Sue Bust

Saving Space

The universe is immeasurable, the world gargantuan, the house monstrous and the kitchen huge. But for her the space is confined. All there ever is, is in this moment, in this space that goes no further than the chairs around the kitchen table.

Look at her, sitting at the table, shrunken, shrunken away from him and so unhappy. Her expression says it all. Small eyes scared to look away from him, mouth curling down, firmly set, firmly closed, thin lips, grim. Sunken shoulders, arms down, hands on lap, motionless. Not defending herself. No defense is better, safer.

Angry. His voice is angry, accusing, attacking. All the pain and hurt he’s felt his whole life, his whole forty years, is in his words and he’s trying so hard to transfer that pain to her, to offload it onto her. He doesn’t want it any more. He wants her to take it. He’s trying so hard to make her take it. He’s leaning forward in attack position. His eyes are fiery. His voice is incessant. He must keep talking. He must keep control. He cannot let her speak. He cannot let her words in. He’s afraid of what might happen then.

What might happen then? He might have to see that he cannot pass on his pain this way; that no matter how much he causes her pain, his pain won’t go away. He might have to see that she did not cause his pain.

She sits there trying to be invisible. She wishes she could get up with a “fuck you” and flee. But she doesn’t. She sits there trembling and numb and takes it all. He keeps asking questions he doesn’t want her to answer. There is no rational response because the questions are irrational. So she tries to answer honestly, but often this makes him more angry. So she tries to say as little as possible.

Then he asks something. And in that moment she knows, she cannot be Jesus Christ to him; he is the only one who can be his saviour. Still she sits there, silent, wearing his crown of thorns.

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