This story is really sad but I wanted to try my hand at first person writing so that the reader could view themselves as both the narrator and/or the victim. You may not want to read this is you are squeamish to death, blood, and/or fatal diseases… I definitely would rate it PG-13. and I would LOVE Constructive Criticism as this is merely a finished first draft. : )
Over time, I have learned that somethings are better left unsaid.
It was raining. I always wondered how I could hate something that I loved so much. Staring out the double-paned sliding glass door, I chuckled as I imagined the false security it provided. Not even the best built window can protect the viewer from a hurricane; and a hurricane was brewing. A shaking hand reached for a coffee on a wicker end table, then I realized the hand was my own and it took all my concentration to steady myself. The house moaned in discomfort as the wind blew. I am at the age where I think I know everything, but really know nothing; coming to the age where I know nothing at all but think I know everything. Over time, I have learned that somethings are better left unsaid. Movement stirred behind me, and startled I shifted my focus. There was nothing, I was seeing things. All that was there was the packing boxes, a blood stained couch, and the dead body of a lover passed. Just the way I left it. My gaze shifted back to the storm, and for a moment I closed my eyes and drifted back to how I got here…
My eyes shot open, the room was dark. Slowly they adjusted to the darkness. The short hand approached the 2 on my wall clock. Rolling over, I wrapped my arms around my lover. The lifeless pillow gave away the empty bed.
“Where is..?” A creak of the door alerted to an intruder. Moments passed, and a weight shifted the end of the bed. Shoes clumsily thumped to the floor, and the pillow sprang to life from my arms. The stench of alcohol and vomit overwhelmed the senses, and I rolled away from my drunken companion. Silence filled the night air, and I focused intently on peaceful snores. A concern had leaked into my mind, then the sleeping body rolled over and the thought of alcohol poison was nothing more than a fleeted memory. Everything was okay for that night. Then like an old cracked dam, other worries flooded my mind. “Who drove? Where were you? Who were you with? Was it worth it?” The thoughts jumped like sheep over a fence, and soon my mind was invaded with dreams of another world. A happier place.
The floor creaked outside, and I jumped. “Who could it be?” Panic seized control of my actions. A sheet flew over the couch. Everyone from the apartment complex evacuated. Shaking, the curtain revealed a small place to peak through. Nothing. The hall was empty. The storm picked up, and my nerves with it. The coffee called my name. “Knock, knock, knock.” Blew the storm, always a welcome guest. The cream began to dissipate in swirls, and a frown affixed it’s place, as I drifted off in thought once more.
“Why?’ I asked. That is all I wanted to know. “Why? Does it make you feel better?” Asking these questions to no one in particular. The answers had haunted my dreams. While analyzing the insults that had been thrown my way, accompanied with glass and porcelain, I grabbed a broom. “Always cleaning up after you. Nobody will ever love me, you say? Just look at yourself. That is, if you would ever sober up long enough to focus in a mirror.” There was commotion coming from the bathroom, and a grunt followed with vomiting. “Baby..?’ Moaned a helpless voice. “I don’t feel good…” More vomiting. Like an unwanted habit, I had gone into the bathroom filling up a glass of water, patting the back of my once best friend. “How much easier could my life be?” It was a rhetorical question, of course. The love had been stolen from me, and I felt like a baby who was robbed of their candy. Back then, I escorted my partner to bed, and watched helplessly as teary eyes stared up at me. “I’m sorry.” Empty words always come from the same mouth that had just spent the last 6 months debilitating my will to live.
Was it selfish of me to not want to hurt anymore?
Focus returned to the present cup of coffee in my grasp. Was it selfish of me to not want to hurt anymore? I glared at the lumpy sheet on the couch. ‘Bang, bang, bang!’ Springing from my seat, heart racing, that clash of the half-empty coffee cup meeting the ground gave away my presence.
“Hello? I know you are home!” Ruth. No one must have come and got her. She would never leave now that she knew I was home. Grabbing the kitchen knife, I walked to the front door.
“What is it?”
She is so old. I cracked the door open.
“What is it, Ruth?”
“I heard a ruckus.”
“A storm is coming. Did no one come to help you evacuate?”
“I’ll die before I leave. My husband died here,” Stubborn too. “And I will be grateful to meet him.” Ruth tried to peer around the door. “Are you going to make me stand out in this rain? No manners, this generation.” Pushing her body against the door, shocked, I moved out of the way.
Sweat beaded my forehead, and I gripped the kitchen knife tighter. She made her way for the kitchen. Too stunned to move, unsure of what to do next, I heard the faucet run. Ruth made herself at home. ‘What was I thinking?’ Only that a huge hurricane was about to hit, and that every sane individual would evacuate. Ruth’s picture didn’t grace the list of the sane. The front door was sucked shut, and I bolted the lock. “Ruth?” I asked. Creeping around the hallway opening. There she stood, mouth agape. With animal instincts for survival, I found myself behind her. My body movement mirrored hers. Slow. Cautious. My pulse urged my actions, as the knife raised above my head. I took the plunge. A gasp. A thud.
The knife caught air, and gracefully swung around behind my back. Ruth barely stepped out of the way, setting her water down on the wicker end table. Couch to our back. Following her gaze to the broken coffee cup, and the coffee on the floor. Quickly she snatched up the broom nearby. “Grab some paper towels.” She demanded. Looking up to see that I hadn’t moved she asked, “Would you prefer to leave this mess here?”
“Isn’t it always said not to cry over spilled milk?” Sarcasm seeped it’s way into my words as I was grabbing for the paper towels. Eyes jumping between her and the couch, I began to mop up the coffee. .
“I came to ask for your help. I decided I am leaving after all, and I need someone to help me pack my suitcase. Come, come now.” Grateful, I followed her to the door.
“I really can’t.”
“Sure you can, you have nothing better to do. Except make messes.” I eyed her suspiciously, surely she doesn’t know anything.
Quickly I was in her house. Her suitcase lay open on the bed, everything thrown about the room. How many times had she packed to leave, I wondered. “Let me make you some hot tea, always manages to calm my nerves during these big storms.” Gladly, I accepted. A few moments of silence, then I would have her packed up, and slip out the door. I eyed a picture of a young Ruth holding a baby, as I laid out her belongings on the bed.
The whistle of a kettle blew. A ‘clank, clank, clank’ of metal against porcelain. The fridge opened and shut. Opened and shut. The pitter patter of foot steps clamored in my direction. Then the sound of delicate porcelain crashed against the ground, ringing in my ears. Turning toward the doorway I saw a frozen Ruth yell, “Thief!” Panic vibrated my bones, as I began looking around for a thief. Following her to the living room, all the while she yelled, “Thief! Thief!”
“Ruth, where?” She didn’t hear me.
Ruth began dialing the phone, “Stay away!” Realization dawned across my face. Ruth was dialing 9-1-1.
“Ruth, no! I am not a thief!” I reached for the phone. Tug of war began, and Ruth’s strength was a surprise. “Stop, Ruth. It’s me.” My hands were wet with sweat. The war raged on.
“Thief!”She yelled. It happened in slow motion. The phone left my grasp, Ruth went arms flailing, tumbling backwards. All the while, a stubborn grip on the phone. ‘Thud’ Her head hit, as she propelled then face first to the floor.
Kneeling by her body on the floor, “Ruth?” No answer.
“9-1-1. Please state your emergency.” Without thinking, I clicked the dial down, hanging up the phone.
In a blur of dismay, I was bolting the door behind me in my own duplex. “No, no no.” Pacing back and forth. It felt like only seconds passed before the sound of an ambulance filled my head with horrible memories.
The ambulance had pulled up. In that time, a crowd had gathered around. Ruth, of course, was standing at her door then too. Far too much drama for the neighborhood to miss. Without any true assurance in my voice, I answered my lovers groans, “You will be Okay. Everything will be okay. I promise.” A promise I couldn’t keep. Although I looked to the paramedic for any sign, an emotionless face focused strongly on the task ahead gave nothing away. Stats that meant nothing shot back and forth between the paramedics as they rushed about their business. Nothing they had done seemed like enough at the time, and helplessness pierced my heart.
When I thought things couldn’t get worse, my better half seemed to recover. The IV drip rehydrated, and color returned to flesh. Nothing could prepare me for the Doctors verdict. Cancer, in the final stages. Chemotherapy may add a couple more weeks, maybe even months. We had to try. That was 6 months ago. The first three months were of Chemotherapy, and that did nothing but drain life away faster, and from us both. Clumps of hair clogged the shower drain. Tears and final I love you’s constantly filled the stale air. Never knowing when it would be our last. Then the last three months filled itself with violence, empty liquor bottles, broken glass, and hatred that resonated the walls. Feelings of the loss were so familiar. And suffering. So much suffering. Then the hurricane was prophesied. Everything else that we had left would be ripped away from us, what little it was. The entire area would be destroyed. Then I thought to myself, how I could end the suffering. No one would know. No more dragging along without hope. Anything to end the suffering.
A weak pounding at the door brought me back to the situation at hand. Staring out the peep hole, the ghost of Ruth stood at my door, with pure intent to haunt me. Opening the door, for the last time, the teary-eyed youthful version of Ruth pushed her way in. Ruth’s genes were clearly dominate.
“Awful. Just awful.” Ruth’s daughter said between sobs. From the door, I could see the gurney entering the ambulance. No crowd gathered today. “It was probably for the best, probably the way she would want to go. Where dad died.” More sobs echoed through the air, and the ghost of Ruth vanished.
To my horror, she had made her way to the living room. Making herself at home. My hand reached out. Words caught in my throat. She backed up, about to take her place to sit. ‘Plop’. She landed herself comfortably on the couch. Bracing myself, I anticipated her scream. Cops running in to arrest me. Judges throwing out accusations. They would never understand. It’s how my lover wanted to go. No more suffering. Who was I to deny my partner of a sweet escape? Life sentences, more accusations. A selfish crime, the newspapers would call it. Who’s suffering was I really trying to end? Silence. Then a familiar arm of my lover embraced my shoulders.
“So sad.” Were the words of my companion. “She’s in heaven now,” Ruth’s daughter felt comfort from the soft words from my spouse as well. “With your father. No more suffering…”
No more suffering…