Chapter Four

To use fear as the friend it is, we must retrain and reprogram ourselves...We must persistently and convincingly tell ourselves that the fear is here--with its gift of energy and heightened awareness--so we can do our best and learn the most in the new situation.
Peter McWilliams, Life 101

Danielle nervously fidgeted with her keys. She had gotten behind schedule and she hoped she had arrived home before Donald had. She first unlocked the deadbolt. That was a good sign. She then managed the doorlock and cautiously opened the door.
“Hello, anybody home?” she called guardedly.
When no answer came, she let out a sigh of relief and stepped in. She put down her purse and stooped over to untie her shoes. She had prematurely allowed herself to relax and was caught off guard when both of Donny’s hands pushed against her shoulders. She fell over backwards with her butt slamming against the still open door. The door slammed shut and Danielle slid down to the floor.
“Where the hell have you been?” challenged Donald. His face was red and his eyes were bulging.
“I just went to the mall,” Danielle lied. She didn’t dare move, afraid of another onslaught.
“What for?” Donald was a master of verbal abuse. Although he only stood five feet seven inches tall, his two hundred and five pound frame towered over Danielle as she cowered on the floor before him.
“I didn’t buy anything,” protested Danielle in defense of herself. “I was just feeling a bit claustrophobic and needed to get out. I wasn’t gone very long.”
“Who were you with?”
“No one. I just decided to go at the last moment.” Danielle slowly started to stand up, keeping her eyes focused on Donald’s hands. She knew better than to look at his eyes. That would be correctly interpreted as a challenge and although, at five-seven she was not much smaller than Donald, at a hundred and fifty five pounds she was certainly no challenge for Donald. Even if all things were equal, size-wise, she knew her strength would never be a fair match against his rage.
Finally standing, Danielle added, “I didn’t think it would be a problem. I got everything done here. The place is clean and the laundry’s done.”
“Yeah well, where’s my supper?” Donald was losing momentum. It was taking too much effort to continue any further argument. Donald had a vein on his forehead which was always engorged when he became agitated or enraged. Danielle noticed it had subsided and began to relax again. She correctly assumed that he had been waiting for her for some time and had pre-meditated exactly what he was going to do and say once she arrived.. He had proven his superiority and re-established his male dominance. Once he completed what he had set out to do, he was at a lost as to how to proceed further
“I’ll get to it right away,” apologized Danielle.
“And none of that instant crap,” Donald demanded.
Danielle asked even though she had already decided on their meal, “Spaghetti okay?” She knew he did not care but the offer would help solidify his status in the home.
“Fine.” Donald agreed, but added, “Just don’t put too much of that spicy shit in it.”
The threat had subsided and Danielle could look forward to a relatively quiet evening as long as nothing unusual happened to set Donald off. Had she arrived a few minutes before him, she would have had supper cooking on the stove and there would not have been any need for confrontation.
Danielle went to the kitchen while Donald retreated to the living room. He parked himself on the couch and flicked through the channels on the television. He finally settled on a rerun of the Simpsons and zoned out.
“Thank God for TV,” she thought. For a while she would be safe.
The separation between the living room and the kitchen was merely a countertop. This kitchen, dining area, and living room where really just one big room. There was a short hall off the kitchen area which led to the bedroom and the bathroom. It was not much but it had been their home for the past four years. The longest they had ever lived in one spot.
She set the water on the stove to cook the pasta and started to prepare the sauce. Donald did not care much and probably could not tell the difference, however, Danielle enjoyed making her sauce from scratch. She found the process relaxing and she enjoyed the meal better than settling with processed food. Donald’s comment about instant food was redundant since the only time he had instant food at home was when he cooked something for himself. Those occasions were very rare and then were usually limited to micro waved pizza pops or burritos. If it could not go straight from the freezer to the microwave to his stomach, he could not cook it nor would he even try.
Danielle announced supper would be ready in half and hour. Donald merely grunted. She looked at him in frustration as he gazed at the fifty-two inch screen before him. The set was obviously his choice. Danielle had little use for television and resolved to herself that should she ever be freed from her situation, she would refrain from purchasing a television for herself.
She was very thankful that they did not have any children. Although she would loved to have had children of her own, she was fearful at what kind of influence Donald would have been and even more fearful at what he would have done to them. What a waste of skin he was. She glanced up at the antics of Homer Simpson and could not help but compare the similarities between Donald and Homer. She easily decided to herself that Homer was the better choice between the two.

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