“There saw I how the secret felon wrought,
And treason labouring in the traitor's thought,
And midwife Time the ripened plot to murder brought.” - Geoffrey Chaucer, 'The Canterbury Tales'
And treason labouring in the traitor's thought,
And midwife Time the ripened plot to murder brought.” - Geoffrey Chaucer, 'The Canterbury Tales'
As I drove home that night, I lingered in deep thought, a kind of deep thought that brings you to another place. An unknown realm of sorts that makes you feel briefly disconnected. The quiet hum of the radio distracted me; yet a subtle hush of white noise seeped from my window seducing sleep. I struggled to fend off tired eyes as I slouched in my bucket seat entranced by what seemed like a ballet of pterodactyl sized bugs fluttering along the golden beams of light. Dreadfully weary when I finally arrived home, yet relieved, despite my requisite bunk mate...well, just for one last night.
Once I pulled my car in the driveway, I pulled the key from the ignition and sat staring at my house wondering what horror awaited me behind the front door. I shifted my eyes to the rear view mirror, to briefly distract myself with the two sleepy angels in my back seat. For a few brief moments, I sat and relished in the sentiment of solace that came with the kind of memories I planned to build with them.
In fact, as the days drew closer to Alex's murder, I found that I would daydream often about our new days ahead. Days that would surely be filled with the likes of peace and ice cream. Several celebratory rounds of copious ice cream, served up with giant spoons, in our living room, on our pristine cream carpet. Creamy drops of ice cream would fall from their spoons without consequence. Only to be complemented by the joyful sounds of giggling lips covered in chocolate sprinkles; no more slaps or screams.
As I ascended the stairs leading my sleepy boys to bed, I noticed Alex sitting in the chair situated in the center of our living room with his feet propped on the furry looking ottoman. He did not speak a word to me when I walked through the door. I only caught him in my peripheral vision as he hastily sipped his beer, as though it distracted him from other thoughts. He lifted the bottle to his lips sucking back the brew; then followed up with an obnoxious squeal as his lips released the mouth of the bottle.
Having known Alex, these actions were deliberate, with his attempt at an affected cool refrain. Outwardly he wanted to create the illusion that he didn't care, as though he was unaffected and unmoved by my presence. As though his cruel tactics of harassment and torture had not consumed him daily. Tactics that somehow made him feel better about himself; in lieu of how truly pitiful his life had become.
That night I sat on the edge of Anthony's bed and brushed back wisps of chestnut hair from his face as my fingertips lightly grazed his soft alabaster cheeks flushed with warmth. This was my secret ploy to steal a few moments away. A ploy that would not go unnoticed for long. That night I was nearly certain Alex had cultivated a “charming” mood prior to my arrival. A fine cultivation at that, one that was surely nurtured with the likes of ample beer consumption and not to mention his inclination for being a complete and total asshole.
Without my being too obvious, and that being my lack of haste checking with Alex as he stewed over God knows what, I made my way to the living room. Like a toddler Alex sat silently crying for attention, as he though his outward manifestations were unclear and somehow lost in translation. People with the most dulled sensibilities could easily make out the teetering chip on his shoulder; a resounding bold chip that had made its permanent residency some time ago and flatly refused resignation.
During his short stay with us, he would continuously attend to an inflated sense of entitlement that could devour innocent passerby's with its consuming fog. God forbid there were forgotten dishes, forgotten laundry, or worst a forgotten phone call. Luckily, I was no longer concerned with fixing things. Now I tolerated his boyish antics...for the time being. Unfortunately for him, that limited time offer had expired.
After stealing away a few moments, I softly tiptoed across Anthony's floor maneuvering with calculated footsteps to avoid a nerve wracking floor creek, a sudden mishap with a wayward toy or an unfortunate slice from the five inch knife stuck in my shoe. Certainly, by now its blade had shredded the sole of my sneaker. Standing in Anthony's doorway I slowly pulled the door toward me leaving just a crack of light for his night time navigation.
Before I made my way to the living room, an unexpected rush of excitement came over me when suddenly the knife's cool blade pierced the side of my foot. It was a subtle yet unmistakable sting of pain. Now with deliberate, careful movements it became more evident just how real the situation had become. That night, I stood inches from the man I intended to tear open with the very knife that now pierced the tender underside of my foot.
Its razor-sharp edge served as a reminder that this was, in fact, the end; the end of my journey, the end of a monster. This moment unnaturally aroused me, in that I delighted in its stinging pain and the blood stains it left in its wake. It was an unusual rush of excitement that one cannot say is felt all too often, the kind of ethereal excitement you remember as a child on Christmas morning. Only a darker more macabre type fan fare.
Much to my surprise, that night Alex hadn't stored up his usual artillery of complaints. His intention was to simply relay his usual indifference and to keep the status quo of resounding hatred looming in the foreground. Within the murky culverts of his simple mind lived a devouring animosity, his choice tool used to manipulate and an attempt to conjure fear. This was not love, it could never be love, his belief in love was a twisted sad testament to love.
When I walked into the room where he sat, I stood leaning against the couch for a moment simply awaiting a response.
After being ignored for a few moments, I said, “Well, it was a long day, I'm going to hit the sack. You staying up for a while?”
Without averting his eyes from the TV he replied, “Yeah, I'll be in bed in a bit, just going to watch the rest of the news.”
Shockingly, that night my sleep was not disturbed by restlessness and the next day I was able to remain focused on the tasks at hand. Since I had rarely enjoyed a leisurely weekend, it was important that I not enjoy a restful Saturday.
The misogynistic, old fashioned semantics of life had not alluded Alex. He felt the woman should clean the house and the man should enjoy the fruits of her labor. Unfortunately, any concept of hard work always managed to allude him. That morning Alex woke up around 10 a.m. and announced he was 'making a trip to the market for a few things'.
When I asked him to bring the kids he scoffed and put up a fuss, and I for that I knew his ulterior motive was to stop at the bar for a quick pop -bloody mary-. I preferred he hadn't since the tab was ultimately paid with my funds. More importantly, that particular day he shouldn't be allowed a drop of booze. His sobriety was important, important to me, as sobriety would ensure he remembered every second of terror I planned to inflict. I wanted badly for him to suffer as I watched his last thread of life unravel.
Once Alex left with the boys, I staged the necessary props for our evening out. I went to our closet and carefully reviewed my collection of slinky dresses, and then hung one seductive red mini dress on the top of the bedroom door. My red kitten heels stood at the ready, near the base of our bed. From my modest jewelry collection, I placed some sparse baubles on my night stand.
That evening's relentless bitter irony was that I planned to wear nothing, it would make for easier clean up that way. This was simply a masquerade intended to deceive. A staged costume party without a guest to speak of and ultimately a gravely poor outcome.
Aside from my staging props, that Saturday morning would turn out rather unremarkable; like most spent while living with Alex. I tidied up the house and took occasional breaks to tend to the children. After having lunch with my mother and having left the children in her care, I called La Dolce Vita, a charming Italian eatery, and made dinner reservations.
The most merciful sort of axe men would allow their accused one last meal, however that day I hadn't felt an ounce of mercy. Alex would be rendered lifeless before one spoonful could touch his lips. In fact, in just a few short hours, he would lay gasping and clinging to life on the cool surface of our tiled bathroom floor.
I thought the bathroom was the easiest and most convenient spot to hide the knife and to wash up immediately after. The night before, I hid the murder weapon in my night stand drawer, where I also stored my reprehensible collection of vibrating dongs and dildos. Some would assume this to be the first place he may nose around. Although, I knew full well that Alex would never look where I kept my treats of risqué pleasures. The utter mention of a vibrating rabbit or the like would expeditiously depreciate his sense of manhood to the ranks of prepubescent boyhood.
Admittedly, the past few years I had continued to accumulate a small collection simply to incense him; that is until I discovered one sadly abused plastic toy cut square in half with a pair of garden sheers. Certainly his boyish intention was to upset me, however, the result was uproarious hysterical laughter until my stomach ached and my head began to pound from lack of air. My only regret was the waste of such a precious resource.
After retrieving the knife from my delinquent drawer, I placed it in between the pages of an old Newsweek that rested atop my toilet's tank. I could count on him not turning the pages of an informative magazine. Alex garnered his political awareness from talk radio and the internet. He would then pontificate on his vast array of knowledge with banal blog posts. His writing was utterly void of originality and were merely regurgitated editorial columns he claimed to be his own.
That afternoon Alex sat in his office undoubtedly catching up on riveting commentary posted to his blog. Coincidentally, I refused to become a “follower” of his work. Otherwise, I would have endured a painful hailstorm of emails when he would author one of his varied "magnum opuses". His idea of civilized discourse would begin as expected and always somehow end with expletives sprinkled on top; especially if a woman chose to engage him. He was truly a moron adorning a mask of intelligence, but the only person invited to this allusive costume party was him.
I sat in the living room listening to the clack of typing, his fingers flying over the keyboard, in all likelihood conjuring up a scathing reply to some unsuspecting follower. In the living room, I sat staring at the pages of a random book cradled in my trembling hands, occasionally turning a page. Admittedly, all my faculties were consumed with his every move. Merely minutes before my planned attack I struggled to find the courage to follow through with my plan.
Alex brought home a six pack from the market and had begun drinking around 3 p.m. I was somewhat disappointed, in that I wanted him to experience a certain degree of terror just as he had inflicted upon me over the past few years. I wanted so badly for him to feel the worst pain he had ever felt without the benefit of dulled senses. I tried to focus on the positive and that was his early afternoon buzz would inhibit his response time and leave him clueless as to what was coming.
During his last few unremarkable moments, I could have walked into his office and beat the rotten piss out of his face with a baseball bat; he would have never seen it coming. I had contemplated doing just that, that would have been far more gratifying. I delighted in a parade of images that pranced through my mind, exposing his skull bone and brain matter with the relentless swings of a smart Louisville Slugger. Although, the likelihood of him recovering from a pierced spine was far less. Therefore, I smartly decided to go with the knife -a sure bet- or so I thought.
At approximately 6:15 p.m. Alex walked into the kitchen to grab a chilled beer from the freezer. The hiss of carbonation pierced the silence of the room followed by a sharp ping of the bottle cap hitting the tiled floor as it missed the garbage. I sat and listened to him chug a few sips and then bellow a loud resounding belch.
With a cavalier unscathed air about him he waltzed into the room where I sat, wearing nothing but undersized boxer shorts and his black unshaven chest exposed bearing an odd likeliness to a thickly woven hideous bathroom rug.
As an abridged burp continued to reverberate from his lips he said, “I'm gonna hop in the shower soon so we can head out for dinner.”
With that short quip he then made his way back to the office to finish whatever garbage he was spouting off online. It was then I took those few moments to position myself for the final act. It was unfortunate for him, during those final moments that he hadn't posted a farewell blog. Surely his death would pique the interest of several since half the mail he received was hate mail. A tragic kind of suicide to fuel the respective twitting twits of the world, at least for a week or two. Although, severing your own spine would be a difficult feat to accomplish. Alas, his spiteful blog minions had unknowingly read his final blog entry and would receive their last scathing reply.
As he sat in his office typing and belching up remnants of lunch, quietly I tiptoed to the bathroom. I hid myself behind a wall where the toilet was situated. The toilet is partitioned from the remainder of the bathroom and it was there I crouched waiting... I had already removed my clothes and placed them in the linen closet.
My bare buttocks were quickly numbed by the floor's frigid surface. My nerves tingled and a subtle tremor traveled across the surface of my then goose pimpled skin as shivers ran through my body igniting every nerve. I pushed my back squarely against the bathroom wall, slightly propping myself midair, brushed against the beaded moisture of the toilet's tank then dripping onto my naked skin.
I pushed back as far as possible into the corner, then rest my head inside my cupped hands; intently listening and waiting on his next move. I only prayed he wouldn't need to use the toilet before he showered. Nervously I sat trembling with nothing to focus on but for the blank wall before me. After a few moments I lifted the knife from its resting spot and placed it on my knee and studied the orange glistening serrations that reflected settling beams of the sunset peaking through the window above.
Suddenly the bathroom's linen closet door opened, and it was then a jarring spasm strummed my spine much like a prickly handed harpist would harmonize with a grisly orchestra of sorts. The distinct pains shot through me and froze me cold and listless as I listened to his clothes swish into the hamper. 'Cling, clang, cling, cling!' as he removed his wedding ring it had fallen to the floor. My nerves so piqued at the time, it sounded as though a resounding boom had echoed against my bathroom walls.