Friday, April 4, 2008

BATTERED WIFE

“I fell down the stairs.”

It was two years ago last month that I arrived at my first two-week training for my new job . . . sporting a black eye.

“I fell down the stairs.”

No one believed me. Those new coworkers buzzed—Oh, that Megan girl, she’s a battered wife.

“I fell down the stairs.”

But they wouldn’t have believed the truth either: Yes. He hit me . . . while he was sleeping. Punched me right in the face. People do strange things in their sleep, and Freud would have had a field day analyzing why my husband punched me from the depths of a REM cycle.

“I fell down the stairs.”

Or

“He hit me, but he was sleeping.”

Oh sure . . . the coworkers would eventually mumble when I told them the truth.

“I hit back.”

But that wasn’t true. I just fretfully batted my hands out in front of me, trying to make him stop (one well-aimed strike didn’t seem to be enough), until it occurred to me that I ought to vacate the bed. So I rolled onto the floor and started to cry.

The Husband's done plenty of loony things in his sleep before, but this was the first time he’d done anything loony directed at me—repressed aggression? Hearing my crying, the Husband, awake this time, dashed over to where I was balled up on the floor.

He rubbed my back: What happened? Are you okay? Bad dream?

You freaking lunatic! You hit me!

Oh! I had a dream about hitting something—

It was my face!

He was tender and sweet and apologetic, and I forgave him, for truly, I know him and I know how he sleeps, and I know that it wasn’t on purpose.

The following morning said attacker saw the blackening area around my left eye and queried: What happened?

Oh, like you don’t know. (It then occurs to me that I could really milk this one.)

What?

You punched me last night—closed fist.

WHAT?

Ha. You were “sleeping.” I’ll bet that’d be a new one for the cops should I choose to notify them of last night’s antics . . . "No, sir, I was sleeping when I hit her." Brilliant.

“I fell down the stairs.”

And now—two years later, if I’d like some candy or another present, I say, Hey, remember when you gave me a black eye?

He feels so bad, but doesn’t remember doing it. So though he always capitulates to my requests cloaked in the battered-wife guise, for all he knows, I made it all up as a manipulative tactic.

But I didn’t.

2 comments:

Meri, Nate and Solee said...

Flying elbows and fists are common in our bed when we're asleep, thanks to my loving husband. I am glad to know I am not the only wife who innocently gets abused in her sleep by her even more innocent husband.

c jane said...

Seriously?

That is as passive aggressive as it gets.