This story is by Christina Trevino (also writing as Roegin) and was part of our 2018 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“Sometimes I get so lost
within the chaos of my own mind,
that I cannot tell if I am the victim
or the monster.”
That was the last entry she entered into her journal. It had been a while now since she’d written anything new. Over and over and over those words replayed like a broken record in her minds eye. As well as the scene of how she fractured her ribs, that was still making it quite difficult for her to move and breathe.
But she managed. She always managed.
Every day she would open her journal to a fresh page. In the hopes that she could somehow disconnect herself from the world. From herself. From the pain. Just simply .. disappear. Even if it was for but a moment. Anywhere was better than being there and then.
But the tiny pencil remained in the same spot. Nestled sweetly inside the pencil holder. But not just any pencil holder. This was special .. a boat. It was a Mother’s Day gift to her from her little boy. Molded clay by his little hands and painted with his little fingers. He said that he made the boat special for his mommy. So that when his mommy had bad days, when she felt lonely and missed him so so very much, all his mommy had to do was pretend to be a little girl again, to hop into the boat and to look to the sky. That, that is where his Mommy will find her sweet heavenly blues. And that every night he would light up the sky for his mommy, so that his mommy would never get lost when she tried to find him.
“My sweet heavenly blues” she would whisper as she kissed him on the forehead every night when she put him to bed. And after they said their prayers together and spoke of forever I Love yous.
She missed him sooo sooo very much. And one day soon she hoped to be with him again.
So every day the journal was set back in its place. And after moments of holding the tiny boat against her breasts and lips, even at times collecting salty remnants of her overflowing Heart it would safely join the journal, until the very next day.
Under the ninth floor board from her pillow, under the soft print of an oval cherry blossom tree rug. Opposite the brown package.
She remembered when her husband asked her why she needed a rug. She lied to him, told him that the floor made the room cold. Too cold for her feet, even with her socks on. And that she would be most appreciative if she were allowed to have one. She remembered kissing His cheek to prove her affection. Even resting her hand upon His Heart for extra effort.
While holding back the bile of disgust rising in her throat.
He sated himself with her in his way. Weeks later He bought her a rug.
Winds whipped through her hair as the salty scent of the sea kissed her skin as she stood at the edge of the cliff. Listening to the music of the oceans swell as its waves crashed against the large jagged rocks down below. Pounding and rumbling until a blanket of snow sizzled under the sun.
She would spend her mornings there after she would drop her son off at school.
Now she would stand there, willing herself to jump off. But every time she tried, the sound of her little boys voice would rip through her from behind. Agony gutting at her core at the sound of his sweet little voice “Mommy, where are u seet heaveny boos” ….”Cun fine me Mommy” and just as fast as she could scramble to her feet .. he was gone.
So every day she prayed for the strength to survive another.
Lately, she imagined it was her husband standing there at the edge. And sometimes she imagined pushing him over.
Afternoons were the hardest at his school. She would wait there. Sometimes until dark. For him to come running out of the doors with his arms wide open to her carrying the backpack that was almost too big for his little body. He would remind her of what a big boy he was. Showing her his little muscles like the Incredible Hulk. And that beautiful toothless smile .. that was just for her.
He was born three months premature. She had always wanted children. Her husband didn’t. And he never failed an opportunity to remind her of it.
She wasn’t stupid. She knew her little boy wouldn’t be running out of those doors to jump into her arms where she could hold him tight and smother his little sweaty face with eskimo kisses until they couldn’t stop laughing. Then sometimes she would take him for an ice cream cone or to the park to feed the ducks.
She was heartsick for her sweet little boy.
The call from the hospital advising her that her husband was in stable condition made her nauseous. She didn’t really know what to expect when she got there. It was usually her laying in there. And him storming in to drag her out because she was costing him money and because she had chores piling up.
It was her fault he was in there. He wanted a reaction out of her. He got one he wasn’t expecting. And one that shocked every fiber of her own being. She hadn’t realized the amount of pent up rage she held inside. As he began smashing the pieces her little boys toys with a wooden bat.
She’d felt that bat before. Felt it land across her shoulder on a separate occasion when she lifted her arm to protect her head. And on another when she’d felt it repeatedly on the side of her already injured knee as he rained down blow after blow.
Now he knew exactly what it felt like.
He looked so peaceful sleeping there. She’d forgotten how handsome he was when he wasn’t throwing punches at her. He was the truest love of her life once. A chance meeting with a stranger who stole her heart and her every breath. People would tell her that what they had was a “Once in a lifetime” kind of love. She wished she hadn’t ignored the signs.
He had taken EVERYTHING from her. Her life, her soul, he son. Her sanity. She had nothing left. She was exhausted and just soo damn tired of living.
To everyone around town she was a “MONSTER”. The monster who killed her little boy and hid his body to never be found. There wasn’t enough evidence to charge her. And even knowing in her heart that she didn’t do it. People judged her anyway. While her husband the saint who could do no wrong. They felt pity for him to be married to something like her. Once she’d overheard him say to a new woman he was flirting with, that he stayed because he feared for his life. She realized then that her capacity for hatred, knew no limit.
His movements reflective in the mirror as she stood near the window looking out at the city lights below. And as she turned to look at him. Their eyes locked. And those green eyes that once arrested her. That once stilled her and made her heart melt. They were now void of any feeling. Just cold and soulless.
She had strapped his ankles and wrists to the rails, carefully so as not to wake him. It was not for anything else but to give her broken ribs pause. To give her another day to heal. Before she received what was surely to come. His eyes suddenly murderous when he realized this fact also.
She hadn’t covered his mouth. And she stayed far enough away from him. He was free to speak if he wanted.
“Enjoy your time of rest, you’re going to need it”, His voice deep, thick and laced with a hint of a challenge, his face splitting into a wide grin.
She grabbed her purse from the chair she placed near the window. And headed for the door. Willing herself not to open her mouth or do anything she’ll regret. Regret, she pondered that word a moment. Nine years of marriage. Three miscarriages. Each child lost because of HIM. She’d lost count of the broken bones over the years. The many ambulance rides and hospital stays.
Just as she lowered the lever to open the room door.
“He screamed like a little girl” .. “Your precious little boy” .. She could feel him sneering and grinning without remorse. “He cried for you .. Mommy”, she could hear his teeth grinding
She let her purse drop to the floor.
And covering his mouth with her hand, she whispered ….
“Before you die, know this .. I will Live and you can’t hurt me any more.”