In our previous blog/podcast, #9, of the memoir, “Voice from an Urn”, Viga’s mother had reunited with her father in Australia. At the point that podcast ended, Viga’s father had just finished making love to her mother when he suddenly, violently slapped her hard across the face. Why? In the second half of this chapter, she tells us why and why she states at the end, “I’ll do whatever it takes to stop him from ever beating me up like that again.”
I NEVER WANT TO BE BEATEN UP LIKE THAT AGAIN!
Podcast 10: Voice from an Urn
“So is this the best you have to offer me now?” he yells. “Was it that good with him that now I get the leftovers?”
“What…what do you mean?” I cry, feeling the sting of his hand burning my cheek.
“What do I mean?” His voice drips with sarcasm as his hand slams the other side of my face. “What do I mean? I mean what you gave that prick you left in Germany, the one you are crying for now. Let me help you cry all those tears out. I’ll help you forget him.”
He pushes me off the bed and I land hard on the linoleum floor. He comes after me, his feet kicking my stomach, my back, my breasts. He grabs my long hair and yanks my head back, slamming his fist into my mouth, my eye. He pummels both my ears. The pain is unbearable. I’m screaming.
“Shut up!” he yells. “Stop that screaming. You’ll wake Viga. Shut up I tell you!”
There’s a banging at the door. He stops, listens. A voice outside asks,
“What’s going on in there?”
“Everything’s fine,” he calls back. “My wife hurt herself on the stove. I’m taking care of it.”
I lie there whimpering as he speaks calmly. He walks over to Viga, who has woken up and is rubbing her eyes. “Dada?”
“Sshhh, it’s okay my little one. Go back to sleep. Mommy just hurt herself. Daddy is looking after her. Go back to sleep.” He settles Viga back in and covers her with a blanket. Then he comes back over to me and stands there, looking down at me.
“Well?” He says.
I can’t bring myself to look at him. I curl into a ball wishing he’d finished the job and I were dead.
“Well?” He says again. “Look at me! I’m talking to you. What do you have to say for yourself? Look what you made me do to you.”
I look up at him in disbelief. I have trouble seeing him. My one eye is swelling up. What does he mean? What I made him do? He answers my unasked question.
“Don’t you know why I’m so mad? Are you really that stupid or do you just think I am? Did you really think I wouldn’t see behind your false smile, your compliments, that you aren’t happy to see me at all? Did you think I wouldn’t know you wanted to stay with him, your lover in Germany?”
“What lover?” I try to lie. “I had no lover.”
“What! Are you going to keep on lying?” He kicks me in the backside again and grabs my hair, yanking my head forward then slamming it hard against the wall. I cry out in pain.
“Be quiet!” He hisses. “Do you want the nosy neighbors to come running again? Shut up and take what you deserve, you whore!” He kicks me again in the stomach, stands back and looks at me. “Get up! Get up on the bed.”
Somehow I raise myself and fall heavily onto the bed, while he lights cigarettes, one for him, one for me. He inhales his and puts mine in my mouth. “Here. Calm yourself down so we can talk.”
I don’t want the damn cigarette. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to hear what he has to say. I don’t want him. I don’t want his child. I just want to die.
“Aren’t you curious how I know what you were doing in Germany?” He asks. I don’t reply. I am not curious. I am nothing.
“Are you so stupid you thought you could get away with it? People talk you know. Do you know how much it hurt me to hear the new arrivals tell me you were his lover? Here I am slaving away, digging trenches, making a home for my beloved wife and child and you are there screwing some prick, giving him what belongs to only me! They must have thought me a fool. But I was just a man who loved and trusted his wife.”
I hear what he’s saying but it’s not fully registering. All I hear is a thundering in my ears, blood rushing to the pain in the back of my head where it was slammed into the wall. How long will he talk? I just want to sleep. But he’s got more to say.
“I can’t believe you did this to me. I loved you so much. My mother did the same. She told me she’d always love me, always be there for me. Then she got TB and died. I was ten. I loved her so much and she left me. When I met you, I gave you my heart, my life, my seed. You were a virgin. That meant so much to me. And now, what have you brought me in return? Soiled goods! To think I put myself inside you after he’s been in there. That disgusts me. I just fucked a whore. And how do I know if he was the only one. How many others did you give it to? How many? Answer me!”
“There were no others. Please…leave me be. I need to sleep…”
“Oh I’ll leave you be alright. You go to sleep while I decide what to do with you.”
He lights up another cigarette and puffs away furiously. I slip into sleep, wishing I might never wake up. But I do, not an hour later. I feel his hands on me. He is gently rubbing my shoulders and kissing my neck. He strokes my hair, then runs his hands down my naked sides to my buttocks. He pulls my backside toward him and I feel him prodding me with his hardness. Inside I cry, ‘no, don’t touch me. Let
me sleep. I am soiled goods. Leave me alone to die’. But he can’t hear my silent pleas and he wouldn’t listen anyway. He thrusts himself inside me and orgasms in minutes. He stays inside, putting an arm over me, lovingly, but possessively. He whispers,
“You are mine, do you hear? You will always be mine. Promise me you will never be unfaithful to me again. Promise?”
I nod my aching head. The pain is almost unbearable.
“Say it,” he commands. “Let me hear you say you will never be unfaithful again. That you will honor our marriage vows and obey your husband. Say it.”
“I promise,” I sob. I’ll say anything he wants me too if it will shut him up and let me go back to sleep.
“That’s my woman,” he says. His voice is soothing, kind. “Turn over. Let me see your face.”
It’s so hard to move but somehow I do. I don’t want to open my eyes and see his face. But I do. His eyes are gentle. The wildness and anger is gone.
“Oh my,” he says. “Your one eye is swollen. People will notice. You must tell them you bumped the edge of that icebox.” He sighs.
“This was so unnecessary. It shouldn’t have happened and it wouldn’t have if you’d been an honest woman. When people told me what was going on, I didn’t want to believe them. I said you’d never do that. How much a fool I must have looked. I hate looking like a fool. Nobody makes me look like a fool. Nobody!”
I hear an angry edge creeping into his voice. Oh no, not again. I can’t take any more of his words, his beatings. I must say something to placate him.
“I’m so sorry. You don’t know how sorry. You are right: you didn’t deserve this. I promise you, Bogdan, it will never happen again. I’ll be a good wife to you and do everything a good wife should. I promise you.”
“So, you don’t want to go back to him? If you do, say so now. I will let you go but Viga stays with me. She is my child. No other man can have her. She’s mine too.”
“No, no,” I protest. “My life is here with you. He wanted me to stay with him, Viga too. But I told him I couldn’t do that. You are my husband. I will never betray you again.”
I hope he believes me as I say words I don’t want to say but I know he needs to hear. I would go to Leszchek in a heartbeat, but I know Bogdan wouldn’t let me leave despite what he says. Then there’s Viga. He’d kill me if I tried to take her.
He is quiet. Have I said enough? Have I convinced him? His response is to start kissing my breasts again, burying his head in them. “Mine,” he murmurs. “All mine.” He straddles me so I can see all of him.
“See that?” He points at his erect penis.” See, despite how you betrayed me, I can’t stop that thing there from wanting you.”
He pushes my legs apart and enters me again, thrusting hard. Though I feel no pleasure, I make my aching body work with his. If this is what he needs to keep him calm, I’ll co-operate. I’ll do whatever it takes to stop him from ever beating me up like that again.
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