He’d sniff her weakness. (That smell of subservience.)
Then he’d move in, slowly, for a slower kill.
Her body: the battlefield he’d chosen to fight on.
And her pain always eased his frustrations.
Why? For some sick reason.
His wife and her pain became one, an age ago.
She’d lived the strangled life of her strangling marriage,
Two steps behind his more important steps.
Did she expect more?
Did she want the more she’d seen in other lives?
Bound to be offered by other lives? By any other life.
Then the day came, as surely it was destined to,
When she burnt his dinner in an act of pleasurable, but slight revenge.
Burnt it black enough to crumble under knife and fork.
That evening he burnt to that catastrophic burning of lamb, veg… the rest.
Firstly, he whipped her - like a prison guard - with his articulate, foul tongue.
She had, after all, committed - within his Empire - an act of sedition.
To him, the ruined dinner simply portended worse acts to follow.
But only, he thought, if the transgressor, his wife, were not punished in a suitable way.
He soon realised his tongue wasn’t enough for dinnertime’s crime domestique.
So he brought his fists into the equation of his just punishment.
His fists had, till then, been clenched behind a rigid back
Which affected a posture designed to intimidate.
All such postural gimmicks were parts of his over-done, over-acted, manly affectations.
Shows that included what he took to be the displays of a true patrician’s deportment.
A patrician, he thought, not unlike his own true self.