Breathe

Bruised and bloodied, I had awoken from a deep slumber, I had never wished to take. The dried blood that lies under my swollen lip crumbles under my fingers as I swipe my hand across my face to confirm the damage. The damage I already knew was there. A cut above my eyebrow stings at the presence of my finger when it enters its domain. A butterfly bandage should hold that until it heals. As I sit up and place both of my feet down on the floor, I grasp my shirt which has managed to dangle precariously off the bedside lamp. Slowly bringing it over my body, I wince from the pain that has taken my breath away.

Breathe.

Inhale. Exhale.

Breathe.

Inhale. Exhale.

Counting and feeling my ribs through the shirt. If you can even call it that. It now resembles a rag for cleaning, stretched and torn, beyond recognition. I make sure none of my ribs have suffered from any fractures. A process I have seen doctors complete more times than I would like to admit. I know with all sincerity now that yes, they are bruised an in an unpleasant state, but I am lucky none are broken. While I may be in pain, last night will not result in a visit to the emergency room. There will be no need to concoct a story that will permit me from returning to my home and complete my duties as his wife. Cooking, cleaning and catering.

I rise to my feet with as much tenderness as I can. Knowing my body wants to collide with the mess of a mattress in which I was just strewn across. I have to see the damage. The damage that became me. The wrath that was released upon me from the moment his piercing eyes turned into a rolling storm. I should have been prepared. I knew he was going out. I knew he wanted his good luck shirt cleaned and ironed. He had a big bet on the game and he was about to go watch it with a few of his buddies from work. I knew I needed to have it done by the time he stepped out of the shower. I failed. The mistake was mine.