X texted me a few minutes ago:
r u asleep?
Out of the blue, as is his way from time-to-time. He needs nothing but a connection, probably. I chose not to respond. Now that K is over 18, I don’t force a relationship between them. He’s her father. I will always show him a certain amount of respect for that reason alone, but I am not his wife and have not been for quite some time. He can text her, and he should find someone else to text when he’s lonely or sad or afraid or whatever-the-hell-he-is-tonight.
His text prompted me to dig around for something I wrote years ago when K was very ill. I felt it was only a matter of time before she passed, and there was nothing in my life aside from her that kept me tethered to anything.
I had decided to kill X after one particularly bad evening that involved a fifth of Jack Daniels (down his gullet, not mine). I sat looking at his guns -the Mossberg seemed the most promising and effective choice. I bought that shotgun for him, how crazy is that? I waffled, though, not because killing him was such a big deal, but killing my daughter’s father was.
As is often my habit, I managed my feelings in a completely unhealthy but effective manner.
If I know I might cry, and I don’t want to cry? I will wear mascara. It’s the only time you’ll ever see me wearing it, in fact. If I’m going to a funeral or something… and I don’t want to cry, I’ll put it on because I know that will keep me from crying because of the fear of it running. Similarly, when I realized that I had every intention of killing X, and could have gotten away with it… I thought… hm… best way to prevent that is to write about it and make sure I show at least one person. That way, I know I won’t actually do it (premeditation, don’t you know… lethal injection… not a good way to go).
And so I killed X in my mind… on my computer screen… and in so doing? Saved his fucking life. He has no idea how lucky he is that I can type.
When she had tried to wake her for school just minutes ago, it took only a touch for her to realize she had given into the disease. She simply wasn’t there anymore. She kissed her, smoothed back her hair and tucked her in one last time.
She descended the stairs.
She let the dog out for a piss.
She started a pot of coffee for the cops, for her mother, and for the neighbors she was sure would gather to say that they had seemed like such a “happy couple” except for an occasional “spat.”
She let the dog back in and locked him in the utility room so the cops wouldn’t shoot him. Her first call was to 911. She calmly imagined her address popping up on a little computer screen. She spoke clearly, “I am going to kill my husband. I am not crazy. I am not dangerous. I’ll leave the door open.”
The second and last call was to her mother who always screened calls. “Mother, It’s almost 8 a.m. She’s dead. I’m sorry about everything.”
She sat the phone on the kitchen counter and slipped the largest knife out of the block. At the base of the steps, she reached over to unlock the deadbolt, the lock, opening the front door just a crack.
She climbed the stairs soundlessly, entering their room to crawl into bed with him one last time. She straddled him. He always did like that.
Her first thrust was strong, resolute. His eyes flew open as if from a nightmare. It didn’t feel right. The knife felt stuck…against a bone, perhaps? But when she let go of it, it moved as he drew a jagged breath. He struggled to free his right arm from beneath the comforter while his left arm swung clumsily at her. In the movies, blood was bright red, but his blood spread across his white t-shirt in a dark angry stain. She tilted her head, mildly annoyed. She prided herself on keeping his clothes so clean… perfect.
He coughed, splattering bloodspit as he tried to speak. He sounded drunk. Why should this day be different? She suddenly felt sick. She had to stop. She couldn’t stop. She remembered the pamphlet for the lamaze class she never took. Rhythmic breathing… imagery… where the hell was her happy place?
The damn knife was stuck. She grabbed its handle with both hands and yanked. It finally released with a sucking noise. She had to finish. You can’t just half-stab somebody.
Why did you wake up? She thought or said aloud…he did not respond
She raised the knife again and plunged it two-fisted, heard something pop, something snap. He didn’t look angry, his eyes were wide and searched her face for explanation… the tiniest rivulet of blood escaped his mouth. Such beautiful lips.
You bleed just like I bleed, she thought or said aloud…he did not respond
She was the last thing he would see on his way to hell… his dutiful wife, straddling him, wild-haired, wearing slipper socks and a Minnie Mouse t-shirt.
Maybe she should have waited
shaved her legs
put up her hair
slipped on the black teddy he liked so much
made his favorite food
rolled him a joint
mixed him a drink
screwed him one last time
Maybe she should have given him a better death
killed him sweeter than this
His whole body convulsed under her, bucking up, up, up. She twisted the blade around like a stake in wet ground, back and forth. She marveled at her own strength. He was suffocating. The sweethotsmell of blood and urine clung in her mouth and nostrils. She could hear the ceiling fan swishing round and round and the dog scratching frantically at the door downstairs. The cat had taken refuge under the dresser, green eyes gazing steadily at her.
It took longer than she expected, his body convulsing then trembling beneath her. Finally… he was dead. She could hear the sirens wailing, closer, closer. If only they had come that fast every other time she had called them…bruised, bloody, scared shitless.
And then it was over. She had waited for years, never denying her daughter a father.
His alarm clock said 8:00
Hers read 8:03
They never could get their shit together.
When I know who has created a work of literature, art, graphic, etc, I give credit where credit is due. Extend me the same courtesy… don’t steal my work, m’kay? (legal shit)