She used to stay up late at night to clean the house and have peace. She could move about the house and touch things late at night, in a way she was not able to during the day.
If she touched things during the day, she was bound to do it in a way that displeased him. If she displeased him, or if he felt disrespected by the tiniest thing, she would pay for it.
She felt terrified of him. He liked the house to be clean and neat, so she had to take care to be sure things were done to his liking. But truthfully, no matter how long she cleaned, or how much she tried, it was never right for him.
After cleaning until 4 am, she laid down on the couch, with the television on quietly, so as not to disturb him. He was asleep on the next floor up, in the queen size bed. She did not dare slide into the bed next to him.
At 7 am he would awaken her by swatting her repeatedly with something….usually his coat. She would awaken mid-swatting, and react with a normal startle reflex to being swatted while you sleep.
He would scold her and ask her how many times he told her not to jump like that when he woke her up. She was so stupid to keep forgetting how he hated it.
Then he would throw her purse on top of her and demand 3 dollars, so he could go down to the store and buy a tall boy. Beer was the only alcohol available for sale before 11 am. He would settle for that until the vodka could be purchased.
She knew better than to argue about needing the money for milk or bread. She still had bruises on her jaw, from doing that last week.
She handed him the money and he snatched it without saying anything more. But as he walked out the door, he grumbled something about her being fat and lazy for sleeping all day.
I still jump and cover my face by reflex, when someone startles me in my sleep.