The fight had been going on across the street for over an hour.
The woman screeched on and on –
pitch so high, it pierced my brain
and I couldn’t sleep.
A man’s voice rumbled out
whenever she stopped to breathe,
vibrating through the foundations.
I couldn’t make out what they were saying,
but they went at it often enough
that it didn’t matter.
The street didn’t get involved after last time,
now there were just the tired ones
with work in the morning
shouting at them out of dark windows
to shut the fuck up.
The screaming stopped abruptly,
followed by a series of low concussions
and smashing glass.
And then it was quiet.
A flashing car turned up soon after
and two rough cops knocked on their door.
The woman stepped out on to the pavement with one of them,
stumbling in her heels,
while the other disappeared inside.
She wobbled there, hands animated
and shoulders heaving
as the tears fell down
her make-up streaked face.
Not a mark on her,
but putting on a good show for him,
as he wrote down her half-slurred words.
Then the door opened again
and the man was led out by the other cop,
hands cuffed behind his back
and blood pouring
down the side of his face,
staining his torn shirt.
He was bundled in to the back of the car
without a sound,
as the cop thanked the woman
and promised she was safe now.
After the car pulled away,
she stopped sobbing
and stumbled back inside.
Through the window I watched her
pour another glass of wine
and flick on the television.
They should send women to war, I thought,
as I climbed back in to bed.
It would be over far more quickly.
© 2016, Gavin Zanker.
Photo by Lee Haywood licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.