Till Death Do Us Apart

EMPTY-CRIB

I put the umbrella behind the door; it hadn’t really helped me with the rain. How could it? The rain, like so many other things I had been experiencing, was unreal. I locked the door and double checked it, hoping she’d stay out tonight.

“I’m real” she whispered in my ear.

I turned around, not a sign of her. But she was there, I knew it. Talking to an overpaid lady as she pretends to hear me out hasn’t helped. All the medicines I was being forced to chug down, haven’t either. If anything, they were making her stay. All this scribbling over a notepad, and that feeling of being strangled and chocked by an inter-mixing of chemicals. All it does, is remind me of her even more.

As soon as I sat on the couch, the armchair opposite it sank under her weight. I tried to look away, and my eyes were greeted by our picture on the side desk. She sure was a looker. And then I looked across the table, how decayed and rotten she had become. 
I loved her, anyway.

I turned on the television; it might help me stay sane. The man in the idiot box smiled. It was a smile of misfortune, even he pitied me. 
“She won’t go away till you do it. You know that right?”
I changed the channel.

“He killed me, butchered me. All while you observed in silence”. Her voice was getting colder by the day.

“Look at me. Look at me”, she demanded my attention. 
“Were you always lying…” her voice broke “…when you used to say that I’m the one?”

I was reminded of all the promises I had made, and she was quick to read my mind.

“Don’t you remember? We were supposed to be together. And it, it took me away. It separated us”

I hated it when she would call him an ‘it’. There was a cry from the master bedroom.

“Even now it wouldn’t let us have a moment of peace.” She snarled.

I looked at her. The skin below her eyes had dried and stretched to her lips. But her eyes, well they had remained as truthful as ever. She was right, as always. We were always meant to be. I had made her believe that I’d protect her, even in the most severe of times. And yet here I was, as helpless as I was then. I had failed myself. I had failed our marriage. But I could take all that, it was all the hate that she projected towards me that made me miserable.
A man can’t live a miserable life, can he? Not if he can do something about it.

I moved to the kitchen and opened the central drawer. I took out a knife; her smile visible at its sharp end.

She came closer to me, pulled me by the neck, and said.

“Do it. Avenge me. Avenge our love.”

I casually walked in to the master bedroom, where I had kept him, tied and bound to his bed. I leaned over and looked at him, the murderer of my wife. He looked back at me with his childlike innocence.

“Don’t let it get to you this time. Do it. And soon, we will be together again”. She whispered.

He cried. He cried for his innocence, for that is all he could do.

“Slice it. Slice it into pieces. Do it”. She shouted over my shoulder.

He looked at me with no remorse. He had no feeling of guilt, no sense of wrongdoing. How could he, that little devil.

I positioned the knife. He did not retaliate. In the background, I could hear her laughing.

I waited for it to say something, to convince me to stop. But how could he speak, he had been born barely days go. And so, I raised the knife and stabbed him thrice.

Her laughter faded away, and all that was left was a deafening silence. She had left me, finally. I wiped the grin of my face and proceeded to clean the blood that had dripped down the cradle.

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Man & Animal

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I felt a thirst, an everlasting thirst within me. I checked my lips; they did not have the dryness of a thirsty man. The thirst within me could not be quenched with water, for it was stirred, not by the instinct of survival but by the desire of losing control and of letting go. This need overtook me because I slowed down the car and parked it into an empty space to my right. I closed my eyes, for facing the reality with open eyes was not something I could do. I took out a circular chip from my pocket, it was supposed to help me garner the strength to stop. I desperately scratched it, trying to erase one of the words embedded on it. But the very fact of embedding something is so that it cannot be removed. So how can I fight something that has been deeply rooted within me? I unlocked the door and got out of the car in a hurry. One drink wouldn’t really hurt. I opened the door of the bar across the street and went inside. The man across the bar nodded to my presence and immediately started filling a glass. I sat down on a table; I quite enjoyed my own company. The glass arrived and as I picked it up with my left hand, the watch on my wrist caught my attention. It read 01:03:37 PM. I had to be at the hospital by 1:30, so I had to leave in 10 minutes. I remembered that – 10 minutes, one drink and then I leave. I raised the glass to my lips, but as the crystal touched my teeth, I stopped. I still hadn’t done it; I still had the option to choose. Today I was either going back to the same 10 years of my life or I was finally going to embrace the last 5 months that I’ve lived with a sober view. As I rocked the glass between my fingers, my mind oscillated between the choices every man has to make. To accept who you are or to acknowledge who you are supposed to be. I did not know what the universal right to this question is, but I knew the socially acceptable choice is the latter. People around us want us to conform to a set of ethics and morals, because the majority fits in within this structure. But the few outcasts like me do not get a chance to embrace the spirit within them. We are left to be functioned as robots, following algorithms and pre-written instructions. I raised the glass and the first few drops of alcohol flowed through my tongue. I could feel it, as each and every drop slowly sizzled through me, and just as my insides began to go numb, my brain started to feel and express more than it ever has. My glass was replaced with another, and then another, and then another. The spirit inside me, which had been weighed down by responsibilities forced upon it, welcomed the spirit that I gulped down my throat. It was the meeting of two spirits, animal and liquid, and it had been long time coming. But as the alcohol burned the chains that bound me, the animal within me started to take shape. For with every drop of alcohol I drank, it demanded two more. And so I drank, and then I drank more. The horse and the rider, the passenger and the driver, the man and the animal had finally been re-united. Together, they drowned in moments of nostalgia. The man across the table stared at me, and his eyes carried a gleam of appreciation towards me. I am where I should be, where I am accepted, respected, maybe even valued. I was home, I was among fellow alcoholics. The man continued to stare at me and then used his fingers to shape out a cell phone. I was sure he was not asking for my number, so I realized what he was pointing to- My cell phone was ringing, it had been ringing for quite some time now. I looked at the number flashing on the screen, it was the hospital. I looked at the time: 2:31:41 PM. I had missed my wife’s first pregnancy, I had missed the birth of my first child, and I had basically missed another chance of being the man people wanted me to be. But I did not care; I felt no guilt within me. Yes when she told me she was pregnant I was emotionally motivated to quit the one thing that kept me going. But she never accepted me for the man I was; however damaged, broken or drunk I was, I had always loved her. But like others who wanted to barricade me within these walls of rules and regulations, she was no different. I took out the chip from my pocket and started rubbing it in between my fingers. It was supposed to show me the right way in times of distress. The chip had embedded within it, in bold letters, the words ‘Alcoholic Anonymous’. I had to choose which letter I scraped of it, because only one of the two men survives today. I tapped on the desk and the bartender bought me another drink. My cell phone rang again; I cut the call and switched it off. Today, I choose to be the man I want to be, by accepting the animal I am. Today I break free of all emotional and moral expectations, for an animal is best left in the wild. Yes, I’m not going back to my wife. Yes, I don’t want to see the face of my own child. Yes, I don’t care what you think of me. Yes I’m an alcoholic.