Folding Sheets by Steven Keiths








e was so sweet. We folded the sheet lengthwise, met as we joined the two ends, and he kissed me.





“Right there in the middle of the Laundromat. Of course, it was early in the morning. Only a few people there, but still. He kissed me. I still remember his soft lips as….”


“Ricky, when was the first time he hit you?”


“Uh, well, we had been dating, let’s see, about a month, and it really was my fault. I spilled a Coke on his leather seat. You see he was very finicky about his car, and he, well, he wasn’t thinking when he got real mad, and just automatically backhanded me. When he saw the blood, he apologized, and explained about his love of his car.”


“How soon after that did Eddie do it again?”


“Let’s see. I guess about two months had passed.”


“What set him off that time?”


“Well, you have to remember, he didn’t like…he was very jealous of my friends, especially male friends…I was talking to Marty, an old friend, on the phone. Eddie came home, he was tired from working all day, and I hadn’t finished dinner yet. I said good-bye to Marty and hurried to the kitchen. He was gulping down a beer, and asked where dinner was. I told him it’d be ready in about ten minutes. Then he started in on me about my friends being more important than him. He tossed back another beer, said that I was sleeping with Marty while he slaved away at work. I tried to explain Marty was just an old friend. He threw the beer bottle at me. Started calling me a whore and all sorts of names.


“He just started beating on me. I guess one of the neighbors called the police. Next thing I know there’s someone pounding on the door.”


“Did they arrest Eddy?”


“Yeah, I tried to tell them it was my fault.”


“Then what happened?”


“The next morning I went to the jail and bailed him out. He was so upset when he saw what he did to me. He explained he was jealous of Marty and was afraid he’d lose me, he was tired from work, and was hungry… so he’d lost it and overreacted. He held me and cried, and promised he’d never hurt me again. The next day he brought me roses. He really could be sweet.”


“I see your arm is in a cast. The medical records say you have three broken ribs, a broken nose, and I also see both eyes are black.”


“It was all a misunderstanding. Now the judge won’t let him out. He says he will be in jail for at least a year. I don’t know what to do, Doctor.”


“I suggest you learn to fold your own sheets.”