Cold coffee is the writing on the wall
| “Carla!” he bellowed down the stairs. “Where are my shoes?”
Carla stood in the kitchen, a weary expression on her face. “I don’t know, dear. Where did you put them?”
Mark took the stairs two at a time, sounding like an elephant in a hurry. “If I knew where I put them,” he snarled, “then I’d know where they were, wouldn’t I?”
Carla cracked the eggs and said nothing.
“I mean, look at this place! It’s a pigsty! What do you do all day?” He gestured angrily. “If you spent more time on the house than you did on your stupid soap operas, I wouldn’t worry about being late for work every morning.”
“I don’t….” she started, then stopped. She rarely watched tv, but arguing never helped. Nothing did. She took a moment to wipe the counter off and load her breakfast dishes in the dishwasher.
“You don’t do ANYTHING!” Mark shouted, then turned and stormed back up the steps to finish getting ready. Carla sighed and flipped the eggs over, being careful not to break the yolks. Mark loved his eggs over easy, and the surest way to send him in a rage was to break the perfect little bubble.
“A mess!” he continued, storming down the stairs, still shoeless. “You never pick up. You never do anything. I spend all day at work, slaving away to make a buck, and you can’t be bothered to clean.”
No mention of the long days she spent on her feet waitressing. She slid the egg onto his plate and brought it to him.
“Don’t forget my orange juice,” he grumbled, finally silent as he gobbled down his eggs. She poured the juice and put it back in the fridge. “And find my shoes! I have to leave in five minutes.” He slurped greedily at his drink, then slammed the glass down, spilling juice on the table. He ignored it and dove back into his breakfast.
She searched and searched, growing more desperate with each passing minute, but the shoes were nowhere to be found.
“You did this on purpose!” he yelled as he pushed his chair back, leaving his dishes on the table. “You want me to go to the office in my socks?!”
Wordlessly she shook her head, then caught a glimpse of them by the front door. “Found them!” His dirty socks were crammed inside. She pulled them out, then ran his shoes back to him.
“I thought I told you to put my shoes in my closet at night,” he complained, slipping them on his feet. He stood up and walked over to the coffee machine. He poured his coffee into his mug and raised it to his lips.
“Blach!!” He spit the coffee out across the room. “Did you forget to turn on the machine again?!” He slung his mug across the room, and it shattered on the wall. Coffee splayed out in all directions. In two steps he crossed the room, grabbed her arms and started shaking her. “What is wrong with you? Are you stupid or something?” He shoved her back into the wall, and she fell to the floor. He kicked her once, twice, three times in the stomach as she instinctively covered her head. Finally, after what seemed like forever, he gave up and stormed out the door, slamming it shut behind him.
She sat on the floor in her waitress uniform, stunned. Finally she crawled over to the sink, still clutching her stomach, to get a rag. At least this time it hadn’t been so bad. Didn’t feel like her ribs were broken, and she wouldn’t have to come up with any excuses since there were no visible bruises. The last time she had tried to leave, she wound up in the hospital with a concussion and a broken arm. She was too scared to try again.
She turned to the wall and dropped the washrag. Coffee ran down the wall in the perfect image of a tombstone. She touched it.
The coffee was cold.
If you are being abused, please seek help.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Domestic Violence Hotline