I open my eyes but don’t stir. My head is sunken deep into the down pillow, and the fluffy sides muffle the sounds of birds answering the call of the sun. Golden light spills, warm and rich through the bare top pane of the arched window, glinting off the cold diamond that adorns my ring finger as it lies atop my heart.
I am entirely empty of ambition; were it not being done without my conscious collaboration, I should stop my lungs filling and my heart beating. This moment is all there is in the world that I could ever desire.
This calm, warm, quiet moment.
It’s been three days since he last hit me, and I haven’t slept this well in quite awhile longer than that. Not since the child he put in my womb made his appearance thirteen weeks back. The diamond twinkles at me and for a moment I almost let the cheap little reminder kill the mood. But I close my eyes and let my lids bask in the glow that has crept ever closer to the cherry headboard.
Jesus. I’ve been lying here a long time.
Jesus doesn’t voice an objection and I don’t see why I should either. This is the first peace I’ve had since I let him put that ring on my finger. Since I let him “Make an honest woman” of me. Honestly? This woman is happy to have some blessed quiet, happy to lie here undisturbed and damn the consequences.
When I realized I was pregnant there had been no question but to marry him. Where I come from there is still a fairly ugly taboo against women revealing themselves to be wanton sluts by getting knocked up before making it to the altar. It had seemed the very worst possibility that he mightn’t propose.
How naive I had been.
The months since we married I had come to see that nothing could be more soul-destroying than living out my days as his maid and my nights as his whore. Days with his ravenous offspring who only quiets at the sacrifice of a breast. Nights when he comes home reeking of the kind of woman he would never marry.
I take a deep, calming breath. I concentrate on the sunlight, the quiet, the peace all around me. I revel in the full night of deep and uninterrupted sleep I’ve had. I try to secret away these sensations, as though later I might experience this bliss anew. I have to get all of it I can, now, while it lasts. Despite the intensity of the sun as it passes through the glass, the bodies beside me are becoming cold.
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