Mood Swings

by Jane Davitt

I don't know if he's noticed, but I'm not speaking to Jim. It's childish maybe -- oh, who am I kidding, of course it is. Immature, not all that useful, and the way he complains about me never shutting up, it might even be making him happy.

Assuming he's even noticed.

I'm quiet, he's watching TV, and the seconds are ticking by, taking us further away from the argument that began this self-imposed vow of silence and closer to the time we make up. Because we will; we always do. I just don't know at what point I am on my journey of forgiveness.

Not very far, because when I open my mouth, not to speak, just to see what happens, I can feel the words boiling up, a disturbed wasps' nest of stinging, sharp, "-- agonizingly painful, Jim, that's what it was, and how the hell you can act like it was nothing, when you know damn well --"


Blair's making so much noise my head is aching. He's sitting beside me, because neither of us would move when we'd finished yelling, and he's still screaming at me with every quick, sharp breath, every huffed exhale, every careful adjustment of his position so that our bodies never quite touch.

He's blinking; fast, angry sharp flutters of his lashes, and I'm wincing, anticipating the next one, the next assault on my hearing, the next blow against my skin from the fanned, disturbed air.

He smells wrong. Scorched rubber, burned food -- hot smells, red and violent. I can't look at him, because if I see disgust and disappointment in his eyes, my eyes would close and I wouldn't want to open them again.

This hurts. God, this hurts so fucking much. I can't breathe because it takes the acrid, acid taste of his anger deep into my body and eats me alive, I can't hear anything but the beat, beat, beat --


"--know damn well that --Jim? Jim! Oh, God, Jim --"


Blair's hands are cradling my face like I'm thousands of years old and made of whatever they made things of back then. His eyes are wide, worried, stricken, and his mouth is moving, words tumbling out, spilling over me like rain. He's saying my name and 'sorry' and telling me I'm an idiot and telling me he loves me so often he's covered for the next ten birthdays with a few Valentine's Days thrown in for good measure.

I sigh, smile, and let him kiss me, and then he goes back to talking and I take slow, slow breaths and listen to the peace slip back into the room.

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