Martha’s face was red, she was panting from the exertion of yelling. She took some deep, calming breaths while watching Ted, who was pacing back and forth in their kitchen.
Ted stopped. Turned to face her. ‘You’re NOT a psychologist,’ he yelled. ‘You dabble around on the internet and you think you have all the answers.’ He took a menacing step closer. She cowered, trapped between the cupboard and the island bench. He sneered, laughed at the fear in her eyes.
‘It’s just a suggestion,’ she whispered, with her eyes downcast towards the shiny tiled floor.
‘Yeah, well it doesn’t fly with me. Your shit suggestions are just that. Shit. Flush them down the toilet next time you’re in there.’
Martha’s fear charged through her body, everything felt hot, her fingers thick. He sounded dangerous now. Her heart was beating fast, as if she’d just sprinted 100 metres. She tried to creep away, but he grabbed her by the hair.
‘In fact, let’s go in there now,’ Ted said, through clenched teeth. He dragged her out of the kitchen, and into the spacious hallway all the way to their en suite bathroom. It was so beautiful, she thought now. All her life she’d wanted a big en suite, with two sinks and two shower heads in a huge recess. Heated towel racks, baskets, potted plants and candles and potions in bottles. She got her dream bathroom, her dream house even. But at what price?
Ted lifted the lid and seat of the toilet, forced her head down. Martha squeezed her eyes closed, and waited. Time had taught her there was no point in tears or pleading for clemency; it increased his rage and power.
As the water cascaded over her head, she allowed the tears to come. She thought back to their wedding day, where he’d promised to love her, nurture and protect her. She felt his hands give a final push to her shoulders before she heard his footsteps walking away. She rested her head on the rim of the toilet, heaved with all her might and watched as the manifestation of her hatred, regret and sadness splashed around her face.