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The tension is so thick, it’s like choking on a cloud of smoke. The fire is blazing somewhere near, out of my view; I can feel it’s soot tendrils swirling around my throat.

My eyes are stinging and my head hurts.

Sitting in my car, I am watching raindrops hit my windshield, the blobs slithering downwards, collecting other raindrops as they go. In the distance lies the castle-themed playground that I had discovered just a short while ago. I wish I had discovered this place sooner, it is peaceful and secluded. I need peaceful and secluded right now.

He had gotten upset today. I had come home to discover the house spotless with all the Christmas decorations taken down and put away. Walking into the living room, I found him sitting on the couch, waiting for me, a movie already on the menu screen ready to be watched. He got up and began pacing around, telling me everything he had done. I watched as he bounced from one spot to the next before finally bounding into the kitchen remembering he was baking cookies. Standing there with my purse dangling from my arm and with my boots still on, I watched him closely. It was awful for me to think what I was thinking, but I couldn’t help the thought that was bouncing around my skull; was he happy or was he high?

He came back into the living room and we sat down to watch the movie he had put in. He was talking to me in breathless gasps, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying. My stomach was turning and twisting into a mass of tangled knots. I couldn’t shake off the feeling that something bad was going on.

Hadn’t he just been ecstatically happy five seconds ago?!

I tried to distract myself and pulled out my phone to check my newsfeed. He continued in his hyper ramblings, walking to and from different rooms in the house, picking up random odds and ends. Playfully, he began to insult me until his playful remarks sounded as if they were real: “lazy b*tch”, “no good whore”, and “ungrateful a** b*tch” to name a few. My face, by now, was most certainly showing my thoughts and feelings on his remarks.

I did not have the energy to deal with it, not today. So I continued to stare down at the images on my phone, pretending to be highly fascinated with the picture of a cat sitting in a tea cup.

He sits back down and is talking to me now about some new machine at work, using large hand gestures. In his excitement, he threw his hands out to the side; his hand smacked into the back of my phone, knocking it onto the ground and I chuckled at his clumsiness. He jumped out of his seat in a blinding rage. Screaming at me now, I watch him in bewilderment. Hadn’t he just been ecstatically happy five seconds ago?!

In a blazing rage, he paces around the living room asking me “why do you always have to ruin my good mood?” and “why did you laugh at me when I hit your phone?” I sit in silence and pretend that I’m watching a movie; this is someone else’s life, not mine. The caged rage in my chest begins fluttering. I ask him, “what the hell is your problem?” and tell him that he is acting like a crazy person.

It cannot be already happening again; he cannot be taking the pills already again.

With a heavy heart, I walk out of the room, grab my boots, throw on my coat, snatch my keys off the counter, and leave.

Now, sitting in my car, I am watching raindrops hit my windshield, the blobs slithering downwards, collecting other raindrops as they go. In the distance lies the castle-themed playground that I had discovered just a short while ago. I wish I had discovered this place sooner, it is peaceful and secluded. I need peaceful and secluded right now.

I don’t know when it happened, but I have lost my patience and I have no urge to go searching for it. It’s absence may be a good thing. Habitually, I tend to be over patient with people, and now I’m here. Leaving during an argument like that is not the best thing, I know, but I needed to escape the heat for a little while. The sickening feeling has made a home in my gut, for I know that something isn’t right, and I know what that something is. I cannot bring myself to think about it. It cannot be already happening again; he cannot be taking the pills already again. I have lost my patience.

My eyes are stinging and my head hurts.

Having sat in my car staring at a vacant playground for long enough, I drive the ten seconds back to my house. I suck in a deep breath and hold it not knowing what was going to be waiting for me when I opened the door.

I stepped inside and it was quiet. Shutting the door behind me, I moved into the living room and discarded my outer layers on the couch. It was roasting in here. I quietly tip-toed to the back of the house where I found our bedroom door shut. Exhale. That was fine with me. No more confrontation for the night. Moseying back to the living room, I snuggled up with a blanket and watched NCIS as I tried to block out the realization of the mess I was in.

It feels like everything around me is catching fire and turning to ash; the simple touch of my pinky finger can turn any object into dust.

Later that night, I crawled into bed next him. Neither one of us said anything. He kept his back to me and I kept my eyes plastered to the ceiling–if I stared long enough at one spot, I could make out the image of a weeping woman.

Eventually, I lull off into a deep sleep. I dream of the weeping woman, her face glowing from the embers climbing up the walls, threatening to reach her. My eyes spring open and I clutch on tightly to my pillow.

Awake now, I listen to the sounds of his breathing and concentrate on the heaviness of my own.

The tension is so thick, it’s like choking on a cloud of smoke. The fire is blazing somewhere near, out of my view; I can feel it’s soot tendrils swirling around my throat.

My eyes are stinging and my head hurts.

Olivia Red

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