Monday, December 20, 2010

The Tawanda Chronicles- Part I



He called her a dumb bitch as they walked through the door of the truck stop.  I couldn't imagine how someone could be in such big trouble so early. It was only 4:30 in the morning.  I was there at my usual time to gas up and grab some coffee before getting on the road for my trip to work. The cashier and I exchanged nervous glances at each other as they continued their argument right there near the coffee kiosk.  She had obviously made some sort of mistake with the map, or directions and he was making certain that she and everyone around knew it.  He bullied her up one side and down the other and all she could do was sputter apologies.  She even did some of the work for him as she began disparaging herself as well.  "Well I can't read maps and I'm stupid that way and I just don't know what happened and I'm sorry, I'm sorry I'm sorry" she whined pitifully.

He chimed right back, "You got that right, you are stupid, you can't read a map, you can't do much at all.  You are one dumb bitch.  I have to tell you how to do everything. You can't cook, you don't even clean the house.  What the hell CAN you do, anyway"? 

I couldn't help but stare in disbelief at what was unfolding in front of me.  I thought I was watching a Lifetime movie about spouse abuse because this conversation could have been extracted from any "wife beater" script.  I could only imagine what went on when they were not in public and that made me angry.  Anyone who verbally abuses a woman in that manner is most likely beating the hell out of her as well.  Thinking about it made me furious.  I sometimes wonder how and why women don't leave men that treat them that way but this one is probably terrified and for good reason.  

He told her she better take her bathroom break now because they wouldn't stop again til they got home.  She walked past me and as she headed for the restroom. I wanted to grab her by the arm and walk her right out of there and drive her to some place where she would be safe.  I imagined she'd refuse, or her husband would have something to say about it.  I felt helpless and still angry all at once.  I didn't know what I could do.  Didn't even know if I should do something.
I turned back to the coffee kiosk and grabbed a styrofoam cup.  I poured myself a cup of coffee, and that was when Mr. Wifebeater sauntered over next to me and began pouring himself one as well.  I ignored him and went about my business, adding 4 or 5 of those little cream containers to my coffee. He glanced over at my lightly colored coffee and snorted out a snide little remark, "Hey, having a little coffee with your cream"? 
He thought he was brilliant.

I felt a bomb go off inside me. No one would have blamed me for punching that man right then and there. Or worse. I know wanted to.  My adrenaline had already been summoned thanks to his notorious entrance a few moments earlier. I don't know what set me off worse, the way he talked to his wife or his brazen, twisted notion that he could talk to any woman that way. What arrogance!
I turned my head and glared at him.  Through my clenched jaw and gritted teeth I growled back at him, "Who the FUCK, asked you"?  I emphasized the "F" word as loudly and harshly as I could.  I watched him recoil.  I don't think any woman ever spoke to him that way before and he was shocked.  I was so full of anger I was hoping he'd take a swing at me so I had a good excuse to knock him on his ass. In fact, I was so enraged I found myself fantasizing about him following me out to my truck where I kept my gun.  I was ready for him to start something with me there so I could have a legitimate reason to blow him away. For the first time in my life I actually felt fully capable of killing someone.  Not just capable, but eager to do so. That frightened me.  I realized I was giving Mr. Wifebeater  too much credit, too much power. He didn't say anything else to me so I turned away from him and back to my coffee.
I needed to get out of there.    I needed a lid.  I quickly dropped one onto my cup.  As to what happened next I can only attribute to unspent adrenaline.  I must have pressed the lid too tightly to the cup.  The cup collapsed and coffee erupted sideways. The entire counter, most of the napkins and Mr. Wifebeater were now covered in coffee, light no sugar.
There was a moment of suspended silence.  I saw the cashier's eyes widen in anticipation.  No one said a word.  
Some may say that my subconscious probably played a role in causing this to happen.  I really can't answer to or argue with that line of reasoning because I don't have access to those files.
I know it was not deliberate but I am certain it unfolded just as it was supposed to.

Mr. Wifebeater just looked at me and began wiping off what he could with the remaining dry napkins.  He said nothing.  I had silenced him for now.

I paid for my gas and the wasted coffee and hurried back to my truck. 

 I didn't need the coffee anymore.

3 comments:

Michelle said...

That is truly terrible situation--witnessing his verbal abuse and being unable to do anything about it.

A little karma for him? I'd like to think so. For her, I'm sure it wasn't nearly enough.

ehowton said...

WOW! You're so cool.

dentpipe said...

Damn! You made me want a cup of coffee and it's 12:22 AM!