When A Man Hates A Woman

Living with the monster she loves.

He is the pain in her neck from last night’s slap, and the one that has been in her heart for what seems like a lifetime.

He is the difference between healthy respect and unholy fear, a temperamental god who demands perpetual submission, who may choose not to accept oblations or respond to them with thunder and lightning.

He is deaf ears, eyes that only see flaws, lips quick to judge and slow to appreciate, hands that deliver blows, feet that trample and a mind that cannot fathom gratitude or mercy.

He is a lesson in bad choices, or seemingly good ones that turn bad.

He is a constant reminder of her father's ill-treatment of her mother.

“All men are bad, baby, some just mask their badness or dilute it with the fear of God.”

He is insecurity, a reason to hide everything: happiness, sorrow and all the things she needs that he calls “wastage.”

He is late nights spent waiting, drinking wine but not tasting it. Or water that never quenches her thirst. Or just saliva.

He is the smell of another woman in her bed, another woman who knows nothing of her struggles to keep what promised to be effortlessly hers. Or knows everything but doesn’t care, satisfied with plucking fruits from a tree she did not plant.

He is the desperation for a ‘friend’, any kind, anyone who will listen, even the ones who will mock her.

He is shame, heartache and a reason not to have sons.

“I want to be like Daddy when I grow up.”

God forbid.

He is bitterness, the bile bubbling in her throat that her liver knows nothing of.

He is vigils with aching strangers and the 'prophets' they all came to see; prayers at midnight and more at the crack of dawn, a stream of agony punctuated by sobs. Or just tears, the silent kind. Those are prayers too.

“Leave him to God, my dear, leave him to God.”

Or leave him, then leave him to God.

Love, the kind that makes us wrap our arms around things that will destroy us, cannot be love. Call it another name, just not love, because love will not be the death of us.