I am Martha

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Knead, punch, dust, knead, roll.

This is my therapy. I pound into the dough, the satisfying, thick strands gurgle through my fingers until the dough takes shape.

I sprinkle more flour on the metal counter top.

Flour or rat poison? I had been fantasizing about using rat poison for so long that it was starting to bleed into my reality. I stopped rolling the dough, looking down at the flattened, smooth, tan mass. 

I took a finger to the floury powder on the countertop and licked it. I was almost positive it wasn't poison. It was flour, dry and nourishing.

Today was not the day.

"Blessed be the Fruit" I heard the meek voice behind me. I went back to my therapeutic pounding. You're not supposed to over knead the dough.

"Under his eye" I muttered. "Sit down, " I said

I didn't even look at her. She sat down and nibbled at breakfast I had set down for her.

I put the dough in the pan and placed it in the oven.

Now, what was I going to do? What was I going to punch? What was I going to pretend was the commander's throat, strangling until his eyes squish from his sockets like the dough between my knuckles? 

Nice girls didn't think about things like that. But I wasn't nice. None of us were.  I wasn't the only Martha dreaming about poisoning her house. We all had our mini-rebellions. Even if they were just in our minds.  I was a champion or had been a champion boxer. One of the top female boxers in the country.

Luckily, I wasn't given the god given gift of popping out babies, so I became Martha. Just like that. A punch to the gut and I was down for the count, left taking out my aggression on innocent bread dough. My life was a cacophony of gray clothes, sloppy cooking, and halfhearted cleaning.

I imagined meeting the commander's wife in the ring. I pictured her elegant green dress and neat blonde hair askew as she recovered from the pummeling of round one. I imagined a black eye, a few missing teeth, anything to take perfection out of the picture. My gloves, thick and red, up in front of my face. She, who had such power over everything in this house, in my ring, I had the power. And she wouldn't last a second.

"Do you need anything special for the dinner tonight" The little voice called from the breakfast table. I had almost forgotten her.

Arsonic, bleach, a few razor blades. I imagined the commander and his wife biting into an apple tart, mouths bloody from shards of glass baked into the crust.

"Eggs, I need more than the usual rations for the cake," I said

She nodded, her white bonnet freshly starched.

They could take my name, my gloves. They could take the girl away from the ring, take the girl out of the fight. But they couldn't take the fight out of the girl. 

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