Spousal Abuse: It’s Only Funny When It Happens to Me
I’m not an idiot. I know spousal abuse is a terrible thing. Or, as the one and only billboard in my home town states, “Woman Abuse is Wrong”. That billboard is just off main street not far from the street sign that warns of a Dead End, which stands right in front of the town cemetery. That cemetery is conveniently located a stones throw away from the town hospital that doubles as an old folks home. But I digress.
My point is that spousal abuse is obviously wrong, and is never a laughing matter. Except, well, when it is a laughing matter. And in my case, it is. Always.
How could this be, you ask? Well, my BF beats me in my sleep, which is ridiculous. In his defense, he’s sleeping, too. And while a swift kick to my ass knocks me off the bed, that dickhead doesn’t even wake up! He just completes his awkward roll over and gets on with his life. I used to politely wake him by screaming bloody murder, and he would bolt upright in bed, looking around feverishly for an intruder. With his hair all tousled, his wild and confused expression, he looked fucking adorable but I did my best to stay mad until I fell back to sleep.
It has got to the point now that I don’t even wake up anymore. Knee to my back? I just roll over. Palm thudding onto my face and then just resting there? I fling it away without even a blink. Elbow to the eye? Okay, that one was actually an ex-boyfriend and I did wake up upon impact. I also suffered a black eye for nearly a week. Wait. I see a pattern emerging. Is this my fault? Do I subconsciously seek out partners that lack the basic ability to stay still when they’re sleeping? Maybe I need a therapist.
More immediately, I need an ice pack. I woke up Sunday morning at the cottage with an extreme soreness in the back of my thigh. Checking it out in the mirror, a huge, puffy bruise was just emerging. I immediately blamed my boyfriend.
“You asshole, you kneed me in your sleep again. We’re in a king size bed, for fuck sakes! It’s, like, a billion times bigger than our bed and you still manage to knock into me?”
He looked guilty. Guiltier than usual, even. And he looked like he wanted to say something. I glared and he wisely kept his mouth shut, besides offering to make me coffee. It was a good start. At least, I thought so at the time. The next morning, however, the bruise had fully formed. I had to look three times because what I saw was not the round mark of a kneecap. Instead there were big blue and purple marks that revealed a palm and some fingertip impressions.
I stormed out of the washroom and in my scary calm voice demanded, “What did you do?”
With the sorriest expression I’ve ever seen (even sorrier than the one my ex gave me when he saw my black eye, although that apology was way better because it was accompanied with a diamond tennis bracelet), my sweetie explained that he had stumbled into bed after drinking entirely too much while sitting around the fire on Saturday night/morning. He didn’t want to wake me so he tried climbing into a strange bed in a strange room in the dark. The bed was much lower than ours at home so he miscalculated while climbing in, slipped and landed with with all of his weight on his hand against my thigh.
“Honestly,” the boyfriend admitted. “I have no idea how that didn’t wake you up. People downstairs heard me fall. Everyone kept shouting to see if we were alright.”
I probably could have unleashed my own form of abuse at that moment (verbal) but the image of my drunken boyfriend panicked and shushing everyone after stumbling around in the dark and crashing into bed made me laugh entirely too hard. As did all of the invented explanations I could offer up, should any body ask about the hand print when I slipped on my bathing suit later. I settled on, “He has bad aim,” followed by, “if you think this bruise is bad, you wouldn’t want to see my ass.” Fortunately, I was caught up in a fierce badminton battle that prevented me from jumping in the lake that day so no one saw the evidence of my boyfriend’s shame.