He hit me again, and I went down again, counting stars again, amidst the already swirling swaths of red and white holiday spirit, throbbing and debouched.
Stupid fucking bar crawls. 100s of Santas and one of them, someone who I foolishly thought was my closest friend, had just laid me out across the floor of the last bar on the route. My eye was already swelling shut.
They scraped me off the floor as he continued his tirade, puke from earlier in the evening, crust in his beard. I still don’t know what happened. I used to think that certain things I said set him off, but now I think I was just around as a whipping boy. Entertainment.
Never having a brother, I thought this was some endearing sibling kinda stuff, until I looked back on it with time and distance. When we first met he threw me down two flights of stairs in a whiskey filled rage. He violently tackled me frequently, seriously fucking up my back a few times. Completely sunken into the bar floor, I couldn’t believe he did it again.
He started to rally, his aggression rising again, he moved toward me,and she stepped in. His best friend’s girl, my friend’s girl, she took me home telling everyone she had a steak for my eye, which turned out was a lie.
I prefer not to reduce people to stereotypes, but I knew next to nothing about her. She was Puerto Rican. She was an artist. We never talked. She was boisterous as hell when she was drinking and she was drinking whenever I was infrequently around. She was in an on and off again relationship with my friend for quite some time. They were currently on. He’d meet up with us at their place later. Of course there was an after party.
We took a cab and ended up in their kitchen. I was full of sobs of pain and dread. I loved this guy and couldn’t figure out why he did this to me. We’d been drinking all day, my head wasn’t right but she poured more beer as her fingers poked at my face. Listening to my whines of why.
She cleaned off the blood, applied ice and made me a place on the couch to stay the night. The room spun when my eyes closed and with one eye swollen shut the motion was constant. She helped me to the couch and then, without words, consent or otherwise, she climbed onto me and fucked me.
My confusion didn’t fight and though I’ve tried, I can’t remember more. My friend, her man, came home as she finished. I never did. He was too drunk to do more than stumble to their bed, he didn’t turn on the light. After a long moment of silence, laying still on top of me she quietly slid away to join him.
I dreamt he was standing above me. I woke alone on the couch, in pain, body and mind. I left a note saying ‘thank you’ and slid myself quietly out onto Division St. Blinding, unforgiving midday sunlight, guilt and shame and where the hell is my car, I’ve got to get back to Detroit on time.
I had to get back to the woman who, thankfully, is my now ex-wife, the one who made miserable me, to clean this new stench off my body, to figure out what to say. My face throbbing, my soul sucked, I drove away from the sunset, east, fingers clutching at 10 and 2. No music, nothing to say, just processing shame. With one solid punch as my guide. I broke it ALL that day.