I RECEIVE SOUNDS AND IMAGES but I can’t control the frequency or the content. This is how I knew she was with someone else---I saw two hands gripping her thin hips, heard her voice release in a waterfall of orgasm.
When she comes home, I have already begun and I stay invisible for days until she finally says, “You know things. You always do.” She moves out on the weekend but the sights and sounds of her never do.
Six months later her mother is in the hospital. She sits on a blue vinyl chair holding the silver railing of the bed where mom sleeps. She looks neither anxious nor sad, just tired. I see her as clearly as I do each time, at night, my eyes closed in bed.
The next day I call her, she says, “You know things.”
“I’m sorry Sylvie.”
She makes a noise “hmmm” as if she just can’t explain anything. “Are you still in love with me?” she asks.
And then I catch a glimpse of her eyes, sunken into purple rings and I know she’s been beaten.
by Brian Hobbs
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