The Fifth and Final "I'm Sorry."
As he walked out the door tears ran down her bruised and battered cheeks. Cliff had never wanted to be violent. He thought about the last time he had struck another person.
"Come on punch the fucker!" Thomas yelled, "Hit that stupid prick! He's just standing there!"
The fight had started over nothing. It however escalated quickly from there. Cliff was standing in front of some kid. Probably no more than eighteen years old. The kid's face was bloody and torn to ribbons. He hardly seemed able to stand, but that didn't stop the kid from spitting some blood in defiance. The next punch left his jaw shattered and his eyes rolled back. His body started shacking violently and crashed to the ground. The fight was over. Police were showing up. And Cliff was alone. Thomas was gone. The cuffs were tight and chaffing. But all he could see was the kid in a pool of his own blood. Cliff whispered I'm sorry as he was pushed into the police car.
The kid lived. Cliff got off easy by all accounts, but he never raised a fist again. That is until tonight.
Cliff had been dating Haven for two months. They were inseparable. Well, that is except when she snuck off to be with her heroin. Cliff accepted her. She used him. That was until tonight. Tonight she decided to take everything.
Her bag was nearly full when Cliff walked in the door. The first thing he noticed was his father's watch missing from the wall.
"Son," Daniel looked sternly at Cliff, "look at me when I talk to you dammit!"
He never hit Cliff hard enough to leave visible bruises, but that didn't make it sting any less.
"Now put up your fists," he held Cliff's hands up and tilted his shoulders, "you gotta make sure you cover your face."
He cupped his hands and swatted Cliff across the face. Cliff's ears started ringing. He couldn't help but fall, the tears weren't willful.
"What are you a girl now? I thought I had a god damn son! Get up, don't be a bitch. You think someone who wants to hurt you will stop." Daniel started slapping Cliff while he attempted to stand. His ten year old frame curling up more after each hit. Then Daniel's watch came across Cliff's cheek the dial tearing into his soft skin under his left eye. Cliff kept crying I'm sorry through the rest of the beating.
Cliff's left eye twitched a little as he looked at the blank space left by his father's missing watch. It was then that he heard her in the kitchen. The sound of silverware clanking together.
"You won't get them clean like that Cliffie." His mother bent over him and held his hands as he washed the dishes.
"He can clean a dish by himself, Janet. Now bring me a beer, you stupid bitch." Daniel was drunk and watching from the hall. He never bothered to turn on the lights. He would just stand there until she brought him another beer. She went to the fridge. Cliff noticed her hand shaking. There was a knife in it. Her bruised face had tears running down it.
"Keep working on the dishes Cliffie. Mommy will be back in a minute."
She walked down the hall. Cliff heard the beer crash to the floor. His mother screamed. Walking to the edge of the hall Cliff saw him on her. He wasn't stopping. He usually only hit her once or twice. Cliff also saw a flash of light. The knife laying on the floor. He picked it up.
"I'm sorry Dad."
Cliff found Haven in the kitchen. She had a knife in her hand. It was shaking terribly. She was in withdrawal. Apparently she hadn't been taking enough of his money.
"Just let me go, we're through. I got what I came for. Now let me go Cliff." her voice was shaky. He wasn't sure if it was grief or the lack of her poison.
"Why Haven? I've given you my everything. Remember when you told me you loved me?" his voice was shaky, eyes were fire and knuckles white.
"You stupid cunt. What did you think this was? I used you. You fucking bitch! I don't want your stupid ass anymore." she screamed at him and waved the knife in his face, "Just let me go. This doesn't have to get ugly." she pleaded now.
His arm knocked the knife away quickly enough. He whispered I'm sorry and drove his elbow into her face. Her nose made a snapping sound as it went flat against her face. Blood followed. Lots of blood. Next his fist cracked a rib or two. He couldn't tell. Another blow knocked her down. Her jaw hanging slack. He stopped somehow. His rage sated slightly. As he walked out the door tears ran down her bruised and battered cheeks. Cliff had never wanted to be violent. Life had never given him a chance. He walked and walked. The bridge wasn't far. The railing was easy to climb. He looked back at nothing. One last apology. He knew he was the problem. He had ruined it all.
Arms open he embraced the ground below.