Last time she’d sworn she would never let it happen again. Explaining her black eye at work was so humiliating with her co-worker friends pressing her to tell them how she got it. The lies kept adding up after time, and she could no longer keep her stories straight.
He thought she was being unfaithful, but God knows she didn’t even have time to look at another man. Much less, have an affair. She would never bring another person into the mess that was her life.
This time it was different. Date night had meant a luxurious meal at the crappiest fast food restaurant in town. Allie was used to that treatment. Her boyfriend was the biggest cheapskate she ever met. The only reason she stayed with him was her inexperience at never having had another partner before. They were teenage sweethearts before he turned into a boozed-up asshole like his own father had been before he left their family and disappeared.
A reflex glance over her shoulder to see who came through the entrance meant Tim thought she was looking at the guy who’d just arrived. Tim’s lack of confidence always got the best of him, and he accused Allie of staring at the complete stranger. Ironically, there was never any reason for him to be suspicious. One partner is all she’d ever had — Tim — and he still suspected she messed around on him all the time.
When the argument raised to a volume above regular voice-level, she was lucky to persuade Tim out of the burger place. She’d learned these coping techniques from the great number of embarrassing fights they had in front of other people. If the bruises weren’t enough, she also suffered the indignation of public humiliation.Friends said he had a very big problem, that she should leave him, get out while she could. They probably never had an inkling how she would do it.
Loud accusations and futile explanations continued in the car and onto the road. Another strategy Allie used to avoid confrontation was to offer affection instead. She could usually count on Tim’s libido to counteract his anger if nothing else would work, so she coaxed him into taking the usual route to go park on a country road. Their spot out by the water tower was secluded enough they’d never been bothered by the police or a territorial landowner, even on that first time when he’d forced himself upon her.
“Get my damn Coke, girl,” he told her before they left the table. She had just enough time to slip two tablets under the lid of the soda after he turned his back. The sleeping pills were ones she hoarded in her purse from her mom’s medicine cabinet, one at a time to not be noticed. Circumstances were bad enough she considered taking them all at once to end her pain. Plans had now changed, and she hoped the pills could quell Tim’s rage.
He grabbed her by the wrist, wrenching her body through the doorway and out into the rain, and pouring his own acid-filled words on her. “When are you ever going to learn,” he spat sarcastically, “to at least not make it obvious if you are going to screw these dudes behind my back?” No amount of denial would convince him otherwise. Tim jerked her arm, spun her around, and shoved Allie into the car. His face contorted and his ice-blue eyes flared as he accused, “You little lying ‘ho! You’re lucky I have anything to do with you at all.” Allie lowered her head, water dripping off her already wet hair, and sobbed. She kept her eyes on her lap as she willed the time away until the chemicals began to take effect.
Tim cranked up the car radio and slammed his fist on the steering wheel to the beat of the droning music. He calmed a little on the way, the heavy dosage of her mom’s prescription having the quick reaction time she desired. Apparently the taste had been covered up with the Jack Daniels mixed in his drink, and Tim’s driving on the rain-slicked roads showed he was quickly becoming intoxicated by both substances.
The car almost slid into the ditch when they finally arrived at their destination, and Allie helped him put the gearshift into park. He fumbled across the bucket seat to make a half-hearted attempt at reaching over to Allie before his head became loose and wobbly atop his spine and he slumped over onto Allie’s left shoulder. She pushed him back over onto the driver’s side so she could maneuver the gear into reverse and crank the steering toward her, effectively backing the car down a muddy path of the adjacent incline. The car came to rest, but Allie left the gear where it was to suggest Tim’s drunken driving was the culprit of his now impending demise.
She knew her fingerprints were everywhere inside the car, but that would be expected from their long-term relationship. A feeling of excitement and relief simultaneously washed over her at her realization that relationship was just about to end, and she scrambled into the back seat to exit the car from the driver’s rear door.
Allie checked to make sure the car’s tailpipe was where she intended, jammed into the mud bank where no exhaust could escape it. She crossed her fingers in hopes the carbon monoxide would well up inside the car with Tim and end his tirades once and for all.
It took the girl two hours to walk home in the rain that night, but her mother was asleep when she arrived. She was none the wiser of the late hour when Allie got there, but it wouldn’t have been that unusual anyway. Allie was ready with a typical explanation of how she and Tim had argued, and he’d kicked her out of the car and sent her hoofing it home.
Her mother was not surprised at Allie’s grief and consoled her despondent daughter when they received news of Tim’s untimely death the next morning. However, no one was shocked at how he was found asphyxiated on a country road with drugs in his system and a blood alcohol content. So sad for such a young man.
As for Allie, she’d never have to defend herself to someone like him again.
*A writing prompt at Studio 30 Plus this week was “unfaithful.”