I woke up to the sound of clothing being tossed around with books and various other clutter piles hitting the floor. A few swear words and stomping began to get louder.  Turning onto my back, I sat up, my eyes were barely open, and the lamp light that was soothing a few hours ago became unbearable. What was he looking for? The front door slammed.

I could hear him opening the car doors, you always needed extra strength to open the back right side. He was holding enough strength in the form of anger in that pull of the door, you could hear it from the bedroom. I searched for some clothes, my shirt and pants. Where were my flipflops? What time was it?

He came back muttering something then, my question hit him in the wrong spot. “What is wrong? What are you looking for?”

As his fist began to hit the walls, you could time the reactions of me and his dog at the exact same second. Scrappy dashed behind the chair, and I curled my legs up, it was another not so good night.

His sketchbook was missing, and the words of beliefs of how someone has come into his house and stolen his sketchbook and his ideas, started spewing out of his mouth. The same story, about how someone was out to get him.  I could hear the words coming out of my own mouth, the same response I always gave, “you just missed placed it.”

I pull myself out of defense mode, and start looking. On the desk, under his clothes, everywhere he already has. It’s not here, but I know, he just missed placed it. He doesn’t believe me, because he is paranoid; believing that someone is out to get him, out to steal his stuff, his ideas, his artwork. It’s not like he is famous, he is just a regular amateur artist like me.

Finally after searching the surfaces, I get my sandals, “maybe it’s at my house”

Something about Scrappy not coming into the front room sets him off again, and I sit in the passenger seat scared. Terrified.  A few hours ago I hoped for a peaceful night together, a night that would be different from the rest. We made dinner, ate together, it was nice. Quiet.

Anger drives him to my place. A few words are spoken, most are about how his sketchbook is stolen, and if someone has his ideas next fall, he’ll know. He is certain he is right, it’s hard to convince him out of it, he is convinced someone has taken his ideas, his memos, his art. So I try not to, lost in my own thoughts I stare out the window.

The sketchbook is not at my house. After a few minutes of searching, he gives up. I follow him outside, and sit on the front steps. Everything is coming back to me, and finally I am awake. Sitting on the steps at my house, less than an hour ago, I was peacefully asleep after making what could have been thought of as love. Right now, it was nothing, but, the emptiness of him and me outside my house.

I start saying the same phrases, repeating myself: “maybe you left it at school…”

The words come out as anger starts to form inside of his body. He starts to explode, something about how no one mentioned it there today. How he didn’t leave it, how someone has taken it. Then the words, the famous line “I need a beer” come out. I smirk, I feel his anger inside of me, and under my breath it forms, “I don’t”

Then he looks at me, and in a split second he turns and heads to his car, calling out about seeing me tomorrow because he needs a beer. And he drives off to the bars.

Flashes of his fist hitting the walls just a few minutes ago comes to my mind as the car pulls down the street as I still sit on the front steps. This feeling, this event, is all too similar. I wonder in my head if the holes in his walls can be connected to form pictures. But, mostly, I sit, and wonder. How he and I had become this, a mess of tangled anger alongside his paranoia and alcohol against what I tried to call love?

After the shock of again another night of his anger fades, I get up and wander inside. My roommates aren’t home. A part of me is thankful that they didn’t have to witness that. They are oblivious to his abusive side, they know his anger y side though. But, a part of me needs comfort, friendship, something to remind me that I’m still alive.

I call a roommate, they are out throwing pots. It’s still a school night, but I have work in the morning. My only retreat becomes my bedroom. So I lay down, and think.

Then the phone rings. A familiar, but very unfamiliar name appears on the caller ID. A friend from the past, and his voice is so friendly, so innocent. Nothing like my night, and the tears begin to form, the words come out. The story, his anger, my love, why can’t it work?

My friend, quietly listens, tries to understand. And then stops me, and asks, “why are you with a monster?”

But, he’s not, I defend, I defend the abuse, the fear, the anger… he’s just… the words stopped.


In the middle of the night, a text message comes from him. “Got home safe, hope you are well, see you tomorrow.”

The following morning at work, my boss hands me a sketchbook, and asks “Is this art book thing yours?”

Laughter, real hard laughter comes out of me. And I throw it on the counter and say “No, it’s mikes, I’m dumping him today.”

And the words came true.