Domestic Conflict

The following piece contains scenes which may be distressing for some readers.

The noise is muted. It’s just a buzzing dull throbbing in the back of my head that I can ignore.

The hand, however, is a problem. The hand is what your eyes are drawn to, what your heart palpitates on seeing clench and tighten on fabric. We fear the physical so much more than the words, because it’s real and here and now. We can’t ignore the hand.

It’s probably better that I’m blocking out the screaming. The words would hold threats and such aggression that my mind would tremble and hide in the safety of my subconscious. Block out the noise. Focus on what can be stopped.

The woman is pale and drawn. She’s bug-eyed but her eyes can’t stay open, she’s sagging with loss of oxygen and her mouth opens and closes like a gutted fish. I’m pretty sure she’s not hearing her own voice, the scrape of vocal chords constrained and grating on each other in a terrible terrible pitch. All she will be hearing is the thud of her own heartbeat, and her ears crackling with the pressure.

The hand contracts and I’m watching listlessly, with a dull curiosity, each muscle and knuckle, each fingertip white and bloodless from the pressure. I can’t do it now.

Lips moving, the spit flying into her face, she can’t wipe it off. It is uncomfortably easy to watch her, frozen as she fades.

In the morning they’ll call it domestic conflict, as if both parties are fighting.



The Poor Print

Established in 2013, The Poor Print is the student-run newspaper of Oriel College, Oxford. Written by members of the JCR, MCR, SCR and staff, new issues are published fortnightly during term. Our current Executive Editors are Siddiq Islam and Jerric Chong.

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