The woman was tied to the chair. Blue jeans, hoodie, long loose hair. She didn’t fight the zip ties that were cutting off her circulation. She was clammy; tears streaked her face. Her ears were bright raging red.
He stroked her hair. Told her she was pretty. Beautiful. He loved her. He’d known a long time she dyed her hair. He was ok with it. He asked her to stop dyeing it. She said she would. She promised. When the time was right.
She stopped dyeing it for a while. But she became fearful, her kids looked at her funny. She trimmed her hair, tried to speed up the growth process. She swallowed vitamins. She exercised, she ate protein, she ate vegetables. Her stomach was in constant agony with all the changes.
While she was focused on her personal change, her work life took a nosedive. Her workload tripled, then quadrupled. She was publicly scolded for not taking more work home. Her mental state deteriorated.
She couldn’t focus on any one thing. Her work suffered. She stopped focusing on her personal change to focus on work. It got worse. Ok, I’ll get a better job, then refocus on my hair.
He had supported her when she stopped focusing on her hair. He had supported her when she left her job, although he was upset, with reason. They talked it out, talked it through, were on the same page.
Until they weren’t.
Which led her to be here, tied to a chair, on the receiving end of chastisement, scolding. She was lazy, she was a liar. Just twelve hours earlier she had been his Princess. Now she was the object of his ire. Spun on a dime, months of pent-up frustration erupted from his mouth into her face, a fireball of misery and disappointment.
Disappointment in a decision he had previously supported.
You will never stop dyeing your hair. You lied to me.
You promised you would wait.
You’re taking too long to stop dyeing your hair. You lied to me. You aren’t trying hard enough. Why don’t you just… just… just…
Nobody helped me stop. I had to stop it on my own. Why can’t you JUST DO IT he roared.
I had it so much worse than you. I turned out just fine. You’re just lazy.
Never mind the infinite differences in circumstances. Variables in the data meant nothing to him. He only wanted the end result, quickly as possible, without regard for how the method would affect all of the final results, all of the people involved. He screamed until his vocal chords burned and fused together.
As he screamed in her face, as blood tears dripped from her eyelashes, blood dripped from her nose, the membrane around her brain dissolved, first the right hemisphere collapsed and melted, then the left. Her mind expurgated via her ears, nose, it ran down her throat and choked her. Her stomach roiled and purged, and the melted leftovers of her brain came back up in a grey slippery mass. She coughed, gagged, and hurled up her heart. It flopped lazily down her front, end over end, off her knee, landed with a squishy thud on the cement floor. It stained the grey concrete the color of dark kidney beans.
He stomped out of the room, left her to figure out for herself how to free herself from the chair, the room. He erased her from his memory banks. No more pain for him.
She became suddenly aware she was exhausted. Empty. She never had the words to soothe him. She could never give him what he wanted. Needed. Now her mind was gone, her heart in a puddle on the floor, and she never would.
She closed her eyes. She said goodbye. In her dreams, she told him she loved him. That she was sorry. She tried, but she was insufficient, unacceptable.
She died that night, and woke up to infinite hell the next morning. And the next morning, and the one after that. But, being without mind or heart, she subsisted the rest of her life numb, empty. The memories resided in her gut, the only functional organ that survived, of the times way back, when she could feel something, they had felt something, anger, love, anything. The memories were insufficient, unacceptable, but then, this was hell, and to be expected.