Mrs Iero seems better, but for how long can things last?
When I was alone I headed for the bathroom to have a shower. Once I had finished I pulled my boxers on and stared at myself in the mirror. Bruises had already formed on my arms and hest, their deep blues and purples melting into the tattoos on my skin. My left eyed was slightly swollen, as was my bottom lip. That lip… If I closed my eyes I could still feel that gentle pressure on them, still recall that tantalizing moment of sweetness. I knew he was only comforting me, trying to make me feel better, but even the memory made my heart rate quicken and the breath hitch in my throat. But seriously, who was I kidding? I looked back at my reflection. Who would want a kid like me? An ugly bastard who’d own mother didn’t love him? The son of an alcoholic, of a child abuser; who could ever love me?
A ring on the doorbell bought me out of my depressing thoughts. I hastily shoved on a pair of black jeans and a t-shirt before going to answer it. I should have thought about it, to at least put the chain on the door. But like a trusting fool I didn’t, I should have known better.
Of course it was her. She wouldn’t back off so easily, a piece of her property was here, and she sure as hell wasn’t going to give it up without a fight. But something seemed different; maybe it was her clothes, her best dressed usually reserved for the few times we went to church. Maybe it was her face; her makeup complimenting her, instead of making her look like a drag queen. Or maybe it was the smell; the sickly sweet flowery perfume that hung in the air, masking everything else. She took one look at me and burst into tears.
“I’m so sorry,” she sobbed as I patted her arm awkwardly. “You know I didn’t mean to do it, it wasn’t me, it was the whiskey. I would never hurt you. I could never hurt my baby.” She seemed so genuine, so remorseful, so trustworthy.
“It’s okay, really, I know you didn’t mean it.” She was winning, wrapping me back around her little finger.
“So you’ll come home. You won’t leave me on my own?” Her voice was desperate.
“Of course not, I’ll come home right away.” What was I saying? But she was right, of course, I couldn’t leave her on her own.
“Let me just call G...”
“No!” she interrupted, “call him from home. We have to leave now. We have to get out of here.” I should have realised, taken it as a sign that she wasn’t quite as stable as she seemed, but instead I let her tug my hand, lead me out of the flat and back to my doom.
When we got home she made me lunch; it wasn’t bad, not exactly great, but it was a start.
“Thanks mum,” I told her enthusiastically, “that was great!” She smiled happily.
“Don’t I get a kiss?” she asked sweetly. With an internal sigh I leant forward to kiss her cheek, but she turned quickly and let her lips meet mine. Her tongue forced its way into my mouth and I could taste the whiskey. I pushed her away, trying to keep the tears out of my eyes. I suddenly remembered my dream, had that really only been last night? But this time it wasn’t a dream, this time she wasn’t hitting me, this time she grabbed a bread board from behind her, and as it connected with my head the blackness I fell into certainly wasn’t sleep.