The House of Women

By Sharon E.Simone

VOICES

Global good Voice: You are Woman. Your breath and blood the moon and stars, your soul the salty sea. It is Dark in this house. There can be no singing, no candles lit in celebration.

Woman: I've lost myself.

Man: This is love. You belong to me.

Woman: He HITS ME HARD and breaks my bones and says I make him mad. If I am TIRED he hits me. When I am SICK he YELLS. If I am LATE he SLAPS my face and then gets DRUNK.

Woman: He hates my friends and family. I stay home.

Man: What have you been doing all day?

Woman: Taking care of the kids.

Man: Don't lie to me. I called. You didn't answer.

Woman: I was taking a nap with the baby. SLAP.

Man: You lazy bitch. PUNCH, KICK, YELL, SPIT, TWIST, RAPE. You drive me to DRINK.

Woman: I am so sorry. I will do better.

Friend: You have black eyes, a swollen face. Did he do this again?

Woman: It's not his fault. I am stupid and lazy and get him mad. Don't tell my family, please. Give him another chance. He loves me.

Man: I'm sorry I hit you, baby. You get me so worked up. It will never happen again. I promise.

Woman: I love you. I want to make you happy.

Man: You are the only one who knows how to love me.

Woman's Internal dialogue: Over and over he is sorry. Over and over I believe him. Bruises everywhere too hard to hide. No friends. To punish me for going out he KILLED MY DOG then bought me roses. I am confused. The neighbors called the COPS one night. They told him to settle down and went away. They didnšt write the visit down. He loves me and breaks my ribs. I am crazy. He smells of booze and wakes me up for SEX. FOR HIM. I LOVE HIM and HATE HIM. WHIRLING, SPINNING, CRAZY THOUGHTS FLOODING ME.

Friend: I saw him twist your wrist. You need help to get away. EVERYONE KNOWS he tortures you and killed your dog. We see you TORN and SAD and SCARED. LEAVE, PLEASE LEAVE.

Woman: I told my priest. He says to WAIT, give him another chance. TURN MY OTHER CHEEK. See a therapist.

FRIEND: What about your cheek, your ribs, your soul, your life, your kids, your peace, your home, your SAFETY. (WHO THE BATTERER IS) THE MAN IS A JUDGE, A BRICKLAYER, A DOCTOR, A COP, A SOLDIER, AN ARTIST, AN ENGINEER, A TEACHER, A MAYOR, AN ATHLETE, A MINISTER, A BROKER, BUS DRIVER, SECURITY GUARD, POLITICIAN.

Woman: I read a sign on a bus that said to go to court and get a paper to keep him away. They must be CRAZY to think he will stay away. READ THE NEWSPAPERS. No one stops them. The police told him to “settle down” and drove away. Woman: My bed is bleeding. My head is spinning. I sleep and wake to IMPOSSIBLE DARKNESS all aroundŠa black snap fastened over everything. Tight clasp, ungiving.

Woman: I AM MISSING in the Dark. I don't know what to hope. Dead, I would be out of reach. Missing. Woman quivering in the Dark. Under him. Held fast to him. Stopped. Missing people in the house, the ring and hum of another's voice. EVERYONE'S VOICE missing in the Dark. Angry man rising over meŠsoft sounds of spirit rustling in my chest. DON'T UNZIP ME, man. There is no one to hear my river go out. No places to tear open this Dark can I find.

Friend: Why don't you just leave?

Woman: It is NOT SIMPLE like you think.

Man: I will kill your family if you leave.

Woman: He will kill them and my kids. I don't care about me. I am dead inside.

Friend: You are not dead. You don't belong to him. Friend: Come to our house: The HOUSE OF WOMEN.

Woman: Anywhere I go, he will find me. He will STALK and find me. Friend: WE ARE MANY WHERE YOU WILL GO. WHERE YOU GO HE CANNOT COME.

Global Good Voice: You are Woman, beautiful...your breath and blood the moon and stars, your soul the salty sea.