Lara hated oranges. She hated the taste, she hated how sticky her fingers became after handling one, and she hated them because Lance loved them.
She shuddered as she thought of how her would buy a large bag of oranges from the Farmer’s market every Saturday. He’d come into the house whistling an
off-key rendition of Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me To the Moon, bag of oranges over his shoulder, and swing the bag at her head. If she dodged the bag, he’d beat her up.
The first time it happened, she cried for hours. Now, five years into their marriage, she’d come to expect the beatings. Sometimes Lance would sing
whilst he beat her. He used to find reasons to ‘discipline’ her but nowadays, he beat her for anything. Some days he’d just slap her around but there were a couple of occasions
where his violence landed her in hospital.
Like this time.
Lara was in the Intensive Care Unit, bandaged and propped up, staring at the fruit salad the nurse had brought her. It was littered with small, glistening orange slices.
The smell was revolting. It was almost as bad as the smell of alcohol that clung fiercely to her husband. Alcohol was his mistress. His lover.
It worked hand-in-hand with Lance’s other lover, football. She was in hospital because of a football game gone wrong. Lance often acted like she was the source of all his problems.
He’d been sloppy this time around. He’d thrown her through the glass door that led to their terrace. The neighbours’ dinner party was in full swing.
They saw everything. Her husband was in the county jail at that very moment. No one was willing to bail him out.
Lara thought of the years of madness that were her life. After he’d finish beating her up, he’d go to the kitchen and eat a couple of oranges. When he was done, he’d throw the peels at her.
Lara often wondered how she’d managed to marry such a brute. Had he always been like that? Probably.
She hated a lot of things because of her husband. Oranges. Frank Sinatra. Her life.
She sighed, as she thought of what would happen when she left the hospital. Her family was pushing her to file for divorce. Support from her neighbours was pouring in.
The police seemed to be on her side.
The thought of everything was giving her a migraine. She pressed the call button and waited. The nurse was there in a second.
“Are you alright, darling?” she asked. Lara shook her head slowly.
“Could you please remove this fruit salad? The oranges are killing me.”
That’s how she’d handle her life, Lara resolved. One problem at a time.