Monday 20 June 2022

'The End' by Allison Renner

From a room away, I hear him try to place the glass on the counter silently. I hear the crack of the ice tray, the suck of the fridge as he pries it open. Like I won’t know what he was doing. Having a newborn had heightened my senses while it seemed to dull his. I feel alert about everything going on in the house at all times.

I close Elijah’s door behind me and tiptoe towards the kitchen, pausing in the hallway. My doubts catch up to me as I realize I’m doing something similar. Staying quiet, sneaking around in deference to the sleeping baby. Maybe that’s all he’s doing and I’m overreacting.

The floor creaks and James turns to face me, deftly positioning his body to hide the glass and the bottle of rum. My anger floods back. “You’re out!” I whisper as loud as I can.

“You’re crazy!” he exclaims in his overly-loud, already-drunk voice. “This is coming out of nowhere!”

I point at the almost-empty bottle. “What about when I confronted you about the last bottle? Or the one before that? What about our breakup last year? Get out!”

“But we have a family now, baby!” He steps towards me with his arms wide. He stumbles and falls onto me. I can’t breathe and I think it’s due to the fall before I realize his hands are around my neck. I gasp and shove at him. I think of Elijah and strength surges through me. I knee James and roll away, run down the hall, lock myself in my son’s room.

“It was an accident,” he pleads, right outside the door. “I’m drunk, I’m not thinking, “I’m sorry!”

“I’m calling the police,” I whisper.

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