Always Does

You don’t know what you’re saying, he told her. Just making up stories. Lies, the refrigerator moaned. Ever think you were crazy? Something mentally wrong with you? he asked, she stared at him. Coming up with these tall tales. Accusing. Saying I did this, and I did that. You’re not right, he told her. You’re not right.

The young woman sat in the corner rocking back and forth on the linoleum floor. She kept looking down. Scared to raise her head. The woman knew how violent he could get when he came home drunk. Smelling of whiskey and perfume. He walked over to her and crouched down. The young man lifted her sharp chin with his hand.

You got no evidence, he said. All you got is a bunch of he said, she said gobboly gook. You and the girls been talking again, he lit a cigarette. Bored with your own lives, you gotta go out and ruin somebody else’s. Y’all think we’re all cheaters. Every last one of us. Men can’t keep it in their pants, he blew smoke in her sunburned face. How do I know you don’t cheat? You’re no church goer now are you. How long you been with me? How long, she held up five fingers with her right hand. Five years, he smiled. And that whole time you think I been cheating on you, he laughed. Sitting on the floor like some patient in a psych ward. That’s where I ought to take you, he crushed out his Kool. Come on now. I’m taking you to the hospital, she shook her head violently. Come on now, he bent down to lift her. Be still, he said. She kept bending her body every which way she could. He grabbed her wrists and she slipped to the floor. Banged her head on the counter. The woman laid there crying, kicking, screaming.

Shhhh, he said. Quiet down, her yelling became silence. Just stay there. He walked away from her. Went to the front door of the trailer and grabbed the keys on the hook next to it. See you around.

She heard the pickup start. Heard him drive off. The young woman remained on the floor. She sat up with her back against cabinets. Placed her head between her knees and said, He’ll come back. Always does.

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