walking club. "Is dinner ready?" He asks.

"A few more moments," I reply.

I pick up the kettle and begin to fill it with water, preparing to make him a cup of tea.

"How many times have I told you, not to put more than the required amount of water in the kettle?" He spits.

"I am sorry, I forgot." I reply and I start to shake.

I measure the two mugs of water into the kettle while he stands by watching and smiling.

I make the tea like a dutiful wife, placing the mug carefully on the table. He sits in silence. There is no such thing as "small talk" in this house. I dish dinner out. I tell him it is ready.

He replies, "Okay." He doesn't thank me.

I sit chewing my food, with each mouthful I feel sick. Why am I living like this? I ask myself. I think about our sorry relationship and why he hates me so much. He is a bully, yet to others outside the home he strives hard to please them, especially women.

Oh yes! That's another story. I go to bed at 10:00 pm. Alone. I am always alone. He might come to bed about 1:30 am. Might! I came through to fetch a glass of water last month, I think. He was chatting to someone - a woman. I confronted him about her and he hit me and told me to leave. I looked into his smoldering eyes, filled with hate ; narrowing in their anger. I packed a few things, I picked up my laptop. He pushed me to one side and taking the laptop from my arms he put it on the floor and stamped on it! I shook, familiar with the feeling of terror. How can a "normal" person behave like this? He carried on stamping on my laptop until it cracked.

"There, that should do it! " He said; a cruel smirk written across his features.

I grabbed my car keys and left the house sobbing. I don't know how I drove. I drove through a mist of tears, I felt violently sick. This is what he thrives on, I thought.

Here I am eating, at the dinner table, chewing like a robot. We finish the meal. I rise from the table picking up the empty plates. It can't have been too bad, I thought. He`s eaten all of it. Ungrateful pig! I take the kettle to the sink, I remember to pick up the jug, and measure the water. He's watching me from the dining room. I wait for the kettle to boil, I stand by the sink. The "robot" washing up.

He leaves the table, picks up a book and begins to read. There's silence all around me , smothering me like a pillow. I am finding comfort in the warm soapy suds. Oh! How I wish there was someone out there, to hold me and love me. I finish my task. I re-fill the kettle being careful to measure the two mugs of water.

"Would you like a coffee?" I call.

"Okay!" He replies.

I make the coffee and place it on the table beside him. I am barely acknowledged - he is reading. My thoughts wander as I tidy the kitchen. I hear him go to the bathroom. He stays there a while. He returns but comes slowly into the kitchen and stands behind me. I am afraid to face him. What have I done now? My thoughts are racing. Earlier that morning I had taken a splinter out of his finger, I had left the safety-pin unclosed, upon the sink! He thrusts the pin in my face.

"What's this?" He spits with venom.

I look at him stupidly. "A safety pin?" I reply. I have a tremor in my voice. I hear it ; I berate myself for being weak.

He yells at me, "Close it!"

I take the pin and I close it. He takes it from me and returns to the bathroom. It's quiet , I am shaking wondering what he is going to find next... To be continued.

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