She lay desperately awake most nights, alone while he was in the other room. The siren call of the computer was too much for him to resist.
This night was even worse. This night she was not just lonely, but afraid. Not just resentful, but infuriated. More with herself than with him.
They had fought after dinner, of course. It was more unusual for things to stay calm than for there to be a fight, those days. But this fight had been worse.
She had lain alone so many nights. He’d often refuse to go to bed until she was getting up for work. She needed his love desperately, and had no idea how to get it. She had tried all the ways she knew, and didn’t know how to ask him what he needed. And when she tried to ask, he didn't know how to tell her.
The fight had been over buying the house. He had started gesticulating wildly, and she had made an obnoxious comment about him looking like William Shatner. She had been angry, but had also been trying to switch the mood before things got too dark again. It was a bad idea.
He hurled the cordless phone at the wall and stomped out. It left a big gouge.
She sat alone staring at the hole, afraid. Rapidly she ran through options in her head. Was there anywhere else she could go? Anything she could do on her own?
But mostly she stared at the hole in the wall. Tried to distract herself by going on instant messenger to talk to a friend. The friend tried to help, but there was a hole in the wall.
She went to bed so she wouldn’t have to look at the hole.
He finally came home, late, and tried to cuddle her and make things up to her. The touch and hugs she had longed for, only now, to her horror, her skin crawled at the very thought of his touch. She cried.
He got up and went to the computer.
She lay weeping in the night as, for the first time in her entire life, steel entered her soul.
She would not live afraid.
There was a hole in the wall, but she would not live with one in her heart; not with one through which her soul would leak out little by little until it died.
It was time to go.