Somewhere in Alaska: what Julie had to say

What Julie had to say came out in a teary, run-on sentence:

"I don't know why he has to go out drinking. Every Saturday. He says it's the only one night of the week and it's his night to be with his friends, but sometimes they're not even there and he goes anyway and sometimes he goes on other nights too. Why can't he stay home and be with me? Why does he have to get drunk?"

I was dumbfounded. She was weeping softly, the band still goofily shuffling along, unaware. I didn't know what to say; I mouthed an aplogy, "I'm sorry Julie, I..."

Her next statement struck me like a bolt of lightening.

"Sometimes, he hits me. I don't even have to say anything, he just comes home and hits me. I don't deserve it. Why does he do it? He's a good husband."

My mind was racing. Over and over I asked myself "What do you say to this?" I wanted to hug her and tell her she had to take Kiki and leave and go get help, but deep down I knew it was none of my damn business.

But I couldn't help thinking maybe it was. She had just opened up to me and maybe she was asking, needing me to say that, or something. This was the darkest, most secret part of her life and I didn't even know her. It was very confusing.

All I could muster was a simple statement of fact. I could hear myself repeating over and over, "Julie, that's really serious. That's really serious Julie." I guess I wanted her to take the conversation somewhere without me leading her. I also asked her how she felt and what did she think she should do, but it wasn't much of a conversation. It just kind of trailed off.

As did the impromptu blues shuffle. After exhausting all possible beginner-muscial avenues, the thing sputtered out like a bad car running out of gas, completely without ceremony. The spontaneous, awful, wonderful jam session was over.

I was stunned.

Next: Why had she opened up to me?

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