(Just a short story I wrote a few years back. I'd love to see what you guys could do with it visually!)
It is October 23rd in this year of our lives and I love you. I love every inch of you. I love your dirty habits and your clean record. I love how your think I don’t notice when you’re sad. You wash the dishes more when you’re sad. I come home late from work, and there you are; drowning your melancholy like so many tea cups in the lukewarm sink.
On this night I cross the blue and white linoleum, treading cheery flowers in my black dress socks. I cross to your sweet curved back and slip my hands into the pockets of the apron my mother made for you. Our 6th anniversary gift. You laughed at Mother’s sensibility, but put it to good use.
You don’t even look back at me, just tip your head to your right shoulder so I can kiss your neck hello.
Good evening smooth neck.
It is our last night together and you don’t know it and I don’t know it and I love you. I love you like the grass loves the sun. Someday our baby Alice will know a love like ours.
I wish we’d known.
I only wish we’d known.
From the voice recorder of James P. Ritt; local reporter and first on the scene
Got call over the radio, somehow arrived before the police. God, before the paramedics.
Somewhere, a baby wails. Cops here now. Follow inside. Such a mess, no one’s checking credentials.
Bile rises at the stench.
Husband and wife in the kitchen. By the sink.
A break in? Wack-job by the looks. God! Tracks thru the blood. Wife’s blood. Husband was surprised. Slashed across the back. Wide Deep cuts.
He’s layed open. Ribs. Shoulder blade. Wife got the bullets. Pretty brown hair glued to the window over the sink full of red tea. Cops yell from the other room.
The found the baby. Oh God. Oh God.
He’s here. He’s still here!
Blood on his hands, blood on the blanket, he’s got the girl, he’s got the little girl.
Put her down! Lord, Lord, please. Don’t hurt the girl! Put her down!
From the confession of William Douglas:
I did it. I killed them and I took the girl. Pretty baby Alice. They didn’t deserve that pretty girl, pretty Alice. Pretty baby Alice. I’da loved her. More than they could. I did it for Alice!
It is October the 23rd and I’ve been alone 19 years. I turned 20, three weeks ago and again, I celebrated alone. Every year I mourn in a quiet way and thank God I get to. They loved me, but now they’re gone. It’s October the 23rd, I’m 20, and I love you.
“Alice walks across the grassy quad toward him, the man she loves. She bites a dry flake of skin from her lower lip before she smiles at him. Her Adam. They get teased for the cutesy alliteration, but they don’t mind. Lovers never do. And while they aren’t lovers yet, they have been in their hearts since the day they met. If ever anyone believed in soul mates, these two would.
I was born for you. He whispers in her ear at night.
I was spared for you. Is her response.
He thinks she is morbid, but is thrilled by the image. Some angry blood soaked man gently cradling baby Alice, keeping her safe for him. To be recognized as her future so early in her existence. He is flattered and says a silent prayer of thanks to the long deceased William Douglas. He is morbid. He is in love.
They will sleep together tonight. Adam will resist, thinking Alice is only sad. He is right. Alice is not a moody girl scarred by the tragic loss of her family, but she still permits herself a day of sadness for what she could have, should have, had. That day is October the 23rd.
It is late, it is dark. Alice’s roommate is home with family for the weekend. Adam walks her to her door after dinner and a movie. Alice props the single roomed door open with her foot, inviting her beloved inside.
Adam puts some thought to this. More thought than Alice expected.
Adam? Alice. What? Are you sad? Of course. Why do you want me to stay?
Alice pauses, biting her lower lip again. She hasn’t prepared for this. She knows the answer, it comes from her gut, where it’s been sitting since the day her family died.
Is it because of what today is?
Alice never thought it would be this hard. She only wants to be with him.
Yes. I love you. I love you.
Satisfied enough with her reasoning, Adam reaches for her waist, guiding Alice backwards into the dark of the empty room. Once inside, he closes the door with his heel as he kisses her. Kisses pretty Alice’s pretty neck. Alice reaches behind him and latches the door. Together they stumble gracelessly to the bed they’ve shared without ever sharing.
They make love
They wake up.
Three years pass and Alice is engaged. Adam takes her to Italy and drops to his knee outside of the tiny café across from their hostel. It is October the 23rd and they are in love. Adam knows without asking when their wedding will be.
Alice sits in a park, waiting for Adam. An hour passes. Two. Three. Adam never comes.
Alice rushes home, to the home she shares with the man she loves. The home she shares with the man she plans to marry.
The home she finds empty.
The home she finds cold.
The home in which she finds the note.
It is October the 23rd and I can’t live for you anymore. I’m sorry. I love you. I love you like the sun loves the flower. Always,
Alice rushed home, to the home she shared with the man she loved, with the man she found forever sleeping in the red waters of a half filled bath.
When the police left, Alice learned the truth about her Adam. Her Adam was also Jennifer’s Adam. Amy’s Adam. Julie’s Adam. Henry’s Adam. Evline’s Adam.
Their Adam left a note for every one of them. Each read the same. Adam was a damaged boy. A secret boy. Alice didn’t know. Alice didn’t look. Adam didn’t live.
Other romances come and go as Alice ages, but none stay. She has friends, sometime’s lovers, a few are both. Alice is 26.
I lie in bed, dizzy with drugs, and try not to think about you. I am not ill, this haze is self induced. And I do not avoid thoughts of you because I am still so in love and so saddened by my loss. Rather, I avoid them because they make me fear moving on. There is no end to the potential amount of damage we do to each other. I’m sorry, but I hate you.
It is another year before Alice falls in love again. She is 27 years old, in love for the second time and finally feels alive.
His name is David. He is nothing like Adam. He is nothing like Alice. This is why she loves him.
David hunts and watches wrestling. He loves his dog second only to Alice. He loves his mother. He drinks. He smokes too much. David is beautiful. He is kind and flattering. He reads, listens to music, and loves film. David makes Alice feel beautiful without even trying. His laugh makes her heart go crazy. He makes her heart go crazy. David reminds Alice that she is alive, that she exists, that he loves her like the moon loves the night.
David and Alice watch the stars. They fell in love unexpectedly and surprised everyone with their honesty. David and Alice fit together in a manner no one has ever fit before. David and Alice love each other beyond the world.
David? Alice? Nothing. I love you.
David teaches Alice to feel again. Alice teaches David to feel. He takes her to picnics on the lake and reads to her about heaven and hell, stars and mountains, history and myth.
She watches his lips move as he speaks to her about the world. Those same lips press against her skin when they make love, which is regularly.
On Sundays, they stay in bed all day and he lets her paint her dreams in black lines on his back, his arms, the backs of his palms. Stories from her mind spill down his long fingers and ink drips to the floor.
David, what is hell? Hell is ambiguous, love. What would Hell be? Hell is the moment before you drown. Not the hope of rescue before it, or the calm acceptance right after, but that single moment before the act. When your cells scream in fire and you inhale your watery panic. Hell is what you fear most.
When they shower, her sometimes nightmares run off his body and down the drain to the sewers with all old things.
It is October the 23rd and Alice has been David’s wife for years. They have no children, but still have plenty of time. Alice goes to night classes where she learns about literature, poetry, and philosophy. Alice devours her texts like some child’s nightmare creature. David works at an office and counts down the hours every day until he comes home to his wife. David is on the subway. Alice is walking to the parking garage. They each know how many footsteps lie between where they are now, and where they want to be. They count the seconds to each other. Alice walks.
Alice feels a sharp pain in her guts. She puts a hand behind her back and slowly, delicately, traces her fingers up her back until they pull on the blade planted there. She turns to face a stranger.
The stranger retrieves his knife and plants it in Alice’s front. Alice is confused and looks to the stranger in the dark for some explanation. He relieves her of the blade and her purse before he flees.
Alice pauses and crumples and falls.
Alice never screams, Alice never asks. Alice only thinks. Alice only had 10 dollars. Other, kinder, strangers rush to Alice. They scream, they make stupid noises that annoy Alice. And Alice thinks:
And I’m dying and I can’t figure it out, because I should be scared or peaceful or concerned at least, but all I’ve got are these random thoughts. I’m smelling Addie’s lotion on my skin from where she held my hand to keep from laughing in class. And I’m feeling the phantom loops of old rings and your bracelet. Tight on my forearm because it’s too big to wear on my wrist like you do. I’m laying here on cold pavement that steals my heat, soaking up my blood and I’m smelling things and feeling things that have nothing to do with this moment.
And as temperatures between her body and the sidewalk teeter into balance she gets a whiff of smoke. Someone around the corner is on the phone with 911 and they smoke a clove cigarette.
Instead of feeling the blades in my belly and the dust in my teeth, I’m only feeling that sweet exhale in my nose and can only think of that summer three past that we spent smoking on the balcony until dawn. The too slowly approaching sirens, I know they come for me, I should be weeping, praying for them to speed, but I do not. My prayers go to you, my thoughts bend to you. I taste my blood and remember tasting yours. Sweet kisses gone too hard. David. The lights in my eyes kill our stars.
And I know now what my Hell will be.
And she drifts, and somewhere across town David comes up from the tunnels, completely lost on the path he's walked a thousand times.
Created: Jul 27, 2010Document Media