Julia came home at six in the morning. She quietly walked to her bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed. She looked at the walls, and then spent an indefinite amount of looking at small objects lying about on shelves and her desk. Julia took speed ten hours previous to arriving home. Her face felt hot. She held her jaw, which was swollen and sore on the right side. Julia lay on her back and began to weep.
She closed her eyes for a moment. Sleep was not coming. Julia looked down at her stomach and saw her heart beat near her belly button. The train ride home was over an hour long and the entire time she told herself repeatedly that things would feel better when she was home. Things were not better. They were worse.
Julia called Robert.
“Hey,” she sobbed, “will you come over?”
Robert sounded sleepy.
“Yeah, one sec babe.”
Robert hung up. Julia walked to the kitchen and lit a cigarette. She began to sob again. She could scarcely touch her back to the chair because of the extensive bruising. She hunched over, protectively, holding her cigarette, but not smoking, until Robert arrived.
Julia stared. She stared and thought about when she was young and used to lay on her back and stare up at the leaves of the very giant oak tree in the backyard in Minnesota. In her mind she saw those leaves look almost translucent and shiny. She saw them sway. Julia kept her mind off how horrific things could be by thinking of the oak leaves. Robert would be over soon, and he would hug her while she cried, and he wouldn’t enquire about details, like where a significant chunk of her hair had gone, or why there was dried blood on her fingertips. She could sob and feel safe with Robert. Soon enough.