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  • Leila Ozkiral

Dating Violence: And Thus The Curtain Falls

He’s yelling again.

It’s the third time this week. She’s cowering in the corner of the kitchen, the knife she was using until moments ago left unattended on the cutting board on the counter. Tears are streaming down her face; his is only inches from hers, shouting, screaming, barking at her. She can almost taste the whiskey on his lips as the bile in her throat rises to meet hers.

He raises his hand. She flinches, bracing herself for what comes next. It’s the same every time; the yelling, the hitting, the healing, the apology. She knows he’ll do it again eventually, but she stays, because maybe "eventually" won’t be "tomorrow." Because "he wasn’t always like this." Because "he doesn’t do this when he’s sober." Because "he’s sorry." Because he loves her.

Because, despite her best efforts, she loves him.

His hand connects. She’s on the floor, bleeding; the ring she had placed on his finger not two months prior had cut her cheek. A sob escapes her.

And then I’m back – holding her, healing her, loving her. I tell her I’m sorry, and I mean it, she knows I mean it. Because I’m not him. At least, not for now.

But I will be. I always will be him.

Because he can’t stop. Because he needs the release. Because he likes it.

And she doesn’t leave, even though he’s slowly killing her. I’m slowly killing her. I can’t control it.

I can’t control him. I can’t control me. I hurt her. But I heal her. I yell at her. But I embrace her. I hit her. But I crave her. I’m breaking her. But I need her. I’m killing her. But I love her. She’s hurting, breaking, dying. All because of me. But she deserves it. It’s all her fault. It’s always her fault. And I think she’s starting to believe it. I’m yelling again. It’s the third time this week. Today is Tuesday. I reach for the knife.


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