Amber – Broken

I lost it last night. The weight of it all opened up on me like quicksand. I didn’t realize how long I had been sitting in our abandoned room until Jake walked in. 

I felt stupid, ashamed and embarrassed. I thought I could clean up the mess I made before he got home. Now he sees me for the type of women I really am – broken. 

It felt strange and uncomfortable when he embraced me. I mustered a pathetic “I’m sorry” even though what I was apologizing for could not be forgiven. 

I dropped the unused perfectly stuffed bear to the floor as Jake helped me stand up. He quickly let go of me and we both stood there. We both didn’t know how we were supposed to act or feel now. I guess we never really did. 


Nora – Stained 

I’m not caving in this time. I’m sick of the blood. The stress and worry of his problem will never end. There is no one to turn to and no one to help us . . . to help me. How would I even begin to explain this to a family member or friend? 

That’s why I always go back, it’s unexplainable. Is it my place to unravel his twisted problem to the world? 

I’m done letting myself be exposed to it anymore. It’s been three days since I kicked him out. The house is empty and I eat dinner alone but it’s better than finding red stains on the carpet , the floor and the sink. 

Blood is hard to get out. You need alot of bleach to cover it up. 

Jake’s Epiphany

I wonder what I’m going to come home to today. She has nothing to do all day but to plan her dramatic attempt to get me into bed. It’s not that she isn’t beautiful or anything but I just don’t want to anymore. I know I’m depriving her but she is depriving me. We had a plan to have four kids and she would be a stay at home mom. She doesn’t have to work, I make enough money. But now our plan has changed. I know it technically isn’t her fault and that it is her damaged genes, but I can’t get passed it.

Sometimes I think about if I would have married her if I had known before. It’s selfish but true. I don’t think I would have gone through with it. Now, I’m stuck with her outrageous plans, there is no point in having sex anymore if we can’t have kids. That’s the point of everything in life is to reproduce and keep the population going, but we can’t contribute. We are just useless pawns in God’s eyes.

As I pull into the driveway, I walk to the front door and take a deep breath and prepare myself for another argument. I open the door, and I surprisingly don’t find Amber anxiously waiting for me. I put my briefcase down and take my suit jacket off. I stand there for a second and listen, I hear nothing. A smile slowly creeps to my face, maybe she went out for once! Coming home to an empty house is something most people find depressing. Not me.

I kick off my shoes and leave them by the door and start to walk to living room. All the pictures of us are broken on the floor. All the pillows have their stuffing out of them. There are clothes all over the floor.

“Amber?!” I yell as my heart races. I start to sweat and desperately begin to look for her. I sprint past the living room and into the kitchen, nothing. I run up the stairs and into the bedroom, the bed is a mess as usual but no Amber. I stop to slow my breathing and think and then I hear something. I follow the sound into the guest bedroom. I find Amber on the floor, cuddling a stuffed animal that was supposed to be our first born child’s and quietly crying.

I kneel down to her side and she looks at me confused and she says in a whisper, “I’m sorry.” I hug her and finally realize that I still love her, I just hate her damaged genes.

Josh: We Bleed

The day after she saw my blood in the sink, Nora kicked me out. I don’t blame her, it was a terrible sight to see. I didn’t argue with her and I didn’t cry. I know she will be calling me in a week, she always does. For now, I am too embarrassed to stay with my family so I check myself into a hotel. Even though one part of my life is crumbling to pieces, I still have to carry on with the rest of my life.

I still go through my usual routine every morning at the hotel. Even the one that landed me in this crappy place. The heat barely works and the mattress has lumps. I didn’t want to spend too much money on a hotel because I know I will be back at home soon.

As I stand in front of the bathroom sink, I take a hard look at myself in the dirty bathroom mirror. I’ve aged pretty bad. No wonder why Nora kicked me out, I look like complete shit. I take out my razor blade and begin to shave my beard. I shave all the hair from my neck and just trim the rest of it. As I try to get the tough spots next to my ear, I bend the razor the wrong way and it cuts me. Blood starts to slowly ooze from the cut.

I don’t grab a piece of toilet paper to try to stop the bleeding, I just watch it. I watch the blood move down my cheek, down my neck and around my chin. I wonder what people would think if I just left it there and let it stain my skin. Why do people cringe away from blood? Is it the color? Is it the way it smells? Blood doesn’t bother me.

I focus back on my task at hand and quickly wipe the blood away. I finish getting ready for work and grab my scattered clothes that are on the floor. As I do, I see a small pool of blood that must have dripped from my chin. I look at it, step over it and leave it there on the floor. We live, we breathe and we bleed.

Tiffany: Imprint

My mother quickly forgets that she asked about my dead father. The doctor’s say that the Alzheimer’s isn’t that bad. That we caught it early. It just feels worse then it is I guess. She has a nurse that comes every other day to make sure she’s taking her pills. The nurse told me once that I should move in, that it would be better for her if someone was in the house, but I can’t do that .  .  . I won’t.

“Do you want me to make us lunch Mom?”

“Why don’t we go out instead?”

“I think it’s better if we stay in for lunch. Plus I can’t stay long.”

“Oh okay. I just haven’t been out in a week. I am craving some Robs Roast,” she says with a huge grin on her face then licks her lips. I try to smile back, but instead take a loud exhaling breath.

“Robs went out of business two years ago.”

“Oh no! What happened!? That place was delicious! Robs roast beef was the best in town.”

She has a confused but concerned look on her face. Whenever I come see her and make lunch for us, we have the same conversation about Robs Roast. Sometimes I tell her the truth .  .  . that Rob’s son died in Afghanistan and he couldn’t move on from it. I mean, who could? Today, I don’t tell her the truth.

“I think they couldn’t afford to keep it going anymore. That’s what I heard at least,” I finish making us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and place them on the table for us.

“Well that’s a shame. I should write him a letter. These look delicious,” she takes a square and takes a big bite out of it. I eat a few squares and then realize how hot it is in her house.

“Why is it so hot in here?”

“It’s the winter Tiffy, I need to keep warm,” I walk over to her thermostat and see that it says 90 degrees.

“Mom! It’s 90 degrees in here!”

“So what?”

“Are you trying to sweat to death?!

“I’m not sweating at all.”

“Your killing me over here,” I walk back to the table and kiss her on the cheek, “I gotta go Mom, I have some things I want to get done today.”
“Why so soon? Why don’t you stay a little longer?”

“I’ll call you to check in later okay, I promise,” I say as we both get up and walk towards the front door. Before I leave she hugs me tight. After she got sick, her hugs became longer and tighter. I look down her back and lift my hand to let go when I see my hand has left an orange imprint on her shirt. The heat from her house was ruining my tan.

“Love you, don’t forget to call me later.”

“Love you too, I won’t,” I say this knowing if I don’t call she won’t remember I was supposed to. I leave her house as I stare at the orange sweat on my hand. I get in my car and drive back to the salon for an extra ten minute session.

Amber: Naked

As I wipe the sweat from my head with the back of my hand, my mind starts to drift. I am a terrible person. There’s nothing more to it. I lie to my husband every day and to myself. I am a useless woman.

I hear the toilet flush and quickly push these thoughts back into the dark corner of my mind. I stand up, put a sexy smile on my face and take my hair down. Steve walks out of the bathroom with his uniform on . . . he is so delicious to look at.

“Gotta go, duty calls.”

“What? Already? We were only just getting started,” I say with a sideways smirk.

“Sorry, I wish I could stay but I just got a lead on this case.”

I quickly give him my legendary sad face. He takes a step closer to me but then his cellphone buzzes in his pocket. He quickly takes it out and looks at the name on the screen. “Sorry, let me just answer this quick.”

He picks up the phone and starts walking towards the front door. His voice changed when he answered the phone. Is he sleeping with another woman?

When he reaches the front door he ends the phone call, “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah everything’s fine, I just gotta get to work. Why?”
“I don’t know, you just sounded different on the phone.”

“What do you mean?”

“Your voice changed.”
“Oh it was just my daughter, she knows not to call when I’m working but something came up.”

“You have a daughter? You never mentioned her before.”
“Why does it matter?”

“Nothing it’s fine, I’ll see you tomorrow.” He bends down kisses me on the cheek and leaves. No questions asked.

As I shut the door behind him, I slowly sink to the floor with my hands on my stomach and cry. I begin to curse and scream at the sky, the air and better yet at God. I yell at him for ruining my life, my womanhood, my marriage and my pride.

Nora: Straight Forward

As I slam the door and turn away from the bathroom, I try to hold back the tears that have been trying to break through my eyes. Maybe if I act like I don’t care he will change.

This isn’t the first time I’ve caught him. There has been several times. I haven’t told anyone about our problems . . . well his problem. It’s embarrassing. I’m sure people notice his cuticle-less hands. He won’t go to therapy, he thinks what he does is normal.

We fight a lot about it. I thought our last fight he really understood me. Apparently all he understood was how to hide his twisted sense of torture better. Today, he didn’t hide it so well. I can’t stand to look at him anymore. I will no longer stand by and slowly watch him destroy himself anymore.

I told him I want a divorce, and I do but not from him. From the blood, pain, bruises and scratches. He wasn’t like this before we got married. Or maybe he was and I was just in love and naïve.

There is no one else around to witness his actions except me. It is mentally exhausting to constantly worry, so I’m not going to do it anymore. I want my life back.

Tiffany: Exposed

After my hour session, I am feeling positive, confident and ready to take on the world. So with my impulsive sense of empowerment I decide to drive straight to my mothers house.
When I pull into the driveway, I hesitate for a moment before I leave my car. Why did I decide to come here? I quickly unbuckle my seat belt and head towards the door. When I turn the knob and enter, the overpowering smell of bleach and peaches smacks me in the face. The door slams behind me from the wind.

“Hello? Mom?” I get no response. I walk straight into the living room but I still don’t see her. I quickly turn the corner to look in the kitchen.
“Who are you and what are you doing in my house?!” She yells at me with a broom in her hand with the end pointed towards my face.
“Mom it’s me. Put the broom down.”
“I don’t know anyone named me,” she says confused. I roll my eyes at her.
“It’s Tiffy Mom,” I said with annoyance as she scrutinized my face.
“Oh, well I knew it was you. You weren’t this dark the last time I saw you.”
“It’s called tan. Not dark.”
“Oh whatever it is. How’s your father?”
I take a step back from her and try to push back the lump in my throat.
“He’s fine. Same as usual,” I lied straight to her. I always do.

Jake’s point

Every aspect of my life is stressful. Every thing is a constant argument. I’m good at arguing . . . it’s my job. But not when it comes to Amber. My statements and points mean nothing to her.

Arguing with other lawyers and spouses all day is mentally exhausting. Then I come home to lingerie and exotic smells. It’s too much. She thinks it’s a game, that one day I am going to give in to her unending desires. But I won’t.

When you first get married you’re in the so called “honeymoon phase.” Wonderfully in love and your only form of exercise is the back and forth movements of your hips. Most couples plan to have kids during this phase. We tried but we found out she couldn’t, six months after we got married.

That’s when our honeymoon phase ended. That’s when our intimacy levels changed.

Josh: Uncensored

When I wake up I feel the newly added scratch marks that my subconscious has added to my legs. I quietly roll over, look at the deep red lines and exhale deeply. I walk into my bathroom and shut the door lightly. I avoid the mirror and stand over the sink and look straight down at my hands. I begin to pick at each and every nail cuticle until each finger slowly starts to bleed. I just stare and watch as small drops of blood move down my hands.

Most people would stop once one cuticle starts to bleed. Not me. It feels good to be in control. To bleed where I want to bleed. It relieves stress. Nora tells me it’s unhealthy. I don’t see how, everyone needs to feel a little pain. Pain shouldn’t be avoided, it should be embraced.

I zone back in from my thoughts and realize I have lost track of the time. My hands are shaking and the sink is stained with my blood. I turn to grab a piece of toilet paper to remove any evidence. It’s too late. When I turn around, Nora is staring at the sink that is now splattered with red dots. I try to apologize as I wipe the blood on my hands on my pants. She looks at me with her light blue eyes now dark blue and says, “I want a divorce.”

She slams the door behind her as I stand frozen into place. I begin to bite down hard on my lip until it bleeds. I swallow it, then embrace the sound of my heartbeat now pulsing through my spilt lip.