Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Oath

It has been a week now. I have woken up to the same nightmare.

 It is a dream as peaceful as it is horrific. I will describe it for you. I am fastened to a bed of red hot ice, stomach down, much like a massage table. I look through the face hole at a pair of feet, my husband's. He is humming nonchalantly to himself, while cracking his knuckles. Muzak is playing inconsequentially in the background. And then my husband of seventeen years inserts his fingers through my ears, reaching to grope my brain. He probes and soaks in data as I weep with the realization that he finally knows what I am thinking.

 When I was was twenty two I was largely stupid. I lived with my parents who did not like me and slept with friends who I did not like. I bought things I did not need and could not afford. I drank wine because they called it classy and smoked cigarettes because I was afraid I would live long enough to get old. I liked to think that if I did not do something reckless every day, I would end up securing a future for myself that I did not want. I wrote poems sometimes. They were bad, but I tried.

 One afternoon I went too far and my mouth foamed like the toxic effluents of dying lakes. I felt my soul coagulate and counted the moments to the crescendo from Liszt's Love Dream. It was then that my husband saved my body and dismembered my soul.

 You will laugh at me if I tell you that my husband guilt tripped me into marrying him. You will laugh at me if I tell you that my parents were profusely thankful and Nikki was always jealous of the none-too-subtle presents that found me on a weekly basis at rehab. You will laugh at my choice of vanilla eau de cologne. Anyway, we were married in a year after a distasteful proposal and I was smiling for pictures beside my husband who was asking me," What are you thinking?". I smiled wider and shook my head.

 I think this is the point when you start feeling slightly sorry for me. You are human in ways that I am not, it is no challenge. But you see, I brought this upon myself. I wallow in what appears to be self pity because I like it. Wasting away is my heroin. Heroin used to be my heroin, but that is another story. Some said I was beautiful, smart, even talented, so what did I do? I took all of it to the top of an abandoned skyscraper, and whined to the anyone that would listen- the wind, the smog, the restless clouds. It was breathtakingly wasteful.

 Our honeymoon was a flurry of nervous half truths in an elaborate beach resort. He was sickeningly sweet. He did not initiate sex, he sat beside me and stared like a coy puppy, each thought so loud that it hammered at my temples, almost asking me, 'I adore you, please tell me what you are thinking'. A while after the customary humping, his mind was just as loud, accompanied by some modestly lewd thoughts. With every kiss I let my irritation seep out of my skin as heat. We spoke about the minuscule intersection of our interests, discovering the supposed wonders of a rainy beach and caviar together. I urged myself to fall in love with the idea of loving my husband. Only my skin grew hotter as I longed for silence.

 My husband is well to do. He went to the top schools and earned a mouthful of degrees. Now he makes a meaty check and takes me to rooftop lounges. It's a shame I am not allowed to drink, because of which he doesn't drink either. Maybe he would be more fun inebriated. Maybe I would earn a break from my lifetime role of bitch trophy wife. We are going to celebrate his birthday tonight with some of his brain-dead friends. Their wives usually ask me where I got my hair done and hint that our 'family' would be more complete with children. Last year, he was ecstatic because I sang two lines of 'Happy Birthday'. He held me to his side and rubbed my arm repeatedly till I could not stand it anymore, so I complained of a bad stomach and took refuge in the strip club downstairs. The blonde skinny stripper in translucent high heels offered to take me to her room, but I skulked away in the merry spirit of self denial.

As I was telling you, I have woken up to the same nightmare again.

 I disengage myself from his eager arms and clamber to the kitchen. It is spotlessly clean and bereft of any creativity. The all-knowing sun is mocking me through the windows, and there is a teal blue bird with an unusually crooked beak perched on the sill.

Slowly I fry eggs and sausages, blissfully aware that my husband is still asleep. As he is quite unimaginative, you can guess how colourless his dreams are. I pour coffee into our finest porcelain cups, smiling as my head sings of freedom, of silence, of poetic justice. "Today is the last time, I promise," I tell the teal bird. She looks on disapprovingly.

"Darling, you shouldn't have!", my husband beams at me, happier than I have seen him in a long time. "Happy Birthday", I smile, and after a long, long time it touches my pupils.
We eat in silence. As I pick up my cup of coffee, he asks me, "What are you thinking?", for what I hope is the last time.  I smile again and shake my head.

I can't remember which cup I added the poison to.


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