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He Stopped Loving Her Today

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My husband, he has these tirades. Filthy, loud harangues that go on until he passes out. He calls me a harlot. A bitch. He rails against me for a minor fleck of dust in the corner, for baking the bread too crusty, for turning my back on Him in bed.

It’s my fault. Really. Fourteen-year-old girls can’t possibly know their hearts. But, my mama seemed happy to be rid of me, so my lips said ‘I do’ when my mind said I didn’t and set up house with Him.

That was a decade ago.

I’m twenty-four going on forty. Or fifty. Who knows anymore?

Sometimes, I go out to the privy over the creek. In the middle of the night, it’s the only place where I’m not somebody’s beleaguered wife or momma. I sit there and marvel at the slice of moon in the sky. The fluttering of bats in the corners. The powdery arm of the Milky Way.

Can anybody out there hear my tears? Does anybody know my pain?

On the outside, I keep it together. I dress nice. Five kids, stair-stepped in pressed clothes that smell of lavender and musk. I sit up tall on the front row of church every Sunday, and I sing louder. Smile wider. Linger longer than anyone else.

I dropped a load of clean clothes in the creek today. I don’t know why. One minute, I was fine. The next, I was sprawled half in and half out of the water, His work shirts billowing in the current.

I rubbed my temple and waded out to the rocky middle. Must not lose one. Must not lose one. Must not……..

It’s the theater of life that’s wearing me out.

A fiction series to explore a phobia. Read the introductory installment here.

39 Comments Post a comment
  1. The ride begins…hold on tight.

    February 7, 2013
    • Here’s hoping it will be worthwhile in the end. At least, for me………

      February 7, 2013
  2. Good phrase, “the theater of life”.

    But I should have a talk with MTM, he really needs to lighten up. He could at least get you a washing machine so you don’t have to wash his clothes in the Cooper River. 😉

    February 7, 2013
    • The next time I complain about the washing machine in this condo, I’m going to remember this post………

      February 7, 2013
  3. Too funny Carnell. Sad tale and I have a feeling it’s going to get sadder before she hops on her horse and rides away…

    February 7, 2013
    • The great majority of women in this situation don’t ride away, but we’ll see.

      February 7, 2013
  4. such despair….

    February 7, 2013
  5. I hope she gets away – but am fearful. Just brilliant, I’m in the river with her chasing shirts…..

    February 7, 2013
    • I like that image as well, Jim.

      February 7, 2013
      • Hey! I like that as a title too… “Chasing Shirts”. Lots of meanings and connotations there.

        February 7, 2013
  6. I’m thinking things won’t end well for this young lady. And I’ll be very interested to hear what the phobia is, because “fear of being beaten by your sexual predator husband” doesn’t really count as an irrational fear…

    February 7, 2013
  7. Andra, I hope this statement will come across correctly–you are growing as a writer! I have loved your stories and have believed you a strong writer from my first read 18 months ago. But I honestly think this is brilliantly constructed…more than just the story, which I am going to love, it’s the choice of words. I won’t keep gushing…but I could! 🙂

    February 7, 2013
    • Debra, thank you for this comment. The whole point of this blog is for me to grow as a writer. It always has been. I can take risks here that I couldn’t take in a commercial endeavor, because people can choose to read it or not. It’s that risk, that pushing of boundaries, that I hope has helped me grow.

      At the end of the day, though, nobody much will care how well something is written if they don’t care about a character. I constantly have to remind myself of that.

      February 7, 2013
  8. I’m hoping she gets away, Andra. There’s so much more in the theatre of life that is to be experienced before the final curtain… maybe her hero is waiting in the wings?

    February 7, 2013
  9. Riveting read, Andra. Can’t wait for the next instalment…

    February 7, 2013
  10. ‘What the Hell
    I guess you’re Well’

    February 7, 2013
  11. Please, character in Andra’s head, find a happy ending for yourself. It is hell to spend your days never quite measuring up…

    February 7, 2013
  12. A lot of this stuff sounds so personal and real. I hope it’s not, and that you’re the shit hot writer that I think you are.

    February 8, 2013
    • This is neither personal nor real, Roger. It is my imagination’s take on a story I heard when I was a girl. This part was not included in that story and therefore all my imagination. 🙂

      February 8, 2013
  13. So. Good. Just finished reading Gap Creek and it had the same solid, southern feel to it. Love. love. love the tone.

    February 8, 2013
    • They tell me I need to stick with The South. 🙂 Though I fear it will be too limiting a place in the long run.

      I looked up Gap Creek and was intrigued. I will have to put it on my list.

      February 8, 2013
  14. Lance #

    The opening paragraph shows how strong of a writer you’ve become. It’s unapologetic and dangerous. I admire this piece so much.

    February 8, 2013
    • Some of these people burst out of the gate with really strong voices, and others need more coaxing.

      February 8, 2013
  15. so juicy! Lavender and Musk … ummm and the line “It’s the theater of life that’s wearing me out.” is incredible.. it’s both, sweet and sour.. it’s the kind of line, Chekhov, Tolstoy, Hemingway and Coelho would be very proud and jealous of..

    February 8, 2013
  16. The capitalization of “His” is particularly horrible in what is says about their relationship. Nice.

    February 12, 2013
  17. “The powdery arm of the Milky Way.”

    There are frequently images of yours that make me stop and sigh. This one, I just plain wish I’d written.

    February 12, 2013

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. And Soon They’ll Carry Him Away | The Accidental Cootchie Mama
  2. They Placed a Wreath Upon His Door | The Accidental Cootchie Mama
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  4. Everything In Its Wrong Place | The Accidental Cootchie Mama
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