Reset The Clock

Entry by: AmyKO

10th May 2024
It's Sunday afternoon, again.
I've learned to dread the weekends, as this is when I will become abandoned while he reverts to his (obviously) preferred persona; that of a single young man, cruising the bars and nightclubs until there is no option but to return home. He's not single though. He's my husband.

I'm relaxing in my favourite chair in front of the telly - a small glimmer of happiness I've learned to clutch on to. At least when he's out 'doing his thing' I have some freedom in the house that he doesn't trample all over. He also favours this particular seat. Between Friday night and Sunday afternoon, it has become mine. The race cars on the screen zoom and whine. Another familiar comfort. I've always loved to watch the race, ever since my dad and I used to sit together, placing penny bets on who would win.

The clock on the opposite wall ticks on, piercing the peace I'm forcing myself to feel, a reminder that he will return soon. Our toddler is napping upstairs. I'd have popped out to the supermarket already if she hadn't needed to sleep. There's nothing left in the cupboards for me to cook this evening. No doubt he will use that as a reason to call me useless. A bad wife. A justification for his absences. I check the time against the list in my head of all the tasks I should complete to avoid his wrath. It's approaching three o'clock. He could arrive, clattering through the front door, (definitely still under the influence though he'll deny it) at any time.

I've learned not to attempt to contact him during these disappearing acts. I've never been able to get hold of him so I don't bother wasting my time any more. His phone will ring and ring, or I'll only reach voicemail. I'm well and truly conditioned to put up with it and shut up about it.

The laundry needs folding and putting away; another load needs to be washed; the dishwasher needs loading; the bathroom needs cleaning and the stairs need vacuuming. Whether or not I put the effort into these mundane household tasks to show him I am competent and capable and that I am a good wife, the outcome will never change.

The clock reminds me that time is running out until his return and anxiety blooms from my gut to my chest. Tick-tock he'll be back any time now; tick tock you'd better get on with the chores. Tick fucking tock I don't want to feel like this any more!

Is this my life? Is this who I am? Small, quiet, cowed? Reframing moments of enforced solitude as a reward for putting up with being bullied, belittled and coerced into submission? I'm angry now, feeling restless and alive with an unfamiliar sense of realisation that I can take back my power. I don't have to repeat this never-ending empty drudgery of a life. My child doesn't need a cold emotional battleground as the backdrop to her youth.

What will my life become if I stay here? Undervalued, unloved, underwhelming. The clock ticks on, the seconds pushing forwards as the days of my life flash by; each one the same, each one as unremarkable as the last yet each one a moment of the rest of my life to endure.

When he returns I'll be gone. He can have the chair, the telly and the clock - ticking onwards through the days of his sad, wasteful life.

My time will be refreshed, buoyed by renewed freedom and hope and happiness. I will move through the days without the destructive weights of fear, unfulfillment and unfair expectations.

My clock has been reset.