‘The Gods Smile’

This is a an undeveloped short story containing strong language and domestic abuse.

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MaRa was the problem. Ma was ok, and Ra was better, but MaRa wasn’t very nice. Big H was warm like sleep The Day. Ra put it like that. Ra liked it like that. Red came up when Ma came in. Ma came in and flung. Something changed in the still of Ra’s shoulders. Big H shrunk. Wasn’t warm anymore. Ma was the doing one. Ma did. Ra never did anything. Anything Bad. But Ma said he did. So he did. Ma put down orange crinkly things and she stared and she went and she flung. Ra shivered and put me away.

 

It doesn’t have to be like this. Like Tuesday. I’m just fucking hot in here. Did you ever think about that? Why don’t you put some more layers on or something? Selfish bastard. I come home to the muggy stuff you’ve created and all I want is some fresh fucking air.

 

“The house is freezing.”

“They’re my fucking windows, so I’ll open them if I want.”

 

Cupboard bang.

 

“Yes that’s mature isn’t it, your windows. I’ll just cut out all the door handles shall I and put them under my half of the bed in shoeboxes labelled Rob.”

“Oh fuck off Rob, they’d be our windows if you lifted a fucking finger and maybe, God forbid, ventured outdoors once a month. I’ve just been round Sainsbury’s three fucking times because I didn’t have anyone to help!”

 

Oven on.

 

“Mel if you even believed that was what you wanted you’d have made fucking sure I did it because you know that’s how it works.”

“I’m sorry, what the fuck? Of course it’s what I want, I want you to stop being a lazy fucking arse and get out of my fucking space.”

 

Face on.

 

Your space?”

“My fucking space.”

 

“Don’t swear around the baby.”

 

“Whatever, Rob. Whatever.”

 

Ma is very loud. This makes Ra sad. Ma gets loud and Ra gets quiet.

 

But I won’t give up on you because you see me. You really see me. You know everything about me from the inside out and you’ve done it, learnt it, elevated it higher than I ever believed in even myself and shown me just how well it all works, how much it’s worth, how much more it has an excuse to be here. It. Me. How much more I have an excuse to be here. And I know you know this because you do it again. Over and over, you’re always here, you keep reminding me in Our Way just how much we love each other, just how much we care. And you’re crying again. Again? Whoever else in the whole big wide fucking world gets to see a grown man cry more than once? This isn’t normal. This is as good as it gets. This is fucking enlightenment. And somehow it makes me feel like more of a woman.

 

Yeah. Swish your hair. My spirit will seep down my face, like always, like Tuesday, and you’ll feel more of a woman.

I’m not comfortable with this. This is my boundary. Fair enough. So we know. Take each moment as it comes. So I get up and take it with me, into the bedroom. Bed room. Room for beds. I carry it. It lets me. I put it down. It’s all about the yellow today, Mel made sure of that. She absolutely takes the fucking cake sometimes. Yellow has to be the most clinically irritating colour of our time. Our time? All time. But I wasn’t there for all time. So our time. Yellow babygrow. Even the words are made of bile.

It looks at me and away and at me. It’s not tiny, like she’d say. It’s small, yeah, but it’s there. It’s there enough for you to see it. There enough to be. People exaggerate about babies.

I take the softest thing I can find. Soft but smooth, I won’t shove a toy in its face. Hairs in its mouth. That’s just unpleasant. Pillows are cliché but hey, so are we. I push softly. Softly and not for long. It lets me. It loves me, I think.

 

Ra is strong. Gods sit under the Cloudy Big, and smile, and do nothing, because Ra is doing Grace.

 

For a moment I think of that; whether it can hear in the same way we can, whether it can see any of what’s happening in front of it or whether it sees in black and white like a dog. But only for a moment. It’s ok. It has its bears and elephants and a nice big window to look out of.

 

I pull off and it’s ok. Quiet, but it’s ok. Quiet is graceful anyway.

I put it away with its first smile on its face.

 

Ra thinks quiet is best. Ra makes me quiet sometimes and then Ma is very quiet and then MaRa is loud, he says, when I’m too quiet to hear. I’m not supposed to hear.

 

He came back in to me after the usual seven minutes. Sat down, sad face, quiet hands. Same old foreplay.

 

All the stillness and subtlety available on some higher plane in our imagination. The romantic ideal world. It doesn’t deserve this stunted attempt at withholding everything from her but what she chooses to take that I play out in order to be a ‘good’ human being. God forbid we play the innocent and get it right. She’s whet from this look though. Something’s been done right. Chemistry is clumsy, it seems. But it’s good enough for us. We chase and hide and back and forth and come and cry. I pull off, and it’s all ok.

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