She watched him freeze at the bottom of the stairs and then he slowly turned around. She couldn’t see his face, but she could imagine his brows deepening, imagined his fists clenching. Oh God, what had she said? What had she done? She heard and felt his feet pounding on the stairs, racing towards her, and she started screaming just as his big hands gripped her little shoulders. She turned her body away, tried to get on top of the landing, but he was stronger.
“What? What did you say, Hana? What did you say?”
She could barely speak through her tears. He dragged her back into their candlelit bedroom, and threw her forcefully on the bed. She remembered a scene like this, when he’d wanted her so badly, he could barely control himself. There’d been candles that night too, and his hands had been just as rough. But this was not that type of night.
He grabbed her shoulders hard and brought her face up to his. Her tears were blinding her, but she could still see his beautiful face, distorted by hate. It broke her already shattered heart.
“For the last 5 years, I’ve been the bad husband. The one who can’t give you children because I have been working too hard, not home enough, too stressed to produce any viable sperm, too this, too that. What is it that your mother said? Huh? What did she say, that I might as well be an 80 year old impotent man? And you’re the one who comes from a family of breeders!”
She choked back tears and maintained her silence.
“Five abortions, Hana? Five abortions? What sort of person are you? I loved you! You’ve destroyed my life!”
She reached out to touch his face and he slapped her hand away.
“Don’t you dare touch me!”
He let go of her and sat on the foot of the bed, his face buried in his hands. Then he turned and looked at her.
“We both got tested, Hana. The doctor said you were fine, and I needed to relax. I read the damn report! What did you do? Did you bribe him? Was he one of your old boyfriends? Was he one of the fathers of your aborted fetuses?”
She nodded feebly and he jumped up from the bed.
“Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ, Hana! Who are you? Who are you?” he screamed.
He got up and walked towards the door. She panicked again.
He ran out the door and she followed, screaming for him to stop, to listen. Her head was spinning. The crying made her head hurt, her eyes were stinging and she could barely breathe. She ran after him, fast, crazily, down the corridor. She couldn’t see anything. She felt like her head was going to explode. But she was not ready to lose her husband.
He was almost at the front door when he turned and saw her flying down the stairs. She was running too fast, skipping stairs, her long gown was flying beneath and around her feet. His breath got caught in his throat, his anger ebbed and he knew something was going to happen.
“Hana, slow down!”
But it was too late. Her right foot landed on a stair, on top of the hem of her silky gown and she lost her footing. He dropped his car keys and bolted towards her, as her body was jerked forward towards the bottom of the stairs. It was all so fast, so surreal as her head hit the wooden coffee table placed irresponsibly close to the stairs and she bounced like a doll onto her beloved carpet. He dropped onto his knees beside her screaming, weeping. God, no!