Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

December 3, 2017

The Toilet Flushes And The Screaming Starts

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 1:25 pm

The toilet flushes and the screaming starts.  This tells me it is Saturday or Sunday.

She hasn’t yet made the coffee too weak or too strong.  She hasn’t yet cooked the eggs medium when she knows he likes them sunny-side up.  She hasn’t yet burned the toast or forgotten the marmalade he likes.  That will come soon enough.

But, for now, the toilet flushes and the screaming starts.  It has gone on now a year.  A year that I know of.  It could be ten for her.  There is a child between them, after all.

“Call the police!”  I hear.  It is easy from outside.

But they don’t realize how she’ll pay for that call.  I do.  I know this close.

The officer comes and he’ll call the officer “Sir”.  He’ll tell him that the TV was on and that there was shouting on the movie he was watching with her.

The officer will ask, “Are you OK, ma’am?” and she will be scared.   Her eyes will plead with the officer:  Take him!  Please help me!  Take him away!

But she’ll tell the officer that everything is fine here.  And so he will leave.

He will blame her for that.

Even if they arrest him, he will return.  He will blame her then, too.  No matter how long they keep him, she knows he will find her again.  She knows.

The toilet flushes and the screaming starts.

I know the house is clean.  I heard the vacuum last night at midnight.  The scrubbing.  The hopeless dusting.

What could have happened, I ask myself, in that two seconds between the flushing and the screaming?  How could there be so much to scream about already this morning and the one before that?

What could possibly have made him THAT mad in the waking seconds of any morning?

He smiles at me, sure.  He asks me how things are going.  He is smooth, you know.

But, when they moved in, they dragged armfuls of clothing and belongings that had been thrown into a car seemingly in a hurry.   I remember wondering about that back then.

That was before the flushing and the screaming started.

Right after Christmas, it was.  The ground was sloggy that day, vulnerable underneath my long-suffering lawn that I’ve tried so hard to revive.

As the son dragged armful after armful of haphazard clothes and belongings across my poorly lawn, I politely asked him to please use the sidewalk.  I barely could explain how the lawn is vulnerable when his dad appeared in a flash, demanding to know what I was doing addressing his son.

Fire in his eyes.

A red flag took aim inside me.

I cannot save her, I know.  This is tough for me.  All the flushing and the screaming.   How many times can you call the police, knowing he will blame her as soon as they leave?

Blame her like the toast and the coffee and the eggs…

There’s no other neighbors around me whom he might assume would call the police.  Only me below.  He scares me too.

He’s not there all the time so I know she could leave.  She does not.  When he is gone, she could flee.  Call the police, a shelter, a friend or family.

Get out!  I scream, myself.  Get out before it’s too late!

She does not.

This happened before, just down the way.   Same situation.  Same asshole with a different face.  Same twisted belief that he owns her somehow.  That he rules her.  That she deserves to be constantly corrected and fixed and punished.

We called the police that time.  We called again.  We called and we called.

He killed her, he did.  He killed himself too.  And a young son grows up now as they hide the press clippings.

This one above me…she must save herself, I know.  She must realize she’s had enough in that hair-thin window of time before he does.

She must save herself somehow.  I pray she can.

Before the toilet flushes and there is only silence.





  1. How terrible! I made a call to the police years ago that resulted in a family getting evicted. The man was alcoholic and I think the woman/mother was, too. When police left and didn’t see or hear anything too terrible, they stepped away and waited outside for 10 minutes. Then the woman began throwing what sounded like plates breaking and screaming at the school-age kids. Then the man cane gone and he’ll broke loose. They were evicted the next day. That was a much younger me who witnessed it. I see now there could have been a better way to handle it, in a way that could have resulted in the mother getting real help. But I still don’t know who to call, in a situation like that.

    Comment by Nicole — December 3, 2017 @ 2:11 pm | Reply

  2. This was my life oh so long ago… he was a charmer. Could sell ice cubes to Eskimos. EVERYONE loved him. They had no idea… until they did. He told lots of lies. Called me the liar. More lies… more pain. We have been done for over 25 yrs and he is still doing it to others… now our children. Not the violence, but the manipulation… But all those lies? Well… they have blown up in his face. I feel for the last wife. He has used her too. And now in her 60’s she is in the same place… that I was… broken. Clueless. Lost. And she knew his secrets… where I didn’t. Secrets are painful. They bubble up and overflow into fists. At least that is what happened to me.
    I hope your neighbor can find peace. The child could be removed though… that might be for the best.

    Comment by Barb George — December 3, 2017 @ 4:53 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: