Ellen exclaimed as Michael intensified his movement. He began to grunt as the feat was making it impossible to continue without reaching full satisfaction. Her arched back and tense body where signs that she had finished. Her moans, signs of the pleasure he had given her. He felt quite proud. It fueled him. It was his turn now. He began a more intense violent movement. He flipped her over and pulled on her hair thrusting himself harder inside her. She exclaimed but this time with strong objection.
“Stop! You’re hurting me!”
Michael heard Ellen but he did not yield. He continued and she began to struggle. His ears popped, his sweat trickled down on her back. She reached deep inside her and found the strength to push him off. Michael was not a light weight. His six-foot two-inch frame had encapsulated her. It threw him off guard. He was shaken as if woken up from a dream.
“What! What’s… wrong?” Michael exclaimed out of breath. His heart racing up a storm. Ellen’s eyes were fierce. She loved him but she couldn’t deal with the rough sex and his selfish lifestyle any longer. For him it was only child’s play. For her, it was deviant. Too much.
“Michael… I can’t do this anymore!”
“What are you talking about?”
“You… this. This isn’t making love to the woman you love. This is sick. You’re sick!”
“Are you joking? What the f–!”
“No. No f-!”
“But I’m not done yet! Please! Come on! Stop fooling around! Don’t tease me like that!”
Michael pulled her close and she pulled back slipping away from his sweaty grip. She fell back to the floor. Michael suddenly became worried. What was happening? Maybe she was sick. She began to cry.
“Ellen! I’m sorry. Please. What’s the matter? Didn’t you come? I’ll finish it. I’ll help you.”
Ellen shook her head in disbelief. Her love was blind. He was blind. Didn’t he understand her? Couldn’t he see that he was hurting her?
“I don’t believe you Michael! I’ve given you two years of my life. Two years! I’ve put up with your selfish artist life, your selfish aggression when we… when we f–! Yes Michael, f–. You don’t make love to me. You f– me until I have no choice but come!”
“Wait a second. You mean you haven’t enjoyed any of it? Not even when you come?”
“Damn it Michael! You’re not listening to me.”
“I’m not listening! All you do is complain about everything I do! Look at me! You f—ing mess me up and now I’m hurting you? What… taking you out to fancy dinners and buying you expensive jewelry is not enough for you? What? Now the art I sell from my selfish artist’s life to provide you… no, to lavish you with decadence, not good enough for you anymore?”
“You’re a f—ing bastard! I never asked you for anything! Ever!”
“Oh… never huh? What about these and that and these stupid three hundred-dollar shoes! Three f—ing hundred-dollar shoes!”
“You’re insane! I hate you and you can finish all by yourself from now on!”
“Oh really! Well I never heard you complain in that territory. Oh Michael… you’re so strong, oh, oh, oh!”
Michael exclaimed mimicking her as he walked towards her, thrusting his naked pelvis in her direction. She cried disgusted by his behavior. As he got close to her angrily she slapped him. It woke him up.
“You’re the lowest form of human that ever lived. I’ve been so stupid for staying with you. I don’t know why Paul is the only one who gets to see the tender part of you. I get the crap. Correction, I have been getting the crap. But no more. No more.”
Michael swallowed hearing her words. He began to realize the gravity of the situation. They had had arguments before but this time, it was different. He had been caught in the heat of passion and hadn’t seen straight. He regretted every word.
“No. Please Ellen! I’m sorry! Are you…” Michael pleaded anxiously grabbing her arm.
“Don’t touch me! Don’t ever touch me again!”
“Wait… are you… are you breaking up with me?”
He asked rather sadly now.
“Michael… I’ve been wanting to break up with you for the longest time. You just never gave me a good enough reason, until now. Please… I need to get out of here!”
Michael was overcome with anger and sadness and bitterness, all of it. His naked body becoming red as he watched his girlfriend of two years pack her gear into an overnight bag. Her curves no longer seducing him but threatening him, filling him with remorse. What had he done wrong? He never cheated on her. He loved her. He took care of her and she had never complained about sex. She always stroked him with compliments. What happened? He threw himself at her now in a last fit of desperation. Tears streaming down his face.
“Ellen… please. I love you. Tell me what to do! Tell me!”
“I can’t Michael. If after all this time you don’t know. Nothing I tell you will make a difference.”
“No! Ellen! Please don’t leave! Let’s talk! Please!”
He exclaimed. But Ellen could not leave fast enough. She was tired and lost. She wanted to feel protected and nurtured. She was feeling quite the opposite. Michael just didn’t see, she thought, because he was a selfish creature. It made her sad.
“I’ll send for the rest of my things. Take care of yourself Michael.”
Michael was numb. He walked out into the cold evening in the buck watching his love drive away. His neighbor from across the street exclaimed in disgust as Michael made it to the street having followed Ellen’s car out of the drive way. He looked at his neighbor staring at him.
“What! You want some of this!”
“I’ll call the police!” She exclaimed. Michael rushed towards her angrily.
“You go right ahead lady! I’ll make sure and inform them of your f–ing satanic rituals with decapitated chickens and Voodoo shit! Be my guest bitch!”
He frightened her. She was an eccentric, but satanic rituals were not her thing. She decided she better leave well enough alone and walked off leaving a naked Michael feeling lonely and confused. The cool fall breeze began to sooth his heated state as he walked slowly back towards the house. How quickly things changed. The space felt dead, cold. It was as if she never existed. She had taken all the little items that had added the detail of her femininity to his surroundings. Just like that, she was gone. He stared at the tangled sheets on his bed. They were white but they might as well have been tinged with blood. He grabbed them violently pulling them off the bed.
He ran to the kitchen and grabbed a knife. He became like a mad man. He stabbed the bed violently. He tore into the pillows. His violent tendencies quenched now. He wasn’t a horrible person. Sure, he was a little aggressive but he never hurt anyone, he wouldn’t. Paul? Why did she bring him up? Paul was a like a brother to him and he had been going through a rough patch. He was just being a good friend. He continued the violence taking her clothes out of the closet and ripping into them with the knife. When he got to her lacy black dress, his favorite, he couldn’t do it. He dropped the knife and scrounged it in his hand inhaling her scent. His naked body collapsed on the floor, tears flooding his face.
Peggy knocked more forcefully on Michael’s door. She was desperate. It had been almost a week since Paul promised to help her move and she couldn’t reach him. Maybe an all-nighter had turned into three nights and a great lay, she thought. Michael would know. No answer. Peggy began to worry. It was Wednesday morning. Michael usually heads out to his studio around this time. Something was off. She used her emergency key to open the door. She gasped at the violent sight. Shredded sheets, feathers everywhere. Michael is as tidy as they come and Ellen kept everything in order as well. This was disturbing to say the least.
Peggy pulled out her cell phone ready to dial 911. She heard some rustling in the bedroom. Fear reached her heart. Sobbing. She heard sobbing.
She walked in through the feathers and torn clothing. She gasped and turned her head away as she saw Michael’s naked body anchored to the floor. He was crying in his sleep. She grabbed a throw from the closet and covered him. She knelt beside him swallowing nervous knots.
“Michael… wake up darlin’. Michael…”
Michael jumped up exclaiming, grabbing her and throwing her into the closet. Peggy screamed. Michael was out of breath with his eyes wide open now. He had been dreaming. Peggy closed her eyes and pointed at him. He realized he was naked and wrapped the throw around him. He took her hand helping her up.
“I’m sorry. Are you okay? Did I hurt you?”
“Michael what happened?”
“Ellen left me. Hence…”
He said waiving at all the mess he had made the evening before. He was achy all over. His body hurt and his head rang in pain. Peggy swallowed. She remembered how they had found Paul after Jennifer broke up with him. But to find Michael in such a state? She was surprised to say the least.
“Awe Michael… Why don’t you get dressed and I’ll make some tea.”
“Of course, coffee it is.”
Michael wiped his face. He liked to be alone during difficult times but having Peggy offer some nurturing seemed to appeal to him now. Michael stepped into a hot shower and cried. He cried out of anger and sadness. He wanted to walk out of the shower and find Ellen making his favorite breakfast. He wanted to yell out for her to bring him a towel. He wanted her to be there when he set up his next show. He wanted her to be there when all the good things happened to him and all the bad things knocked him down. He cried. It was taking him a while. It worried Peggy. She called out through the noisy shower.
“Michael! Are you okay!”
“Fine! I’m fine! I’ll be right out!”
But he wasn’t fine. He was hurting, broken. It felt as if he was going to collapse as soon as he stepped out into his reality. Peggy started cleaning up. A soaked, broken Michael stood in the bathroom doorway. Peggy gasped.
“Jesus! Michael! Please! Use a towel love.”
She said sweetly grabbing a towel from the bathroom rack. He stood there like a puppet, motionless. He took a deep breath as he stared at the bed. It looked like a disaster area. Peggy wrapped the towel around his waist.
“Take this. Michael please.”
Michael grabbed the towel holding it up without saying a word. Peggy continued picking up the rest of the shredded clothes.
“F– woman! Leave it! I made this mess let me deal with it. It’s my f–ng mess!”
Peggy froze. She knew he was hurting and did not hold the insulting demand against him. She was good that way.
Michael walked out of the bedroom to the smell of cinnamon and coffee. Peggy sat on the dining room table sipping a cup and motioned Michael, finally dressed decently, to sit down. She’d known him for years. He and Paul grew up together. She was always the big sister looking out for them. She knew exactly how he liked his coffee and how hot he liked his cinnamon rolls. Michael sat quietly next to Peggy. He took the cup and savored the smell before sipping it.
“It’s good. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” She said softly. She put her hand on his shoulder shaking him a bit.
“You want to talk about it?”
He answered firmly. He took another sip and looked at her now. It was as if he was looking at her for the first time. Her grey hair streaked through her thick dark strands. Her brown eyes tenderly gazing on him. Her sweater loosely fitted over her figure. Her wedding band beaming as she played with it. She was nervous about something. He knew her well that way. He came down from his cloudy state. Looking at her now, more closely, she reminded him of Paul. They had such similar traits. He was suddenly missing his best friend. Peggy smiled faintly at his gaze.
“Michael… I know you’re going through something terrible right now but…”
“What? What is it?”
“Has Paul been here at all?”
“I’ve been trying to reach him since Sunday. He hasn’t answered my calls. His phone goes straight to voicemail. I’m really starting to worry.”
Michael forgot about himself. It was not like Paul to cut everyone off like that for any reason. He grabbed his cell phone and dialed him. He looked at Peggy curiously. No answer.
“Michael, I really think something’s wrong.”
“Nah! He went to a party Saturday night. I encouraged him to have a good time. Maybe it was too good of a time.”
Peggy smiled. She knew Michael had been there for Paul for months. She trusted him to look out for him. Though Michael was sure Paul was alright he wanted to confirm his suspicion and put any doubt to rest. Most importantly he didn’t want Peggy to worry.
“Let’s go to his place.”
“I’ve already been there. There is no trace or sign of him. His bed is made and I left the keys to my new place on the kitchen counter Friday. They’re in the exact same place. He said he would make copies for me by Sunday.”
“Well, I’m sure he’s fine. I think I know where he is. I just need to go to his apartment”
“Michael! You’re hacking into his computer?”
“I’m not hacking in. He f–ing saves his passwords on all his devices. He’s a f–ing idiot.”
Michael said laughing.
“See! It comes up automatically.”
“My poor brother. Stupid Jennifer doesn’t know what she missed out on.”
“Don’t even mention that witch’s name. She’s a f–ing demon!”
“Michael, don’t swear so much. Oh… his email?”
“Yeah. He got invited to a party by this chick he met at Trader Joe’s. Here’s the invite. By the way he described her she was not really his type. Likely wealthy and probably older. He was all giddy and shit. I’ve never seen him so happy. F–… I told him to go for whatever. I mean I didn’t really expect it to work out. I thought one night of fun to set him down a more positive path.”
“You always knew how to corrupt him. Well?”
“Well, this is weird. There’s no phone number on this invite. But we have an email address and a physical address.”
“Olivia Brown. You think he’s still with her?”
“Only one way to find out.”
© 2017 Mel Gutiér