Her back was turned to him. His even breathing, slow and relaxed, confirmed he had already passed out.
She slowly rose from the bed, wrapped her robe around her body, gathered her clothes off the floor, and crept out of the room. She peeked into the partially open door of the bedroom next to hers. Her daughter slept soundly, snuggled in her blanket with her favorite stuffed animal clutched in her arms.
She continued to the stairs, paused when she heard him move, then, one step at a time, made her way down the stairs to the bathroom.
She turned the water on full blast, waiting for the steam to fill the room. She dropped her robe and purposely avoided gazing into the mirror. Stepping into the shower, she inhaled sharply as the hot water sprayed her skin.
She scrubbed every inch of her body with urgency. When the soap washed away in the scalding water, she lathered again and started over. She washed and conditioned her hair. She shaved her legs, her armpits, her vagina. She washed again. And again. Until the water turned icy.
Then she sat in the tub, and finally let her tears fall.
She could never wash away the shame. Soap could not remove the way she felt. Used. Violated. Dirty.
She sat in the icy shower, replaying the entire encounter.
She’d gone to bed early, hoping to be asleep by the time he was done watching television. Laying on her back, she stared at the ceiling, trying to will herself into dreamland. Instead, she found herself actively listening for any sign that he was headed up to bed. The minutes passed slowly.
His footsteps were heavy as he hauled himself up the stairs.
The door swung open and the hall light illuminated the room. He stared at her. “Take your clothes off, shit. Why don’t you sleep naked anymore?”
“I don’t need to,” she answered softly.
“You’re my wife,” he said, “you have to.”
“I’m really tired.” She sat up.
“I’m really tired,” he mimicked. “I have a headache. I don’t feel well. I’m mad. I’m a fatass and don’t want you to laugh at me.”
“Seriously,” she pulled the blanket up a little tighter against her chest, “not tonight.”
“You think you are the one I want to be fucking,” he asked, as he took off his pants. “This doesn’t even respond to you.” He shook his penis at her. “I have to think about someone else. Someone skinnier. Prettier.” He laughed. “I wouldn’t even fucking touch you if I had another option.”
“Take. Your. Clothes. Off.” He shut the door, enveloping them in darkness as he climbed into the bed. “My last wife tried to not have sex with me. I waited until she fell asleep and stuck my dick right in her ass.”
She wondered if this was how it was between every couple. One of them demanding sex from the other. It wasn’t like in the books she read or the movies she’d seen. There wasn’t passion. No tenderness. No mutual desire that had them ripping each others’ clothes off. She removed her clothes and slid back under the blankets, careful to hide herself, even in the dark.
She felt him moving towards her. Her anxiety grew and she felt like she would vomit.
The groping started. Rough grabs at her breasts that left bruises and wasted her daughter’s milk. She pulled away.
“I don’t like that,” she whispered.
“Fuck you,” he growled, and grabbed her tit again, squeezing hard. “It doesn’t matter what you like – I don’t give a shit. It isn’t about you. I do what I like or I don’t get hard. If that happens, it’s your fault. Then you can deal with the asshole I’ll be. Cool?”
She laid still beneath him as he manipulated her body, squeezing and prodding in whatever ways turned him on. He tried to kiss her, hard and commanding, but she refused and turned her head.
“I’m going to fuck you so good,” he muttered as he shoved his semi-hard penis into her.
Eyes closed, she tried to block him out. Her tears slid silently down her cheeks.
It took forever for him to finish. “I love you,” he muttered as he rolled away from her and covered himself with the comforter.
She dried her skin gently. It was still red and stinging from the scrubbing and hot water. Her tears still came, trickling down her cheeks in a silent march. Her thighs ached and her nipples still bled slightly from his teeth.
She dressed in a pair of sweats and a long sleeve t-shirt and twisted her hair into a messy knot on the top of her head. Slowly, she climbed the stairs, checked on her daughter again, and slunk back into the bedroom. She crawled into the bed, as close to the edge as she could get without falling off, and laid on her side, facing the wall.
Her tears fell silently into the pillow. Until at last, sleep carried her away and she hurt no more.