Having a sore throat helped. She could point at it and grimace – relieved to have an alibi. How long had they been existing like this? The rooms were reeking of misery. Bed linen unchanged for weeks, used plates on the coffee table, and tension in the air. She was exhausted. She told her mother more than once, “Mom, I cannot change him. I have to live with it or leave.”
That night, when he started listing out every negative trait that his wife possessed, she stared at her hands, refusing to react. Since childhood, she had raised her voice only for animal rights. If she had a problem with somebody in her life, she’d say a polite goodbye and walk away. Yelling and hitting back with the best responses drained her. But tonight, he crossed the line. Grabbing her scared cat from his grip, she heard herself speak.
“Don’t you dare!”
Her husband was shocked. His ears caught the decibels.
She did not feel so tired anymore. It was time to start afresh with her feline child.