He burst into the bedroom, waking me from my drunken slumber. In an angry whisper, he accused me of sending "sexy" pictures to people because on my computer, the "recent" folders included the file where I saved the screenshots of the recovered photos he deleted in a previous fit of rage. "All those sexy photos". I had previously explained to him that the photos weren't intended to be sexual at all; they were only reference photos for facial expressions. He kept threatening me and calling me a slut.
I tried to get out of bed and out into the dining room but he wouldn't let me leave. The dread started coursing through me and in a fit of panic, I kicked him in the chest in an attempt to get him away from me. He lunged at me and I screamed, scrambling frantically to hit him in the head. He forced me to my knees, pressing my head into the bed. I screamed again, terrified I would be beaten to death.
He let go and left the room quickly. I followed him so I could turn my laptop off because I'd be damned if I let him use my things after that. I was in tears, his mother was woken by my screams and ran out of her room. He started acting nonplussed, pretending that he had no idea why I was so upset. He lied straight to her face and told her that I had screamed and burst out of the room and attacked him.
An overwhelming sorrow filled me. How could I possibly make her believe that he was so abusive? How could she believe me after this?
I turned off my computer and went back to bed in tears. He came in and threatened me again. How dare I attempt to slander him in front of his mother? When he left, I started to doubt myself. Had it all really been a dream? It was the most vivid dream I had ever experienced; not even my worst nightmares had felt so real. I cried myself to sleep that night, clutching my childhood toy to my heart in an attempt to feel something other than grief.
The next morning I woke up feeling sick. I rolled over and found that he had come to bed at some point during the night. I immediately recoiled from his sleeping form and got up. As I was gathering my things together to go out to the dining room, he stirred and told me in an intimidating manner, "You had better apologise to them for waking them up last night, and say it was a drunken nightmare."
"But it wasn't a nightmare."
"We both know that, but now it will become our business again. Remember, YOU were the one who attacked me first. You could have easily broken my ribs."
"Since we're talking about things that could have easily been broken, you could have easily broken my neck BOTH TIMES you strangled me."
"Oh, of course, here we go," he said in a resigned tone. Of course, he didn't want to talk about how close he came to being a murderer on two separate occasions. This situation was all my fault. I was the one who instigated it. I was the one who had a nightmare and attacked him for no good reason.
I apologised to his parents. I did feel guilty that I woke them up. I couldn't believe that he would prefer my reputation to become that of a crazy, drunken pscyhopath, rather than his.
I hated him so much at this point, although he could never accept that. He always refused to believe that I had no love left for him; not after all the shit he had put me through. Not after days, weeks, months of pretending everything was okay. Not after the hundreds of threats and violent charges he had made towards me.
And yet, somehow I was a coward for being scared for my life. He had made me afraid of sudden movements, flinching any time he came within arm's reach of me. A coward, because I was terrified that talking to him about his abusive behaviour would get me beaten to death. A coward, for preferring not to be alone with him.
Every dawn had brought new feelings of hopelessness, every dusk thoughts of my own death. Every day I wanted to be in Melbourne, sitting at the fishing pier in Williamstown, drinking Jack straight from the bottle and crying into the clear, cold, ocean. Only in the ocean could my tears feel small.