E3: Eggshells

E3: Eggshells

The Secret, Episode 03 – Eggshells © O.W. Showe

The feeling is sticky and slimy, yet somehow delightfully hollow; not to the aggressor, of course. For the naively sappy, glass halfway full type of lover, the sensation is tantamount to monumental suffrage, courtesy of the depravities of romantic infatuation. His glaringly insensitive, yet astonishing cavalier declaration of “I want a divorce” over a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon launched her into a state of utter shock. She drifted towards the lengthy moments of intimacy shared the less than twelve hours previously, confounded. 

A little over a decade… A little over a… A little over. They were beyond the state of a divorce realized, yet, each morning they dipped their respective paintbrushes into buckets brimming with facades as thick as lacquer. With each painfully dimwitted stroke, she sunk further into self while he reveled in the possibilities of a clandestine lifestyle that was overshadowed by a wife and children.

“Should we go speak with someone, or…” the answer was encoded within the question. Of course he wasn’t going to “talk to someone,” a mutually agreed upon sentiment through the inaction of both parties. In fact, the brunt of his disdain for life would be hurled across the small diner booth as if attacking its origin. 

“I probably shouldn’t have said anything,” now the tables were turned, figuratively, and she was suddenly on the defense. Skillfully clever, he was, with shifting power dynamics and aggression towards the unassuming, chiefly her. The thousandth laceration was enacted upon a freshly healed emotional scar; cut true clean with an immaculate hand. Ten fingers that served as the physical manifestation of duality, first rapturous intimacy then unflinching violence. She began to wonder if desert was accompanied by a freshly busted lip during the short drive to their contemporary townhome in the city. 

A glob of slime coated her stomach lining as she listened to uncomfortable ramblings about nothing that mattered. His words reverberated underwater, or at least filtered by a waxy auditory plug. She was there for the hash-browns not the heartache; both entrees were served warm and hearty that morning. 

His soon-to-be ex wife was both afraid and disappointed, hopeful yet pitiful, broken and glued together through His grace. They drove home in silence as the concentrated orange juice danced with the rancid bile that filled the back of her throat. 

1930 ET – Original Manuscript/Soundtrack: O.W. Showe

National Domestic Violence Hotline: https://www.thehotline.org
Domestic Violence Support: https://www.doorwaysva.org/get-help/domestic-violence-resources/

Learn more about The Secret here.


E2: Renae

The Secret, Episode 02 – Renae © O.W. Showe

“PMMD? I’ve never heard of that before.” Renae was mystified by a long list of criterion that were strikingly similar to the swirl of emotions experienced in the days preceding a visit from Mother Nature.  

The therapist continued in her customarily soft-spoken fashion, paraphrasing DSM-5 symptoms in a manner that was certainly less intimidating than one could hope to experience during private exploration. “Okay, do you feel particularly irritable or angry during…”

Despite her status as a newly admitted patient at the Heisermitt Psychiatric Hospital in Portsmouth Virginia, this was not her first therapeutic rodeo. In fact, Renae cherished the hours long opportunies to share intimate details about her shortcomings and selfishness. A woman of her stature understood the premium tariff that discretion required, a price that she was willing to pay. 

For years, the couple unabashedly integrated monthly counseling sessions directly into their relationship waltz. “I do feel more irritable during those two days, but isn’t that normal? Putting up with, you know the rest.” Renae leaned into the open space in search of sisterhood, a microcosm of feminist energy; Doctor Fenstra remained unvexed. 

“Well, when combined with the food cravings, hypersomnia, bloating and decreased interest in your usual activities, I would feel comfortable with the diagnosis of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, or PMDD, for short.” Renae glanced at the thin woman seated so perfectly taut in her Bertoia Diamond Chair as the words rolled from beneath a mound of fire engine red lipstick. The constant judgement, serial observation, internal dialogue and medical diagnoses had evolved into an amalgam of sentinel events that methodically contused her spirit with an avalanche of guilt. She furtively ripped a jagged cuticle on her left index finger until a pin-size pool of blood settled at the nail base. 

“Doctor Fenstra, I feel as though we’ve met once before. Is your family from the Portsmouth area?” The air was heavy, overflowing with fuzzy particles of energy that made Renae feel as though she was breathing with an unscented dryer sheet tucked near the back of her throat.

“We’ve had this discussion before, Renae, remember? You say that I look familiar, we discuss your asthma, and then the restraints. Always, the restraints.” She broached the topic with delicate precision while seemingly incapable of dampening her clinical enthusiasm. The good doctor was steadfast in her plan to uncover the ghastly details that preceded the current 72-hour psychiatric hold. “I want you to really take your time and think about everything that occurred last night. I would like to discuss how you were feeling before…”

Renae shifted her long arms in the musty straitjacket and pondered over its previous occupant. “You said it’s called PMDD, Doc? That sounds about right. Let’s move forward with that.”

1538 ET – Original Manuscript/Soundtrack: O.W. Showe

National Domestic Violence Hotline: https://www.thehotline.org
Domestic Violence Support: https://www.doorwaysva.org/get-help/domestic-violence-resources/

Learn more about The Secret here.


E1: Fall Hard

The Secret, Episode 01 – Fall Hard © O.W. Showe

The penthouse was pristine, although he would expect nothing less upon returning to the scene of the crime. A toasty bouquet of warm vanilla and cinnamon rolls wandered throughout the sprawling foyer, intending to usher well-heeled guests into the couple’s enclave. Scott chucked his Gucci duffle bag onto the arm of a hideously upholstered chair that was bequeathed by her late aunt. 

“Viv, it’s me.” His words fell flat, consumed by static opulence and sumptuous living quarters that were amicably designed during those new love, carefree years.

“I’m in the study.” Her tone was certainly agreeable, yet not quite as pliable as Scott had hoped for following a calamitous argument that ended with an emergency room visit. 

* * *

“Do you feel safe at home? We have to ask these questions.” The triage nurse was more salt than sugar, yet there was something about her stoic demeanor that made Scott feel safe, as if his story mattered. Shame and embarrassment aside, his experience with reporting injuries sustained at the hands of his wife was nothing short of offensive. Vapid accusations that were cleverly disguised as questions of concern proved the norm, despite glaringly obvious signs of physical abuse. 

“Oh no, I don’t have to worry about that. I feel plenty safe at home.” There was only one thing more troublesome than the sharp pain radiating down the left side of his back, and that was the truth. As spectators on the sidelines of reality, the couple often sneered at newlyweds who were oblivious to the first rule of domestication; praise in public, pound in private. 

* * *

“We cannot do this anymore.” A sentiment shared and stated in unison; wholeheartedly felt yet debased with keen temperament and a biting tongue. Vivian was disconcerted by his ability to disconnect from the violence in a fashion that was ostensibly theatric. Visual images of the physical skirmish during brief moments of recollection flitted about  her vanquished subconscious like a pernicious butterfly in search of soothing nectar.  

“I know, it’s killing us. I can’t do this anymore either.” She danced around the dark, post-traumatic stress disorder cloud in an unceremonious waltz, following its lead. In reality, Vivian and Scott would do this again, and again, and again once more before the luminescence of an unblemished snowfall rushed the autumn season towards its end. 

1522 ET – Original Manuscript/Soundtrack: O.W. Showe

National Domestic Violence Hotline: https://www.thehotline.org
Domestic Violence Support: https://www.doorwaysva.org/get-help/domestic-violence-resources/

Learn more about The Secret here.