Suffice it to say, I was not going to get out of Christmas without a major issue or two. That said, parts of this story are true, parts of it are lies, and parts of it are just my way of silencing the wicked little woman who lives behind my ear without actually acting on the things that she tells me. Though she does speak the truth, or at least, the perceived truth, most of the time.
This short story is my way of dealing with Christmas. If you don’t like it, I really don’t care. I’m having an apathetic kind of day.
Closing the computer, she looked around the room.
This was the way that she felt, so she would bring this into reality. “Reality was tangible,” she thought as she logged off her social networking page and signed off of her Skype account. Wishing she were brave enough to turn off her phone, she lowered the volume to silent, instead. With her only connection to the world outside her front door muted, her world inside the house now mimicked the disconnected feelings that tormented her. The only sound was coming from a child’s toy being quietly played with in the corner of the room.
The fact that her thoughts were irrational made no difference to her. She had been abandoned. She’d been left along for far too long for him to be coming back. A single hot tear rolled down her cheek following the salty trails left behind by the tears she’d cried before. It was true that he had left her attention for that of another woman. It was work he’d told her. Logically, rationally, she knew it to be true. He would never purposely betray her in such a way. The problem was, at times such as these, when the loneliness paved way for emptiness which in turn transformed her heart into an inescapable hollow hole, on days such as today, logical and rational had no place.
As the hollowness in her chest grew more heavy with each beat of her heart, her mind wandered to long forgotten hurts, and to pains she had fought hard to bury. “He’s having an affair,” states one voice flatly, emotionless, as if making a statement of fact. “That is not true and you know it,” says a much more childlike voice, so full of optimism and hope. “He loves you. He just forgot.” “Again,” replies the flat voice in turn. Back and forth these two voices bicker. For hours, passing arguments between them as if playing a fame of tug-o-war. Caught in the middle, between logical reason and fearing inducing doubt, her pain builds.
It is all too easy to believe the lie. Often times, the lie contains just enough truth to bring doubt. Doubt, when added to past pain and hurt, to fear. Fear makes everything true. You fear the bumps in the night, so there must be a boogeyman. She doesn’t want to believe the irrational pain could be true. Fear and doubt cloud her judgement. She knows these things to be true:
1)His female coworker had been away from some length of time.
2)There was business to be dealt with. There was always business to be done.
3)He had left her alone to discuss things with this coworker, another woman.
Hours later, her hopes of having a good day had long since passed as visions of an affair played in her head. Knowing his love for her, knowing his job would be lost didn’t stop the illogical visions from dancing just behind her eyes. As the day progressed, the pain, the emptiness and the hollow ache grew. Suddenly, it wasn’t only an irrational fear of betrayal that blazed through her mind. The emotional pain became too much, as it often did. Her brain desperate for a logical cause of this chemical release began to ache for a rational explanation. Visions of metal, sharp and gleaming under bright lights, began to flicker through her head.
“One quick swipe,” the emotionless voice whispered in her ear. “One quick swipe and you would understand this pain. Transformed into a reality, a physical cause to be controlled.”
The little optimist, having long ago run out of new arguments to fend off the doubt, sat in silence. The one who was so innocent knew the truth in the words of her darker sister. The woman’s brain had always had trouble processing emotion. Like asking a computer to describe and experience ‘love’, the woman had a much better grasp on the physical realm. Reality could be controlled; it could be altered. Like the turning off of the phone and computer to better handle the feeling of ‘disconnect’, a small change in reality could make the feelings real.
The imaginary pain and perceived hurt could be made real. All the rest of the day, she was egged on by the wicked little voice. “You know you want to.” and “You’ll feel so much better if you do.” chorused through her head as she prepared a lonely dinner for herself and the children. She had barely spoken a word since that morning, when so suddenly, he had disappeared from her life. Her phone rang not once, her email sat empty, not a single text message arrived. The hollowness where her heart sat began to expand making her breath catch like heavy sobs though her eyes had run dry hours before.
She feared the things she thought. Both the imagined actions he took against her and the solitary way her mind sought to fix the problem. She feared he would hurt her; she feared she would hurt herself. After a long day, the house fell more silent. The children tucked into their beds snug and warm against the bitter cold of a winter’s night.
Quietly, she stepped onto the chilly tile of the bathroom floor. Mindful of the creaky door on the medicine cabinet, she pulled out her husbands used razor. Staring at her own reflection, she saw what he must see.
A young woman, aging before her time. Her blue eyes, though swollen from a long day of tears, were still hollow and sunken from many nights of little sleep. Her body, already slim, had grown to bare bones from the days of foodless stress. She sometimes thought herself beautiful, but those days were growing fewer and farther between.
She stood there. One arm held out in front of her, wrist bent outward over the vanity sink, she stood there, staring at herself. Holding the steel against her skin, she steadied her gaze, glaring at her own dead reflection and without any joy at all, declared,
©Rainshadow Noba, December 25, 2012