Friday Night Is Fun Night by Sara Dennis

Please be aware that this poem contains descriptions of domestic violence. The fourth poem chosen by guest editor Jessie Joe Jacobs is a response to her callout for stories relating to violence against women and the #metoo and #timesup campaigns. If you’d like to know more about how to work for positive change on this issue, try the End Violence Against Women organisation, and support your local domestic violence and rape crisis centres, which are having their funding catastrophically slashed by the government. In Teesside, this might be Harbour or My Sister’s Place.

FRIDAY NIGHT IS FUN NIGHT

Friday night is fun night, I am told.

His face beams as he reminds me.

The children are at their grandparents,

The dog is on the sofa,

The beer is chilling in the fridge,

The merlot is at room temperature,

We can order take away later

If we like, he says.

Everything is in place

For a night of fun.

He locks the doors,

Opens a can of beer

And pours it into a glass.

He only does this on Fridays.

Saturday through Thursday

He takes his beer directly from the can.

Then, he sits.

The TV is off.

The stereo is silent.

He stares at the carpet,

Building himself up

And then…

We’re off!

 

The beer is thrown into my face with such force

That it splashes against the wall and up to the ceiling

The empty glass is thrown onto the carpet

It does not shatter – he is disappointed

And it is my fault.  I have wasted his beer

The beer that I paid for

With the money I had earned

And my choice of floorcovering

Has ruined his desired dramatic effect

We should have wooden floors

He told me we should have wooden floors

I never listen, do I!

Why don’t I ever listen?

I’m stupid! So fucking stupid!

How I got a degree, he’ll never know!

They must give them to anybody

He says.

He slaps me hard across my left cheek

It dares to redden.  This angers him.

He slaps it again and then my right

In quick succession, shouting

AAAAAAARGH!

Like he is Jean Claude Van Damme

On repeat, in slow motion.

‘This is great!’ he yells.

‘Fun night!’

The dog stoops low and tries to escape

But he is grabbed by the psychopath

And thrown hard on to me on the sofa

I comfort my little dog

He is shivering and cowering

I rub his soft, velvet ears

He starts to settle.

But this is wrong.

Very wrong!

What have I done?

 

The dog urinates on my jeans and the sofa

As the psychopath approaches

My hair is pulled and I am dragged from my seat

My head is slammed into the artexed wall

I am thrown to the ground

My arms are pinned to the floor with his knees

As he sits over me slapping each side of my face in turn

Tears and snot and blood and beer fly from my face

Ah he is shouting, ‘FUN NIGHT! FUN NIGHT!’

Over and over and over.

He puts his hands over my mouth and nose,

I cannot breathe,

I cannot move,

I kick my legs up

But they don’t reach him.

I think I will die

I am starting to panic

I have scratched him before

Drew blood from his neck

And was told I was the ‘psycho’

For daring to defend myself.

‘Don’t fight back’

I was told.  By a woman.

‘You will only get the blame

And you will be both

As bad as each other’.

 

He gets tired. He stands up.

Goes to the fridge for more beer.

The dog tries to comfort me when he leaves the room

Licking the tears and snot and blood and beer from my face

I can hear the sea roaring

As the psychopath struts back into the room

It is deafening, and when he talks

I can’t hear what he is saying

I can barely see him

My vision is blurred from the blows to my head

I realise the sound of the sea

Is blood rushing through my body

My heart pumping violently

My adrenaline surging.

I get up to get a damp cloth and dish soap

I clean the sofa – I do it wrong

I do everything wrong

So his criticism means nothing now.

He leaves the house

Locks the doors and windows

Disconnects the phone

Takes the handset and all the keys with him

And fun night is over

For this week.

I sit, numb.

Stare at the wall

Because I don’t know what to do.

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