DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM CONDONE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. THE PIECE BELOW IS MY INTERPRETATION OF THE SONG: ‘LOVE THE WAY YOU LIE’ IN PROSE.
Inspiration: Love The Way You Lie – Eminem feat Rihanna
Sunday 4:50 AM
“Just gonna stand there and watch me burn
Well that’s all right because I like the way it hurts”
The cold tiles against her knees almost distract her from the painful stinging of her cheeks. She raises her eyes to meet his and holds his gaze as she places one palm against the cheek still warm from the impact of his palm. It hurt. But she knew he was smarter than to expect to see anything in her eyes other than hot, white fury. Stefani slowly pulls herself off the floor as he shouts, “STUPID BITCH.”
He raises his hand again but she doesn’t flinch, she doesn’t back away. She accepts another slap with a slight tilt of her head. Still she stares at him arrogantly, undisturbed by his fury.
She smiles at him, her full lips tilting upwards with the mischief of a cat.
“Do you want to know how it felt…”
“…to have him kiss me…”
The emotion that flickers across his face before he can catch it causes her to laugh out loud – the melodious notes of her laughter reverberating against the green walls taut with the tension in the room.
She smiles lazily, “He was a better f…”
The word is lost in the swoosh of air forced from her lungs as he pushes her against the wall.
She focuses on the anger that swirls inside her, a twisting river of hot venom that propels to go after him again. She no longer smiles and the taunting melody in her words are replaced with sharp, staccato-like screams, “I hate you.”
She tries to shove him away but for all her strength he doesn’t move an inch. She stops trying and screams loudly – loudly enough to pierce the veil of tension in the room while she pounds her fists into his chest. Five seconds. Ten seconds. Fifteen seconds. Then, his arms slowly come around her holding her as she convulses into a fit of tears.
Sunday 4:30 AM
“I can’t tell you what it really is, I can only tell you what it feels like
And right now it’s a steel knife in my windpipe…”
He stands at the edge of the door staring aimlessly into the room. The tequila buzz that cost him forty dollars to acquire plummeted faster than BP’s shares did after the oil spill in the Gulf. They do not notice him so he continues to listen to her whimpers, her moans rising faster, higher in pitch – each a stab to his chest, a punch to the gut – their writhing bodies the twist of the knife. He flicks on the light, clumsily – still affected by the alcohol he had been consuming all night – and reaches to the tiny, glass table in the corner of the room and grabs the vase still filled with the roses he had bought her for her birthday and throws it unto to the bed.
It hits the man square in the back, mid thrust and it is enough for him to scramble off of his wife and look around – dazed, confused.
“Get out of my house,” Ethan says. His voice is soft but devoid composure. It could have been his taut body or the steely glint in his eyes but the stranger, erection long gone flaccid, didn’t need another warning. Clothing in hand he made a dash for the door.
Ethan waited until he heard the slam of the door before he took several steps towards Stefanie. She sits on the edge of the bed, her naked body covered in a sheen on sweat. Ethan was precariously perched on the tightrope of self-control when she looked up at him, caught his eye and smiled. He snapped.
Sunday 4:40 AM
“I can’t breathe but I still fight while I can fight
As long as the wrong feels right it’s like I’m in flight…
… I snap… who’s that dude? I don’t even know his name”
He grabs Stefanie by her black curls with one hand and squeezes her arm, still slicked with sweat with his other.
“What the hell Stef?”
She doesn’t respond so he squeezes more tightly. Ethan watches her jaw clench but she still doesn’t speak. He shakes her.
“You are hurting me,” she says simply and he releases his hold on her arm. It doesn’t matter how hard he tries, his breathing will not return to normal, his anger will not fade. He imagines her on the bed with another man between her legs and he cannot fight his anger. He slaps her and a second later shame washes over him. But when she looks up at him anger slithers in his stomach. He slaps her again. And again. And again. She is stiff not attempting to fight off the blows and her lack of resistance annoys him so he slaps her harder. Her retaliation catches him off guard, fingers nails sunk into skin drug across his face.
He screams at her shoving her off the bed. He watches her crumbled on the floor and closes his eyes tightly unable to catch his breath or stop the bile from rising to his throat.
Saturday 11:30 PM
‘You ever love somebody so much you can barely breathe
When you with em you meet and neither one of you even know what hit em…
Now you’re getting f@#$in’ sick of lookin’ at em’
She flips the phone shut and slides it back unto the nightstand before he returns to the room, towel draped around his waist.
“What are you doing there?”
She manages a smile, “Reading. How long will you be out?”
He kisses her lightly, “I promised Jerome I’d take him out babe. You know I’d prefer to be with you.”
She smiles again and pretends to focus on the book.
“Who is she?” she asks slowly looking up at her husband.
“Get over it Stefanie,” he says agitation in his voice. “I am not cheating on you.”
“You mean not this time?”
The words hang in the air between then for several seconds before Ethan breaks the silence,“It was a mistake.”
She nods her head and smiles at him, “Sure it was.”
“Pot calling the kett…”
“Screw you Ethan,” she says angrily.
He sits at the edge of the bed, “I promised it would happen again Stef – just like you did. Give me the benefit of the doubt.”
Despite herself she smiles at how adept he has become at lying. If she didn’t know she would believe him because it was more convenient, because she didn’t want to leave him.
She doesn’t mention the text message but watches him walk out the door.
“I love you.”
“I love you too,” she says bitterly as he leaves.
Friday 6:30 PM
“So insane, cause when it’s goin’ good it’s goin’ great
I’m Superman with the wind in his back, she’s Lois Lane”
He pushes strands of her hair from her face and kisses her cheek.
“Wake up sleepyhead, we will miss the reservation.”
He smiles at her, she had enough reasons to be tired, they had had an eventful day. No one made him feel the way Stefanie did and as they lay there on the sand, he acknowledged that he loved her more than life.
She reaches out for him and grins, “Maybe that’s a good idea.”
“No way Stef, it is your birthday.”
“I have you,” she smiles. “Don’t need anything else…”
She kisses him and he allows himself to be enveloped by the knowledge that she meant it.
Sunday 4:55 AM
“High off her love, drunk from my hate, it’s like I’m huffin’ paint
And I love it the more I suffer, I suffocate
And right before I’m about to drown, she resuscitates me, she f@#!in’ hates me”
He hit her and disgust runs alongside his blood threatening to make him hurl at her feet. She walks towards him and he hates her. It came as naturally as breathing. He raises his hand to slap her again but he doesn’t care, she stalks towards him.
He clenches his hands tightly. He doesn’t want to hurt her, he loves her. But she taunts him, teases him – forces him to remember that man; touching, marking what was his. He doesn’t want to hurt her so he shouts at her to shut up. But surely if she listened well enough he would know that it wasn’t a command, a plea…
She is still smiling at him, “He was a better f…”
White, hot fury hits him so hard he finds it hard to breathe, to see past his vision which is now hazy. He grabs on to her and her shock registers for a split second before she rids herself of all expression. He slams her against the wall, the thud of her body satisfying.
God he hated her. She twists on the floor and begins to push herself up again. He wishes she would just stay on the damn floor so that he didn’t have to hit her again. But she walks towards him, screaming at him, her voice shrill, “I hate you.”
The words are a punch to his gut. He loves her more than anything. She screams at him, pounding her first into his chest over and over again. He sees it there in her eyes for a split second.
He knows that she is not angry for the slaps, the shoves against the wall although self-loathing threatens to suffocate him. He recalls their conversation as he left that night and realization dawns as he hugs her into him.
“I’m sorry,” he says slowly. “I’m sorry.”
She draws back from him and catches his gazes before she raises unto her toes and brushed her lips against his. He tastes the salt in her tears and whispers again, “I’m so sorry. It won’t happen again.”
She is crying in earnest now and he apologizes again and promises that it won’t happen again. But even as he says it he recognizes the lie. Yet, when Stefanie allows herself to fall plaint in his arms he thinks to himself that he loves her too much to let her go.
Sunday 5:00 AM
“Just gonna stand there and hear me cry
But that’s alright because I love the way you lie”
He is telling her that it will be okay and she knows he is lying. He said it six months before and the year before that. Yet, she cannot leave him so she reaches up and kisses him. She loves him. She walks with him to the bed and curls herself into him as he kisses her forehead. She loves him. She glances at his remorse filled eyes and reaches for his hand. He loves her too. So she accepts his promise hoping that with time the betrayal would fade as the bruises always did.