Tuesday, March 19, 2013


"I need to tell you something." She said. He could see that she was nervous. Her fingers, long and thin, twisted the strands of her hair like a young girl nervous before a recital. She repeatedly cleared her throat. Swallowing over and over. He waited patiently to see what she would reveal to him.

"I....I mean...I know you don't want to hear it, but I really must tell you something."

He couldn't fathom what she'd possibly have to say. He sat upright on the couch and gave her every ounce of attention. He trained his eyes on her. They were large, brown, and intense. Unknowingly, he caused her more anxiety with every passing minute that he held her gaze. She secretly begged him to look away.

But, he couldn't hear her thoughts.

And that was the problem. He couldn't understand her words. He didn't speak her language. He had trouble reading in between the lines of what she was trying to say and what really wanted to say, but lacked the courage to do so. Because of this, she viewed their communication as broken. Incomplete. He thought everything was fine.

Yet, it wasn't. He caused her pain. Whenever he spoke, small piercing jolts of pain made their way to her heart. Blood pumped a little bit faster in her veins. Her palms became sweaty. Her tongue thickened inside her mouth. She constantly had to close her eyes and bite her lip to prevent herself from crying. He thought himself candid. Honest. She found him to be hurtful. Confusing. An enigma of a man that would forever remain unsolved.

She didn't know what to do. How to proceed with her days in this ball of confusion that he'd wrapped her in.

"See, it's just that, well..."

"Go ahead." He urged her. "I'm listening. What is it?" He tried to speak quietly. Soften the tone of his voice that he knew could be harsh at times. He hoped that she'd see him as ally and not a threat.

"I adore you. That's it. I adore you completely. I'm not in love with you. Not really. Too soon for that. There's still too much to know about you. About the way you operate through life. But, I adore you. I think about you every day. I worry over you. I wonder if you're happy. That's really important to me, you see. Because if you're not happy then there's no way that I could ever be."

She hoped she was making sense.  She prayed that she wasn't driving him away. She wanted to reach out and touch him. Sooth out the wrinkles in his shirt. Hold his had. Inhale his cologne. She wanted to make him dinner and then watch him flip through the channels of the tv. She wanted to do every mundane task possible together. She wanted to hear his breathing at night. Feel him rustle the covers as he switched sides during sleep. She fought the need to check on him throughout the day. Was there anything he needed? He desired? She wanted more than anything to provide these things.

But, he wanted no part of it. He provided for himself. He saw to his own needs and it had been that way for years. His reluctance to allow her to be what she knew she could be for him was hurting her more than she cared to admit. With her new found revelation of adoration, she risked alienating him. She'd been thinking about this for quite some time. Should she stay in the background, always clutching her heart with one hand while forcing a smile on her lips with the other? Or should she go for the gust-o and come clean with how she felt?

What made the decision for her was a simple realization. A pause in her routine. She had awoke one morning. The sun had yet to rise on the horizon and the occupants of her house still slept. She'd felt the stillness all around her. It was a sense of loneliness, a sort of heavy quiet, that kept her seated on the edge of her bed. It was concrete. Permanent and unwavering. She came to the conclusion that her life would always have that edge of nothing to it. She'd forever be what she was. A mother and a friend. A daughter. A family member of some sort. But, she would never be the love of someone's life. This last thought made her knees lock in place. And as she sat there, she began to cry. Not loudly and without sobs. The tears slipped down her cheeks in the same hushed manner that her heart broke in.

Her confession to him was her last attempt at something in her life. Something other than the extensions of herself which drove her to live everyday. Something that was all her own. A separate creature that would love and appreciate her for being the woman she had grown into. And not a mother that nature had turned her into.

The clock ticked away the minutes. They both stared at one another. Him, sitting on the couch, looking into her soul and contemplating her meaning. Her, standing in the middle of the room, palms sweaty, wishing she could rewind time and erase the words that she'd just spoken.

When at last he cleared his throat, he could do nothing but speak the truth. His truth. "I'm sorry. I can't. We shouldn't be friends anymore."

The weight of the silence after he left crushed her. She cried out as loud as she could. But, there was no one around to hear.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Dearest Friend: A Year

My Dearest Friend,

The day came and went. The only sign to mark the anniversary of your departure was that dull ache that continues to live within the walls of my heart. The world, always in a hurry, refusing to sit still to mark the occasion, continued to spin on its axis. I awoke that morning, went about my routine as I always do, and tried not to think of what I was missing.

Or I'm still missing.

I received unsettling news yesterday. News that caused me to pause in my day and inhale deeply. Almost in the same manner as when I first learned of your death. A friend, or more a casual acquaintance, took his own life just days before. The shock I felt was immediate. As it is with most tragic news such as this. I immediately began to search my memory for any clues that could have been used as a type of foreshadowing of this event. Something, anything, that even hinted to what was to come. I could not find anything out of the ordinary. Not that I would have known.

But, I feel like I should have known. Should have suspected.

It's funny how we are so busy in our day to day lives that we never see the pain of others. We build our days around our to do lists. Rarely do we pause to stop and extend a greeting to the person waiting in line behind us at the grocery store. It's funny the way we see others, never fully understanding their story.

Funny and very sad.

Since the news of his death, I have tried to recall the type of despair required to take your own life. Many years ago I attempted suicide. Do you remember the story? Of course, mine was a half hearten attempt. But, I must have experienced something of that nature. Something that would have sent a signal to my brain to let me know that the person standing in front of me was in trouble. But, I couldn't recall the emotions. Like how a woman's body forgets the pain of childbirth, my soul fought against recalling the deep intense sadness that it takes to commit suicide. As try as I might, I just can not imagine feeling that way.

Even though I know I once did.

See, this is why I miss you. These thoughts and images floating around in my head would have kept us on the phone for hours. I would've rambled on as you listened and injected your opinion here and there. We would have said our goodbyes, but you would've known that my brain would keep me up for the rest of the night processing all the emotions that I was feeling. You would know this so well that the next morning would see you checking on me. Sure, you'd know I would be alright. But, you also knew that the little bit of outreach would go a long way with me. You would have known all this because you just knew me so well.

But, you've gone on. And I am still here.

My Red Head is concerned over the future of my love life. Remember how we used to talk about her ideas for dating and laugh at how innocent they all were? I still have to hide my smile as she asks me endless questions about who is right for who and so on. I worry that I am embedding in her a distrust of others as deep as mine is. I do not want to do that. Already she states she doesn't want children. This has me worried, but I realize she is only eight. She has many many years before the time comes for her to choose between work and love. And she will have to make that choice. We all do.

I tried to explain to her what you used to say. How you would always tell me that it would take a special man to court me. Even now, I grin at how old fashioned you would sound.

It's gonna take a special man to court you. You'd say. Mark my words, Wes. The first man to make you laugh and feel safe, hell, he's done for. He wouldn't be able to shake you no matter how hard he'd try. 

Yeah yeah, I would say. Deep down I knew you were right. You and I both knew that safety equals trust in my eyes.  I never wanted to admit that I am so simple in my needs. I wanted to be mysterious like a cold wind rustling through the leaves at night. I didn't want to be read by others. Exposed. Vulnerable. I wanted someone to work to get to know me. It always seemed the other way around. I'd work hard to earn their trust. Navigate through their minefield of rules. For once, I wanted someone to take that extra effort for me. I deemed myself worth it.

But, I'm not. Not really.

I should've asked him if he was ok. I saw him every week in the grocery store. Every Wednesday I was presented with an opportunity to inquire as to his happiness. His life. Give him an opening to share. Allow him to see that somebody out there cared enough to ask. That someone somewhere was not going to hold him to his past mistakes. But, I never did. Sure, I asked how Life was treating him. He'd shrug and mumble something. That should've been my first clue. I should've seen that Life was still punishing him for his wrong doings. I could've pressed further. However, I was always worried about making it to work on time. Even though I always arrived early.


If you were alive, you would say words that would ease my mind. You would say something sincere. Eloquent. You'd make me laugh. Or you'd just listen. I know this because I knew you. Only, apparently, not as well as you knew me.

Once again I was blind.

Sadness keeps me company tonight. My mind is in overload, processing all my thoughts and the different feelings that accompany them. It will be days before all this finally leaves me. Before I can put it to rest as a memory to recall in later years as a story. Or maybe not at all. I do not like the way I deal with matters of the heart. How it takes so long for me to deal with anything unpleasant. I feel that I take up a great amount of energy trying to handle things that others would process through in a matter of days or even hours. I am accused of being too analytical. Maybe I am. You used to tell me, that while my tendency to analyze everything can be exhausting, it was what made me me. And what made my stories mine. I remember you urging me not try to change my spots. That God put them on me just so.

We all know God doesn't make mistakes.

I will leave you now. I am eager to get to bed. I find that, when nestled between the covers, my mind goes on autopilot. This allows a wide scope of analytical ideas and images to roam  freely through my mind's eye. I enjoy this time. I feel it is the only time that I can freely be myself.

And I wouldn't trade it for a good eight hours of sleep for nothing.

As always, I miss you.



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Thirteenth Hour

When the clock struck thirteen I came alive for the second time. I unearthed myself from damp soil. I listened for a sound. Any sound. I do not know what I was looking for.

I was aware. Aware of everything around me.

When the clock struck thirteen my heart died a terrible death. It burst and brought with it such agony that I became mad instantly. Heat raged through my body as my blood froze within myself. I clutched at my chest with one hand as I used the other to lift myself from the ground.

I was in pain. Horrific pain. Still, I was aware.

When the clock struck thirteen, I breathed for the last time. There was no oxygen in the air that I inhaled. My chest did not rise or fall. I was a statue, made from skin and bones. I clutched my throat and tried to make a sound. Nothing came. Not a whimper. Not a shout.

I choked on nothing. I was stale and empty. Yet, I was aware.

When the clock struck thirteen, I lifted my head to the night and saw whatever I could see. I surveyed my surroundings including myself. I was ragged. Dirty from my struggle. I had wounds. Holes in my body where there should not be.

I was confused. Disorientated. Still, I was aware.

As the final chime sounded on the thirteenth hour, I struggled to gain my balance. My gait was sloppy, yet purposeful. I called out into the night, yet the noise was not a noise at all. I heard it in my head, but to the outside world, it was nothing but an odd sound that is dismissed as soon as it's heard.

I was not human. But, I was aware. And I was hungry.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


She hated him. So much, in fact, that she doubted anyone in the history of human existence had ever hated anyone like she did him. But, it was more than that. More than hate that moved her into action. It was the way that the hate lived inside of her. The way it coursed through her veins keeping her blood company. It filled her head with images of death, of scenes worse than death. The hate made her hands shake. It made her gait unsteady. It caused her vision to blur, making it hard for her to focus. To concentrate. One would think that living in this perpetual state would do her harm. Perhaps cause some form of mental or physical decline. But, that wasn't the case at all. The effect was the opposite. She thrived on it. It gave her a sense of strength. She figured, although unsteady on her feet, she could take on the whole world if need be and defeat it. But, it wasn't the world that concerned her. It was wasn't the people she came into contact with on a daily basis that she wanted to see crushed. It was just one man. One man that she felt the overwhelming sense of morbid curiosity for. One man that incited so much rage and hatred in her that she began to formulate a plan to end him before her subconscious could intercede.  Before that little part of her being that determined what was right from wrong could hold her back from what she felt she needed to do, she packed a duffel bag and headed to his home.

He was seated in the recliner that almost fit into his living room. Almost, but not quite. He didn't make a lot of money. So, he could barely afford the modest three bedroom double wide that housed him, his wife, their two year old son, and his ailing mother. To the outside world, he looked like every other blue collar American that had fallen on hard times. He worked hard for little money. Not enough money, if you really wanted to discuss it. Diapers were expensive and so was healthcare. Inside those walls made of cheap particle board, housed a man that held a horrible secret. A secret that he'd reluctantly shared with his wife many years ago and his frail mother had known about since its inception. A secret that held them all together within a prison of pain and whispers. Of looks and unanswered questions. Of fear. A prison that caused the two women of his life to resent him with almost the same velocity of  hatred that she held for him.

She didn't drive to his house. Driving would've brought her to her destination too soon. She was in no hurry to achieve her goal. So, instead, she walked the quarter of a mile to his home. She knew the route well. After all, they both lived in the same neighborhood lined with older modeled double wides. The neighborhood had been erected as an alternative to the pricier stick built homes. Now, some twenty years later, it was a playground for migrant workers and single income families such as her own. As she walked down the street, looking at each double wide as she passed, the only noise that kept her company was the occasional bark of a wayward dog. It seemed to her that the night creatures were in touch with her rage. They seemed to keep silent out of respect for the fury that swelled within her. She pictured them frozen in silence, perched on the limbs of the various trees that lined her neighborhood, watching her in anticipation of her next move. Her brown hair, long and untamed, laid limp around her shoulders. Perspiration dripped down her forehead, stinging her eyes. It was cold outside. Her breath created mist in the night air. Her rage kept her warm.

His house was quiet. Everyone had succumbed to the sweet seduction of Mr. Sandman's charms but him. He rested in his recliner listening to the weatherman tell him stuff he already knew. That it had been cold today. And that it would be cold tomorrow. He scratched his barely-there belly and stretched. He loved his recliner. It was his most favorite place in the world. The place where all his cares and nasty little secrets melted away into the fabric and cushion. He closed his eyes, and for a brief moment in his troubled forty-two years on earth, he thought life might just turn out ok.

Killing a human being is never easy. Television makes it look like all it takes is a flick of a blade across the throat and it's goodbye forever. But, it's rarely that easy. She stood over his wife as she lay sleeping. He was none the wiser to her presence as he sat in the living room. Across the hall from where his wife rested lay his mother. Her death had been a silent one. She'd covered the old woman's face with a pillow and then pressed down with all her weight until the woman had stopped struggling. And even now, as she watched the mother of his child nestle deeper into the soft pillow, dreaming happy dreams, she wasn't entirely sure that the old woman was dead. She made a mental note to double check her status after she put the wife out of her misery.

He heard a thump coming from his bedroom. His wife was such a restless sleeper. The thought that it could be anything other than her tossing and turning never crossed his mind. And when he saw the woman out of the corner of his eye, standing there covered in blood, it took him a moment to register what was what. His brain had trouble adding two and two together. He had a hard time connecting the thump he'd heard just seconds before to the woman standing in his living room. He was speechless.

But, she wasn't.

"I'm scared of the dark," she said quietly. "I'm a grown woman scared of the dark. What do you have to say about that?"

"Nothing," he whispered. "Is my wife dead?"

"Yes," she replied. "And so is your mother."

"My boy?" He swallowed hard against the thick lump that formed in his throat. Tears swelled in his eyes. He didn't even try to hold back as he began to sob.

He recognized this woman. This girl. Her hair was long as it had been that night....

                    .......those nights........

 twenty-some years earlier. She was a few pounds heavier. A few inches taller maybe. But, it was her. The only real difference between her now and her then was the look on her face. Decades ago she wore the look of fear. Of defeat. Now, rage masked her features. It dotted her cheeks with a crimson red.

She wore the look well.

"He's alive." She informed him. "I didn't go in his room."

"How did you get into my house?" He asked already knowing. His wife was heavy set. Prone to heat flashes. A window was always left ajar in their room. No matter the temperature outside.

She didn't answer. She calmly walked towards him. He saw that she held no weapon. A black duffel bag sat on the floor where she'd been standing. If he didn't know any better, he'd swear she looked innocent. She looked almost harmless, except for the blood that colored the yellow night gown she wore.

"Why did you kill them?"

"Because they lived with you knowing what you are. They don't deserve to breathe the same air I breathe. To have the same joy I can have. To laugh. To see the sun. None of you do."

He could see the emotion swelling in her eyes. Her chest rose and fell with each breath she took. She was visibly shaking. She was fighting on the inside, he could tell. Fighting to keep her rage under control.

"What's your plan?" He wiped away his tears. He figured he'd grieve over the loss of his wife and mother later. He'd get passed it. Accept it as karma finally getting her sweet revenge with him. As long as his son was fine, he'd live with whatever punishment this crazy monster deemed he deserved.

"My only plan is to watch you die," she informed him. Her voice was monotone. Flat.

He looked upon her with pity. Pity and guilt. There was no fear. His heart beat didn't quicken with a sudden rush of adrenaline. Pity caused him to look at her intently. Guilt held him firmly in place. She was a creature unlike any he'd ever seen. Madness colored her eyes.

And he was the cause of it all.

"I'm sorry," he told her. "You have every right to hate me for what I did to you. Every right. But, you didn't have to kill my family. This is just between you and me."

"No. No it's not," She shook her head in frustration. "This is between you, me, and everyone I come in contact with. Anyone that I try to connect with. Form bonds with. It's there. What you did to me. Every person I meet sees the scars that you left behind. The ones that don't really exist. They all see. They see that there's something not quite right about me. They sense how dark I am. They stay away because they don't want to be drug into the darkness with me.

She stood in front of him. If anyone were to walk in on the moment, they would surmise she was discussing a grocery shopping list. Her voice was just that flat. Of the two, he was the only one showing any emotion. She had stopped shaking. Her hands no longer trembled. She had regained control.

"How do you plan on killing me?"

"I'm not going to kill you. You're going to kill yourself."

He didn't hear her just right. He couldn't have. Kill himself? If she had gotten to him three years ago, or any time prior to the birth of his son, he would've happily done it. He couldn't count the times over the past twenty-some-odd years where he'd come so close to pulling the trigger. Or cutting his wrists. Doing himself in any number of ways. He couldn't say what always held him at bay. Some unseen force would sweep in at the last minute, last second, and hold his hand away from his wrist. Took his finger off the trigger. Something would whisper in his ear that today was not the day to die. So, he'd continued on. Moving from one place to another. Moving as far away from her and the horrific bond that tied them together.

"I'm not going to do that." His voice was forceful, yet soft. He wanted to show her that he had no intention of dying that night. And surely not by his own hand.

"Yes, you are. You are going to die. You deserve to die. And after you die, after you've inhaled your last breath, you will go to hell."

"What about you?" He asked her. "Don't you think you're going to hell for the murders of those two in there? Two people that have never done any harm to anyone?"

"Oh, I know I'm going to hell," she informed him. "It'll be a welcomed change to what you put me through."

She stood there, glaring into his eyes. He felt the burn of her hatred on his face. He could not look away. He would not dare look away. He wished with everything he had to take that moment back. Those moments from all those years ago.  He couldn't change what he'd done no more than she could change what she'd become. So, there they were, frozen in a virtual stand off. Each unrelenting in their quest to see the other relent to their own will.

"You ever been awaken in the middle of the night and torn from your own bed?" She asked fully knowing the answer.


"You ever been drug down a road kicking and screaming?"


"Do you know what it's like to have the bottoms of your feet rubbed raw from being drug down asphalt?"


"Do you know what it's like to be beaten and beaten until you lose all memory?"


"Do you know what it's like to be raped? Repeatedly?"

"No," he whispered. The tears fell silently. Hot against his cheeks. He lowered his head and wished to the God that never heard his prayers that He would take back the past. Take back the night she was referring to. But, that would never happen. No more than God was going to stop the moment that was happening  now.

"I also know what what it's like to have a baby punched out of your belly. Out of my belly. A baby I wasn't even sure I wanted. I know what it's like to have a gun pointed at my head. I know how the steel feels against the back of the skull. Do you?" She said all this quietly. But, it was apparent that the dam that held all her rage and hatred was about to break. Her voice trembled with each word. Tears began to form in the corner of her eyes. Her hands, kept at her side, were forming fists unknown to her. 


"I also know what it's like to almost die. To want to die. To be so fucking mad that you didn't die. Do you?" She yelled this last question. Spit it at him with such venom that he could feel the poison leak into his skin.

"Yes." He said. She almost didn't hear him. Almost. She didn't say anything. Stared at him with the same hatred that had lived within her for all those years.

"Tell me," she said. "What's it like being you? It's one thing to be the victim. To have been weak and vulnerable. To have all sense of power stripped of you. It's a horrible thing to know that you are never truly safe. To come to the realization that even in the confines of your own bedroom, you really aren't safe. But, that's something you can't help. I will never be able to say that what you did to me was my fault. I will always be the victim. No matter how frustrating that is, whoever I tell my story to, they will see me as a victim. But, you? You're the monster. You did this. You are living proof that monsters exist. That they are alive and well. The worst thing about a monster like you, well, you look like everyone else. You blend in. No one knows how evil you are until you thrust your evil on them. And then it's too late. So, tell me, what's that like?"

He had no answer for her. These were questions that he'd asked himself over and over again. He'd laid awake at night, even now, wondering how he became what he was. He kept to himself. Never wanting to get too close to anyone, least he turn into that thing he once was.

"Have you ever hurt your wife," she asked.

He looked at her in surprise. "No," he denied. "Never."

"How do you know you never will? Hmmm? How do you know that one day, during an innocent argument, you won't turn on her? Beat her?"

He didn't know how to answer that. He had gone for years without a girlfriend once he ran out of town. Once he left her behind in the wake of what he'd done to her, he'd fled as far as his wallet would allow him to. When he felt he'd gotten too comfortable in one town or another, he'd pack up and leave again. It wasn't until he was across the country, far enough away from her and the memories of that awful time, that he'd taken the chance of smiling at a pretty girl.

Then fate had brought him back here. How he hated fate.

"I don't know. I just know."

He didn't, though, not really. It was a fear he lived with. Every day. He would look at the woman that gave him his sweet boy and wonder if that was the day the monster that lived within him would emerge. And try to kill her.

"I don't have to worry about that now," he told her. "Do I?"

"No," she said. "Now you just have to worry about your son. How do you think he would feel if he knew you were a monster?"

"Stop it." For the first time that night, anger flickered across his face.

"When I'm jail, years from now, when he's learned how his sweet mommy and grandma died, he will ask why. Why did a lady from down the street sneak into your house and murder them? What will be your reason?"

He shook his head. He didn't know. He could never let his son know what he had done. Never let his son know the type of man he really was. Least his son repeat his sins.

"You know he'll want to know. Everyone will want to know why I picked this house. Why I chose your family. Don't you think everyone will find out? You've ran long enough. It's time you faced up to what you did."

"You're crazy," he told her.

"Yes I am. Thanks for that."

Thoughts churned inside his mind. Visions of years gone by. He tried to picture his sweet little boy asleep in the next room. But, he couldn't seem to get a lock on that visual. All he saw in his mind's eye was her. Her, a young girl, crying and screaming for help. All he could think of was the brutal way he'd done her. And how he knew, deep down where people stored their most dangerous secrets, he was gonna have to pay one day.

They seemed to both come to a silent agreement. Their minds were in-tuned with one another. She walked silently back to the duffel bag and unzipped it.

"I want you to shoot yourself in the face," she informed him. "I think it would be much easier for your boy to know his dad killed himself than to know he actually beat and raped a young girl. And almost killed her. Don't you think?"

"No," he said. "I don't. Either way the truth is going to come out.  Your logic has more holes in it than you realize."

She knew he was right. Knew it and hated him for it. There was no way she was going to get him to do what she wanted him to do. Her plan, although not really that well thought out, began to unravel right in front of her. And just like that, the dam that held her all together broke.

She looked at him, sobbing and hiccuping like a kid that had lost their favorite toy. In her left hand she held a gun. Small. Loaded. She walked to the small child's bedroom and before he even had a chance to jump out of his seat in protest, a shot rang out. His knees weakened and gravity took over as he hit the floor.

"Oh, god," he gasped. "Oh, my god, no. No. No."

"Now," she choked as she tossed the gun on the floor in front of him, "shoot yourself in the face."

"Why?" He pleaded with her. "Why don't you kill me yourself?" His heart was breaking. He was sure that he could have a heart attack at any moment.

"Oh, well, that's an easy answer," she said as her tears began to dry. She calmed herself and looked him dead in the eye. "You didn't have the decency to kill me."


The newspapers ran the story for a solid month. The suicide of a man and apparent murder-suicide of three women made all the headlines. Newscasters brought in detectives, head shrinks, and any other specialist they could find to try and guess the motive behind the killings. All anyone could really agree on, was that the little two year old boy was beautiful. 

And there wouldn't be any problem finding someone to adopt him.  

Sunday, March 3, 2013

My Dearest Friend: March

My Dearest Friend,

March has drifted in without warning. It has settled in comfortably and brought with it the beginning signs of spring. Soon the boy will begin baseball. The sun stays out just a little bit more everyday. I've had to pay for the kids' yearbooks and spring pictures will be arriving soon. All this to prove what I already know. And that is time continues to move forward.

Oh, how I despise this month. It promises new beginnings and I want no part of it. I never knew it was possible to loath a certain time of the year in the same manner that I loathe a human being. But, I do. It's as if March broke into my home and stole all my prized possessions. Possessions that have no monetary value and can not be replaced.

I have gone days without thinking about you. Days where that dull ache does not remind me of anything. It has become such a part of my life that I no longer pay it attention. This dull ache is more than a sadness. More than grief. And it's worse than either one of those emotions. It is more like an emptiness. A chasm that all memories fall in to. It is where I go and hide when I fear that no one could possibly understand the depths at which this nothingness exists. It makes me nervous to emerge from this dark shadowy place. Most days I live there. And even when you don't cross my mind, I still find myself retreating from everyone else.

And I don't know why.

I still have your old journals. The ones you kept while you took care of me. The ones that followed you through out your naval career. They provide an insight, not only into your mind, but into mine as well. I search through them hoping to find a lost artifact. A treasure that may give some insight into why I feel so lost without you now. A piece of me that you knew that I never did. I feel so cheated. Cheated out of knowledge and happiness. It is so unfair that you died with memories that I do not have. If I could rewind time, I would go back to our last conversation. Do you remember? You asked me to marry you for the hundredth time it felt like. I laughed you off. I told you that I would only marry for love and nothing else. That even though you possessed knowledge of me that I did not, it was not enough to change my mind. Would I have said yes if I knew then what I know now? No. The only thing I would change is the ending of the conversation. If I had to do it all over again, I would've stayed on the phone until daybreak.

Or longer.

A year is such a short time when in reference to heartbreak and grief. And in a couple weeks time, it will be just that. A year. A year since you passed on. I rarely talk of you anymore. I feel like I should be over the initial shock of hearing the news of your death, but I'm not. I feel like those that I could speak to on your behalf are tired of hearing your name. And, frankly, I am tired of saying it. I am ready to have more that just a couple of days where I don't think of you. I am ready for weeks and months to go by before that ache returns and brings with it your scent. I am ready for a life with no dull ache. Does one even exist for me? I have to believe it does. Surely God, in all His glory, wants more for me in this life than dull aches and midnight tears.

I have started sleeping facing your side of the bed now. I don't know why that it is. I remember how I used to sleep. Curled up in a tight ball, my back facing you. You would place your hand on my back to make sure I was still breathing. My lack of movement seemed to frighten you. You were fearful that something would happen to me in the middle of the night and you'd be none the wiser for it. Now I face where you once laid. I don't know when or why I started doing it. The most hurtful thing is to wake up in the middle of the night, facing where you should be, and you not be there. And knowing you never will be. Your scent long escaped the pillow. The mattress no longer holds your body's imprint. It's just me and a wide variety of stuffed animals. It is a lonely existence without you here.

Lonely and painful.

What do I do now? Now that you are no longer here? Who will push me when I need it? There are no hazard lights flashing, no warning signs, to tell me not to venture into this chasm that's taken the place of my heart. No one to fish me out and make me talk. Do you remember how you'd pull me out of my head when I needed it? You would manipulate me into talking. Confessing whatever dark thoughts had invaded my mind. I can still remember putting my head on your shoulder and you playing in my hair as we spoke about whatever was troubling me. Now, I can't voice any of it. Because no one understands. And I don't think anyone ever will. Our bond was forged that night you saved me. It was a bond made from sweat, tears, and blood. I doubt I will ever have anything quite like it with anyone else.

Before I close this letter out, I must apologize for the dark tone. However, I can not help it. And you always told me to stay true to my dark nature. That whoever would love me, would love that side of me as well. I try to heed your words, but it is not easy. I am often judged by it. The judgement is usually harsh and causes me to retreat from others even more.

I miss you terribly, Patrick. I miss you more than I did the day you died. I don't know where to put this dull ache. I don't know what to do with my time. I want so badly to discuss my latest stories with you, but you are not here. The days and nights are empty without you. Words have little meaning without your ears to hear them. Try as I may, I can not get passed missing you.

I must go now. The children are playing outside. Their laughter floats in and begs me to join them. I will leave you now.

Love Always,


Teaching You

They will show you a path in which treasure sits at the very end of its winding corridors.                           Majestic trees, leaves the color of amber, branches thick and strong, line each side.                                      They will show it to you and say "Don't go there."

They will show you a home with lighted windows and music drifting out of them into the night.                  Laughter plays on the doorsteps teasing you with its gaiety.                                                                                      They will show it to you and say, "Don't enter there."
They will show you a pool of shimmering fluid  that reflects the warm sun and it will invite you in to wash You of your sins and cool your temperature.                                                                                                                     They will show it to you and say, "Don't swim there."
Then they will bring you to a place of blackness and death.                                                                                        Where graves sit rotting and stinking in the cold wind.                                                                                                Where promises are broken and cries are carried on the wings of a long extinct bird.                                     They will show it to you and say, "There. Go there. That is your home."
And you will go simply because you do not know any better.