Thursday, September 2, 2010


Such a cheerful gathering of the fortunate.  All dripping with shiny things. All new and clean, hilarity ensues. Their lives are the lives of others, so remote so distant that she has nothing at all in common with them any more.  Look at their perfectly styled hair, French manicures and couture. They have happy husbands who share 18 holes on Saturdays and a few beers on Fridays. Their bodies stroked by loving hands and lips kissed by their happy children. Her face is long past being kissed with anything other than a fist.
She pulls up her forearm to shield her eyes, a vain attempt to deflect the blow

So incessant is their conversation that she retreats into silence watching them animate. There are conversations within conversations and nobody seems to be listening to each other, they’re all talking ‘at’ each other. She is totally ignored.  It’s easier to remain hushed, quiet, silent. She doesn’t want to talk. She doesn’t need their prying eyes or sympathetic sighs, not here, not now. Not ever really. It’s her business, her silence, her choice and not for them to judge.

Too preoccupied with wiping noses, and dishing up the quiche. Temporarily distracted by demanding toddlers and passing the salad. The noise and chaos are palpable and reaches that mad maternal crescendo.  Silence is preferable. She has nothing nice to say so chooses to say nothing at all. She feels nauseous as they raise their voices above the melee and speak of shallow things and pretty shoes.
She kneels and clasps her hands behind her head before she feels his boot

A lunch on a warm Wednesday seemed like a good idea. She was like these women once, secure, happy, attractive. She was confident and professional, loved and nurtured. She too could chatter and chirrup endlessly about things that really didn’t matter but now her thoughts are focused on the more serious side of life, whether she should stay or go -  and so she remains silent. She won't come for lunch again. 

Her hands now tight around her ears to block his bully bellow

He's becoming careless, not so particular about his mark.  He rarely used to fly off the handle. Abuse is now his choice, his power, and fear and subjugation her weakness. She squirms nervously, smooths her hair and raises her collar to obscure his purple kiss upon her neck.

He rages from behind and pulls her down by the hair

His carelessness is painful. Back-handing without warning, pushing her from behind. His criticism incessant, he slugs her hard against the mirrored wardrobe door until it comes crashing off it's tracks and shatters as wantonly as his flailing fists. She sees her bloodied form in a hundred sharpened shards and knows that it will soon be over. He's beaten her within an inch, this time he'll go all the way and she'll take it lying down.
She curls into a foetal position and feels his buckle slam her back

Now he feels such self-directed guilt. He's apologetic and he weeps. He acts contrite and reassures.  No point any more. She lies bleeding on the floor wearing her bruises as macabre badges of courage. Hope has been abandoned but her pain is felt no more. She's just cold, still, silent, lying broken.

Entry for Tenth Daughter of Memory, "Silence Lies Broken"


  1. nice. i caught the undertones of what was going on pretty quickly...the little vignetes between were a bit hard to follow, but you pulled this off nicely...perhaps someone larer than he will find him and let him feel what he dishes out...

  2. This is a nice surprise. A very visual piece. The jump from "her" to "him" is a little jarring, but overall it works well.

  3. i had to go back for a reread, but all in all this works well. terrible that this sort of thing goes on all the time--you capture her pain well.

  4. Ah, I love the way you captured her among other women. Vivid and true of how it works among females. Nicely done! Perfect final lines.

  5. Interesting! I had to read it twice, but the pieces came together at the end. Sadly, a story more common than we dare to think.

  6. Very vivid, and unfortunately very real. Your descriptions of those women was spot-on, you made me see them. And you made me share her pain with that great ending. Nice write.

  7. Excellent. You portray the isolation that abused women feel so well. All in all a great story.

  8. I like the style and employ it often, when I'm writing often, which isn't often. I got it from the start. I like pictures of situation painted and splintered with words.

  9. i like how the cords of the two stories are loose, then come together tightly at the the knot in my stomach from reading it.

  10. Not bad - good even.

    The structure is good, it progresses well. The interleavinbg is inspired. Most effective.
    What might be worthwhile, is to edit each of the stanzas. They could have more tension, be punchier. Not as verbose and somehow loose.

    I like this.

  11. As I read the entries for the current theme, this is the third that has made me angry for the protagonist, victims all. I think this is testimony to your writing and that of the others, but I'm starting to wonder what my anger says about me.

    I'm not going to jump on the critique bandwagon rolling through here other than to say I really liked the descriptions of the other women. I'd recognize them anywhere.

  12. Why isn't there ever a piece about a woman beating up a guy? There are female abusers too...

  13. i liked it but i got some remarks. I felt like I wasn't in the character, and also, the story really needed more events to make it more enjoyable for the reader. i guess your other one is way better

  14. @Katelyn: Yes! (fist pumping in the air)

    I am yearning not for stories about women who are abusers. but about women who are strong (thank you, Titanium) and who say, "no more!" And if they need to say it with a gun, well, too bad for you, bucko.

  15. "She won't come for lunch again...macabre badges of courage." I understand this statements. This piece was too clear to me!