I don’t know what’s more humiliating; the fact that he’s dead or the fact I didn’t do it sooner? I casually run through the inventory of emotions I’m meant to feel: remorse, sadness, guilt and regret as I debate which one to mimic. After a few disinterested drags I decide guilt is probably the best bet until I catch a glimpse of his shrivelled up penis and instantly regret my decision. I try to stifle a laugh which in turn makes it all encompassing.
Tonight was supposed to be special which is why there’s a box of dark chocolates on the dresser (his favourite not mine) and a semi decent bottle of wine. I suppose I should be grateful I had a husband who actually remembered it was our anniversary but it’s probably my acceptance of such limited expectations that led me here in the first place. He wasn’t a bad man in any traditional sense; relatively attentive, paid the bills and in his own way caring but like most men he simply coasted through the motions which I enabled through numb passivity-laying on his back while I shifted through the gears.
I don’t know why tonight felt anymore like a violation than any other listless night but watching him motionlessly squirm in and half out of me felt almost like a plea. Even as my hands tightened around his throat he seemed so casually resigned to the situation-as if living in itself was too much of a struggle. I reflect on my last statement wondering am I rationalising his death because I got what I wanted or is there any truth to it. Surely a 250lbs man could have thrown me off if he really wanted to?
I slowly sip the wine as I let the irony of an 18 year old marriage commemorated by a tombstone wash over me. The room feels forcibly quiet as if judging me from a far; pillows seeking refuge behind blankets while a reading lamp protests in dim dismay. Why have I punished a man for my own mistakes? I could have left at any time without as much as a raised voice. I guess ultimately my selfish vanity couldn’t bear to let people see him as the victim; disinterested moping confused with silent brooding.
Stumbling around the bathroom I find an unsuspecting ally glaring back in the mirror dolled up in suspenders and silk stockings; the lonely face of expectation. I undress meticulously, running my hand along my slender, smooth legs in a trance until I make my way into the shower.
Once under the nozzle all fears and trepidation are instantly washed away while new-as yet undecided-emotions and plans begin to form. I think about what opportunities lie ahead as I cleanse and massage my body except instead of feeling refreshed and invigorated I’m overwhelmed by a dull nagging agitation as the shower head rains down heavy. Suddenly the thoughts of being reborn at forty three seem both plausible and ridiculous.
Back in the bedroom my presence feels conspicuously unwanted with my naked husband’s wide open eyes clemently pleading for dignity. I throw a blanket over his body which somehow lightens the levity of the situation if only in a very tragic-comical way. I take what remains of the wine and bring it to bed until the citrus taste of summer is long gone and all that remains are endless questions. Have I made the right decision? What do I do now? Was I a good wife? Did I live up to my end of the bargain? All vie for pole position, making me nauseated, as I tenuously try to extract myself from blame.
After a deep and disjointed sleep I spend most of the morning quietly reflecting over an orange juice in the kitchen. The all too familiar kitchen now feels foreign and tinged by an indefinable presence. The comfort of normality permanently disfigured leaving me nostalgic for the past.
Having turned the house upside down my old life has now been seamlessly condensed into 243 dollars in cash, two bank cards, and an out of date cheque book. I’m about to leave the house until feeling compelled by some sense of duty, find myself returning to my dead husband. Inside the bedroom nothing’s changed and I feel stupid waving to my husband as if going out to buy some milk. Quickly I make my way for the front door before another wave of unjust sentimentality has a chance to sweep over me. My hand is on the door knob when the phone rings, which takes a while to properly register-as if I’ve already
consigned the house to my past. I make my way over to the marble kitchen counter top and pick up the receiver.
“Hi Mom, Kirsten says you don’t have to collect me this morning because she’ll drop me over to soccer practice with Matt.” He says.
“Okay sweetie,” I say paralysed by the moment and before I have a chance to compose myself he’s gone.
Outside I hurriedly make my way to the car not even bothering to lock the front door. Inside his car I’m welcomed by a warm steering wheel which only now draws to my attention the unseasonably sunny weather. I start the ignition and am instantly
distracted by a loud jazzy number, which for some reason disorientates and irks me more than it should. Once I figure out how to realign my seat I unwind my window and am met by a refreshing breeze and I smile. All I have to do is reverse and drive.

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