I fixed him coffee – hot and aromatic – just the way he likes it. I seriously hope that he will like it because last time, I screwed up on the coffee – creamer ratio. If such happens, he doesn’t drink the whole cup; sometimes, he just doesn’t drink it at all even after inhaling a lungful of that soothing caffeinated aroma that he is so addicted to. I mean, who turns down coffee just because it isn’t made as creamy or as sweet as preferred? He will only drink it all the way down if I got the ratios right.
That’s my husband – a man who is very particular with his wants and needs. He knows what he prefers and he is specific with all the things he chooses.
Even with me, his wife.
My husband told me about what he wants in a wife – industrious, caring, thoughtful, hard-working, diligent, smiling at all times, uncomplaining and tough. I’m not innately as such for I was born in a family where those characteristics are found only among the helpers and maids. I have to admit that this unfortunate lack of “ideal womanly traits” has proven me undesirable to one man’s perfectionist eyes. I wasn’t trained to be domestic; I wasn’t trained to maintain a man’s house. I don’t know how to serve men like a servant would serve a Don.
Those were the roles of somebody else.
Just imagine the dismay on my husband’s face when he found out that I wasn’t the exact replica of his mother, who had those characteristics nailed down. I would have won a wager betting on the side where he would much rather leave me and trade me for a better version of a wife.
Unfortunately for him, I cannot be traded. There’s no return; no exchange policy in real life, at least not in this situation. He is stuck with me for life.
I served him his regular dose of caffeine. I did it carefully for I didn’t want to spill on his brand new pants. I remember the last time I held hot coffee. I tripped over an uneven part of the carpet and sent the hot liquid contents flying in the air.
He was furious. I got an instant magenta blush on the side of my face for that – not a flattering sight. But if people saw me, they would probably get used to it right away. They would associate me instantly with a bruised face because I’ve been getting this mocking aggrandizement all too frequently.
This time however, I made it without ruining anything.
“I see that you’ve learned your lesson,” my husband remarked.
That was the nicest thing he said to me for the entire day. He isn’t one to comment positively or to acknowledge a good thing.
“Of course, dear,” was my passive reply. I learned the hard way. I was not supposed to expound on my replies; I wasn’t supposed to defend myself. It will only make things worst between us. It will only trigger whatever pent up rage he has brewing inside of him.
I fear my husband. I never thought that he would change so drastically in one year. We got married twelve months ago. One must suppose that we are still in honeymoon euphoria, but that isn’t the case. With a few incidents of beating, lashing, and thrashing, I realized right away that I fell into a monster’s trap. My husband is a violent man and that was his sad way of expressing. I am his unfortunate pawn and target for his unlimited fury.
Between his sips of coffee, my husband made a startling statement, “Tara, I’m sorry for everything.”
I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t feel anything at all. I believe that I only batted my eyelashes in disbelief. Am I going crazy? Am I hearing voices? At this point in our married life, this was the least of my expectations because I have been certain that my husband was a ruthless monster. I hate to have to admit to myself that I might have been wrong all along, and that there is truly hope and second chances.
“Did you hear what I just said?” he asked.
“Y-y-yes,” was my default reply. I couldn’t control my faculties… or my sanity!
“I said I’m sorry for everything. You know, I’ve been hurting you. I didn’t mean all of that.”
“What are you getting at, Gab? Are you playing with me? Please, don’t make fun of me. I’ll do anything you want. J-j-just don’t toy with my emotions,” I pleaded. I sounded like a baby. I guess that was what I truly felt – like a baby in need.
“No, I’m not playing with you, Tara. I’ve been wrong and I’m sorry. I guess it doesn’t matter now. The damage has been done, but still, I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”
I wasn’t able to answer him right away. I needed time to process things – time to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming, that I am still sane.
“Please, if what you say is true, please, give me time to think,” I eventually said. Unconsciously, warm tears began to fall down my cheeks. The warmth was comforting . It felt like thawing snow. I guess I needed to cry. I haven’t cried in a long time.
I ran to our room and sat by the edge of the bed.
I needed time to think this all through.
What has brought this miraculous change in Gab? I wondered. This couldn’t be a miracle. Things just don’t happen like that. People do not change overnight. But then, people change. Whether it is an abrupt change or a gradual change, people change nonetheless.
Should I give him a chance? People deserve second chances. Who am I to deprive my husband a second chance? He is my husband after all.
I knew there was a speck of goodness in his heart. He was good to begin with – my sweetheart… my boyfriend… my lover. He could be my loving honey again.
I wiped my fat tears. I was refreshed. I thanked the heavens for this glorious day. I began to pray for thanksgiving.
I stood up and surveyed myself in the mirror. I could still pass for pretty. He will love me again. I am ready for this new chapter in our married life.
I am ready…
The door burst open. There was Gab, standing. His eyes were menacing. His smile was sly. I could not make sense of what I was seeing with what I was feeling. There I was, ready to forgive and forget, but Gab… well, Gab looked like…
Rough hands covered my neck. Each finger made its signature on my delicate skin. I’m certain that it will be harder to conceal those marks. They were pressed so deeply that I almost choked to death.
“You will forgive me, won’t you, Tara?” his hoarse voice whispered in my ear.
I could hardly speak. The utterances I was able to make were mere choking sounds.
“Won’t you, Tara?” he repeated, his grip on my throat tighter than ever.
I wonder how I was able to blurt out a sound at all.
Again, my default reply, “Y-y-yes.”