Take My Pulse

Entry by: Corone

3rd September 2015
Take my Pulse

With a small sigh I plant the shopping bags on the kitchen table. Dropping my keys beside them with a clatter I disentangle my handbag which has slipped off my shoulder again, just at the last moment, as always. I've barely undone my coat before he appears in the doorway.

"You're back then," he smiles kissing me on the cheek. I shy away modestly a little as I'm sure my hair is a mess. I glance in the small mirror by the cooker and make a couple of adjustments. He likes me to be neat. When I turn he's idly poking through the shopping bags.

"Did you get everything?" he asks. I'm not sure of the answer although his tone is quite calm.

"I think so," I reply tentatively. My pulse quickens a little as I await his reply.

"You just think so?" he smiles back, but then takes a moment to look through the bags a little more carefully.

"I'll just hang up my coat," I say. It may just be politic to let him have a moment to himself. Sliding the soft woollen coat off my shoulders I think of the holiday in Italy where he bought it. It had been colder than we'd thought and I didn't bring anything warm. He went out specially one morning to buy the coat for me. I'd seen it the day before in one of the shops, although it was too expensive. But when he gave it to me I loved it for the thought, not the expense. When he put it on me he wrapped his arms around me gently and held me. I felt so warm.

This time his touch is less gentle as he takes my arm before I leave the kitchen. It doesn't hurt but stops me dead. I am calm, smiling, but take my pulse and you will see my heart is racing.

"We're still talking," he cautions me for my rudeness. "Now, let's see what you bought."

Even though he lets go of me, I can't move. I will myself to remain calm. No need to escalate anything. It may pass, it has done before.
He begins emptying the bags onto the kitchen table very precisely. He lines up the tomatoes and places the butter and cheese in order of size. I dumbly take the shopping bags from him and put them into the cupboard.

"I don't see any onions," he says very quietly.

"I thought you said we had onions," I volunteer. It is the wrong thing to say, I know it in a moment. My face turns to marble, my pulse drums inside me.

"Why would I say that if we had no onions? Can't you do anything right?"


"We were going to have a nice dinner tonight. I was going to cook for you. But you've spoilt it haven't you. How can I make your favourite meal without an onion?"

"I can go back," I try to say cheerfully, but my mask is cracking, he can see behind it.

"It's too late now though isn't it," his voice is getting louder. "I try so hard to do something nice and you just have to ruin it. Why do I have to do all the work in this relationship?"

I can only stand there biting my lip to stop my tears. I try to reach forward to stroke his arm, to ask him to be calmer would only make him worse. He turns away violently. My pulse is like a hammer in my head, smashing everything apart from the inside.

"Why are you looking at me like that?" he screams at me and I finally shy away. He grabs me and almost lifts me up as he pushes me against the kitchen wall. I have turned away, my eyes tight shut, only a matter of time now. "You think I'm some sort of monster? You're the one who makes me angry. This is all your fault."

The coat has fallen from my hand. He raises his hand, and I tense for what will follow.

Take my pulse, you'll hear my heart screaming.