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An Affidavit on Why I Stabbed Him

There are three sides to every story:

yours, mine, and the truth.

An Affidavit on Why I Stabbed Him by Peter Beckstrom

Against my lawyer’s pestering, I offer the truth. I should’ve listened to what my husband’s ex -girlfriend told me five years ago while we waited in the line at the DMV. She said a lot and I listened with a trained smile, but one thing stuck; he was the kind of guy who wouldn’t let kids win at board games. His competitiveness got us to this point. That drive for more and nothing ever being good enough is why I’m here writing this statement in a cramped room with a big mirror that you’re undoubtedly behind, watching me.

My husband is doing his thing. His thing being the military—part time— because he wants to have the best story at the microbrewery when he hangs with his cadre—his word, not mine. So, he joined the National Guard and I think it’s real great that America opened up part-time positions in the military; moonlight as a machine gunner in some place no one can agree on how to pronounce. What I don’t like is he’s gone playing grab-ass with a hundred other people one weekend a month and I’ve seen some of those girls.

My thing is working out now. My body was fine before. I didn’t feel terrible about it unless I watched too much E! or lingered in the magazine aisle at the grocery store too long or wondered why my size at Dress Barn wasn’t the same size at that junior store in the mall. I’m doing CrossFit and kettle bells and even running circles around the gym in a beige, flak jacket. I thought my husband would like that detail. A way for us to reconnect. He laughed. A routine laugh. Routine like saying, “I love you” or “Drive safe.” No one does. Drive safe that is. Or love you.

But I still wanted us to have a thing. Together. We don’t have kids. Something doesn’t work. We’re not sure whose broke and we’re not trying to figure it out. We side-stepped that landmine, paved right over the sorry thing. He bought an assault rifle. The barrel is long and black and he runs greased patches of cloth through its tunnel. He called the end of the barrel a compensator. I scoffed and said no kidding. He says I should feel safe because he’ll shoot anyone that breaks in, aimed the thing right at me when he said it too. No one has ever broken in and I feel a lot less safe because maybe the bad guy is already inside. I started sleeping with a nail file on my nightstand, which he would’ve known was odd if he paid attention to me because I never manicure. Ever.

We were in that comfortable don’t-turn-the-fan-on-when-you-have-diarrhea phase of our marriage and love at that phase is like our paid off Toyota; old, the seat fabric smells a little, and when you smack it the corpses of a thousand farts rise and hover like speckled, stinky nebulas. The other drivers on the freeway look at the horrendous grocery cart scratches in the driver side door panel, and I don’t make eye contact. I build myself up with the great gas mileage and the cheap maintenance.

But when my husband drives, he’ll stare at the Cadillac CTS with the headlights that go all the way back like stripper toes tickling the air behind their head. At the red lights, his mouth hangs open whenever an Audi TT pulls next to him with their slick, honeycomb grills that may be built for high speed air flow but it’s not going to deflect that nocturnal creature wandering across the road when he’s on his way home late—again. And I’m not going to mention the luxury, Asian SUVs because I don’t want to get mad. When I found their pictures on his phone he called them “art,” which is so cliché I had to leave so he wouldn’t see me laugh at how juvenile he is. I’m getting off track.

The night it happened, I made his favorite dinner—ribeye with the perfect marbled ratio, cooked medium-rare. I even did my nails. I was shaping with the nail file when he sat next to me. We smelled the burning before the smoke alarm yelped. At that point, we knew the ribeye was beyond medium-rare.

Then he said it. “You’d fuck up a one car parade, wouldn’t you?” It’s all the defense I needed. I drove the nail file so deep into his thigh, part of the glittering, pink handle disappeared. It wouldn’t have gone too deep if it weren’t for all those kettle bells.

Peter Beckstrom is a Public Defender in Florida’s 6th Judicial Circuit. His work has appeared before in the Gutter and are also published or forthcoming in The MacGuffin, Prime Number Magazine, Carve, and other journals here and there scattered across the web merely a Google search away if you’re so inclined.