Recurring Fragments, flash fiction by Valli Henry-Boldini at
Mart Production

Recurring Fragments

Recurring Fragments

written by: Valli Henry-Boldini


10am.  She opens her eyes. He turns to her. “Good morning beautiful,” he says. He kisses her and gets out of bed. He makes some coffee. They have breakfast together.

11am.  He kisses her again and leaves alone for his daily drive. He’ll probably meet some people they know. He’ll have a drink or two. She remains alone in their home; now her prison.

13.45.  He returns pissed. He’s in a bad mood. “Where’s my lunch?” He opens a bottle of red wine. “You want a glass?” “No thanks,” she replies. He goes to his man space in the basement.

13.53.  She lights the gas cooker and prepares lunch. Today it’s steak and salad. She calls to him when it’s ready. He comes up and sits at the dining table. She serves lunch. They eat. He has another glass or two. He insults people on TV. She’s learnt to remain quiet.

14.42.  He leaves the plates on the table, gets up and caresses the dog. He goes down to the basement to his own man space, glass of wine in hand. Still not a word to her. What did she do wrong to deserve this?

15.00.  He comes up and pours another glass. He returns to his own space. No dialogue. She’s invisible. The dog follows him.

15.45.  He comes up again and empties a second wine bottle. Once again he returns to his own space. The music is blaring. She hears him banging something very loudly. Her stomach is churning.

17.00.  The music stops. The banging stops. He’s going out to do another round in the car. “Won’t be long.” He shouts up the stairs. He slurs his words. “OK,” she replies. She knows that won’t be the case.

19.30.  He comes home and slams the door. He walks into the living room. “Where’s my dinner?” “I’ll make it now,” she answers. She goes into the kitchen. He opens another bottle. He’s in a worse mood. Her heart is beating loudly in her ears.

19.35.  She lights the gas cooker. She starts to cook the risotto. He mutters to himself, puts down the half-full glass and goes to lie down.

19.55.  The risotto is almost ready but he’s fast asleep. She leaves him to sleep. She notices the hole in their bedroom door from his punch the other day. She misses the man she fell in love with.

21.15.  He wakes up. “Is dinner ready?” “It was,” she replies. “I have to heat it up.” “Why didn’t you wake me up?” She looks at him but remains silent. He picks up the glass of red wine he left earlier. He sits waiting at the dinner table.

21.25.  She serves dinner and sits at the table. He has a mouthful and spits it out onto the plate. He pushes the plate away. “This isn’t cooked right. How can I eat this? It’s disgusting.” He slurs his words. His bloodshot eyes look crazy. He gets up and walks into the kitchen. He dumps the risotto in the bin. He returns and sits and pours another glass. She continues eating in silence avoiding his eyes. Her heart is racing. “How can you eat that disgusting mess?” She still doesn’t reply. Her head is down. He gets up and goes down to his own space, glass in hand. What happened to the man she once loved and who loved her in return?

21.45.  He comes up and empties the wine bottle, caresses the dog and returns to his man space. She’s not acknowledged.

22.05.  She hears him stomp up the stairs. She hears another cork pop in the kitchen. She hears him turn on the gas cooker. He walks into the living room. “I’ll show you how to make a proper risotto,” he shouts. He returns unsteadily to the kitchen.

22.28.  She hears him dishing out. She’s on the sofa. He stumbles into the living room with his plate. “I’ve thrown the rest of the risotto away. You don’t deserve any.” She avoids his eyes. He eats at the table in the corner. She sits in silence. He drinks more wine. The dog moves away from him and sits at her feet.

22.45.  He gets up. He wobbles into the kitchen. She hears the plate as it smashes in the sink. She hears him go downstairs. Loud noises tell her he’s smashing up yet more things. How did he become this person? Her heart is racing. She fears for her life.

23.20. He comes up and enters the living room glass in hand. He sits in the armchair to her right. She feels him staring at her. “You’re a stupid empty shell. How could you serve me that crap? It was shit!” He slurs his words. She turns to him. “Stop staring at me. You’re ugly. You’re boring. It’s all your fault. You can piss off anytime.” She remains silent and avoids his stare. The dog whimpers. He continues his verbal abuse. She no longer recognises this person.

23.45.  He drains his glass. He swears at her again. He gets up and stumbles out the door. He goes to bed without another word.

24.00.  She sits and cries silently on the sofa. The dog puts his head on her knees. She caresses its head.

00.30.  She waits. She hears him snoring heavily. She brushes her teeth. She has a wash. She climbs into the bed in the spare room.

00.45.  She cries herself to sleep.


09.00.  He walks into the spare bedroom. He kisses her forehead as if nothing has happened. “Good morning beautiful. Why did you sleep in here? Do you want a coffee?” She nods yes.

09.05.  ‘Dear God. Please don’ t let him drink again today.’



I am more and more saddened at how many women have been killed lately by jealous husbands or partners who feel they have the right to possess someone and also deprive them of their life. The number of femicide victims to date is 285 this year.

Since Covid, alcohol abuse seems to be a contributing factor. Here in Italy, people abuse alcohol on a daily basis. There have also been many road deaths due to alcohol abuse.

This particular story, highlights that something drastic has to be done to stop further feminicide happening.

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