A Season in Hell VII

by Elizabeth Kirschner

Twenty-four hours. It takes twenty-four hours for my diamond mind to reset itself. Or so says Doctor Susan and Doctor Susan knows best. I feel like some strange nocturnal animal being shocked by the light stalking through the windows. There’s water out there. There’s sky out there and a very bald sun. I’m trying to ponder my madness. Why now? Why is my husband hurting me in these very bad scenes when he never, ever laid a finger on me? He who barely touched me at all, even affectionately. He’s many things, many complicated things, but violent? Absolutely not. He rarely even yelled at me even though I yelled at him. Will the madness ever stop? Its orbit orbits me to outer space and in most of them my husband is doing me harm. I have been experiencing—is that the word?—no, done in by the madness for six years and before that, four years of completely debilitating seizures. Hence a decade lost to illness. No down time, no vacation time, but a decade and it surely isn’t over yet.

Next day and he’s back. Dr. Robert Wolff is back. I’m standing in my little kitchen with the party lights on, the old, peeling wallpaper and two types of cracked linoleum. I’m holding a mug of water and zap he’s back, fast and furiously, very furiously. He’s got a black body bag. Where did he buy the body bag? It must be a crime to buy a body bag, but he’s got one and he is zipping me up inside it. The zipper nearly sings or is he whistling while he works at getting me inside the black body sack? The whole world, the universe, heaven, hell is going black. I’m flailing my limbs to get out of that sack. Black sack for a very bad girl. Good girls don’t run-away from home and I ran away from home. It was a getaway and God knows I needed a getaway, but now Robert is back and I’m reeling in my body bag sack. Limbs creaking like trees. Hair like an octopus’s legs. I try to stuff it in my mouth to stop the screaming. There’s not any air in here, screaming uses too much air and I am suffocating to death, slowly suffocating. I’m trying to punch my husband, but he’s dancing around me like a boxer and I can’t even land one.
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