The Matriarch

A man stands with a packed suitcase next to him or behind him. He stares out into the distance obviously thinking hard. He is wearing a jacket.

At first, I loved her and she loved me. Loved me. Loved me. She made me so happy. I never thought that I’d find that kind of love. I was prepared to settle down with someone I mildly liked. But she changed that. And slowly she started to change me. I was once brave and bold albeit a bit sceptical of love’s role in my life.

It’s been fifteen years now and three children later… And I cannot take it anymore. You know now days how you hear about how bad patriarchy is? Don’t get me wrong, I support feminist views and I believe in equality. But little thought is ever given to the minorities like me who suffer at the other end of the scale.

You see this suitcase? It’s packed. (He picks up the case, seemingly ready to leave.) And I am leaving. (He pauses and stares as he did previous. He then puts down the case softly.) I don’t want to do this to her. But I must. Please don’t judge me. Don’t judge me like her. Don’t tell me I’m a spineless fool. That’s all I ask.

I wear long clothing because of the bruises. This is my favourite jacket. Well, it’s my only jacket. I don’t get much money. (Ashamed.) Well I do, but she takes it all. I didn’t mind it in the beginning. It made her happy and when she was happy I was happy too. But you can’t take away a toy from a child… Especially if that toy is money and that child is a greedy human… (Pause. He is lost in thought now.)

Child. Children. My children… What about them? (He snaps out of it). I mustn’t worry about them. They’ll be fine. (He isn’t convincing). You know, she’s threatened them before… Not to their face but to me. She said if I ever tried to leave her she’d hurt them. And she will. (Getting upset.) Trust me she will. If she can do it to the father of her children she can sure as hell do it to them. (He is now notably upset at the idea of his children being hurt by her.)
I fell for her and I fell hard. But now I realise that I didn’t fall in love… I fell and broke. False happiness hid the bruises. Well, this jacket too. (Pause.) I must go now. (He picks up the case again. He takes a few hesitant steps but then stops and drops the case.) I can’t… I just can’t. (He is now on the edge of a breakdown – tears if possible.) She has me trapped. What am I without her abuse? I’m nobody. She’s right. Without her I’m nobody. I’m useless. I’m, I’m… I’m fucked up. (He gains composure.) I know – I’ll leave tomorrow. I promise I’ll leave tomorrow. Just one more night with the kids… Just one more night.

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