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Title: Love, Honour and Obey
I’m such an idiot! The point of storming off is to get away from him, as far as possible so he can show at least one ounce of worry. But no. I’m storming off in the wrong direction. In my defence, my eyes are swimming in tears and I’m raging silently so direction isn’t really on my mind. Just away from him. That worked really well. Now I’ve come to the end of the short (rather pointless) jetty. My pride is stopping me turning back. Anyway, I know he’s there, somewhere and he’ll see me and then it’ll start again.
This is good; for now.
The turquoise waters stretch before me, shallow enough in places to see the sandy bottom where sea cucumbers rest and the odd fish darts in and out amongst the timber. I should feel serene, relaxed, in heaven.
But I don’t.
Right now I feel like I could scream.
Maybe I should. I bet I’ll feel a whole lot better.
My scream is as loud as I can possibly make it, so loud it feels like it’s ripping my throat to shreds.
I’m not sure how I feel now, apart from a sore throat.
Footsteps are coming up behind me. I know it’s him and my body tenses. Is that right? Should my body tense up on the approach of my husband on our honeymoon? He isn’t saying anything as he stands behind me. A sudden feeling of vulnerability sweeps over me. The silence seems to last an uncomfortably long time. But I’m not going to make the first move. He was the one wrongly accusing me of flirting and eyeing up the barman as he expertly made us our cocktails. He was the one gripping my wrist, leading me away from the bar. He was the one who calmly yet coldly starts laying down his expectations for his wife, his wishes which seems more like demands to me. He was the one who starts telling me how to dress; my shorts far too short, in fact how my whole wardrobe needs to change.
That’s why I stormed out. He made me feel small and worthless.
And now he is behind me, waiting for me to no doubt apologise. Well, he has a long wait.
I swing my feet in the lukewarm waters, looking carefree, wishing I felt the same way.
“Come back to the hotel now,” he says. I shiver. Still the coldness.
“Not until you apologise.”
“Apologise? I don’t think you heard me. Come back now.”
“Excuse me!” I swirl around, facing him, my husband, the stranger. He is staring, a small smile creeping across his face, reaching out his hand. I see the wedding band, glinting in the sun. Since I placed that band on his finger, Ross has changed to someone I don’t know anymore.
The signs were there right from the start when he stopped me from picking at the wedding cake we’d just cut by slapping my hand.I thought he was joking. Then there was Danny. I was dancing with Danny, my work colleague and Ross came over, taking hold of my wrist (a little too tightly) and pulling me away where he held me close to dance with him. I thought it was romantic but now I see he was controlling me like he’s doing now. I bet if I tell him I’m going out for a drink with Danny when we get back, he’ll say no.
“I’m not in the habit of repeating myself Josie.”
“I think you owe me an apology Ross.” I stand firm but my legs feel like jelly. He walks closer to me, reaches out and touches my hands with his. Softly, he strokes with his thumb. He pulls me closer, leaning in. I feel his warm breath on my skin, his lips brush against my ear. I’m falling under his spell again. It’s not hard, I mean he’s my husband and I do love him.
“When I ask you to do something, I mean it!” he hisses, pressing his thumbs down harder, his nails digging into my soft flesh.
“You’re hurting me!” I say, trying to pull myself away.
“If I wanted to hurt you, I could,” he replies, still clutching my aching hands. “In fact, I could probably make you disappear right here, right now and no one would know. Just imagine,” he continues, turning me around, facing the sea, wrapping his arms around my body, still gripping my hands like a vice, “that beautiful clear, crystal blue water vanishing as your thick, rich blood flows out of you. I can do that Josie but I don’t want to. Don’t make me hurt you with your defiant ways, after all, you did promise to love, honour and obey.” He rests his chin on my shoulder, swaying us both gently. “This is our honeymoon darling, I don’t want to fight.” He kisses me softly. “Come on, we have cocktails to finish.”
I don’t know why I let him take my hand. I am walking back with him, my stomach is churning. Did he just threaten to kill me if I wasn’t obedient to his will? We’re sitting at our table and he’s sipping his cocktail, looking relaxed.
“Go and see what snacks they have will you,” he says flatly. And it’s at that moment I know he means me to obey his every command or . . .
The image of a stained sea floods my mind and I’m leaving my chair to go and look at the menu.
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