Slowly and over years, he broke her down. Where there had been joy and affection and spontaneity, her emotions shrank until now she could not cry. Or sing.
His arms held her, his mouth took her, and with his body he brought her to the pinnacle of love. What she had never known, she knew with him. And she gave in return, every moment of their pleasure a stream of heart-joy flowing between them. There were flowers, jewels, children, brilliant afternoons bathed in sunlight.
But the mornings, only hours after being consumed in their most intimate moments, the mornings found him as another man. This man did not bring flowers or smile. He woke raging. No hugs, no warm exchange of touch or conversation. Any sound, any dish out of place, and his fury exploded in shouts, slams, curses.
The excuses she made for him could fill a book. It was a dry drunk, his need for alcohol stronger than his ability to live without it. Therapy added more excuses, that he’d repressed a traumatic childhood, that he had a blood sugar problem, that he couldn’t handle the vulnerability that came with strong emotion.
He never made excuses for himself. To him, every angry moment had legitimate reason. Any attempt to force realization or ownership produced more anger.
It took on its own cycle. The buildup with friendly conversation, daily routines, desire slowly building to consummation. The eruption—door ripped off hinges, dog kicked, screaming as veins protruded in his neck. The alienation–her withdrawal, sheltering in herself, with her children, with a routine that slowly became more of the norm that any courtship, than any love.
“One of these days,” she told him, “it will all be gone.”
And after twenty years of trying, believing, hoping, when it was all gone, she asked him to leave. And he left.
And when another twenty years had passed, she still loved him. Still didn’t understand the anger, still couldn’t sing.