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The Happy Housewife
A short but powerfull tale of a battered woman.
April Griffin resides in Edmonton Canada with her children. She is currantly taking Fine Arts at Grant MacEwan College. www.aprilgriffin.com
AUTHOR'S E-MAIL ADDRESS
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (2)
Guilty (Short Stories) Guilty. Thats what the jury said. [389 words] [Drama]
Respect For Authority (Short Stories) If he was Alfies kid Alf would slap the mohawk clean off the top of his head. Thats what Alf would do. [412 words]
The Happy Housewife
Kayla continued washing walls. At 30 and after 4 kids she still looked attractive. Brown hair spilling down her back. While she put on a little weight since the day she was married it went to the right places and she carried it well. As she scrubbed she ignored the ever present pain in her back. She wondered where she had gone wrong. Adding elbow grease, without even noticing, to get the crayola off. Her mind was lost in the painful journey she found it taking so much these days.
Her tired eyes gave no hint of where her thoughts were going. The inner sorrow hid along with an occasional hint of hope. She no longer dreamed of leaving, having resigned herself to the responsibilities she took on. She had long since joined the secret club of women who live life through romance novels and soap operas because they had decided that they would make it work even though they knew their was no love left. The women who sleep in different bedrooms than their husbands. The women who wear dark sunglasses until the years had mellowed out hubbies temper or he simply got so bored with her he couldn’t be bothered. The wives who have their husbands find call girls or keep a lady in an apartment across town so they will leave them alone. The ones who nip the cooking sherry after breakfast and whiten their coffee with baileys hidden in the back of a cupboard. The secret club of the happy housewives each coping in their own ways.
She didn’t have the luxury of a separate bedroom and she didn’t have the courage to ask him to seek satisfaction elsewhere. She hated having sex with the stranger who was her husband. The man she no longer knew yet knew all too well. Not so long ago she thought him the most amazing man on earth. The stars themselves shone brighter because of him. Now she felt a sick revulsion when he touched her. She had to swallow it down. To hide it and make it through without grimaces or involuntarily pushing him away. She wanted to love him. To find some part of the man he used to be and cling to it. She didn’t notice she had stopped scrubbing. “Wash the damn walls you lazy bitch” He was going to start losing it again if she wasn’t careful but once he got in a snit it was so easy to set him off.
She scrubbed again with a new vigour hoping to appease him. The smell of pine cleaner burning in her nose making her dizzy. She was a fireball once. Full of dreams and ideas and not one to take crap from any man. She wondered how she got so meek. Why she let it happen. Why she didn’t leave long ago before it went so far. She could hear him ranting to himself. He would blow up soon. She felt the pain dig into her back. A constant reminder of the last time. At first she thought the pain was in her kidneys but after a few days she knew it was her back. She wondered if it would ever leave her or if it would be her souvenir well into the golden years. His rage was mounting. Soon she would pay. She would pay for the bagboy who was rude at the store. She would pay for the co-worker who teased. She would pay for every man that dared to notice her. She would pay because he was upset with his mother. She would pay because the bills were too high and because the government took too much tax. She would pay with her body and she would pay twice. When his rage was quenched he would want her to screw him. Not make-up sex. Just screwing. She hoped the children would stay sleeping. She didn’t want them to witness this.
The hands twisted into the hair at the back of her head and rammed her face into the wall. “You dirty little whore” blood trickled from her nose. Her arm was pulled behind her back then with the hands still in her hair she was flung back and turned around, flying towards the couch. When her body made contact the couch flipped over. She scrambled to her feet and started to run for the door but realized she couldn’t leave the children. Salty taste on her tongue. Had she bitten it or was it coming from her nose?
“Get back here you stupid bitch. Stop crying”. Again her body hit a wall she crumpled to the floor. The kicking started. Protectively she curled into the fetal position. She bit her lip and tried not to scream. The irony that today was their anniversary stung her. A big fat reminder of how she got in this place. “Get up! Get up!. He was using her hair to pull her up. Her feet failed her. “Get up and say your sorry bitch! I cant stop! I can’t stop until you say you’re sorry! Get up and say it! Look what you’re making me do!” she fought for words and gagged on the blood. She swallowed so there wouldn’t be more on the floor. “You stupid bitch look what you made me do.” A blow hit her stomach. She had lost a baby that way. Fighting for air. Fighting to get the words I'm sorry out. She knew this is what her life would be. She couldn’t leave and she wouldn’t leave and she couldn’t hurt the children by taking her own life. She couldn’t leave them to bear this burden. She had thought of that any times before. This was what she had to look forward to. The happy Housewife. Air filling her lungs. Gasping “I'm Sorry I'm so sorry” She meant it
|READER'S REVIEWS (14)
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"this was a very difficult read but it kept me glued to each word. i know this does go on but can't even begin to imagine the feeling of hopelessness. i hope this was an active mind at work and not an experience. one hit is one too many." -- Just A Guy.
"this was difficult to read,when it was 1st shared with me.Now it's being shared here,which despite what i know about the artist, additionaly reassures me that she has moved past it. Awesome,and powerful to say the least!!" -- naked, austin , texas, us.
"This was wonderfully written all the way to the last word. My only hope in completing it was that it was fiction; although I am not so naive to think it isn't someone's reality. Just hopefully not yours. Your writing is compelling and strong and keeps the reader at the edge. I look forward to more from you." -- KM (Michelle).
"This a sad story that even angered me but it managed to keep my attention. I payed attention to every detail wondering why this had to happen to a seemingly beautiful and smart woman. This short story was written very well and I would like to read more rom this writer." -- Irving Lopez.
"This essay was powerful and moving. I felt the pain and despair the “housewife” (and author) probably endured. Compelling to read!" -- Joe, Naperville, IL, USA.
"I liked the essay because it is something that a few women can relate to. I felt the pain the woman was going through, how is it that a strong woman turns weak? At times I got lost in the story but I understood the meaning of it and I can imagine what will happen next. "The Happy Housewife" was a real 'joy' to read and brings a real since of truth to life. I look forward to more." -- Lynn, Chicago, IL, US.
"I feel that the begining of this story should have been more attention grabbing. There is alot of good material and abuse is a great topic. What I liked was that it let you in on the woman's perspective." -- Rebecca, Chicago, USA, IL.
"This story made me cringe as I read it, but forced me to realize the harsh reality that many women face. The story was filled with vivid detail which made me feel the woman's pain." -- Meghan, Chicago, IL, USA.
"This depiction of an abused woman is graphic! The detail given in the story helped me to feel and see what the house wife had to endure. This is probly as close as you can get to the emotions and thought process of an abused woman without being one. As a man and father it sickens me to think this happens on a daily basis to thousands of women. I hope that if there is a woman in this situation who has read this finds solace in the knowledge that she is not alone. I would also hope this would nudge her to seek help for herself. To the author.... EXELENT JOB! Thank you for the insight. God bless" -- juggalo.
" I feel so sad for the woman who have to go through abuse like that. Its that type of story where you just want help woman that are in that kind of state. I thought the story was well written and you discribed it so well. I hope you write more on it. Maybe this story will help battered woman. Hope it does tho." -- Timothy, Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada.
"I had a friend who tried to leave an abusive lover. They were not even married. She got away from him. Used restraining orders and tried to get help from the police. He kidnapped and killed her. I hope this story has a better ending." -- Chris.
"i had to do a short story assignment for school & as i was searching the web for one i found your "the happy housewife" i couldn't get it out of my head & then i thought i had found something else but again was yours as well "eternity" you are so talented i wish i could right like you,i just love how you express your feelings/characters feelings into words its awesome keep up the great work & its awesome to show how your canadian so am i! isn't it great...eh?" -- Jenn.
"This is a good story, though as others have said, it's hard to read. I have been through things like this - but I did get out. I would love to have seen some hope for Kayla - but it's the more powerful a story, for the fact that there isn't... " -- Debbie Kean.
"Wesley - it's not that easy! If it was would there be battered women - NO!!! I know how this woman feels and she feels vulnerable and most of all guilty (hence the '...I'm so sorry' and she meant it' line. She genuinely believes it is her fault. Also, from the subtext you can see that she is protective of her children so more than likely wants to keep her kids safe byt deflecting the blows herself. I agree with most of the other readers, a tough subject but handled brilliantly - I really enjoyed reading this piece although it stirred up a lot of memories." -- Rather not say, England.
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© 2002 April Griffin
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