I Am Not — A Short Story

Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

A plate slips from my grasp as I hear the engine in the driveway. Soapy water hits me in the face. I wipe it away. I must find my ring. It has to be in one of my pockets. I feel the cold hard metal in my fingers. I put it on. The sound of the key in the door leaves my mouth dry. He is coming. I scrub at the plate. It is a stubborn stain. I can’t get it off. I feel his hand on my shoulder and turn to face him. He has flowers. I know what that means, what he wants. Did I hear Chloe crying out for me? No, the sound came from over the fence, not inside the house. I tell him I am sleepy. He says that he is not.

I lock myself in the room with the baby, I know he won’t lay a finger on me here. Watching over her peaceful, slumbering body brings my breathing back to normal and under control. I pull the duffel bag out from behind the oak chest of drawers. Keeping clothes packed away for a quick escape always makes me feel safe. Even if I never use them, I know that the bag is there, brimming with clothes for Chloe and myself. I take my favorite novel out, sit on the rocking chair, and flip to the page I have marked for myself. Time goes quickly and before I know it, the clock on the wall chimes eleven. He will come looking for me if I don’t hurry.

I undress quickly before he finishes in the bathroom. I can hear him singing. The noise sends chills down my spine. He always sings beforehand. I put on my oldest nightshirt and jump into bed. I run my finger down the middle of the bed, searing a mark into the sheet, creasing the fabric, willing some kind of barrier. He opens the door. Did he catch me? I shut my eyes and force my breathing to relax and will my body to stop moving altogether. I hear him undo every button. The zip of his fly goes down. I hold my breath. Every sound seems to echo. The bed moves under his weight. He whispers my name. I don’t reply. Under the covers I can feel his heat. I shiver. He is staying on his side of the bed.

I’ve just gotten myself settled. My eyes are shut. I’m relaxed and my breathing is even. Then he reaches for me. My side of the bed becomes smaller; I don’t have any room. I’m trapped. I wish he’d just go away. His arms are around me, but I know soon he’ll want more. I’ve told him I’m tired. I thought he’d accepted it. I’m breathing harder now as his hand travels under my nightshirt. I can feel him smiling through the dark. He thinks I’m breathing hard because I’m enjoying his advances. While he strokes and caresses me, I lay there unmoving. I am resigned to the fact that I can’t stop him. He thinks I want him.

I close my eyes and welcome the darkness. The moonlight is too bright through the window and I can see things. The darkness under my eyelids is much, much better. I don’t want to look at him. I am disgusted with him. He does not ask my permission to move his hand downwards. I am tired and I just want to sleep — is that so much to ask for? I just want to be left alone. He withdraws his hand and I think maybe he has worked it out. Then I feel the mattress move. He is climbing on top of me. He groans. His hands explore more of me. My hands tighten into fists clenched at my sides. I want him to get off me.

He is breathing hard now. He makes a lot of noise. He likes what he is doing. He slides his body along mine. I can feel his enjoyment. He continues to groan. I groan too. I want him to stop. He won’t. My noise urges him to continue with his actions. He tries to take my nightshirt off. I try to stop him. He is stronger. He has me now where he wants me — pinned beneath him. I try to move. He likes it. He thinks I’m getting right into it. Hovering above me, he quickly discards the rest of his clothing. I welcome the break from his weight, using the time to draw in as many breaths as I can. I can hear his breathing. It is uneven and shallow. There are no barriers now; he has removed them all. I brace myself and close my eyes tighter.

He struggles to open my legs. His forcefulness hurts me, but eventually he has positioned himself. I try to move away from him — I try to back away. He does not let me. He is ready. He forces his way into me. I fight him every inch of the way. He is bruising me. He pushes harder. He does not care. He is an invader; he is intruding on my time — my space. I open my eyes and wish the ceiling would fall; that the walls would cave in and squash me. Eventually he stops. He has finished. I am safe again. He kisses me on the cheek and rolls over. He says he is sleepy. I am not.

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Romance writer. Fiction publisher. I serialize books on various platforms. Aussie gal, mum, and wife. New to podcasting, paid newsletters, and personal essays.

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Elle Fielding

Elle Fielding

Romance writer. Fiction publisher. I serialize books on various platforms. Aussie gal, mum, and wife. New to podcasting, paid newsletters, and personal essays.

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