The colours represent another off-night in a string of many. The aged tones of their living room never seem to correct themselves and it’s his tone that colours them that way. She sits on the end of the bed with a child-like absence, giving him the floor till the show is over and the spotlight goes out, but how will this performance end? Will he take the back of his hand and remind the mother of his child that she is the whore that makes him feel like nothing. That it couldn’t possibly be the lack of respect that the world has instilled in ‘half-men’ like him? That it must be this woman who has given up the best parts of herself to fill in the lacking parts of his. She will never understand what she has done to feel as empty as this room, discoloured as a fifty's television and needing a good whack on the side so it can pick up a proper channel.
The passing cars of the living drown out his unbearable sadness staining the carpet, and she has heard this memory of his far too many times in the years they have been bound under a missing God. Why is so hard for him to see she didn’t bring him here but she wants to walk with him anyway? That she is lost too and needs a hand through this forest of fear, of heat-seeking missiles and primary schools, of waves of Chinese villages crumbling under the stress of their own ceilings, of nooses tied by their wearers. She just wants to feel his arms around her heart, but he is stuck on a loop from 1995 and she can press the Next button as much as she likes, but this record doesn’t have a B side.
As he has moves onto the physical part of the play, she does the shopping list in her head while he beats on her face. She wonders whether the detergent will be on sale again this week while he speaks his insecurities through the palms of his hands. If his fingertips could cry, the sound would be that of a wet towel across bathroom tiles.
When she finally comes back to her body she is that little girl again, her skin not fitting properly and no one's there to answer her question but a beautiful doll staring back in the mirror who hasn’t quite found a voice yet. His yelling is so loud it is muted; the words are just noise, like sound waves bouncing around the walls of a tin bucket and congealing to become physically damaging.
Her eyes snap into focus as the cry of her son shatters the fog. A switch flicks and she robotically finds her feet.
The half-man feeds on he need for a new host for his lacking because this woman has learnt to dance to his beatings, and how much can a crying, four-pound bag of meat learn from the bluntness of his father’s boyhood short-comings? He mounts the crib with spider-like grace, as the promise of a cocooned meal is something to savour. He reaches down to the neat little package but stops as the face of his son and cold steel of the situation slices through him. How can he hurt a child that carries the last name of his own father? As he turns away from the crib and his rage, the tip of the knife pokes through his the middle of his shirt.
His eyes flash to the wall in front of him as the world rolls from its axis. He wonders why the room has grown so cold and why time feels just like the tape in the player stuck on pause. His feet disappear and his legs become obsolete. His head falls to the hard floor. His body falls in behind it. The room goes dark as a forest as the body conforms to the side of the crib. The crimson bleeds into the undergrowth. She peers through her swollen projectors, carelessly drops the blade and reaches for the only thing in her existence that lets her believe in Jesus.
As she clutches the newborn, only one thought whispers across her mind: I really hope the detergent is on sale, we’re all out.