1. uneasiness; anguish; distress.
  2. the discomfort and illness experienced as the aftereffects of excessive drinking; hangover.
  3. uproar; clamor: His speech produced a public katzenjammer.

At some point there was a shift.

It was slight, but its effects were seismic. But neither was sure when they’d hit the point of no return, when anger and hate had diffused into apathy and nonchalant shrugs.

The sound of screaming and splintering china used to be the norm. Now it was always quiet. The fault lines of communication were still disjointed, but there was a preference for eating off of real plates instead of Styrofoam and an ongoing weariness that made screaming feel futile.

It was worse than living with a detestable roommate. Yes, the rent was paid on time, but other than that there were more cons than pros on the list.

There was too much confusion. They both felt it. Their words had laid the path toward a constant feeling of heaviness in the house, a katzenjammer that refused to lift.

But now they had gotten to the end of that path only to find it wound over itself and led them to the edge of a cliff.

Karen occasionally glanced in Bill’s direction, wondering if he planned to jump first. She couldn’t tell, which stymied her because she used to know him so well. There was a time she used to be able to anticipate his next move. Those days were gone, along with the Bill she used to know.

Now just passing her husband in the hallway or being in the same room with him made her wish she could melt into the walls, maximizing the physical distance between them, making it as great as what she felt emotionally.

This was obvious to Bill, who preferred his wife’s screaming to the irritating silence. At least then she actually spoke, he found himself thinking at times like these when he purposely came to bed late and Karen laid still beneath the covers pretending to be asleep.

The silence was suffocating.

“What are we doing,” he breathed into the darkness of their bedroom.

Karen’s heavy sighs punctuated his bleeding heart.

“Dying…”she whispered into their thick duvet covering her face.


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