An odd story that will have you wondering; an ending that will leave a smile on your face.
|To the Reader:
Stories are not always as they seem.
The Lord will be the hope of his people.
--Joel iii. 16.
Hope. A trust and confidence in an expected good.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul?
And why art thou disquieted within me?
Hope thou in God.
--Ps. xlii. 11.
Hope. A feeling, an aching to be desired and fulfilled.
But I will hope continually.
--Ps. lxxi. 14
How can one hope when all has run dry? How can one still have faith when everything has been shattered? When life turns its cruel smile and decides to take you, to use you for its amusement? To watch as it twists its painful webs around you, suffocating but backing off just as you think...no hope...that it releases you to the Place. A Place far away from the one you are forced to remain in.
How can one believe in God, when his back has so coldly turned? Does he not notice? Is there something blurring his vision? Why doesn’t he see? Why is he not merciful? Why?
No. There is no hope. No hope left. No God. No Lord to save one from the life draining Fates.
God is but a man, and all are the same. Men, the very word brings pain. Brings sorrow, Death, enough to make ones stomach churn relentlessly threatening to do worse. Threatens …just like men.
Sanctuary. An impossible thought. No one, no place can offer such a thing. Most certainly not another man, not another man declaring he can help; declaring God can help. No, there is no help to be received. Nothing can save me. Not now, not ever.
God. Help. Hope. Sanctuary. Savior. All just wishes, pleading thoughts for something better than the truth. All just words. Meaningless words. Ironically they are but the bottom of the worst. Love…such a comical thought. Burned into our minds at a young age, a dream a hope, as an attempt to mask the truth.
Truth. The only real word there is. That, and Pain. Nothing else exists, nothing else matters. Nothing will, nothing can change.
AND THE STORY BEGINS
He’s angry. I can always tell even without looking at him. The way the sounds of his heavy footsteps echo down the hall tell me this. I turn around just a few moments later to see him. He stands straight, proud almost. That oh so familiar gleam in his eye, I’m afraid of that gleam, its never a good thing. My knees weaken and I wish they did so like the girls in my books when they see their true love, but no, I’m not allowed such petty...useless feelings...my heart breaks, after so many times I’m surprised I still have a heart. Jealousy eats away at me for the girls in my books. I look back up at him. He’s set his keys, rather tossed, on my just buffed table sending a long sliver if a scratch across it. The new scratch shouts at me, mockingly, knowingly of the price I will pay. That stupid scratch, if it were only living I’d... I’d... His jaw is clenched; I can see the muscle peaking out beneath his perfect skin. A smile is in place, but I am no fool, I realized long ago it is fake.
My stomach churns and my mouth tastes of vile. Is this how it will be the rest of my life? Is this what God intended? Did my ancestors do something so sinful that I be tortured this way?
His hands form fists; I’m afraid of those hands, I do not trust them. Like the bringers of death they hurt me until the point where I am sure I’d die, if not for the sweet satisfaction they have in seeing my pain.
His strong arms bulge from their normal bulk, I’m afraid of those arms, I do not trust them. They slither around me like a snake does its pray, but never finishes the job it sets out to do, no, for where would the fun be in that?
His smile is no longer a fake smile but a smirk, today will be worse than I thought. That gleam in his eye deepens as he looks at me. I do not like that gleam nor do I have the boldness to do anything about it. I will play my part, hopefully the ending wont be as bad.
His pace quickens, it reminds me of a predator, always stalking, always mocking. The urge to back away, to run away, to shrivel into a puff of nothing builds. My eyes lower, I cannot bear to look at what my life has become. The present is reflected in his perfect glassy eyes, and I wish not to look at it, at them.
I do not argue; I do not even try to win my freedom; I do not revolt. What’s done is done, and its my fault. I chose this path, even though it was chosen through blind eyes. I deserve this; I’m not worth the better. I have no pride left to loose, so why fight?
My body aches, screams at me for relief. I sigh deeply, I have no comfort to give, none to spare. The happenings of earlier bare down on me as if I were impaled under a boulder. I look at the small purple circle on my arm; I thought it would have been larger. It throbs with its own tune, never missing a note.
It wasn’t always like this you know. I know what you’re thinking, another sad pitiful story of a poor unfortunate woman. Well you’re right, I wont deny it, I wont fight it, I have no pride left to lose. So I’ll tell you my story. Its not a pretty story, its not even worthy to be made into a tale.
I used to be young, bright, beautiful... free. I used to have hopes, dreams, and fantasies. But now I’m just a shriveled mad woman in her thirties, old I know. Old and ugly, they all say it…they think I don’t hear them, but I do. I always do. Their voices are like shouts into my hollow head. Although, I do not know if they are words meant to hurt me, or just observations. I do not care, not anymore, theres nothing left of me to hurt…only physically. The memories of him burn me, sending pain coursing through my blood once again.
What did I do, I don’t remember being disobedient... I don’t remember breaking any of his rules. His rules, I hate them. It’s because of them that I am secluded, from the world, from everyone else. I have no life. All I have are my books, my precious books. I often re-read them just to be able to escape, to pretend to be living a better life. But at the same time I hate my books. I grow jealous towards them, silly I know. The girls face their dangers and hardships bravely, but not me. I cower in the closest corner, sometimes I try to protect myself, but its useless. I never win. In the books the girls find true love and live happily ever after. I thought I had that. But look at me now, look at him, how he treats me. Hides me away in here, away from the sun and the people. I’m not allowed to leave. I once tried to run away, but he found me, he always finds me.
But I have a secret, yes a secret. I leave this home, often. I roam about outside, admiring the beauties of nature. I love the outdoors. The smells are my favorite. Especially in the Spring, because that’s when my garden is in bloom. I have my secret garden, in the back of my home amongst the woods. I go there almost everyday and lie in the grass staring at the sky above me. Its peaceful there. Lately the sky has been a brilliant soft blue; and the clouds have been even better, big puffy and white, perfect for my games. I remember when my father taught me games. My favorite was always lying on the ground and using my imagination to turn the clouds into anything I wanted. One time a butterfly glided down from its flight to rest on my stomach. It was gorgeous, a mixture of yellows, oranges, and pinks. Those are my favorite colours. I remained perfectly still, I knew if I moved I would scare the butterfly and it would leave. Its wings flapped and began to leave its resting spot. I smiled at it; and then, the most wonderful thing happened, it glided down to land on my nose! I couldn’t help my giggling. It left shortly after flying in an elegant arrangement of spins and soft zigzags.
My arm throbs, bringing me back from my cherished memories. I sigh as I try to relax my muscles. Looking down at the bruise I see it has grown larger. I thought it would. Sighing I walk over to my overstuffed chair that’s in front of my fireplace. Gently I start a fire and sit back into my chair, pulling a blanket over me I begin to read my new book.
This is my favourite spot. Its so comfortable that I often fall asleep here. About a week ago I snuck out and found these patio cushions lying in this same spot. They looked brand new and were in the perfect position for resting a bit. The sun is high; I have a good four hours left. My arm feels better.
Its been two days, two days since I’ve seen him, two days of anxiety. I don’t like it when he disappears like this. I don’t like not knowing what he’s doing. When he’s away I become more frightened then when I know he’s coming back. When he leaves like this there’s no telling when his return will be. I hate him; he’s done this to me. I hate being so paranoid, so weak. It disgusts me. But I deserve it.
A raven lands on the bare tree in front of me. They suit each other, that particular tree is dead and the raven is dark mysterious... frightening. It reminds me of the augers, the ancient Romans who would study the birds to understand the future. If one were here with me right now I know what would happen. They would turn slowly to me, a tinge of sympathy in their eye and gently shake their head. Without saying a word I’d know what he meant. But I would welcome that future openly with nothing but joy, I would not cry beneath his sympathetic gaze. Oh how I wish I could have that future, right now, I want it now. But of course, I cannot, I almost forgot, God does not allow me such things. If God wills not I’m sure I will soon turn to the devil for mercy. I would rather sell my soul then live here, like this.
I suppose you wish to know about me now, about him. I told you earlier what I used to be, a beautiful bundle of innocence and happiness. I have also told you what I am now, a sorry bundle of wasted atoms. I loved him, don’t they all? It was perfect... I thought he loved me too but I see now my mistake. What a fool I am. Over time he changed, his demeanor and attitude towards me reversed. He scares me, if I had any tears left in my dry body I would release them, but I’m not allowed such things. I’m not worth it. My body trembles, at least this I still have to comfort. He hurt me, so many times. If I could take all the shimmers of my once heart and rebuild it it would still not resemble a proper one. That’s not even the worst. I’ve been sent to the emergency because of things he’s caused me. Bruising is least of it. How many times will this life hear of abusive relationships? I’m glad I do not have one of those; I’d die of grief alone if I were.
The ravens starring at me, I grow nervous under its stare. Its gaze pierces through me, searching me, my soul, looking at my secrets. I try to stop it, it won’t stop. Its eyes harden and shrink slightly, if looks could kill... Its wings glow with a tint of bluish-purple. I don’t like that bird. It reeks of disease, of disgust. Much like men. Men, I spit the word.
He haunts me. Everywhere I turn, physically or mentally, he’s always there. There is no peace. Even in my secret garden he haunts me. He always finds me, my garden must not be secret... My shoulders drop in sadness. His presence in my life has spoiled me. I can go no where without seeing him, he’s in my head. He’s in my head and he wont get out! No matter what I do, where I go. I’m tainted, I can feel it, crawling across my skin like oil, covering everything. I need a shower, I need something to help get this feeling away. I don’t know how much more of this I’ll be able to take.
I hate him, I loath him.
So I sit, I wait. We have come so far. Maybe there’s still a chance.
Even if only a small thread its still there.
If you’d only try I’d forgive you, I’d love you. I’d love you like I used to; and you’d love me, like you used to.
My lonely heart beats softer then the silent steps of a deer, I don’t want to be alone.
Away, you’re away from me now but you will be back, you always come back. Maybe its my imagination but the story has not ended, you wouldn’t come back if it were.
I’ll pray, we’ve come so far. I can melt your stone heart, I know I can, I have to believe I can.
I don’t want to be alone.
I finished another story today. It was full of mystery, excitement, magic, love, and lust. It was a tale about six people, and how they came together and realized their feelings. It was set in another world, a magical world, far more spectacular than mine. As always I found myself envying the girls in my story. I found myself imagining what it would be like to be them, to have a man care for me as they did. Then it would fade, and I’d be forced to realize the sad reality that I’m only allowed to imagine. With a shattering blow I know that I will never again know the loving touch of a man, or their sweet smile, or the twinkle in their eye that brightens their whole face when they see me.
Its then that I lose. I lose my composure. I broke down sobbing into my dress, soaking the material until it was rather a river than an article of clothing. My eyes are still red and puffy, I can feel them still stinging from violent, desperate attempt to wipe my tears away. The sting is yet another reminder that I can never have the life that my heroines have. I’ll never know the feeling that consumes them when the one whom they love and loves them looks at them, holds them, and kisses them. Once again I break out into a fitful cry of despair. The feeling drains from my body, starting from fingertips working inwards, spiraling around me like a weed. I lose my balance on my chair as yet another sob rakes my body.
The fire still flickers in front of my eyes, its the only sign I have that I’m still alive. With every burst, every stretch of a flame it tells me that I live. I hate that flame. Squaring my eyes at it I hope that with this simple action it will die…it doesn’t. An odd sound reaches my ears; it grows in intensity, what it is I don’t know. I can feel my body start to shake slightly. Its then I realize I’m laughing.
I remain sprawled across the floor, shaking violently from my near hysterical laughter. The fire is still going, warming the floor that my bare skin is touching. I wonder, what more could the Fates have in store for me. Good God how bored they must be to pay so much attention to me. Why me? Why did I stick out, out of the billions of people they could have chose from why was my soul the one to catch their eye? Pushed to the edge of insanity my cackling ceases. I simply lay, still shaking off the last wave. I don’t know how much more I can endure.
A deep humming vibrates its way into my ears, traveling through the wood to run wild inside of my head. I don’t care. It increases, drawing nearer, ever near. The handle to the entrance makes its slow counterclockwise journey. Click. The door opens in such a monotonously drawn-out manner that time might as well as freeze. A distorted hum sounds again, followed by another, and then nothing.
Am I dead? Have I finally been given my pity? Oh joy! There was never a more sweeter moment then this!
"Are you daft, woman?"
Damn! My eyes flutter close, fighting back the tears I know will come. More distorted hums and then I feel my body being lifted by strong, caring arms. There is hope yet. This must be my savior! Thank you, Thank you God! Suddenly the arms are gone and replaced by a soft cushion. Am I on a cloud? I would have thought them to be more airy… like a cotton ball, but I don’t mind! I’m on a cloud! A deep sigh escapes me as my mind whirls with utter happiness.
Two smacks to the face and I’m back. My eyes shoot open. Its him, I should have known. Tears block my view as quickly as my eyes open. Its him. There was never a more harsher moment than this. Several burning lines lead down from my eyes across my face. I cry out in agony.
Its only him.
What a cruel trick. By now I’m racking in sobs. He has left me, as soon as the tears came he left. He will be back though, I know he will. He always is.
It...it was only him!
What is it?
I feel like everyone has a secret and they won’t tell me. It’s not fair.
What is it? I wonder if that’s what I felt for him in the beginning...no...it couldn’t have been that. Love isn’t a one way emotion…
In my books love is the quickening of the heart when they are near,
My heart quickens when he is near…but only because I’m afraid.
In my books Love is the flip-flop feeling in your stomach when they speak to you,
My stomach flips and flops…but only because I’m afraid.
In my books Love is the unspoken feeling of devotion,
I’m devoted...I keep my home clean and tidy so that I don’t get into trouble...but only because I’m afraid.
I want to be loved. I’m only allowed to want, I can never have. No, for where would the amusement go if I were to be happy.
I want to feel. I want to feel anything but this numbness. It covers my body like tar. Only he can chase the numbness away...but only because I’m afraid.
Where did it shift? When did he change? Is it really me that changed? It must be me, it always is.
They must be keeping it all a secret from me. Laughing and pointing at me while they watch as I slip further and further from the knowledge. While I slip deeper into this numbness.
I must be defective, where are my parents to come take me away and have me fixed. Its their fault...theirs...theirs not mine! They should have taught me, told me, done something instead of...
But I too have a secret.
My secret is better than all.
Better than hidden gardens and love…no…my secret is much better.
I lost all ideas of a knight in shining armor a long, long time ago.
But there’s...there’s this part in me that fights back trying to resurface. I don’t let it. I can’t let it; if I did it would hurt too much. It already hurts; I don’t know how much I can take.
My child dreams and fantasies are gone, replaced by darker more unclear dreams...nightmares. I try to make them go away but it only makes them come back twice as strong. It’s trying to control me, and I’m losing a lost battle.
"One part dies and another is born."
Isn’t that what’s said? That when you lose a part of yourself you gain another? Well its true...but my gain is unwanted. It’s evil.
For years my heart called out, screamed, for my prince to come.
Look at me now! I’ve been duped.
"Being in love is like looking through blinded eyes."
My life is boring...plain. I know that if another woman were to compare lives they would look at me with that Oh-you-poor-thing-pity look. Well I don’t want it, and I certainly don’t need it. I’m well off without anyone’s pity. Pity disgusts me, I never asked for it. Is that why I have no friends? Am I afraid that they will treat me differently?
At least I can still surprise myself, although soon it wont be any surprise…I haven’t killed myself yet. Don’t get me wrong; I’m really not suicidal. I’ve never tried to poison myself or bleed to death or whatever those coones do.
I want what every woman wants.
A normal life, a happy life, a life.
Am I so frightening that a decent man would choose death instead of me?
He’s the only one to ever not leave me.
He’s the only one who has cared enough to always come back. And always come back he does. He’s still with me after all these years and I frown at that.
How ironic that my situation is this.
A man, a beast of a man tricked…deceived me into this love of his. And this man, would be the only person to ever remain with me. That he’s the only one to remember me brings tears to my already water stung eyes.
Love, the term is different for everyone.
I once thought that it was when you meet someone and you end up spending a lot of time together so you get attached to them, you know like enjoying their company or always laughing around them or you just forget everything upsetting just because they're near you or even smiled. That’s when you start to notice things about them that you didn’t before. And then after more time passes you realize that you have always loved them, when you fell in love is impossible to say, it just kind of happened without you being told about it.
I think I still might believe that but that’s not all I want any more. I want a magical love.
I want the fantasy...
the ethereal feeling.
I want the magical love.
He’s the only one to ever come back...always.
I won’t let him defeat me. He can scare me and threaten me but he’ll never break me. My spirit may just be the only thing he can never touch. Yes, he may break everything else but he’ll never break my spirit. I wont allow that.
My happiness may have left me a long time ago but I refuse to let go of the last petal of my pride.
Why have I been so blind? This isn’t the medieval times! I can defend myself, all I need is a plan; I’ll already have the advantage of surprise. For who would expect little shy and quiet me could ever fight back?
Whatever has previously happened to ignite this determination I wish it into being so that I may place a large hug and kiss upon it.
Courage spreads through my neglected self, revitalizing my soul that has long lain dormant. I haven’t felt this positiveness since I was a young girl.
I can feel it; I can feel its affects taking over its property like a soldier reclaiming his stolen holdings. A large smile spreads across my face and I suddenly feel younger. All the youth from my life-drained-years returns to me. All the things I have been deprived of come flooding back.
Maybe, just maybe the Fates have grown bored of me and now my life is in my hands. Oh if I only knew how I would waltz and dance around gaily!
He’ll be home soon. He said he’d be here i...…10 minutes. If I could see myself I would surely be frightened, for I’m sure there is an otherworldly glint in my eye and the smile that I now display is malicious. He won’t even know what happened until its too late.
I’m finally going to fight back. No more waiting for a knight in shining armor, I will just have to be my own savior.
He’s home. I can hear his voice bouncing around in the hallway. The pitiful fool, if he only knew what opening that door would mean to his life. He’ll get what he deserves!
Like many times before I sit watching as the door handle turns, everything now has turned to slow motion. Even my thoughts.
The door clicks and makes it slow journey to the opposite wall. I can see him now. His typical attire: black shoes, white slacks, pale blue shirt, and that idiotic white jacket. Honestly, I don’t know why he always has to wear that jacket when he goes out, its so...plain. His hair like always is slicked back reflecting perfectly with his I’m-such-a-slick-cad personality. Hah, he greases his hair so much I could swear I would be able to see my reflection if I wanted to. His eyes glance around the room for me and then a mockingly polite smile forms on his lips.
He closes the door and sets his keys and briefcase down on the table. So predictable.
"Hello, Kathy. I trust you’re feeling better than the last time I saw you." It wasn’t even a question, more like a demand. But I pay no attention to that.
"For your information Mike I am. More than you know." One of his eyebrows arch ever so slightly and his eyes search my face. Good, he already suspects a change. Perfect.
"Do you know what today is Kathy?" The corners of his mouth twitch hiding a smile. So he remembered. How thoughtful, but I do not care. No.
"Why yes, eleven years now I have been living in hell." I watch as his eyes widen in shock from my words. "Oh, I am sorry. Forgive me. Have I gotten the number wrong? Oh dearest Mike I am sorry." Sarcasm is such a devilishly wonderful thing.
He coughs to clear his throat. The poor fool. He sits in his favorite chair staring openly at me. "Well then." Nervously his eyes shift trying to focus on something, anything. I wonder why I never did this before, its so easy!
"Dr?" A skinny blonde woman enters the room and when her eyes fell upon me she hesitated. Anger swelled in the depths of my stomach. H-How dare he b-bring that.. that TRAMP into MY home! Oh he will burn in hell for this!
Coolly I turn back to look at him. And as I speak my fingers idly twirl my ring finger. "I see you have been telling young unsuspecting girls you’re a doctor lately. Really Mike, I would have thought you to have created a better pick up line than that." Slowly I turn my burning gaze back to the young figure shifting in my doorway. My back is straighter my chin higher my pride greater. Carefully I keep an impassive look to my face. Although, I cannot help the devilish grin that is now spreading on my lips. "Unless of coarse you told her you were a plastic surgeon. And that you could fix that horrendous face of hers."
"Now Kathy." He stood then, his face red with either embarrassment or anger. Which ever it is I care not. All I care is that he will not raise his voice to me. Not ever again.
"I do not appreciate you bringing your whores into my house. Now please leave."
"Kathy, she is not a whore." I glare at him.
"But you do not deny she is yours?" His face paled at that. Well, this was certainly a turn of events. But I still do not care. My voice is soft and calm. "Get out of my house, now. And take the wench with you."
It was then that he left me. As he walked out of the room I listened to him speak to her.
His voice was soothing and soft, to her.
What a dreadful man! I hate him, I loath him! Look at me, he did this to me. Its all his fault.
Weeping I crawl onto my lonely bed a rock back and forth. Why me? Why does he hurt me? My cheek burns, when I try to touch it it stings even more. It feels like a 20 pound boulder decided to play chicken with my face and neither backed down. In the morning there will probably be a bruise.
Through my burning eyes I glance over my home. The walls and entire scenery look like its melting or being washed away by a flood of water. Everything is plain and white, nothing to make it look much more than a room in an institute. The walls are white, some appear to be soft like a cloud, cushioned. The floor is a plain cement like material, it looks cold. My bed is like a cot someone would find at a cheap motel off the side of the highway. There are two chairs facing the wall. Nothing is on that wall. I'd imagine there was meant to be a fireplace there. Where am I? I need sleep. When I wake up I’ll be back home, in my nice home with its secret gardens and forests. Yes, I need sleep.
TO THE READER:
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story.
It's been commented that this might have been difficult to understand. So, incase anyone didn't understand it I'd like to help and explain it.
Kathy is the woman telling the story, it's told through her thoughts and her feelings. In reality she is mentally ill and living in an asylum which is described in the very last part (the plain walls, missing furniture, etc.). But in her mind, and throughout the story, it seems like she is living in her own house with her husband.
In her made up world she is married to man who physically beats her, but in reality the man (Mike) is her doctor and psychologist who sometimes has to restrain her from hurting herself and even him. When he does this Kathy interprets it as if he were beating her.
The way the story is told, is by repeating things over and over. It's her unstable personality coming through, another clue that she is mentally ill. She was never really beaten, the love intrest was all in her mind, basically everything was in her mind. She took reality and was able to twist it into the way she wanted things and explained things to herself in a way that would make it seem as though she wasn't really in an institute.
I hope that helped clear things up a bit. Thanks again for reading!