I roll up my sleeves and switch on the kettle.
Behind the wall, the water shimmers. You’ve having your shower.
The view from our kitchen is panoramic. Downtown drowns in the morning sun, skyscrapers stab the clouds, a flock of geese glide over the Central Park. I’m lucky.
I touch swollen creases in my palm, where my future hides. The fortune-teller warned me. She saw a shadow in the heart line, bad luck in the fate line; but a friend told me not to believe in palmistry.
The kettle wobbles, the water mutters.
I twist my wrists, examine maroon stains that are fading. Almond-shaped bruises once blue, more amber now. My skin has absorbed tens of crimson prints; always too small, too pale to charge you.
The kettle shakes, the water gurgles. Temperature meter rises.
We can afford alkaline filters, water purifiers, ph monitors. We have white marble floors, custom made windows. I’m lucky.
I roll up the sleeves over my elbows, lift the kettle, feel the vibrations of bubbles dancing inside. I raise my hand, turn to the sink, pour the water down my hand. A boiling waterfall splashes off my knuckles, wrists. Blazing drops spatter my neck, cheeks. It burns. It sears. I cringe. I whine, bite my tongue, slide on the floor, shout ‘Help!’
You rush into the kitchen, feet bare, hair wet; crouch next to me.
‘Christ, Jen how did this happen?!’ the burns terrify you. You can’t claim them. Your hands wrapped tight around my arms, this time, to help, lift me.
‘It slipped from my hand,’ I say through my teeth pointing at the kettle.
‘We need to get you to the doctor.’
I’m seen right away. I ask you to wait outside.
Doctor’s hands are gentle and soft; he’s used to handling wounds. Human scars dominate his life. The cream is thick and cold; bandage tight. Wedding ring drowns in the plaster cast. The stinging subsides.
My arms raised, my head low. I sob.
‘How did this happen?’ the doctor asks.
My eyes on the floor. ‘I can’t say,’ I shake my head.
The doctor clears his throat. ‘What do you mean?’
I shuffle around in the seat. I cringe. ‘It was my husband.’ I cry out.
Concern gathers in the doctors’ eyes. He frowns. ‘You need to press charges, fill in a report.’ He opens his desk, hands me the form. ‘You have second-degree burns but we’ve managed to save the skin. You’re lucky.’
I’ve executed my movements well. A nurse takes me to the recovery ward, a man in a blue uniform escorts you.
‘Jen, what the hell?!’ you shout, hands raised, waving.
I touch my hair and remember the strands that didn’t make it into my French twist but stayed in your fist. The fortune-teller was right; it’s hard to snap out. I’m lucky.
Lina Carr is a fiction writer living and working in London. She writes short stories and flash fiction. You can follow her on twitter @LinaCarr_Writer.
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