She hates the TV, hates the continual drone of other people’s voices suffocating her. The talking, talking, talking burrows so deeply into her brain that she can’t find her own thoughts. It’s an addiction, she says without thinking.
He hits her. A surprise. He seldom slaps her that hard. Almost never, but because she’d called him an addict—which she hadn’t—but he says her saying it's an addiction is the same thing, and he hits her three times as he chants I’m no addict.
You’re no addict. Three more times. Hard.
One last time.
She read somewhere that each person is in charge of their own destiny—what they do, what they say, what they accomplish. Choose your battles, the article said and this one is lost only when he’s home. She can be in charge when he’s out.
She turns the TV off as soon as he leaves, switches it back on when she hears his car pull up.
It works for three days.
The fourth night he happens to touch the top of the TV when he walks in. It’s cold. Don’t mess with what you don’t understand. Seven blows.
Now she hits the mute when he leaves the house and hits it again when she hears him coming back. The TV is hot. She wins.
©2011 Kathleen Coskran