Chapter One - A portion

She sat in her husband’s tan leather lazy-boy and contemplated her life over a warm cup of tea. She had spent all of the previous night, sitting up in their queen size bed, pinned against the fluffy doona by her own sense of guilt. Tom, her husband, had leaned over a dozen times, as if to see if something was wrong but she pretended to be asleep each time. Kerry was in no mood to talk about her feelings. She could think of nothing kind to say to him, so she thought it was best to say nothing at all.

Her floating reflection in the tea unsettled her. She knew she was seeing herself but somehow she was unrecognisable now. She was not Kerry Brunswik, she was the lady formerly known as Kerry Brunswik. She felt empty and completely alone, in a house full of people.

Where had all the passion gone, she wondered, taking another sweet mouthful of tea. She felt ready to explode with guilt, anger and grief – yet, mainly with grief. That morning, the overwhelming sense of loss hit her like a truck. She sat on the lazy boy, thinking about how things had come to pass in the way in which they had. Why was he so forgiving? The way in which he had dismissed her confession had denied her the passion she was seeking. She believed it revealed the truth of what they had become. They had simply settled for one another. She did not want him to forgive her.

Feeling the unfinished rage surge through her hand, she watched, as though in an out of body experience, as she threw the cup at the portrait of herself and Tom on the wall facing her. It was only as her brain registered the crashing sound of ceramic against brick that she was pushed back into reality. She stared down at her feet, frozen, trying to find a way to explain to herself why that had happened. Though it was her fault the cup smashed, it certainly was not her fault that she threw it. ‘He is to blame for this,’ she reasoned ‘the placid, bore of a man I am married to. Perhaps if Tom threw a cup against a wall occasionally, I would not despise him.’

Sighing, Kerry bent her slender frame forward to collect the pieces of ceramic off the floor. As she reached her small hand out to the floor, a thick matt of wavy brown hair fell into her eyes, rendering her blind. She lost control of her body balance and fell forward onto her outstretched left hand. As her body came crunching down on to the shards of ceramic, she heard the familiar sound of keys opening the front door. Tom’s keys. Instantly she felt angry. She could predict him so easily. ‘He will come to my rescue again,’ she grumbled to herself.

Hearing the door knob turn, she hung her head to ready herself for what was about to happen.

“Kerry. Thought I’d pop home, honey. Where are you babe?” Tom called as he entered the house. Hearing no response, he turned to the left to place his brief case on the floor. He caught sight of her on the floor and immediately dropped the briefcase and ran to her aid.“Oh shit, Kerry, are you all right sweetie?” His voice was anxious.

“Yes Tom, I’m ok.” she responded dryly.

“What happened? Why is the wall wet? What’s going on here, Kerry”? Tom asked, perplexed.

“I got a bit clumsy that’s all, ok. Just leave it alone, will you” Kerry snapped.“I’m just trying to help babe. Geez, I ….”“I don’t need your damn help, for gods sake, Tom.” She interrupted him mid sentence. “I knew you’d be like this, always trying to save me, aren’t you? Just let me fall for once. Can’t you just be angry at me Tom – I threw your favourite cup against the fucking wall because I was thinking about you. Doesn’t that make you angry, Tom?” she yelled desperately at her bewildered husband.Tom straightened his back and breathed deeply. This is just her way of dealing with her own guilt, he told himself. He had always been the moderate one and he wasn’t about to change for her now, after six years of marriage.

‘It makes me worried, not angry, Kerry. I have more faith in you than you think. Eventually you will get over the anger and realise that I have forgiven you and that you should be relieved, even thankful, Kerry.” He spoke quietly, struggling to contain his own emotion. “Now you go and clean yourself up and I will clean up this, ok?” She didn’t move, she just glared at him. “Kerry please, this is childish, just go and rest and I will take care of this” he pleaded with her.

Defeated, Kerry pulled herself slowly from the floor and stepped over Tom, who was crouched on the floor, amidst the remains of the shattered cup. She said nothing; she simply walked up the stairs to their bedroom and sat on the end of the bed in silence. She would be quiet from now on; she had little choice. She had run out of words and ways to get Tom to show a reaction. She was trapped permanently within her own mind. Nothing could save her from herself now. The ever screeching words of anger filled her head with no escape. It was as though her own internal voice became so loud that it deafened her to everything else.

Perhaps it would be better this way. She could be the wife Tom desired, one that needed his care and she could listen to the only voice she trusted all day – her own.

Chapter One - A portion

Flic Manning

St Kilda, Australia

  • Artist

Artist's Description

A Portion of Chapter One of the novel I am curently half way through writing. It is actually a crime thriller filled with twists, but I set the scene in a romance drama initially.

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