Author: Melancholic Harmony PM
Violence in love. It's not abusive, their relationship. It's something else. Something above it.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - Words: 1,947 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 01-21-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3094186
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The plastic stopwatch dangled from a black cord on a thumbtack on the basement wall. I plucked it off and clutched it in my palm and hit the 'on' switch. I waited for the digital zeros to appear on the screen and asked, " How long?"
He tossed aside his shoes and jacket into the corner. It left him in a tee-shirt and jeans. He eased my sweater off my shoulders, leaving me in a similar state of dress, and pressed his lips to the crux of my neck. "Two minutes. I'm tired tonight."
Annoyed, I scoffed, "You're always tired. Four." I set the timer for three.
"Thanks, I couldn't do more," he said, appreciatively. I had given up while negotiating. I'm a softie to him, even when I was furious. I was keeping those feelings sealed in a bottle of restraint until the three minutes would begin.
He surrounded me and hugged me from behind. He did as little as possible from moving me from my stillness with the stopwatch. I wasn't in the mood for him to cling to me, but I let him anyway. The way his body touched mine was needy, yet I felt a sort of out-of-place-ness. It was like laying in a bare bed, without sheets or pillows, with daylight pouring over me.
I had to get this out of my system. "Are you ready?"
"Yeah," he responded as he let go. I noticed the absence of his breath in my ear. I hadn't realized it's presence until it was gone. "Are you?" He didn't turn away once and backed up to the opposite wall.
My bare feet stuck to the gray, padded mats coating the floors and I alternated my weight to free them. I twisted around and we mimicked each other. I couldn't tell if he was leading me or if it was the other way around. We pressed our fingers against the prickled surface of the walls. We were poised in the longest lunges we could get away with while keeping out connection with our designated side.
I finally answered his question. "Yes." I tapped the start button and threw it like a grenade to nowhere important. In the back of my mind, I heard it hit something. It would give three signals before the clock would start its countdown, the pitch rising each time.
I dug my toes into the mat.
I locked my eyes with his and I knew our pulses were synced.
I found a violent, wicked expression contorted on my face.
We bolted, like two sound waves racing and colliding. I approached lower and imbedded my shoulder in his chest on impact.
It stole the wind inside him, but not enough for him to miss the chance to jab my in the stomach. The sensation flared and radiated throughout my abdomen. Instead of debilitating me, it fueled my will to work through the pain.
In a messy frenzy, we swung and hoped that a few land. It was wild, the fighting we did. It lacked the elegance and refinement that came with repetitive practice of the same set of motions. Every contact was an act of opportunity and there was no technique. It wasn't a dance or one of those pretty metaphors that people code it for. It was gritty; a blur of body and blood; bruises and brutality. Simple and primal urges coursing through us that drove us into the animals inside our tempers. No one would win or lose in this basement.
I was having the luck, currently, inside the haphazard chaos. I had managed to avenge the jab he had given me with my own when I had the upper hand.
He absorbed them and couldn't fight back. The barrage immobilized him and he refused to lose his ground. I pounded on him, but he reversed the situation. He kicked me high on my thigh. So high that he pressed on the sensitive nerves laying expose on my pelvic bone, under a thin sheet of skin. I was unbalanced and I, unceremoniously, fell.
He took advantage and straddled my waist. I used my hands to block his attacks, at first, but he anchored them over my head. His knuckles drilled into me and forced my chest to rise and fall convulsively. My lips parted greedily to gasp for the air I was losing. I flailed against his hail of violence and his grip weakened. It was enough to flip myself onto my sore stomach. It wasn't much, but it was enough to give him somewhere else to beat.
I utilized a burst of energy to flick upward and tumble him off me. Not willing to give up his authority, he grabbed me by my collar and thrusted me into the wall, making me stand. My face smeared with red as it was scraped on the sharp, though usually harmless, panel. He wasn't dragging my cheek across it, but the pressure he exerted and the quivering of his adrenaline marked me deeply.
It was not long until I, again, was the aggressor and he was the receiver. It alternated between us. Our pain was equal. The pain we delt was equal. We felt the same, although at opposite times.
I became aware of the sounds we made. Native noises. Groans straight from ancient ancestors. I couldn't comprehend what he was feeling except for through his cries. No words. Neither of us spoke. We never did. It was the gradual descent into agony coming out of his throat. I was making the same ones. They were apologies for what we had done and what we were doing. The pain was retribution for it all.
It ended eventually.
It didn't matter what was happening right then because the sharp tone made us forget. We let the device ring and ring. Right then, I craved him. Nothing else and I thought of nothing else. I needed his touch to know that he was okay. I needed to know I was okay.
I laid down and he did, too. I wrapped myself around him and ignored the racing ache crushing me. "Love," I choked out, unable to enunciate all three in the phrase.
He knew what I meant. "Love," he reassured me, straining and wincing when I nuzzled into him. He stroked my bleeding cheek and offered sweetly, "Go?"
I gave him a peck and replied, "Yes."
Gradually, one limb at a time with all the coordination we could muster, we rose.
We left the basement with blood and the stopwatch that was still announcing the end of the three minutes. The door was shut to let the alarm scream until its battery died.
We slung our arms over each other for support, like wounded comrades. We refused to leave the single unit we had created. I vaguely thought of Greek Mythology I learned long ago. Human's were born with two heads, four arms, two legs, and two hearts. I'm sure they looked a lot like us right then, tangled on each other to the point that it was difficult to determine who was who exactly.
We stumbled into the kitchen, drunk on affection and hurt. Down to the floor again, he opened a cabinet and gathered supplies. He was closer to it. The first to come was a three-quarters full bottle of clear, high alcohol-concentration liquor. I scooted over to sit in front of him and face him while we held hands. He unscrewed the top and took a hefty swig, then offered the bottle to my lips. It sizzled like burning embers slithering down my throat, taking their sweet time along the way. My eyes watered, but I knew it would take the edge off.
He tipped his head back and poured more into his mouth, but didn't swallow. He spread out my shivering fingers and bleeding knuckles, distributing a thin layer of alcohol onto the wound by pressing the liquid against the back of his teeth. I hissed as both hands were sanitized.
We removed our clothes, all except our undergarments. They were too torn and stained to be salvaged. My shirt had a new slit up the side and the necklines on our shirt were stretched. Once off, it was uncertain which side was the collar and which one was the bottom hem.
Seeing his body was... hard. When our time in the basement ended, there was a disconnect to the actions there. In my head, I wasn't the one who did it to him. It was some monster. The bruises were absolutely horrifying. His torso colored solid with shades of blue and purple.
I took a lengthy drink to subdue to tears threatening to fall. I didn't put down the bottle immediately, though. I interrupted for a second to dull his senses with a taste, but it was brief.
I poured the alcohol directly on his open injuries, kissing them after and licking the excess. He massaged the back of my head and urged me to finish my treatment. It wasn't to make me go faster. It was to assure me that I could continue.
Done with that, we moved on to the examination part. I grabbed at his arm and made exploratory pokes up and down his arm. "Does it hurt?"
He smothered his whines. "No." By no, he meant it relatively. I pushed again on the other arm and this time I didn't have to ask. "No." Then the ribs, shoulder, back, and legs, all with 'no's'. It seemed as though he wouldn't need to go to the doctor's office.
He did the same, but I yelped, "Yes." My chest, right below one of my breasts, was in severe, shooting pain. It was a fracture or a break, nothing less.
He gingerly rubbed it with the pads of his finger to see if he could feel it. "Sorry. So sorry." He brought his hand up to my face. "So sorry. For this." He gestured down. "And that."
"It's fine." He didn't have to apologize for anything. We both had to opportunity to be hurt in the same way and it was pure accident.
"No. Your face... I broke the rule."
I had forgotten about that. "I'll come up with something."
"No." It was nice of him to help me, but that one would obviously be a lie. We couldn't have anyone figuring this out. I needed a valid excuse for why I was bandaged.
He got up, hesitantly, to get the first aid kit. "Wall? Walk into a wall?"
I followed him after refusing to let go of him "Maybe."
"Trip and fall?"
I nodded. "Trip and fall." I had to feel the words and practice them for myself. "Yes."
We sat back down and didn't say anything else after that. Not until the next morning when we greeted with good morning and I love you and I love you too. We wrapped each other up with gauze and band aids. We were like rag dolls that were barely held together with red yarn.
We went to bed. He was conscious of my rib while we laid together. He slept on the opposite side and held me softly. We were tired and needed the night to heal.
It took me longer to find the same peace in sleep as he had. I used it to look at him as I had hundreds of times before. Society probably had its ideas about him and I. Opinionated ones about our lifestyle with fancy labels and predefined characteristics. Perhaps they are right. Perhaps they are wrong. Honestly, who cares? We are happy. Together. Tattered and passionate.