His self-loathing frightens me, uproots the comfort in my skin and twists at my heart until it cries mercy. The hairs on the back of my neck jump up every time he screams, and my shoulders tense as if waiting to be shaken, to be hit, though he’s never laid a hand on me. Something in the back of my mind tells me he could if he wanted, so the fear sits heavy as he’s clenching his fists and grinding his teeth—he’s been to the dentist three times already this month.
His depression spikes my own and I’ve found I can’t make either of us happy so I sleep until noon and hope he’s calm when he gets home from work. Ha. The door slams shut and I squeeze my eyes closed pretending I never woke up. It’s easier to try to be invisible than to pretend to be unaware of his anger.
His anger has become an unwanted houseguest, overstaying their welcome and breaking the fine china.
There’s something comforting in the sound of smashing plates now.
I place a hand on his back and take note of the way his breathing slows as his shoulders drop. I don’t say a word, for I’ve learned silence says the most, and wait for him to turn to kiss me with damp eyes. He kisses me once more, twice more, before picking me up and carrying me to the room where he fucks his anger away and tells me he loves me twelve times before coming and six times afterward. Sometimes he cries afterward and tells me he’s sorry fifteen times in a row before kissing me and falling asleep.
He tells me he doesn’t know why he gets so angry, but I understand his dissatisfaction with himself and the way life pans out. I’ve watched lost chances and inability crush the spirit of men before, witnessed the light being sucked from their eyes as they come to realize they’re just like the father they always hated. He tells me he doesn’t know why he gets so angry and I bite my tongue and hold my breath. I won’t tell him that it’s the hidden awareness of his being stuck going nowhere or that his inability to better himself is slowing decaying his bones. I won’t tell him it’s the silent truth that nothing changes that’s eroding his hope like waves against rocks—he thinks he’s so strong but I won’t tell him everything has a weakness over time. He tells me he doesn’t know why he gets so angry and I nod in fear that I know too much and one day I’ll give the answers I know he’s not ready to hear.

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