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Dear Beerbelly Cheesecake: We're Just Fine, Thx! XO, Stella.

Lightning. Shoe. Call.

By Marie WilsonPublished 3 days ago 5 min read
Dear Beerbelly Cheesecake: We're Just Fine, Thx! XO, Stella.
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

As I walked out the front door of our house, Curtis charged right after me. His mouth was as wide open as his jaw hinges would allow so that he could yell at full volume. His tongue wagged wildly and his lips never seemed to touch each other:

“You’re one hell of a bad wife, Stella! I lost my job and you don’t even care!”

It was true. I didn’t care. I wasn’t thinking about his pink slip; I was thinking about a siren-red G-string. See, what Curtis didn’t realize was that the night before, I’d visited the strip club where he was reportedly a regular. I wanted to see for myself if it was true that all our money had been going into some sequin-emblazoned straps.

I saw him there alright. But he didn’t see me. And so now, oblivious to what I knew, he just kept wailing in my face like an out-of-control drill sergeant.

Calmly, I turned around on our porch and walked back into the house. Then, quick as a lightning bolt, I turned and slammed the door shut and locked it. Curtis rattled the knob furiously and began pounding on the door. I ran to the back just as he had the same idea and slid the French door shut. In record time I jammed the door with the hockey stick we’d been using to secure it ever since its lock had broken.

The stick fell into place just as Curtis arrived there, shrieking obscenities.

I told the kids to put on their shoes. Hands shaking and heart pounding, I could hardly think, but I grabbed a backpack and threw a jar of peanut butter and some crackers into it, also my wallet and our sweaters. All the while Curtis raged outside, first at the back door then at the front again.

“Stay by me," I said. "We’re walking out the front door. Don’t worry if he’s yelling, just keep walking. We’ll be okay.” They nodded their little six-and-eight-year-old heads, and then I noticed that the six year old had only one shoe on. I dove down onto the floor and quickly located the other one under the sofa, our unofficial storage area.

Fully shoed, the kids clutched my hands and stuck close as I opened the door. We made our way past the screaming man with the hot whiskey breath and walked up the street like a trio of matadors, bravely leaving the raging bull behind. Finally, we turned a corner and the bellowing faded.

A gentle summer breeze brushed their golden heads as I knelt down and explained that there were shelters we could go to. Or, I said, we could try our friend who’d recently rented a big old house not far away. That choice cheered them: her two kids were their friends, and the few times we’d visited, the house had been filled with fun crafts, interesting puzzles and aromas of good cooking.

By Rachel on Unsplash

As it turned out, our friend’s attic had been recently vacated by backpacking pals, so she invited us to move in. I applied for emergency social assistance the next day and was able to pay her some rent.

I didn’t get in touch with Curtis because I didn’t want to hear anymore of his hot accusations. I’d had enough of that through all the years of our marriage; an entire decade had been devoted to trying to make our union work. I mean, he’d always had that caustic side to him, but it was tolerable when it consisted of barbed witticisms aimed at others. We had a few good years back when Curtis was the only baby I had to care for.

After the children arrived, he stayed out more, drank more, yelled at me more and hit me a couple of times. But the thought of leaving was daunting: Where would we go? How would we survive? Curtis had always warned me that if I ever left, he’d make it his life's mission to find us.

As we made our new home in the attic, I feared Curtis would make good on his threat. And he wouldn't have to look far - he knew my friend had rented this house - but after three weeks we hadn't heard a peep and none of my friends reported hearing from him.

I found a job in a local shop, selling housewares. The kids stayed home with my friend and her kids. We were actually having fun and starting to relax with no sign of their father around.

Then, one sunny day, while walking home from work, I ran into one of Curtis’s drinking buddies.

“So where ya been, Stella?” he said, waving his cigarette in the air. “You could’ve at least sent a postcard.”


“You are one awful woman, Stella, disappearing without a word like that. Curtis has been out of his mind with worry.”

I stared at the cheesecake cartoon on his t-shirt, covering his large beer belly, and I pictured Curtis sitting in a corner of some strip bar, worrying, while feeding another sawbuck to the red satin G-string.

“You know what?” I said. “I will send you a postcard.”

With that I walked on. As soon as I was out of his sight, I ran. Beerbelly Cheesecake was sure to tell Curtis where he'd seen me. And Curtis would immediately figure out where we were staying and come for us, blaring all the way.

I decided to call him. But every time I tried, the line was busy. I thought maybe our landline was out of order or maybe he’d kicked the bucket and the phone off the hook at the same time. Finally, I gave up.

Weeks passed and still no Curtis raging at our door.

Then, one quiet day at work, as I gazed out the front window, I saw him slinking along the sidewalk with a smoke dangling from his lips. He looked hung over, his face as grey as the sky. A fluffy pink feather peeked out of his jacket pocket - leftover boa bits. Nothing had changed.

And everything had changed.

By Aditya Saxena on Unsplash


About the Creator

Marie Wilson

Harper Collins published my novel "The Gorgeous Girls". My feature film screenplay "Sideshow Bandit" has won several awards at film festivals. I have a new feature film screenplay called "A Girl Like I" and it's looking for a producer.

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

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    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (23)

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  • Ghulam Murtazaabout 21 hours ago

    love this story

  • Faisal Bilala day ago

  • Tabish Malik2 days ago

    Amazing article

  • Pamela Williams2 days ago

    A pleasure to read.

  • Kristen Balyeat2 days ago

    Such an amazing piece and so well written. Heartbreaking and inspiring. The last line was powerful! Fantastic piece, Marie!

  • River Joy2 days ago

    This was so good, it hit hard and soft at the same time. "Nothing had changed and everything had changed" so poignant. Thank you for this beautiful empowering piece.

  • News Bucks2 days ago

    Amazing Article.

  • Numan Afzal2 days ago


  • I love it ....

  • Mackenzie Davis3 days ago

    Loved the line, “I thought maybe our landline was out of order or maybe he’d kicked the bucket and the phone off the hook at the same time” — so clever! This was so engaging and so well conceived. Great work on it!

  • K. C. Wexlar3 days ago

    What a great read! If you have a moment - I did something for a recent challenge that I may expand into a book idea and seeking some writerly feedback:

  • Naomi Gold3 days ago

    Damn, this was good. As a former child of that type of situation, this was conveyed so realistically. My favorite part was the ending— “Nothing had changed. And everything had changed.” Perfection! I looked The Gorgeous Girls up on Goodreads because I liked this so much. I wasn’t expecting it to be erotica, but now I’m for sure reading it. 😊

  • Realistic and down to earth. I am a 911 dispatcher (30 years) and wish I heard more stories that went this way instead of the abused partner continually going back. Thank you. I truly hope this story gives some hope/courage to those out there going through such travail.

  • Amazing

  • Numan Afzal3 days ago


  • Excellent work here!!! You can picture everything vividly

  • Dana Crandell3 days ago

    Intense and very well written! Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Donna Renee7 days ago

    This was really captivating, I was afraid of where we were heading but I loved this!

  • Babs Iverson7 days ago

    Magnificent!!! Loved this!!!

  • Gerald Holmes7 days ago

    Excellent story-telling. Very well written.

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