The Blatant Realization
By Susan Soares
When the layers of your onion
Finally peeled away
I wasn’t happy with your center
When the colors of your rainbow
Finally shimmered in the sunlight
I didn’t bask in their glow
When the last of your insecurities
Finally freed themselves from you
I didn’t care anymore
When the diamond ring sparkled in your palm
Finally ready for me to take it
I didn’t say yes
I was curled up in the corner of the doghouse. I clutched the list my mother had given to me as I waited for him to leave the house. It was seven-forty-five a.m. when I watched him exit the front door. He strutted to his car, coffee in one hand, and his wallet in the other. Per my mother’s instructions, I counted to seventy before I made a mad dash from the doghouse to the first stop on the list.
1. Hardware store: buy 1 handsaw, 1 roll of duct tape, 1 package of heavy-duty trash bags.
This was where the past six months of running track had come in handy. I was able to run there in just five minutes. My left ankle started to throb only moments into my run. Each time I landed my left foot down on the uneven pavement, a sharp pain permeated throughout my entire leg.
“You will not run from me!” Chuck said, his hand twisting around my ankle to the point where I could no longer feel my toes.
“Please let her go! Just let her go!” my mother pleaded.
As she advanced towards him—in her weak attempt to save me—Chuck backhanded her, sending her to the floor with an audible thud. As Chuck increased pressure on my ankle with his heavy-duty fingers, I felt as if all my tendons were being shredded like a piece of pork.
The pain from my ankle fired off again as my foot landed on a piece of loose gravel. I bit my lip to suppress me from screaming.
I acquired the items from the hardware store. My baseball cap was pulled down low enough to cover my eyes. Even though I wasn’t looking at him, I could feel the clerk’s eyes hot on my skin. I tugged on the brim of the hat and lowered my chin even more as he gave me back my change.
2. Drugstore: buy 1 of each: box of maxi pads, first aid kit, bottle of rubbing alcohol, bottle of ipecac syrup.
At the drugstore, I held my shopping basket close to my body. Mom and I had already done a dry run of the store, so I knew which aisles had which item. I had just grabbed the last item—ipecac syrup—when someone bumped into my right shoulder. Immediately, I dropped the basket and clutched my shoulder.
“Sorry,” the clerk said in haste to get back to stocking the shelves with more pain reliever. After making my purchase, I walked behind the building and crouched down by the dumpster. I unzipped my hoodie and looked at my shoulder. The bandage under my tank top was soaked through with blood. I winced when I touched it. My mother told me after she had bandaged it not to touch it. Listening wasn’t my strongest personality trait.
“You just don’t know how to listen, do ya girl?” Chuck had flipped over the kitchen table, leaving my mother pinned underneath it as he advanced on me. “When I tell you not to ask questions, I damn well mean it.”
He kicked me in the back as he led me toward my bedroom. I fell to the floor, and dust particles shot up from the carpet into my nose causing me to sneeze. I scurried like a frightened puppy trying to get away from its abusive owner.
“I’m sick to death of both of you.” Chuck’s voice was closer to me than I wanted it to be.
The room went silent, and all I could hear was the blade being released from its holder. The blade he always had strapped to his belt. The belt that whipped my mother every other night, and the belt that held the knife he was now going to use to kill me.
I had crawled my way to my bedroom door—the pain in my back from where he’d kicked me made it impossible to stand—and just as I reached the threshold of my room, he pounced on me.
I felt like my back snapped in half, the weight of his six-foot-two body knocked the wind out of me. He spun me over and my eyes locked on the blade of the knife he held above his head. I tried to twist free underneath him, but under his weight, I was merely flopping around like a fish on dry land. He made a guttural sound as he plunged the knife towards my face. Because of my squirming the blade logged itself into my shoulder. I screamed so loudly my eardrums popped. I was choking in pain when I felt some relief; Chuck’s body fell off of me and onto the floor. I looked up and saw my mother, the frying pan she had used to render Chuck unconscious still in hand. Her knuckles were white from the tension she placed around the handle.
“We have to go to plan B,” she said while wiping blood from her chin.
I zipped my hoodie back up. Stopping to look at my injury had cost me a few moments, and I prayed I hadn’t screwed up the plan.
3. The Nelson’s House: Under the basket of pink roses you’ll find the sack.
It would only take me two minutes to get to the Nelson’s. They had gone out of town last week and asked mom and I to keep an eye on things. Like a trained cadet, I army-crawled to the potted roses. I lifted up the pot of pink roses and grabbed the sack. A quick glance inside the bag assured me that the money was still there.
I ran up our driveway, and my heart fell to the pavement when I saw his car, he’d made it back before I did. Maybe I still had enough time. I ran to the kitchen door at the back of the house, and that’s when I heard the shot. My body felt like it was going to atrophy as I flung open the kitchen door. Chuck laid face down, and I watched the blood pooling under him.
“You’re late,” my mother said.
“You killed him already?”
“You’re late,” she repeated.
“This wasn’t the plan.” I was spitting the words out.
She crossed the kitchen floor to me, stepping over Chuck’s dead body in the process. “Here are the pills.” She handed me a bottle. “Take them and go into the dog house.” Her rubber-gloved hands shoved the gun at me.
The room went hazy and I thought I might faint. “Mom,” I said, looking up at her. “I won’t go to jail right? You promise, right?” Tears streamed down my face.
“I promise.” She kissed me on the forehead.
I took the gun into my hands, its weight heavier than I expected. I sobbed as I sluggishly walked to the doghouse. Positioning myself inside, I could hear the sirens as I swallowed the pills. She better keep her promise, I thought as the world went black.
Open Wound Love
It was like I was out of my body
Gripping and raw and cold and bloody
The lost way you looked at me with your eyes heavy as bricks
You tasted the forbidden fruit and damn it you liked it
You tore your animosity to shreds with the way you loved me
Feasting hawks to a murdered prey couldn’t have done better
The sick little way you wanted to say my name over and over again
I swallowed away all my doubt about your innocence away with a bottle of Jack
It was the ultimate trifecta of your body, mind and soul succumbing to me
You were a lucid jellyfish getting sucked into the core of my octopus
It was funny the way you howled in fear or delight whichever it was I didn’t care
You wanted to take a shower in an effort to wash off your guilt
Too bad you didn’t know that I marked my quote-unquote victims
It was my own special branding if you will
You suck as a human but I think you already know that
Or else you wouldn’t be here would you?
Category: Fiction, Poetry, Short Story