Last night I kissed you for the last time.
Right now, you’re with someone else. Someone you have the capability of loving.
Last night I touched you for the last time.
Right now you’re probably being touched by someone you’re going to let yourself love.
That thought makes me want to be sick.
You two are probably kissing, and I want to be happy for you but it’s just too hard to do that.
There’s no use for me anymore.
Last night was the last night I’d ever see you before you spent the night with this other person, and last night was the last time I’d ever be able to look at you without crying.
Right now, I’m lighting the last cigarette I’ll ever smoke.
Today marks the first day of the rest of your life.
Right now, I’m taking the last drag from my last cigarette and the first of the last breathes I will ever take.
Today marks the last day of the rest of my life.
I’m taking my last breath. I’m crying my last tear.
God knows how you got here, but all you know is that you don’t want to leave. You don’t dare let anyone know this, you are rude to the nurses and when your family comes you just cry and scream about how much you miss home and hate this place, but it’s all lies.
At some point, this became home.
At some point you realized you don’t want to go back to your mother’s house, with the little bedroom filled with stuffed animals and cheerleader uniforms – like a shrine to some perfect child who became the perfect homecoming queen.
You’ve grown tired of being that girl, and the homecoming queen crown hurts your head. You don’t even want to see that room again.
When you’re ready to be released there will be no reason that you can’t get your own apartment. Something quaint that your parents will have picked for you before they even let you see it and pretend to give you a choice. Just far enough away to not be their home, but just quick enough for them to dash over if they find another suicide note.
Yeah, you could live there, but you don’t want to.
You’re happy here. You don’t want to leave.
Best of all, you’ve figured this place out – and you never have to leave. You’ll hear the nurses whispers when they hear from the head doctor that you’re sane enough to leave, and you’ll know you’re not acting strange enough. So you’ll do something really crazy – like demand that they make your bath ice cold, and then refuse to get out of it for six hours.
And the nurses won’t like it, because they have to sit there and watch you bathe.
That’ll get you another 3 months, easily.
And this works well for your vendetta against your parents, too, because they’ve already spent your college fund on this place. They may have even started on a second mortgage by now.
The thought of them struggling to pay the bills warms your cold heart and sends a smile across your face. You may even laugh about it for a day or four.
And that’ll get you another 5 months, no problem.
You’ll keep extending it, and eventually one of the girls who is actually crazy will confront you and say you have to go home at some point.
And you’ll try and stab her with the eyeliner pencil you were given after promising for months you wouldn’t stab anyone with it.
And that will get you a year, at least.
The first day after you loose the baby no one will judge you for not wanting to get out of bed.
After a few days they’ll start to worry, but no one will say anything. Not yet, at least.
Eventually, probably after a few weeks, your friends will try and stage some sort of intervention. If you’re like me you’ll call them crazy and force them out of your life forever.
If you’re like me, your husband will still support you. For that first day, and the few days after. Even the weeks after. But eventually, usually around the third year of not leaving the bed, even your husband will give up.
He’ll tell you that he still loves you, but things have gotten out of hand. He’ll hire some Mexican woman that speaks no English to come by every few days and move the boxes of food he’s bought for you closer, and help you operate the can opener if you don’t have the strength.
But you hate this woman, because she is so full of judgement. So eventually you find a way to communicate to her that she need not come back. She’ll listen to you, kind of.
And then you’re on your on. Confided to a bed with no contact to the outside world. Laying in your own waste. Eating cans of glazed carrots with your fingers every few days when hunger strikes you.
If those friends that tried to help saw you now they’d probably want to vomit.
But for you, it’s just life.
You wouldn’t change it for the world, because even if you did your baby would still be dead.
Everyone else would judge you if they knew, but I would never do that. They just don’t understand. I understand, more than you could ever imagine.
The Mexican woman used to come back every month or so with new boxes of food. She didn’t speak, she just gave disgusted looks and threw the boxes onto the floor, most times slightly out of reach.
She’s a bitch.
But don’t worry, by the sixth year she stops coming at all.
After a few months there’s only one more can of glazed carrots. And the can opener broke a few cans ago.
So you just slam the can against the wall.
And you slam it.
And you slam it.
And you’re really hungry.
So you slam it.
And eventually your strength is gone and you have to take a break for a few hours.
Or maybe it’s a few days, it’s so hard to tell anymore.
While you’re taking this break you slip in and out of consciousness – but the entire time you can hear someone walking up the stairs of your home.
And sure, it’s a big house, really it’s more of an estate – but there are only so many stairs. Whoever is here must not be very good at walking up stairs.
Every few minutes you hear that person scream, but you don’t understand why. You comprehend what they are screaming, but do not understand why anyone would be walking up a staircase screaming that. In my case they’re screaming “Olivia”. I wonder if that was the name of the baby they lost.
You try and remain quiet – because it’s probably very late at night and this person is probably going to kill you.
Suddenly you wonder if it’s a holiday, and you realize how many holidays have passed since the last time you knew a holiday had happened. It’s just a feeling thought, and you don’t really care, but you are curious.
On the wall where you were slamming the can there is a mark. It’s a long diagonal line, and then underneath that there is another long diagonal line going in the opposite direction. It looks kind of like a less than symbol that you used in math class.
Or, if you look long enough, it looks like a baby.
And that’s what it is, a sign from beyond. A sign from your baby that you are about to die.
You smell smoke, and you try and remember the last time you had warm food. Or a warm bath. It’s been long enough that you don’t remember what these things feel like.
You slam the can, and now the baby has legs and it really looks like he’s in the fetal position. And this can’t be a coincidence.
You keep slamming this can against the dead baby on the wall until it breaks open, and you have a glazed carrot.
After the one, you’re not really that hungry anymore.
The smoke is now filling the room up and the only thing you’ll feel is regret, that once again you’re going to be unable to save your baby. If somehow you could peel the paint off the wall and walk to the window and throw the smudge of the baby out you could save it – but your legs stopped working after a while and you’ve long forgotten how you used them anyways.
Not to mention babies rarely survive such a fall.
So you wait, and you mumble to the baby that you’re sorry.
And you die.
“Everyone knows you’re fucking your dad Tia! No wonder your mom left him, I’d left the scum bag if he fucked someone as ugly as you too.”
Tears flowed from Tia’s eyes and she ran in the direction of the bathroom. We all laughed.
Back then, we were all so certain that Tia was sleeping with her father.
It started out as a joke.
“Tia’s so ugly, no one fucks her. Her ugly ass dad wouldn’t even fuck her. Actually, no, he is, and that’s even worse!”
I had laughed when Steph said it, but I would have never thought it’d get to this level. I would never had thought to tell Tia we knew about her and her dad.
The rumors got worse and worse, eventually Tia had gotten herpes from her father, who then impregnated her with a baby who was growing a third arm inside of her womb. And when the doctor saw this in the ultrasound he knew exactly what had happened, and spit in Tia’s dad’s face. Steph knew this, because her older cousin worked for an OBYN.
None of this actually happened, but when Step told us we never thought to question it.
And when Tia killed herself, Step knew that it was because her dad had decided to call things off. He broke the news to Tia that day that he was trading her in for a younger model – her own sister.
No one was that shocked when Tia was found hanging in her father’s attic. We just all pretended to be sad. If anything we were sad for Tia’s mom – that she had picked such a horrible man to have children with. And that poor baby that was growing inside of Tia, well, it was probably better off dead.
No, we weren’t surprised when we found out Tia was dead. I was surprised, however, that I ran into her at the supermarket nearly 20 years later. Even after her death her fashion since was horrible.
I gazed at her stringy black hair, her stained forest green button-up, the nametag with TIA written sloppily across it.
“Paper or plastic?”
“Plastic is fine, you look so familiar. I would swear I went to high school with you.”
“Yeah, you did. Debbie, right? You were the co-captian of the cheerleading squad, weren’t you?”
“I was, but, the girl I am thinking of died when I was in 11th grade.”
“Well, you must be confused. I moved in 11th grade, but I certainly didn’t die. Have you tried this cheese before?”
“Yeah, it’s great. So you moved? I swear, Steph said you died. I remember the day she told us. She said your parents were keeping it quiet, since it was a suicide and all, but she heard from her aunt that worked at the hospital.”
Tia looked straight into my eyes and tossed my hamburger buns into a bag filled with frozen foods.
“Well did she mentioned I was fucking my father when she told you I was dead?”
My mouth dropped open and this time, I was shocked. Was this a confession, or was Tia finally just retaliating? Had she been planning this moment ever since she moved?”
“It’s okay Debbie, you don’t have to play dumb. I know good and damn well you know what I’m talking about.”
I looked downward at my shoes.
“It may have come up in conversation, once or twice.”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought. Well, I can assure that I am not dead, nor have I ever slept with my father. 89.57 is your total, is that credit or debit?”
I swiped my card and silently put my groceries into my cart.
“Hey Mom, whats up?”
“Oh, nothing, I just got home, I wanted to let you know Ms Pat died. You remember Ms Pat right?”
Of course I remembered Ms Pat, she was only the nicest woman I had ever met.
“Oh God, what happened?”
“Aneurysm. but she was 94, so you can’t really call it shocking, yeah?…You there?”
“Yeah, sorry mom, I’ve got to get going. Talk to you later.”
I sat the phone in it’s cradle and silently returned to my work.
That night Danny and I had sex, but as soon as he came it was over. We laid there naked and he held me tight, and once his breathing was regulated and I knew he was asleep I started to cry.
I cried for Ms Pat. I cried for the orgasm I hadn’t had. I cried for the life I was living and wishing I were not. I cried for the children I’d never have.
I cried all night.
“Is this gonna hurt?”
“Um, probably more than anything else has ever hurt before.”
“It’s too late to turn back, right?”
“Yeah, unless you want to look like a retard for the rest of your life.”
“Okay, yeah, I’m ready.”
Melissa quickly pulled the wax strip from my forehead and instantly my skin began to burn as if it were on fire.
“It’s done, you wanna see?”
“Yeah, does it look good?”
Melissa didn’t respond, she simply handed me a mirror.
I held the mirror up to my face and gazed at my left eye brow, or at least where it used to be.
“Do you like it?”
I didn’t answer, I simply kept staring. Melissa had told me this was what I had to do to be popular, and I had long ago decided I would do anything to win that title. But for some reason I felt nothing but sad. My eye brow had been on my face for seven years, which is as long as I had a face. And now it was gone.
“You like it, right.”
“Yeah, I guess so. Are you going to do yours?”
“No, I’ve told you, I don’t want to be popular.”
“Come on, I’ve got to pull of the other one. If we leave it on for too long it might pull off your skin.”
For 2010 I will be posting a story I wrote in 2009 (which may or may not have been posted here before) on the first day of the month. My goal is to have the story completely rewritten by the end of each month. Hopefully rewritten versions of the selections will be worthy of appearing in an updated version of “This Was Supposed To Be Simple…”. This month’s selection is from May of 2009, but it is a story that stayed in my mind for many months before I wrote it. Please post any suggestions, ideas, or comments on how I can improve it!
It was Thursday. We were walking down the streets of downtown, discussing how shitty our town was. You flipped your hair behind your shoulders. I smiled. We kept walking, finishing our beers and throwing the cans under the sidewalk into the gutter.
We kept walking and eventually I worked up the courage to put my hand on yours. “The most magical part of our relationship,” you said, “is that after all this time it’s still like we’re on our first date.”
“Is it that obvious that I’m nervous to show you affection?” I said, shooting you a nervous glance.
“Yes, and it’s adorable.”
We felt the sidewalk shake and heard the train whistle from blocks away. As usual we turned around, taking extra care to be sure not to turn back around until it had passed. I thought back to when we were in elementary school – when I first met you. We’d sit on the jungle gym, cold steel pressed to our legs, drinking our juice boxes and watching the train pass.
“Do you ever wonder what they’re carrying on that thing? What’s so exciting that we can’t even look at it?” I asked, taking extra care not to look at you as I spoke in fear of catching a glance.
You spun around into my direction, not worrying at all whether or not the guards onboard would think you were looking. “We know what they’re carrying. Military equipment. If we got to look people might leak secrets to the opposition.”
It was like you were reading from a book. Believing so completely what the government had taught us. Some people would find it annoying; I thought your naivety was cute.
“Well, that’s what they say, but no one really knows. No one’s ever seen it. How do we know it’s not something else, right?” You looked directly into my eyes, staring even after my mouth had stopped moving. You stood up on your tiptoes and placed your hands on my face. Slowly you touched your mouth to mine and for an instant it was like we were one. The train whistled loudly.
“I’ll let you know.” You whispered.
You lowered yourself back onto your flat feet and spun around, facing the train directly. I gasped. I could almost hear your eyes widen. The gunshot fired. It went through your forehead. Perfect shot.