After I buried my husband I was left alone a great deal of the time, she said. I know it sounds strange but I didn’t even want my children around and, although I can’t be positive, they didn’t want to be around me either. To be in our house again, the place where their father seemed to suffer endlessly, had an overwhelming affect on them that led me to hasten their departure every time. They would call or drop by but mostly would leave me alone. Their pain only amplified my own and so I didn’t argue with them about it.
When she stopped talking, a deep inhalation of breath that seemed to fill the room sounding, Christopher looked up. The appearance of regret and guilt upon her features struck him – she looked like a merciless masochist. Compelled by guilt, he said, “You don’t have to say anymore.”
A wan smile crossed her lips, the pat and caress of her hand upon his as though to say there, there.
One day, she resumed, I was alone and miserable. I suppose it’s unnecessary to even say that as by now you’ve surmised as much and rightfully so, too… But that day it was particularly difficult for me. The landscape seemed warm and glorious, the gardens were budding and my partner was no longer there to help. And his absence was purely my own fault. I know how you want to say it isn’t my fault, I can see you do, but to me – that’s how it was. It wasn’t the cancer that killed him, not really, it was irrefutably the pills I administered. I took his life away and therefor felt it was a sacrilege of sorts. Perhaps that’s not the right word… I guess I just felt unworthy of still being allowed to walk the earth when I had taken that away from him.
“Do you see the trap, yet?” she asked.
He shook his head and looked away.
“I thought his living was my choice just as his death was.”
Tremors coursed through his body, a chill more real and painful than the one in the woods that had permeated his flesh while he heard his voice utter only one word: No.
The gentle voice continued as the grip on his hand tightened: The only choice I really thought I had left was my own life, or my own death. I chose my death.
Please come back on Tuesday!