Note: This is probably the most honest story I’ve ever written. I wrote it years ago after going through several rough patches in life. I never intended to share it. Until I felt its call…
(btw – I’m fine. It’s a story.)
It was dark and stormy, perfect weather to match her mood. As she watched the birds being thrown around by the heavy winds, she had to laugh at their predicament. There were other living creatures who were in the exact same situation that she was in. Thrown around helplessly, carelessly, as they tried to straighten their flight to no avail. The winds were just too powerful for them. She knew how that was. The winds were too powerful for her as well. Laughing aloud, she walked back to her car so that she could return home. If she didn’t, she’d be getting a call from someone. Someone always called to check up on her. Like they could do something to make it better. Yeah, right, like it was really that simple!
Entering the house, she sighed as she looked around the dungeon of her own making. Hers and his. Things had started out well for them, having fallen in love and gotten married without any questions. And then it set in: LIFE. It always did and she had been expecting it, wondering why it had taken so long to catch up to her happiness. It usually didn’t let her experience happiness for this long and she was glad that things fell into place as expected. It was uncomfortable living under false pretenses. Sure, everyone called her a pessimist but she was actually a realist, born from painful experiences throughout her whole life.
She turned on the computer and was soon immersed in the world that had since taken over her life. He didn’t understand that she loved this world because it was in her control. A little tiny box that opened the world through her fingertips. A world also easy to close with a single button. QUIT. What little control that she had, she didn’t want to relinquish. There was so little of it left that she was beginning to question if this whole thing was even worthwhile any longer. She had her doubts although she would never voice it aloud. The few times that she had had been painful for all involved, but especially for her. Everyone had talked to her, lectured her, explained that things would get better. Made her sign up for stupid counseling. She hated their optimism and hated them for trying to force her to be happy. What a useless emotion! She never got much done when she was happy, only when she was sad.
You’d think that after all of these years that people would know better. How long have I been telling them that this is the way that I like myself? Why should I change to make them feel better? What about me? Doesn’t anyone give a damn about what I want?
Punching at the keys to enter her comments, she had to smile at the response. Here was someone who knew what she was going through. And he was in the same exact place that she was in. It was good to have these attachments that demanded nothing from her, only listened. At least someone listened to what she had to say. For so long, she was beginning to think that she was talking to walls. Whenever an uncomfortable topic came about, no one wanted to hear it. They quickly changed the subject, like if they ignored it, the pain would go away. Well, it went away for them, but what about the person who was actually going through it?
Hearing keys in the front door, she quickly signed off the board and went back through her research. He never really looked at the content of her screen so she knew that she could still make headway on her project. Something that she was really excited about. Since it was the first time that she had ever been excited about anything, she knew that she had made the right decision.
The man, tall and dark, had entered the office to see his wife sitting in front of the computer like she was everyday. He had to sigh at the sight out of frustration. Little by little, she was separating herself from the world and he didn’t like it. The woman that he had fallen in love with was slipping away, and he didn’t know how to keep a tight hold on her. The more that he made her feel, the more she seemed to pull away.
Walking over to kiss the top of her head, she barely acknowledged his presence so he moved into the kitchen to get himself a drink. As he left the room, she let out a sigh of relief. Just as she predicted, he hadn’t even glanced at the screen. She knew that it was getting risky, what she did, but she just couldn’t stop herself from doing it. The words drew her like a moth to a flame. They burned into her soul and she felt. For the first time in a long time, she finally felt.
They had their dinner like always, in silence. She didn’t want to change her routine or she would alert him to the change in her. Status quo was the answer. As he talked nonchalantly about his day, she made the same noncommittal answers at the appropriate times. It was becoming so mechanical that she almost wanted to laugh at the hypocrisy of the situation. She could have placed a robot in her place, and he probably wouldn’t even notice the difference. Sometimes she wondered if he ever saw his surroundings, being so wrapped up in his own little world.
She remembered once when she had asked him why he clung so hard to his world if it was so undesirable. He shrugged carelessly and answered that someone had to do it. Bills to pay, responsibilities of adulthood…blah, blah, blah… the same tune that her parents shoved down her throat until she left in disgust. When had it become acceptable to become a doormat? She used to take pride in the fact that she didn’t fit in anywhere. Of course, now, she wasn’t much better as she completely withdrew from the spiked world into her own little cocoon of madness. She guessed that everyone had a prison of their own making; it was only the perspective that made it look different.
Later that night, he felt her next to him and moved against her to feel her warmth. At least, she was still warm to his touch. It was the only time that he could make her come alive. It was something that was always natural between them. Feeling her sigh against his skin as they moved together perfectly, he finally felt like he had come home. Like the first time when he met her, when they had talked for hours, finding so much in common that they hadn’t noticed the night slip away. Keeping that thought in his mind, he made love to her over and over until they fell into a deep sleep and ran away from the monsters that lurked in the dark corners of consciousness. He dreaded for morning to come because he knew that he would lose her again. So he kept a tight grip around her and breathed in her scent until he was lulled into a world of happy dreams.
Kissing her on top of her head, he smiled as she glanced up at him with real affection showing in her eyes. It shocked him to his very core because it had been so long since he had seen the look. His girl seemed to be coming back to him. With a joyous smile on his face, he whistled his way out of the door into his own busy world. Maybe things were getting better?!
The phone rang incessantly throughout the day, but she chose to ignore it like usual. Maybe they would eventually get the hint that she didn’t want to talk to anyone. Why bother? It would be the standard lecture and she just didn’t have the energy any longer. She had already talked to the people who really mattered, her mysterious shadows who acknowledged that her time had come. They were happy for her and asked that she wait for them. They would be joining her soon. Typing a short letter on the screen, she sighed and got up to retrieve her tools.
The phone rang again: “Honey, it’s Mom. Are you there? I know that you’re there. He’s been so worried about you that he actually called us. What is going on? Are you guys having problems? Come on, sweetie, please pick up! I’m not…”
Call after call was a message similar to that one. She wondered why they pushed so hard. When she had been with them in this world, they hadn’t seemed too concerned with her happiness. Now, suddenly, it was the most important thing in their lives. She smirked as she thought that guilt was such a wonderful motivator, if only she actually cared.
The bowl contained everything that she needed. She knew that it would be painful, but she looked forward to feeling the reality of it all. Looking down at the bowl which now sat next to the keyboard, her eyes caught the glint of the cold metal that lay at the bottom. It beckoned with its sterility, a precise line in an imprecise world. Picking it up with shaky hands, she fondled its clean, sharp edges with her fingertips. A line of dark red appeared instantly, welling up and slowly oozing down towards her wrists like red ribbons against her paleness.
She glanced at her wrists, which bore the scars of previous lost battles. She would make sure that the battle was over once and for all. The time had finally come for her to disappear into the ether, becoming the dust that merged with the darkness. Now resolved, she drew a sharp line down her arm until the ribbon of red became a river. As she stared, her vision became fuzzy so she repeated the action on her other arm. Darn, I’m completely missing the bowl! He won’t be happy with me now! The blade fell from her weakening fingers and fell onto the carpet next to the chair. She had to chuckle that she was making a mess in his orderly little world. As she focused on the carpet, she decided that she wanted to be down there. It looked so soft and warm and comforting. Letting her body fall onto it, she sighed briefly, listening to it waft into the air. Eventually, sleep came. An everlasting sleep.
He was impatient. He had been calling all morning and she wasn’t picking up. He knew that she didn’t like to talk to them because they were always lecturing her, but something seemed to be wrong today. He was kicking himself for not picking up on it. He had been fooled into a false sense of security when he had caught a brief glimpse of the girl that he had known. He had so badly wanted her to return to him. Leaving a message with his secretary, he quickly descended in the elevator towards the garage. He didn’t know why, but he had to go home now. He had heard her in the air around him and it had shot a cold chill into his heart.
Entering into the darkened house, he called out her name and got no answer. He knew that she hadn’t gone out because he couldn’t remember the last time when she had gone out without being forced. Checking in the various rooms, he cautiously walked to the office. He could see the glow of the monitor but didn’t see her form in front of it. Where the hell is she? What is this bowl doing here? He was about to shut down the computer when he noticed a splatter on the keyboard just before his foot caught on something solid on the floor. Startled, he managed to catch his fall as his hands came into contact with the carpet.
Strange, the carpet’s wet! Lifting his hands to his face while using the light from the monitor, he gasped at the darkness of the liquid. It wasn’t water. Afraid to look down, but knowing that he had to eventually, he came upon her body resting sweetly in slumber. She looks so peaceful! And she’s smiling… His hand touched her hair as it lay about her head in a halo, glowing like a warm cloud of chocolate. As it glided over her cool skin, he saw the streak of red against the paleness of her cheek. A choke came out from him, deep down where he hid the pain. He could only cradle her against his chest as he begged her to return, sobbing as he finally broke down. He didn’t want to be alone. He had been alone for so long before her. He didn’t have the energy to start over. He had already found the perfection. It wouldn’t happen twice in his life. She was his luck and if she went, then he didn’t have any luck left.
On the monitor, he finally read its content: Hi honey. I know that this isn’t what you wanted for me but please be happy. I’m only pulling you down with me and I can’t bear to do that to you anymore. You deserve so much more than I can give you. Don’t be sad as I’m sure that you’ll be back on your feet in no time. You lived before me and you will afterwards. Who knows, maybe we’ll find each other wherever I’m going to end up at and we will be happy together there. Not making any promises, though. I seem to have a hard time keeping them lately. You were always the strong one. See, I’m smiling so don’t be sad for me…
He couldn’t read anymore. All of her secrets would be revealed in it, if he had only bothered to look.