She had gravel in her voice when she screamed, and I listened with annoyance because it was that screaming that kept me from concentrating. She screamed like she was special, like she was losing something, like she didn't deserve to be lying there like that, with the back of her head smashed into the pillow and his cold hand that felt like metal crushing both of hers against the headboard. And I hoped that soon she'd realize that it was nothing personal; it had nothing to do with her, just him. And I finally gave up on the book I'd been struggling to read all evening, and leaning back with my eyes closed, tried to focus my mind on Moon River, whose haunting melody could be heard echoing through the house at any given moment. I listened to his angel voice that spewed out every dununciation he could muster just beneath her weakening shrieks, and I pictured his eyes, pale blue and so tired.
"..ohh dream-maker, you heart-breaker.."
Almost fifteen minutes had passed when the screaming abruptly stopped and was replaced by trembling sobs, which sounded closer and closer as the girl stumbled down the hallway and spilled into the living room, where I sat with half-opened eyes. I glanced up and saw that she was a tiny brunette with big eyes and a pixie face. Her tears and mascara had run down her cheeks, making lines that looked like cracks in her blotchy, red skin. I watched her nervous hands that hugged her skirt against her narrow hips, since she was in too much of a hurry to zip it back up, and I was just as disgusted with her as he must have been. After all, she should have known what she was getting herself into. She should have realized that drug addicts don't make very good boyfriends. And what was she doing going home with someone she barely knew in the first place? She paused for a second and looked at me with her desperate Barbie-doll eyes, as if silently asking me for help, but I only met her tears with my usual tired glare, which shifted to the other side of the room as he tore through the doorway roaring, "I SAID GET OUT!!!" Then he fell back into a chair across from me as the door slammed behind her.
My eyes followed her through the window by the front door as she hurried down the sidewalk and into a neighborhood full of people who were either sleeping heavily or not home from work yet. Then my voice sounded sharply, "Can't you at least gag them with something from now on; I'm sick of all that noise."
But he didn't answer. Instead he sat on the edge of the chair with his head in his hands and stared at the floor with eyes that weren't guilty, just hurt. And I couldn't believe that I'd used that tone of voice with him. I couldn't believe that I had allowed a hint of anger to seep into my voice when I knew that none of it was his fault. He didn't rape girl after girl because he wanted to; it was just something that he had to do, to work out his demons, so to speak. After all, didn't his eyes harbor just as much hurt in the aftermath as theirs did, although admittedly a different kind of hurt? He was a little less than perfect as he sat staring through heavy eyelids at truths only he could decipher. And I couldn't help wondering, as I noticed that his pants were still unbuttoned and his open Oxford shirt had a stain on the front, probably from some nose bleed or another, what had happened to make angels become like this.
Moon River still floated idly around us. Everything was calm, and I had begun to wonder if he knew I was there when his eyes moved up and locked with mine, and then, "You never feel like one of them, do you?"
I looked down and thought it funny that our eyes talked more than we did. And I tried to look thoughtful as I searched for an answer.
"I'm not so sure the world deserves us..."
And finally I looked at his shoes and whispered, "I wouldn't scream."