“Pretending it was Normal” By: Vanessa Raney

The woman shouted, in a loud grating voice: Stop that! You’re annoying me with your stupid whining and crying. No, don’t roll your eyes! I’m standing right here, you idiot! Ohh, so you want to keep doing it, huh? Look you, I mean it. Okay, if you don’t stop, I’m bringing those dogs in here to rip at you. What, you going to cry again? Enough! You broke the chair, now fix it! NOW! FIX THE DAMN THING! Really, you’ve got to stop cowering like that. I mean, look at you, you’re a grown man, for fuck’s sake. Show some balls! Yeah, that’s right, just crawl into the wall!
 
He might’ve answered, if he’d spoken up, this being consistent with his general retorts: Shut up, bitch. So fucking loud all the damn time! Fuck you! Like I have a choice about that, you hag. Yeah, try to make me stop, you cunt. Up yours! Nooooooo, I don’t like dogs. No, no, no. Fuuuuck! That ugly thing? NO. FUCK YOU! Don’t mess with me, bitch, I got a mean right hook. No shit. Oh, you want to see them, huh? I know I left the knife here somewhere.
 
Conversations, though whispered, in the neighborhood, about the man who’d stabbed his wife. (Who could blame him, they asked, when all she did was screech all damn day?) Supposedly she’d went at him, gouging at his face and neck. (That damn bastard had what was coming to him.) According to the news the police weren’t buying their son’s story, not with so much blood on him. (Did you see?) For months they’d heard it, the shouting and the fighting; but they’d closed their ears to it, pretending it was normal. (Poor boy, they said, having to put up with that.)


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