The Night Closes

Do you ever just sit and think? I do. Sometimes, I think of funny things, happy things, pleasant memories and not-so-pleasant memories. I worry about the future and the past. Kind of redundant to worry about the past, isn’t it?

Nevertheless, I think about it! A lot!

But then, I think of thimgs that have absolutely nothing to do with me; situations that could be real or not. You know, kind of like those disclaimers that authors put a few pages into their books, saying that “any similarities to actual persons is subject to the author’s imagination and is purely coincidental.” Stephen King is big on that! With probably more than seventy books published, he would have to be.

I guess that’s what I will call it. Not coincidental, imagination!

Like the man who comes home to find his wife peeling away her sweaty workout clothes. A simple initiation soon turns into a wrestling match. Nothing malicious, mind you. It’s happened before and produced excellent results. But this time is different. The husband winds up with a sore crotch, a deep gash on his forehead from being spun around by a right hook and smashing his head on the foot board, and a busted eye to round it out.

The wife stares at her fist in shock, and shock turns to horror when she sees the blood pooling on the floor. He climbs to his feet and staggers out of the room. She tries to help him, but he shuns her. Dressing in haste, he is careful to keep the blood from his eye. And with a towel covering half of his face, he stumbles out the door and heads to the hospital.

With the excuse of many battered women being that they fell down the stares, I wonder what his excuse will be? Dinner plans for that night are canceled. The husband receives several stitches and is diagnosed with a concussion. How does a traumatic event such as this affect their marriage? Their sex life?

What of the man who attempts to rape a woman? He’s been divorced for nearly two years and his self-esteem is nonexistent. It isn’t until he has her naked except for her underwear that he realizes what he’s trying to do. The look of terror on her face is like a stake in his heart.

He’s had a lot of those lately.

The woman curls into a defensive ball as he slides off the bed and falls to his knees, weeping. Is he for real? Is this all just an act to gain her sympathy? Maybe get her to lower her defenses?

The weeping continues for several minutes. By then the man is facedown, too exhausted to move. She thinks of calling the police, but hesitates. Quietly, she sets her feet on the floor, and quickly pulls on her clothes. She’s about ready to set foot out the door, when he stops her.

“I’ll give you a ride home.” He sits up. And for the first time, she sees him for who he truly is: a man exhausted, scorned and betrayed, rejected. She surprises herself by accepting.

The ride home is long and silent. Brakes squeal as he pulls up to the curb.

“Why didn’t you…finish?” she asks, not looking at him.

“That…look on your face. How you said ‘please’…I must have looked the same way when I begged my wife not to leave me.” He was crying again. This was a man who was truly wounded. “I’ve tried dating since. All the women rejected me for one reason or another. You don’t have to call the police. I ain’t gonna be doing this any time soon.”

She leaves his car without saying a word. From her front door, she watches as he drives down to the stoplight. She could call the police. For all she knows, she may not be the only woman he’s sexually assaulted. But, then again, maybe he won’t do it again.

She’s too tired to think, too tired to make a decision. Just as she inserts the key into the knob, she takes a final look back at the light. Suddenly, the man’s taillights turn off and he speeds off into the intersection. An 18-wheeler, traveling in excess of fifty miles per hour, slams into the driver side. The car slides off into oncoming traffic, and is struck by a pickup truck.

She sprints down to the intersection and sees his bloody body hanging halfway out of the mangled car. The weight of his sin was too much for him to bear; pain too great and peace too elusive. Falling to her knees, she let’s out a primal scream!

The night closes and the lights go dim…

Graveyard Night

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