There was that dark twinkle in her eye again or irritated twitch depending on the angle. She laughed as the shards of glass crackled in the blades of her hair embracing the rapid stream of blood barely missing her right eye. She was creatively devious in that way; injuring herself when I threatened to call the cops or leave.
“Go ahead…call the doughnut patrol…who do you think they’ll believe?” she taunted.
She was right. The cops never wanted to hear my side…they always ran to hers; they were “her” protectors and I never had a chance to explain my side of the story like I am now.
In a blink of an eye I still wondered how I got here. How did I allow her to manipulate me and abuse me to the point I’m defenseless. I guess the only way to understand it is to relive the past.
Not to tattle on myself…but I’ve had my fair share of women. Being a personal trainer has its own benefits. Physical recreation of the beauties fueled my ego of being that primal man, but after a while, like everything else, it got old.
Maybe I had a biological clock ticking too because I started to think of a more appealing future that included a family.
Then one day I met her, but not as one of my clients pumping weights or bouncing on a fitness ball. Nope...it was on Beltway 695 when she hit my SUV.
Of course she was not paying attention when her ear was glued to her cell phone and she failed to stop, thus doing more damage to her car than my fender. Road rage followed as she began blaming me for everything when she was the one tailgating. We started to argue and that was when the police showed up. There was a rough patch between the insurance companies so we kept in touch. One day we met for coffee after the settlement and from there it was history. As our relationship blossomed into something more serious, I decided she should meet my mother. I thought for sure they would hit it off, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
“So mom…Fionna is great isn’t she?” I asked.
“Leigh, honey…you know I want you to be happy so don’t take this the wrong way…I don’t think she is the one for you”, my mother confessed while she dusted my childhood baseball picture.
“What! I thought you guys were hitting it off great”, I said.
“Look she appears “sweet”, but there is something about her I don't like. It’s hard to explain…almost as if she has like a negative side”, my mother worded carefully.
My mother walked on hot nails with me, but I respected her honesty so I tried to be civil.
“You may not like her now, but just give her a chance for me”, I requested softly while I touched my mother’s shoulders.
“I will try, but just be careful my son”, my mother warned..
I went free falling from cloud ten so when I hit cloud nine I was ready to propose. However, I stalled until she had the pleasure of meeting my closest friends.
We all went camping for a weekend and Fionna showed off her love for the outdoors. Fionna was the master chef of smores, an awarding camp fire storyteller, an advanced hiker and even had the b*lls to put her own worm on the fishing hook. Everyone had taken a liking to her right away, except for my friend Trisha. Of course Trisha didn’t like her because she was one of my x-girlfriends.
“She’s something isn’t she?” I gloated.
“I’ve got to hand it to you…I’m impressed, too bad she’s got you fooled”, Trisha answered.
“What do you mean?” I questioned back defensively.
“Leigh…you know I practically get along with everybody, but I have this nagging feeling she is trouble”, Trisha explained.
“You sound like my mother”, I sighed.
“Good, listen to her. Remember, she was right about me because I was too controlling”, Trisha laughed.
“Yeah and you still have your meat hooks in me right now”, I laugh back.
“Alright…all joking aside…do you really love her?” Trisha asked cautiously.
“Yes. She means everything to me”, I stated to Trisha staring her square in the eye.
“Okay then, if I’m invited to the wedding, I’ll be cheering for you in the front row”, Trisha smiled.
“Nothing would make me happier”, I spoke.
So the day came to pass I saw Fionna’s overjoyed face weeping while she walked down the aisle. A harmonious glow seemed to enlighten her bronze skin as we stood apart from one another tightly holding hands. We recited our vows absent to the fact two hundred people were hanging onto every word.
Then the chase began. Just after we shared our first kiss as husband and wife she whispered deep into my ear “I own you”.
I didn’t take her literally; after all there can always be that ball and chain metaphor after marriage…a short leash joke if you will.
We settled into our modest apartment and that’s when all the crazy series of events happened.
The first incident occurred in the grocery store. We were shopping for the first time together planning out healthy meals. Since she was not working, I created a grocery budget of one hundred and fifty dollars a week. No sooner than walking past the third grocery aisle, I noticed we were well beyond budget and kindly brought this to Fionna’s attention. She didn’t say much just cited she had a big appetite and ignored me as she kept tossing food into the cart. Needless to say the bill was over three hundred dollars.
When we got home she seemed happy. She started dinner by boiling the water for the potatoes. I walked over to her barefoot when suddenly she poured scalding water on my foot. She claimed it was an accident as I suffered in agony with second degree burns. She made fun of the fact I had fluid filled blisters and had cancelled my client’s sessions. She told me several times to quit acting like a baby.
As weeks passed, I noticed her sneaky habit of back slapping me whenever I challenged her. At first I wasn’t alarmed, I actually found this aggression kind of cute in an odd way because I did'nt take her attacks seriously. But all the laughs stopped when her hits became more deliberate, powerful and started to leave marks. At times, when her hand would tire, she would use any common household item to hit me with. One day it could be a salad plate in the face, another day a hot iron on the finger or a reverse scalping (stapling my hair to my head while asleep).
I didn’t piece together what was going on and denial can make you blind to almost anything. I slowly started to make excuses for her and thought everything would be okay once she worked on her anger. Once fights intensified, I tried talking her down, but everything had to be my fault. Soon my words were nothing but wasted air and I started to blame myself.
After nine months, things started to spiral out of control. Since the economy had been hit hard and Fionna was still not working, I was forced to take a second job. I didn’t tell Fionna, but given our circumstances I thought she would understand, but she did'nt.
She marched to the kitchen and grabbed a butcher knife from the wood block and threatened me with it. “You think you can just do what you want behind my back…we’ll you’ve got another thing coming. I believe you need to be taught a lesson in obedience, so tell me where you want you first slash?”
I called the police. Enraged that I called the police to report our domestic disturbance, she sliced herself on the forearm then threw the knife on the floor.
“Look what you have done!” Fionna screamed.
When the police arrived they had taken one glance at me then wrestled me to the ground because of my boulder size. While sitting in handcuffs I explained to sergeant what happened and gave him a grand tour of my body scars inflicted by my wife, but he dismissed them. All he could see was Fionna being the crying victim; shivering like a chilled fever. They had taken to her act like a dog to a bone.
I could plainly see Fionna grinning behind her crocodile tears, but the police just had their eyes fixated on me like I was the scum of the earth. I knew at that moment this fight would be mine alone. She had the control and could conspire everyone against me. I never imagined being labeled a wife beater, while she walked tall as the real aggressor.
Getting arrested seemed likely, but Fionna didn’t press charges. She had more manipulation up her sleeves. Fionna scheduled couples therapy for us as a stepping stone to build a case against me. In private, I confessed to the therapist of how Fionna was the real culprit, but she told me lying would not resolve my rage or help my marriage. Again, I was dismissed and it didn’t matter how I cried wolf because she was always the lamb.
Needless to say my personal life overflowed into my work. I could see my co-workers and clients give me hard stares at the marks, scars and bruises on my body. Ashamed of the truth, I kept quiet. Then people started to ask questions so I gave them some pathetic excuses to satisfy their concern. I would say something like I fell while mountain biking, pinched myself on weights, car accident, motorcycle mishap, slipped in the shower, dog bite, cat scratch and so on, but I was running out of feasible explanations.
Finally I told them I was training in mixed martial arts. It seemed to do the trick, but my close friends and family were not convinced. They knew something was wrong, but I could not reach out to them. They would never believe what I was going through.
Imagine me 6’2 weighing two hundred and forty pounds telling my family my 5’3 one hundred and ten pound wife throws brass knuckles around like a heavy set bar bouncer or kicks steel toes boots like they are holding her back. I would be the laughing stock of the town.
Today here she is with one half whiskey bottle cutting her head and the other still grasped in her hand. What happened this time? I told her I am leaving her, but like before she calls the police and I’m to blame. Again she doesn’t press charges, only sobs to the police that we are getting help for my violent outbursts.
I had enough…It has been over a year and though the love for her has kept me chained I can no longer entertain this. Just as she has built a bull sh*t case against me I will do the same for her. In fear that Fionna bugged my cell, I call Trisha at work on the landline.
“Are you busy right now?” I ask her.
“I’ve got a few things on the back burner, but I’ve got a minute what’s up?” she answers.
“Remember when you warned me about Fionna?” I recall.
“It’s a bit fuzzy, but I think it is coming back to me…oh yeah that”, Trisha laughs with I told you so attitude.
“Well you get a cookie for being right”, I speak while trying real hard to keep it light.
“What did she do?” Trisha instigates.
“The unimaginable”, I reply.
“Did she cheat on you?” Trisha gasps.
“That would have been a walk in the park”, I speak.
“Quit jerking my chain…what happened?” Trisha speaks.
“Fionna’s been beating me”, I burst out.
“Beating you at what?” Trisha asks back without grasping the magnitude of the situation.
“Trisha…I’m being abused by her”, I speak in a lowly voice.
“That’s sick…really Leigh…that’s sick”, Fionna insults
“Trisha…I’m not kidding…whenever I want to leave she harms herself then blames me when the police arrive. I almost have been arrested three times, but as a sick joke she doesn’t press charges. I’m sick of it and I don’t know what to do”, I explain.
“Are you serious?” Trisha asks.
“Yes. I don’t know who to turn to, no one believes me”, I confess.
“If she is really busting your b*lls why don’t you press charges?” Trisha asks.
“Like I just said they don’t believe me. I have tried to get a restraining order, but without enough evidence they are refusing to grant me one”, I add.
“Just kick her out and change the locks”, Trisha advises.
“I've tried, but she harmed herself and threatened to call the police. She does the same thing every time and it works like a charm”, I convince.
“You need a witness that can testify that she is the one beating you. Try to get her to blow up in public”, Trisha suggests.
“I wish it were that simple”, I cry.
“Look, you are the one making this hard. You have two choices, allow her to do this until the day you die or you leave”, Trisha directs.
Before I can respond my co-worker shouts “Hey Leigh your wife is here!”
“I’ll be right there!” I yell back.
I quickly end the call with Trisha and dash upfront before Fionna gets suspicious.
“Hey honey…I was getting my nails done and I had the perfect idea…let’s have lunch together”, Fionna sweetly said in her lovely crowd pleasing voice.
Most men are envious of me. After taking one look at Fionna they are hypnotized, she’s truly beautiful, but beautiful to the darkest of black at home.
A sinister sparkle enchants her eyes as I feel a plot ready to begin.
Two can play this game…
“Honey you know I love spending every waking hour with you, but I have a client scheduled in five minutes, maybe we can do it later”, I counter.
This is the first time I challenged her in public so closely to my peers. She can’t deny I have the upper hand.
“Oh babe… can’t you just cancel the session, just this once?” Fionna begs. This was her way of giving me a second chance for submission before she knocks my head off with those boots.
I can feel myself leaning towards the roll over and play dead routine that I have done so well, but I snap out of it just in time. The love and hope I had for her will just be empty tomorrows of more beating hell into me if I give in.
“While I understand how important this is to you sweetheart, I can’t cancel the session”, I repeat again standing my ground, waiting for her dragon temper to take shape.
“No one comes before me, lets forget about this little spat and go. I’m hungry and you know how I get when I’m hungry”, Fionna speaks in her own language of violence.
My co-worker, who also is a personal trainer, looks at me like I’m the crazy one and speaks.
“Leigh its okay…I’ll take Ms. Kern, you just go and have lunch with your wife”, he winks.
Fionna sees I’m being defeated and holds out her hand for me to grab so we may skip to lunch. I take a step back and refuse to touch her. My co-worker seems a bit confused as I welcome my client who walks through the door.
“Ms. Kern I’ll be with you shortly”, I speak with a smile.
Ms. Kern heads to the locker room as I firmly stare down Fionna. This kind of defiance is boiling her.
“Leigh, I need to speak to you in private”, Fionna demands.
I’m not falling for it. Once away from public view she will do it again, she’ll strike me, and then strike herself. The cycle will stop here and now. It is over.
“Look I know it is not the time or place for this, but I’m kicking you out. I’ll pay for a security deposit and two months rent for an apartment, then you will be on your own. I’m sorry, but I’m tired of your abuse”, I said loud enough so everyone can witness the truth.
Fionna starts her crying act; wanting everyone to feel sorry for her and I know I may appear heartless, but if I’m the real abuser here, I will not be the one wanting to leave.
In front of Fionna’s face I call Trisha on my cell.
“It’s done, Fionna and I are through” I speak out loud.
Fionna storms out of the Gym, but I know once I get home there will be trouble that is when Trisha pulls through for me.
When returning to the apartment, Fionna doesn’t know I have a cop with me just in case she would attack.
Fionna attacks as predicted while the cop steps in and arrests her for aggravated assault. I press charges, put her stuff in storage and change the locks. I also change my cell number, get a restraining order and file for divorce. Finally I feel like I am taking my life back from her teeth.
Two weeks later I stumble upon a journal in the nightstand drawer. I want to flick it into the garbage, but I feel compelled to read it.
To my surprise, she had written down every nice thing I have ever said or done for her since we met, even the times she put me through the ringer. She said this was to remind her she could be allowed to love me. The anger she felt towards men was uncontrollable, but secretly I was everything to her. I cry. Despite everything; the sore skin; a burning tattoo from a hot iron; staple scars; cracked nose and other injuries I dare not remember, I still wanted to fight. I wanted to fight for the woman who loved me. Against all I felt and all that had supported me through this difficult time, call me crazy, but I dropped the charges.
When I picked her up from jail she didn’t say a word. She refused to wear her seat belt or take a sip of my cola, nor did she turn the radio down because it hurt her delicate ears. Fionna just stared into space out the slightly cracked car door allowing the faint breeze to comb her hair.
“Do you mind if we stop for gas?” I ask her.
She doesn’t respond. I fear that underneath her silent demeanor is a beast in waiting. Still the car is almost empty so we pull into the gas station.
After pumping gas Fionna barely speaks, “take me home”.
“We are going home, we’ll be there soon”, I soothe, while still on edge. God only knows what kind of thoughts are brewing right now.
“No, take me home, I have a score to settle”, Fionna speaks.
“Where?” I ask her.
“Six twenty eight Hart Ridge Drive. Do you know where it is?” she asks back without being short with me.
“Yeah I think so…off Center Drive behind that auction place…” I recall.
“Yes, that’s it. It will be the last house on the left”, she softly confirms.
Everything inside screams questions, but somehow I realize the less I know the better.
We approach the house and sit for a second. She turns to me with tears in her eyes…real sincere tears and speaks “Do not get out of the car or they will kill you”.
She touches my chest with a light pat and breaths deeply then gets out of the car. A moment later she is concealed by the thick shrubs. I cannot see if she is okay.
Fionna gets into the car after what seems like a long time.
“Everything is in order”, she smiles and glides her hand over mine.
Something is different about her. The glow that once graced her face is back. “What happened?” I wonder. She has to be the one to speak of it.
The drive is pin drop silent until we reach the apartment. It is clear that I have to confront her with the divorce papers. I only hope she doesn’t kill me.
“Fionna, we have to talk”, I begin.
“I know…there is much left unsaid”, Fionna eases while laying flat on the sofa.
“I just want to start by saying I love you, but after what I’ve been through I think its time to call it quits. I have the divorce papers right here”, I speak while placing the papers on the cocktail table.
“I just want to start by saying I love you too and I’m sorry what I did to you, but you have no idea what I had to go through just to keep you”, Fionna responds with a hint of what she is like.
“Alright…I’m listening…but I doubt I’ll hear anything that will change my mind about this”, I reinforce. I want her to know that even though my heart is soft it will no longer break for her.
“That house we visited today is where my family lives”, Fionna states.
“I thought you had no family…you said you were in foster care for most of your life”, I challenge.
“I was, but when I was fifteen they adopted me and made me one of them”, Fionna speaks.
“Okay…..one of who?” I ask feeling like this is going nowhere.
“A woman that hates men”, Fionna reveals in the most confident way, yet she struggles not to harm me right now.
“Okay, well that explains a little bit…go on”, I encourage.
“That’s only a little part of the madness…but when I said they made me one of them, I really meant they made me into the wild product of nature they are”, Fionna states piece by piece.
“What are you getting at?” I ask.
“I’m a werewolf chosen and turned by a female pack”, Fionna grunts.
“I think I better drive you back to jail or we can stop by one of those inpatient crisis places…maybe one by a lake somewhere”, I respond. I know it is not the smartest thing to say to someone that thinks they are a fabled creature capable of murder.
“When I told them I wanted to marry you, they wanted to kill you, but I told them you would be my pet. They strictly advised me to keep you away. They also knew I had the special ability to resist the change when the moon was full, but it has dire consequences. Each time I resist the change I become more violent, the creature inside me is clawing to come out. These are the times I really hate men… these are the times there is no such thing as control.
To handle myself…I hurt you to a point then caused harm to myself so I wouldn’t kill you. That is why I told the cops you did it so you could get locked up away from me so I could turn, but I didn’t have the heart to cause you to have a record. While in jail I caused a brutal fight to land me in isolation so I could turn. After the change cycle was complete I was myself again. I have clarity, but worse of all guilt of how I treated you. This is my life and I know I’m not worthy of you, but your worthy of me. No matter how I tested you, you never hit back. You are the first that endured the brutality of my other side”, Fionna speaks.
“You know I don’t believe any of this. It sounds like some twisted soap opera my mother would watch”, I smile.
“I know it’s a bit heavy”, Fionna smiles back.
“Fionna I don’t know what to do with you”, I sigh.
“Just give me a second try and this time around I promise I’ll be a good little wife”, Fionna smartly remarks.
“I take it that’s not what you have in mind”, I smile.
“Never”, Fionna smiles.
She kisses me with a small bite and I’m back in the game.
I kept the divorce papers within reach, but Fionna proved her devotion to me. She promised happiness with a few bumps a long the way and that’s exactly what I got.
Once a month for twenty four hours she would change at her family’s house. I never actually saw her change into anything, but it was working. Fionna works very hard now to help support her “appetite” and after several attempts is now getting along well with my mother and Trisha.
Still much is a mystery…the journal…the house…“clan of werewolves”…her strength…her love, but one thing is certain…she is the most loyal woman I have ever been with.