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“I fear for your heart. You are not trapped my love, but you simply lack the courage to leave this man. Yes, I judge you, but you must agree that my judgment is not harsh. I acknowledge there are far too many things going against you here, but please don’t be fooled for a second; your man is a master!

“His love has turned to spurn. He is vindictive, and relishes seeing you suffer in your polluted space. He’s suffered for years now, you say. So why wouldn’t he want to see you go through the same? The silent treatment is but a preamble, the actual taming is yet to begin. I say these things because your confidence is an illusion, he’ll never let you go. Your situation is wearisome; heck, just talking with you wears me out. These extremes you both take each other to can’t be healthy. He may as well put a gun to your head and pull the trigger. Tell me again darling, what’s your crime? What have you done to this man that has him in such a monstrous rage?                                                                                                                                                                      `

You stopped loving him! How does love ever stop? Love never stops, woman, but desires shift. You must shoulder some of the blame for all of this. You allowed him for so long to manipulate you to a point of madness, and now you want sanity? How in the world do you think this is remotely possible? Sorry darling, but you are a prisoner now. Your only redemption would be a breakaway. Are you willing to go that far? Damn the consequences, defy your family, friends, children and all these outside factors that you use as reasons for allowing yourself be buried alive?

Until you answer these questions honestly and with conviction, I’m afraid you will either submit or…”

  • ••

Taylor Davis paced about. The room was big, but she walked about just within a two-step radius. She heard him. For the first time in six months she actually comprehended what he said. These are the very same words he’d been telling her since she told him she had begun to see a therapist. He had smiled gently, pulled her into his arms and kissed her passionately. When he finally raised his head, he began slowly: “I’m going to tell you exactly what your $150 an hour shrink will say to you darling. He’s going to tell you to free yourself.” She looked at him puzzled by what seemed to her like mockery. That began his stance on her life and what drama unfolded each day. Those words came out differently today, or was it her imagining things? Had she undergone a brain transplant in her sleep and awoken a new woman?

He didn’t miss a thing, what he said was exactly what the therapist had said. She’d made a mental note to punch him in the mouth when next they met; and she did just that. Fredrick Mann was not the sort of man a woman punches and gets away scot-free. He trapped her hands with one of his, licked the blood from his lips, and proceeded to tear off her blouse. Yes, he ripped it off, and pounced on her breasts. Overcome by lust and passion, she helped him with the rest. With reckless abandon, he took her. That day, he simply pushed her over the table and entered her. No words were said, just thrusts and moans. He was brutal one minute, thrusting as though he was punishing her for making him wait so long, and suddenly he would relent. With an incredible gentleness, he pushed in, showering peppered kissed on the nape of her neck, as soft gasps escaped from her. This was heaven and hell. On that last thought, she felt him shiver, and soon the shiver intensified as he climaxed and slumped on her back.

Today she came not for the usual poison as they now called their affair. No, today she popped in to tell him yet again that she knew for sure she was going to hell; at least that was what everyone said. Just as she opened her mouth to speak, he’d placed his fingers on her lips. “Shh, let me talk a while,” he said, and repeated his usual speech.

They’d been doing this for the last year and half, meeting for forty five minutes and ranting about life, love and work. On days when time allowed, they would make love on the sofa and she would put her head on his chest and listen to the gentle thuds of his heartbeat.

  • ••

Today she paced. No words formed in her head, and none came out her lips, today. Taylor Davis was speechless for the first time in her life!