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Authors: Victoria Rexroth

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BOOK: A Wonderful Life
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He circled the room a couple of times, his hand massaging his head even as his fingers gripped the hairs tight at their roots.  Finally, he stopped circling and then turned to the empty room.  “No.  I am throwing you out.  As long as you are in my mind, I can do nothing but think about you.”  He stared at the shrines he built for her.  “You’re not real; you’re not anything I need.”  He took a deep breath and then let it out.  “You
will
leave now.”

The woman appeared before him as she had when he saw her for the very first time.  The smile on her face was fading, as was she.  “Do you realize the loneliness you will face without me in your life, without me in your mind?”

He nodded.  “I do.”

She continued to fade.  “Then I will leave.  But I don’t envy the life you will have facing it without me.  I’ve been a part
of you since as long as you can remember.  I’ve been a part of your fantasies as well as a part of your every thought process.  Where will you find another such as me?”

He stared at the vapor that was once the love of his life.  “I will miss you, but there is no more room in my head for you.  Know I love you and be gone.”

And then she was.

 

THE END

 

ALWAYS THERE

 

If I had known you lived like this, we would have had words quite some time ago. Your place is disgusting. You’ve got dirty socks all over the place. Did you honestly think we could have become closer if you lived like this? Were you just going to hide this part of yourself from me forever? What kind of marriage would that have been?

Oh yeah, sorry. We were never going to be married. How could we when I never even gave you the time of day?

 

What still surprises me about us never getting intimately involved with each other is that you were always there. Whenever my boyfriends would dump me or start doing things that weren’t right, you were always there as a close friend who offered support and didn’t try to move in on a little action like so many other guys used to try to do. I really respected you for that. And it meant a lot to me to have you as a friend.

I should have suspected you had ulterior motives concerning our relationship as our jokes were usually a bit on the risqué side. But I figured that’s how friends like us communicate, and I’m sorry if I never thought another thing about it.

You were the only person with whom I could share my innermost feelings, my secret thoughts and fantasies. And it was so wonderful to know that you shared that same belief in return. We were soul buddies, and I loved that about us. It used to bother me that you never seemed to seek out other women, even though you confided in me over and over about how you were always looking for that perfect woman. I guess I never really saw the writing on the wall.

Do you know that you’re the only person I’ve ever shared my childhood stories with? It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done to tell someone, to tell you, about how my father used to constantly hit me, and how I used to run from the house, hiding for hours, knowing that I would be beaten when I got home again. You always listened, and you never criticized, tried to one-up me or offer your opinions, but just helped me deal with these situations as I brought them up. I’ve had therapists who couldn’t succeed at doing just that. And I’ll never forget that it was you who sat next to me and held my hand when my father visited my new apartment. I hadn’t seen him since I ran away from home, and even though I was now an adult, I don’t think I could have ever handled that situation without you. You know, I don’t even think I ever thanked you for that. You were quiet the whole time, just sitting and watching, but I think even my father realized that had he gotten out of line, you would have reacted. If it wasn’t for you, I never would have been able to tell him those things I had to say to him, things I could never tell him before because I knew what would have happened if I tried. As always, you proved to be the best friend I could ever hope to have.

I guess I should have spotted the warning signs when I kept trying to set you up with my girlfriends. I kept thinking I could find the right girl for you, and I never even realized that you weren’t interested in them. You were in love with me.

Yes, I know that now. I shouldn’t have done it, but while I was cleaning up your stuff, I managed to come across your diary…or journal as guys like to call them because it’s too feminine to use the word “diary.” I know I shouldn’t have done it, but I had to read it, to understand what made you tick. You see, I always felt there was something missing, something you weren’t telling me. So I started with your high school days and worked my way up to the present. You’ve been in love with me all these years, and I never even knew it.

 

March 17
th
: Rebecca and I went to the theatre (you even spelled it that way…thee-a-tah). Had a wonderful time. Sometimes, I want to tell her how much in love with her I am, but I realize that if I ever did, she would stop being my friend. So I suffer in silence each time we’re together, knowing that she’ll continue to date these guys who use her and abuse her, and all I can do is offer advice, listen to her, and be the shoulder she cries on. I wonder if she knows how that really feels.

 

I never knew. How many times did we go to the movies, to the
theatre
, to dinner, and you didn’t say a thing? We must have had a million conversations about what we were looking for in life, and not once did you ever come out and say that what you were looking for you had already found, that you were in love with me. Was I supposed to be a mind reader? Were you never going to tell me? Was I going to go through my entire life with you in love with me, and you would never let me know? I mean we revealed our deepest secrets to each other. How could you have denied me this one?

All those times you sat across the table from me and helped me patch up yet another relationship with someone you didn’t approve of. That’s pretty present in your journal. You didn’t approve of hardly any of the men I dated. Yet you never said a damn thing. You let me date them, and you let them hurt me because you didn’t have the guts to tell me how you really felt. Listen to this one:

 

April 4
th
: She’s still going out with Paul. I hate this guy. He is so wrong for her, and I wish I could tell her. He’s probably got a hundred girlfriends on the side, and I’ve tried to point that out without sounding like I’m jealous or something, but I don’t think she’s ever listened to anything I’ve said about him. He’s going to hurt her, and I can’t do anything about it. I don’t even know how to warn her. I hate this so much.

 

He did hurt me. He did have other girlfriends. Perhaps I wasn’t really listening to you. I guess I do that a lot. Could you have been telling me a lot of this stuff in the past, but I just never let it register?

Is it possible you professed your love to me, and I just didn’t hear it?

 

Well, the fact of the matter is: I realize now that I, too, have been in love with you, dirty socks and all. Whenever I introduced you to one of my girlfriends, hoping it would stick this one time, I secretly hoped it would fail because that way I would never lose you, that you would continue to be mine. I used to feel so guilty about this, but I didn’t care. I liked the idea that you would continue to have dinner with me, and I knew that once there was another woman in your life, you would give her that attention you gave me and push me aside, much as I used to do to you whenever
there was a man involved in my life. And I so didn’t want that to happen.

I guess I never realized how alone you really were. I always figured you had a girlfriend tucked away somewhere, or friends who would come to your aid when the situation demanded it. That’s why I’m still shocked that I’m the one going through your dirty socks and your diary…or journal.

I never realized I was your only friend…the one you considered your…next of kin, even though we weren’t related. When they came to me to ask me to identify your body and to become executor of your estate, I kept thinking this was all a really bad joke. I never even realized I was all you had.

I’m giving everything you have to charity. I figure that’s what you’d want me to do anyway. But I’m keeping this: your diary.

I can’t even tell you what I’d give for the chance to tell you I always loved you back. I just never knew it.

 

THE END

ANNE’S PLACE

 

Her name was Anne.  She worked all day in this nowhere job, doing nowhere things for nowhere people, and as usual, she came home to her nowhere life.

Her place was an old Victorian, probably a little older than it should have been due to a landlord who preferred the “don’t ask; don’t tell” procedure of managing rental properties.  His list of neglected properties of was evidence of that, but unfortunately, not enough evidence to submit to anyone’s attention. He knew just what he had to do, and he did that minimum, but, of course, he never believed that made him a bad guy; no, it just made him a businessman, and a good one at that. However, such name-bestowing mattered little to Anne; she was happy enough to have a place of her own in San Francisco on the little income that she did receive.

It was on this particular evening that she came home and realized something wasn’t right.  She tossed her keys onto the kitchen table, walked to the sparse living room and grabbed the remote, but waited a second before switching it on.  Then, feeling a bit apprehensive this evening, but not sure why, she turned on the TV with the remote and stared at the screen as it flickered into view.

CNN, a station she rarely watched.

Realizing something was wrong, her eyes darted through the rooms she’d already entered before she realized there was nothing out of place in the kitchen, the hallway or the living room. Doing a quick check of the bathroom, she acknowledged that the shower curtain was exactly the way she had left it while in a hurry that morning.  Then she walked into the bedroom.

The comforter was slightly off. That was obvious.  She always kept it so the lines on the edge of the comforter lined up with the edge of the bed.  The right hand line was slightly off, indicating that someone, or something, had touched the comforter.

Glancing through the bedroom, she sized up the room and realized that the closet was the only place she could not see into, indicating that if someone was in the room, that person would be in the closet.  While she hoped that this would not be the case, she
also knew she didn’t get very many visitors, so she slowly walked towards the closet.

It was one of those long closets with panel doors that stretch across one side of a room.  It opened from both sides, from the left and from the right, and it was of a chipped white color with slats that ran down the length of the doors.

Before she could cross the room, she started to wonder if someone was watching her from behind and through the openings between the slats.  If so, she realized the person would know she was coming forward and be ready to jump out at any time.  She stopped walking immediately, knowing that each step she took brought her that much closer to what would most certainly be a terrible situation.  As long as she remained on the other side of the room, there was no fear of the person jumping out at her; the only place to get out of the closet was through the doors at opposite sides of the closet, and she would see the doors move long before a person could open a door and come chasing after her.

But would she be able to make it out of the room before the person was able to catch up with her?  Not sure of this, she backed up a bit and glanced at the bedroom door, analyzing its distance and how quickly she might cross that distance.  It seemed like it would be a crap shoot, although she couldn’t be sure.  This was not something one thought about often.

Still, if she didn’t check the closet, she would never know if there was someone still in the house, and that would make things even worse.  She couldn’t just go sit down and watch Jeopardy while someone might be hiding in her closet.

“Yeah, Alex, I’ll take Countries of Europe for $200, and I’m sure that guy in the closet won’t jump out and just attack me.”  No, that wouldn’t work.

Plus, she couldn’t just ignore the closet and then go to bed.  If she was to fall asleep without knowing, that…thing, to put it kindly…would come out and do whatever things like that do when one is unsuspecting and unable to respond.  No, that would be even worse.

She had to open the closet door, and she had to do it while she knew the closet would be the only place the person might be.  Once she left the bedroom, she gave up the advantage of knowing, and that was even worse than just suspecting.

So, she walked forward again, although this time she was not sure which side of the closet to check.  If she checked the left side, the side where she kept her dresses and shirts, the person would have more room to maneuver, and she would be quite helpless once surprised.  If she checked the right side, there were her shelves of shoes and pants for the person to get through, so the person might actually be stuck trying to maneuver through the mess as she got her two extra seconds of safety.  But there was also the possibility that the intruder would use her pants to wrap around her as she opened the door and slow her escape while any one of her shoes could be used as a weapon against her.  The more she thought about it, the more she realized that the left closet door was probably just as dangerous for the same reasons.

So, she decided to chance it and take the left closet door, although she walked the middle wooden panel of the floor, her heels clicking as she took each step forward, reverberating off the floor like an army of unsuspecting soldiers about to enter an ambush of which there will be no escape.

Once at the middle of the closet, she walked slowly down the closet length until she came to the left door, and with much creaking and dragging, she pulled the closet door open.

And there he was.

The man stared back at her hidden behind the same black dress she wore to the Black and White Ball just last year, but he did not pounce on her as she suspected he might. Instead, he stared and made no move, his body hidden behind the safety of the raven dress with his head sticking out from its side. But he made no move.

“Why are you here?” she said, gathering up her courage to finally speak.

The man said nothing, but just stared back, almost as if he was as scared as she was.  Then his eyes broke away from her stare and glanced at the contents of her closet.

Beneath the dresses and shoes and shirts and pants and other accoutrements of her closet where the remains of the last five men to have visited her home in the past, although this individual in the closet was probably the first to have come in uninvited.

But no matter.

“Again, why are you here?  Most men don’t reach the closet until long after the first time they visit here.”

Again, the man said nothing, although the look on his face told him that perhaps this was the wrong home to break into.

 

The End

BOOK: A Wonderful Life
4.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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