Soft shoe. No sound. I sneaked up and reached across the bed. The cotton fibers slid over the sheet thread, while the pillow trailed my purposeful hand. I’d been planning this night for weeks. Despite the repeated mental rehearsal, my hands were unsteady, trembling and anxious.
The shadow eclipsed the mark as the pillow came down. The struggle was… was frantic, sweat inducing, cymbal banging, oxygen depriving; like the yelling of trumpets bouncing off the insides of my skull. I hadn’t anticipated the panicked struggle – the desire to survive – to live. I pushed down harder on the edges. I was committed to prove her wrong, to be a winner and complete the intended act.
I felt hot. My mind fevered. Killa, you’ll be free soon. My nose ran liquid while tears streamed down my face. Man up! I lived a lifetime within the space of those few minutes. Sensing it was almost over, I could feel the strength draining. The energy in the movements subsiding. Any minute now the deed would be complete. This horrible business done.
But in that last moment, I could feel it slipping away. Oh my god I became overcome with regret. No, no, no! I quickly tossed the pillow aside. Lifting my intended mark, I held it closer to me. The breathing was shallow; the heartbeat faint. I realized I still needed it. Who could live without a heart?
I simply couldn’t get out of my own head in order to smother my heart and lock it away. I’d reached, or so I thought I’d reached, my threshold on suffering for it. My sleep was broken. My focus and drive were missing in the office. My life was off kilter. I thought I needed to do something drastic, monumental to reclaim it.
Since three weeks ago, having a heart had become more of a liability than an asset to me in the shadow of her departure.
“I’m asking you, Please… Don’t go.” I couldn’t persuade her to change her mind though. I hadn’t noticed her heart had left years ago. She said, the two of them, her heart and mind needed to catch up. She couldn’t even offer up more words. All that she had for us, was spent. I cast my eyes lower, setting on the pattern on the floor. My first time ever noticing the irregularity in it’s symmetry – just slightly off.
I acquiesced to her desire to move on. It wasn’t like I exercised any control over the situation anyway. “So what do we do now?” I asked her. I was seeing the truth in the situation, but not seeing it. My mind, still hopeful, was frantically contemplating how to pull off a desperate rescue attempt on my heart. “Take care,” she said. And that was that. The last seventeen seconds of what I’d assumed only an hour ago would be forever.
Days later. Rounding the corner in the house, I saw something, saw her. I gave chase and cornered an image of her in the kitchen. She stood there looking over her shoulder; telling me about something she’d experienced in her day – her frustrations – her laugh – her smile. It felt good. I felt good being a part of her life. But I realized I was watching the ghost of a memory. Shit, just let it go! I turned away from the thought; moving between moments of silence – moments that felt as familiar as a favorite sweater on a chilly day – moments that felt more comfortable than talking to anyone.
Lifting the spoon to my mouth, it passed through the hologram of my thoughts. My eyes intensely focused on the bottom of the bowl, not recognizing anything in it or tasting anything coming from it. My thoughts pushed everything into the trash, into the background; Anything non-essential to powering my memories of her, of us together.
Pushing myself away from the table, I thought to shower. Reaching into my pocket, I dropped my keys. I watched her pick them up while she closed the front door behind her. “Hello, Lucy. I’m home.” She said. Our inside joke. She flickered in and out, at the edges. The memory an echo; the projection was running out of reel.
As I walked up the stairs, I could hear my shoes echo off the emptiness of the house. Damn! It wasn’t enough that she had to go, she should’ve done me a solid and taken my heart with her. “Fuck!”
by malakhai jones
(C) copyright 2016