I sat as calmly and dispassionately as I could. My posture was stiff, my heart was beating fast, adrenaline was pumping through me, so I suppose I wasn’t calm at all. I had just froze in the middle of the road. It was late - or early - around four in the morning. The road was empty with the occasional lone car passing by with a bombardment of honks at me. I was breathing fast, really fast and really hard. I wasn’t tired or out of breathe - I had actually been driving for the past two hours or so. I thought maybe I could run away from it, maybe hide from it, but it’s finally caught up. The guilt is eating me alive.
I snap out of my stagnant behavior and let out a loud half moan half cry. As I was about to rest my head on the steering wheel, a loud honk made me jump and look out the window. On the right side of me, a navy blue Subaru drove past. The driver, a man with a lit cigarette hanging out the side of his mouth, shouted something in what I could only tell was an acrimonious tone. I bit my lip, hesitated, then pulled my car over to the side of the road. The angry man had taken my mind off, only temporarily, the perfidy that I had committed a day ago, but now it was time to face the regret I now had.
I had been drinking alone at the bar I usually went to after to work. It seems a bit sad, sitting alone most weeknights in a crummy, old bar, but it was better than going home to the corpulent, nagging wife of mine. Lottie was fat, about a hundred fifty overweight. When I had married her ten years ago, she was big, but not that big. For several years, we had actually been a young, happily married couple, but then she started gaining weight. I had tried to talk to her about losing some pounds and that’s when it went downhill. Lottie cries for hours whenever I bring up her weight, so it became an expurgated topic in our conversations. Things were good, I suppose. I would idly watch her gain more and more weight and I could say nothing. Then she lost her job. Every morning now I leave the house, she’s lying in bed watching television. Every evening now I would return to work and she would just be sitting in the same position. And then began the nagging. She complain how the her eyes hurt from staring at the screen for too long; she would complain that we needed a brand new high definition plasma screen T.V.; she would complain that I get home from work too late; she would complain that she wanted more food, but didn’t want to get up to make it. That was essentially all she had done for the past two years. Everytime I saw her sitting in week old clothes with sweat stains and her unbrushed, greasy hair, and her sitting in her permanent spot probably glued to the bed by all the leftover food that she leaves, I feel squeamish. It was disgusting. I was tired of her. I was repulsed by my wife.
But then that night I had met her. She was young. She was blonde. She was beautiful - and she approached me. Me, a balding, middle aged man, sitting alone at a deadbeat bar. She sat down and started talking and oh man my heart was beating so fast, I had butterflies in my stomach. I hadn’t felt that way in years. Before I knew it we were leaving the bar, drunk and flirtatious walking down the sidewalk. It’s hazy, but I remember her saying she lived in a complex nearby, so, before I knew it, we were in her cheap, single bedroom apartment. As we were sitting on her couch, she traced my wedding ring with her thin fingers, and, before I knew it, I was sliding it off telling her it didn’t matter. Before I knew it, she was on top of me kissing me. Before I knew it, we were in bed. Before I knew it, I had just cheated on my wife.
The guilt killed me for the next two days. I had to tell Lottie or I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. Oh she would be so furious, I had thought. She loved me and I her, and this is how I showed it? She would probably leave me, I had thought. She loved me, I had thought. Two nights later I confessed my disloyalty and apologized profusely. I had no sense of control - I was drunk, I told her.
“I was susceptible to such adulteresses and completely intemperate, unable to control myself.”
My wife never turned her eyes away from the television.
“Are you angry? Are you mad?” My voice had risen, my face red.
She sighed and paused the television with her grubby fingers, such a contrast to the woman I had slept with. She looked at me with dead eyes. “Did you get her pregnant?” she asked completely monotonous.
“I-I-I don’t think so. Nuh-no.” I stuttered.
“Then who cares.” And immediately resumed her television program.
“Are you kidding me? Aren’t you upset at the fact that I was disloyal to you? I had sex with another woman!” I practically shouted.
Lottie just ignored me.
“Do you even love me? Should I even love you?”
She just stared at the screen, emotionless and deadpan.
“Answer me, goddammit!”
At this she turned her head, “Don’t talk to me like that. I am your wife!”
“Then act like it!”
She rolled her eyes at me and spoke in an ignoble and crude tone, “You’re making me miss my show. I don’t care what you did, nor what you do and ever will do. Just let it go, George. I bet she wasn’t even that good.”
I stared at her in disbelief and before I knew it I had left the room in a rage. Before I knew it, I had opened the kitchen drawer. Before I knew it, I had a knife in my hands. Before I knew it, I was staring at my dead motionless wife, with her dead eyes wide open and staring at her murderer: me.
“I can’t believe I did that,” I tried to say aloud, but all that came out was a hoarse whisper. It had only been a few hours ago that had happened. I still had blood on my hands. I stared down at them, stained with scarlet, and let out a loud scream which dissipated into a muffled sobbing. No. I was crying, yes, but it was loud, not muted. I paused and listened - yes there it was, more crying, coming from where?
“Lottie?” I croaked.
I had tossed her in the back of my pickup truck. She lay there wrapped in layers of bedding. She was dead - or was she?
“Lottie?” I spoke a little louder.
I climbed out of the driver’s seat of the car and approached the back. The screams and cries were louder and the car was shaking.
“Lottie?” This time it was only a whisper.
Everything went still and quiet. After waiting a few moments, I peered into the back and gasped. The sheets were gone, along with my wife’s body. I stumbled backwards and ran to get back into the car, but halted immediately. In the road stood Lottie, the first time I’d seen her stand in a very long time. Her head tilted sideways, her face pale and lips blue. Blood drenched her grey sweatshirt. I stared at her, utterly horrified, and she stared back with those dead eyes of hers. I walked towards her, standing in the middle of the vacant road. Tears streamed down my face, “Oh, Lottie, I’m so sorry,” I cried. She continued to stare and as soon as I was standing right in front of her, she whispered the words, “You did this” and vanished. Then I saw the headlights and before I knew it, a car had made impact with me.
The police sirens were high and shrill in the night air. The chief detective had only just pulled up to an open stretch of road. He examined the scene: a red pickup truck pulled over to the side, a small woman, standing next to her car, talking to the police frantically, and a body from the road being hoisted up onto a stretcher. He stepped towards the lieutenant, “So, uh, what happened?”
“According to this woman, apparently a man just ran out in front of her car. We think it was suicide, there was this note in that pickup truck.” The lieutenant handed the detective a sheet of paper.
He read it swiftly and looked up, “Where’s the dead wife? It says that he murdered her,” The other man pointed towards the truck, the body now being lifted out. They watched as the body was rolled away. The detective turned over the note and let out a small grunt, “I guess he felt guilty.” He showed the lieutenant the piece of paper with the words “I’m sorry” scrawled onto the paper, rewritten hundreds of times.
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