With all of his weight pressed into her shoulder and her shoulder blades digging into the cold exterior of the refrigerator door, Maurine's world was just Paul's face and the distance between she and him. There was nothing else existing in the universe at that moment, and her fears told her one thing: GET AWAY. She needed to get some distance between them before his temper went nuclear, so she reacted the only way she knew how. She braced herself against the heavy refrigerator at her back and thrust her arms out with a force unknown to her. Her tiny fists caught Paul just above his pecs and pushed with unexpected might. He stumbled back a few steps until he finally landed on his ass and bit his tongue, “Ow! Son of a bitch!”
Maurine, meanwhile, turned toward the living room. She would run into Anne's room and call the cops from the relative safety of the locked door – although with Paul's size she wasn't sure how long it would remain locked. If given enough time and his temper properly stoked, she was sure he could bust down that door in a matter of moments.
She was so wrapped up in her thoughts of escape that she didn't really pay attention to her fleeing feet, and suddenly she slipped on the smooth linoleum as she neared the doorway to the living room. She pinwheeled her arms once to regain her balance, but the inevitable happened and she went down hard. She was worried about her head and at the last moment put her arms down to cushion her landing, but this didn't work at all. Instead she bounced her chin off of the maple runner and simultaneously felt an explosion of heat and color in her left arm. She skidded along the kitchen floor and collided softly with the wall as sweat instantly blossomed all over her body and she cried out in pain.
From his vantage point across the kitchen floor, Paul sat dumbfounded, with his mouth agape as he watched the events unfold in front of him. He saw Maurine lose her balance and knew she was going to go down. He wanted to help her but the whole scene seemed to play in slow motion, and he never moved. He watched with horror as she tried to use her arms to cushion the landing; he had suffered numerous breaks during his rough-and-tumble life and knew the only thing that could accomplish was a broken forearm bone. But he said nothing.
He knew she had broken something upon impact. There was no dramatic dry twig SNAP! Like in the movies, but rather a strange and unnatural THUMP that Paul instantly recognized as a broken bone.
He got up and went to her but halted and took a step back as she screamed in pain. He knew how this was going to look. He had done nothing wrong, yet here he was, hovering over his ex-wife in the kitchen of her home while she cried with a broken arm. Given their history, he knew he was fucked. The cops would automatically think he had done something to her. He ran a nervous and sweaty hand through his hair and looked toward the open screen door at the back of the kitchen.
And the anger was there again, mixed with anguish and maybe a little guilt, “How could you do this to me, Mo?! You friggin' idiot! They're gonna think I did this to you, you know that, right? I didn't even touch you! You goddamn imbecile! Are you trying to ruin me?!”
But he needed to get out of there, fast, and that's exactly what he did.