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“And the bag boy gave me paper after I asked for plastic. It just shows you how much attention…” she stops mid sentence, her eyes staring into his unrecognizable face. The way his darkened eyes are glaring down at her sends a shiver through her spine. Immediately she chastises herself for complaining. As soon as he comes through the door he has me nagging at him; it’ s a wonder he comes home. Her stomach churns looking at him.

“I’m sorry Honey. How was your day?” she wills herself to smile up at him. His eyes narrow and darken. What is it? What have I done?

Unable to break through to him, she feels how small she is standing beside him. Unable to continue to meet his eyes, she watches his ribs sway in and out with each menacing breath, and anticipates his reply. She can feel his eyes, like the cold sensation of ice, penetrating the top of her head.

But he does not speak. Turning away, he marches into the bedroom. She follows him, scurrying along the slick wood floor to keep up. He throws open the closet door so that the hinges rattle. His old duffle bag is pulled out. He yanks all her clothes off their hangers and tosses them into the open bag.

“Stop it” she shouts at him, “What’s wrong? Talk to me!” she pulls at one arm, trying to pull him away from the closet and make him look at her. He shakes her off and drags the bag over to the dresser where he continues to pull out the drawers that hold shirts, stockings, her black lace nightgown… and dump them into the bag.

In the bathroom, he cleans out her shelf with a sweep of his hand, letting the contents fall into a plastic bag he holds up to it. He throws in her toothbrush from its stand, razor, and still damp from use bar of lilac soap. Hiding behind her hands, she painful peeks through her fingers at his progress while leaning heavily against the doorframe.

”I don’t understand, I don’t understand!” Tears make their way down her cheeks. Without glancing at her, he walks back into the bedroom and she stumbles backwards to get out of his way. He pushes the bag of toiletries into the overflowing duffle bag and labors over the zipper. Finally it is closed, and, with a surge of muscle, the bag is hauled over his shoulder. Balancing the weight on his back, he makes his way through the narrow bedroom door and marches out to the front porch.

Again, she runs after him. He untangles himself from the bag’s shoulder strap and lets it fall to the ground at the end of the drive with a thump. She tries to reach for him again, to take hold of an arm, to bring him close to her so that she can bring his gaze to her face. She longs to place his arms around her, or rest his hand on her chest so that he could feel how hard her heart is beating. But he pulls his arm away from her with such vigor that she looses her balance and stumbles backwards.

Once more she chases him as he strides back to the open front door. He stands stiffly before her, forming a fist around the doorknob. Finally he looks at her, but with the same icy glare as before.

“Please Derrick, tell me what’s wrong! I’ll do anything!” He looks steadily at her for a few moments: glistening green eyes, thin quivering lips, a red tendril escaping the grasp of her hair-tie…

He slams the door.

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