Great, she wanted me to put up another Christmas decoration. I could never understand it. This was retarded. Really, she wanted to run up the light bill, have decorations around for "the kids' sake Jalen" and worship some jackass of a douche bag Jesus Christ of Shitty Town. I hated the Jews but I hated Jesus more. Seriously, he represented just how corrupt the Jewish people typically were.
"Please, baby, don't be like that. Put the angel on the top of the tree. I can't reach it. You know that."
"What aboot not indoctrinating the children with a religious ideology or subjecting them to religious symbols? That was our deal Shiloah. You forgot? Hmm? You omitted the memory of you saying that you wouldn't try to convert our children into bible thumpers?"
"Please, not tonight. It's Christmas Eve babe. I know we're getting..."
She stopped. I wanted her to stop. She knew that I would've knocked her again if she ever uttered those words. No, can't think like that. Our therapist told me to keep my hands off of her until the divorce was final. Then again, the guy also told her to specifically stay off the subject of branching away from me. She forgot that. My fist balled up but loosened again. I saw Caeleigh's present under the tree. That calmed me.
"Alright. I'll put the angel up. But it can't be a black angel."
Shiloah frowned and pouted why.
"Why? I like the black one."
I shook my head. Nope, not the black one. Instead, I went to the red plastic container and pulled out another angel to be mounted upon the heavily decorated tree.
"Where the hell did you get that?"
The angel was put on top of the tree. I interworked the power plug around the tree and put it into the socket. The angel lit up. Shiloah smiled. It was an angel with gray skin. It was something I brought a year ago. This celestial being represented the union of our races. She always loved that thing. Too bad she lost it that same year. I found it after digging through the attic.
"I figured it'd be a nice gift. Most I could give you are gifts these days. We haven't had it nice this year. I know I've been, well, less than desirable. I don't know what's wrong with me. It's like, I got, like, some kinda strange rage. Never felt like this before."
Shiloah was always understanding even when she knew it was against her best interest. She hugged me. No, not the normal kind of hug. But the kind of hug that left the side of her face into my chest. The wool sweater covered her face. I questioned in my mind how she was able to breathe.
"I love you. God, I love you enough. Even when I cry I love you. Even when, sometimes, in my mind I can picture you hurting me and the children, there is a love for you that won't die."
I put a finger on her lips. I didn't want to hear her say this. No, I wasn't going to hurt her or my family again. No, shit, no. Nothing in me would've given me enough nerve to hit her again. Hell, I didn't even want to spank our children anymore after what I did that night. Caeleigh hasn't spoken to me in over six months. Rodden? Hell, he didn't care as long as I kept the food coming and more diapers for me to take a dump in.
"I'd never hurt you again. I...I just can't allow myself to be around you, Cae or RJ for much longer. That's why the divorce was my idea. I love you guys too much to continue to be the demon that I am."
Oh, great, I made her cry again. I hated it when Shiloah was so much of the typical woman that she just got the urge to start soaking my shirt with her tears. Maybe that was insensitive thinking but that's how I felt even before the accident.
"Jalen, baby please, I know you hurt me and I know it's hard for you to forgive yourself. Still, you can't punish yourself by pushing us away too. We're your family. You said we were all you had left in this world. And you're all we have."
"My own daughter can't stand the sight of me! My son? He'll grow up beating women just because he saw his old man doing it!"
"And so to teach him how to be a good father you're just going to leave the home that me and you built? And we built this home together J! Together! That's how it was supposed to be! Not like this! Not broken like an abused mirror!"
I dropped to the floor. My body twisted. I hit a fetal position. Shiloah was freaking out.
"J?! J?! Jalen! What's wrong? Baby, come on, what's wrong? Shit! I'm calling an ambulance!"
She started to run into the kitchen. She would've made it too if I hadn't grabbed her leg. I tripped her up. I turned her body over and mounted her like a UFC fighter. She raised her hands up to her face. She thought I was going to beat her again.
"Stop! Please! Not again!"
Her cries for help didn't even register to my mind. Instead, other thoughts dominated my brain. Numbers, symbols, people, death, killing and, strangely enough, the US flag.
"I will never compromise myself or allow myself to be compromised. I am not seen. I am not heard. I am not detected. No traces of my existence will be apparent nor will my country be traced back to my presence. I am the elite. I am the right hand."
Those words were repeated over and over again. For over an hour did I say the same thing. By now, Shiloah had crawled out from under me as if I couldn't even feel her do it. She thought that my problems were coming from the deployments to combat. She couldn't have been so wrong. Her grabbing me by the shoulders and shaking me finally woke me out of this trance.
"J? J, come on. You're scaring me. J? Oh god. It's the PTS. Shit!"
What was I thinking all of this time? It was like I was given birth to again. Nothing around me looked familiar. Not even the woman that was hugging me. My eyes could only stare at her.
"Excuse me. Um, I, er, uh, well, have a question."
Shiloah looked at me. It was like she couldn't recognize the accent in my voice. It was an English accent. I was from the United Kingdom.
"Jalen, you feeling okay? And what's with the accent?"
"I'm sorry but I'm afraid I'm not this Jalen you're talking about. But if you're looking for..." I had to make up a name. She could've been a Russian who could talk like an American. "Frank...you're in luck I suppose."