Saturday, February 24, 2007

Murder by Omission

Fallin love with him had been so easy. He was long and lean, with a crooked Elvis-grin and a Nashville drawl. He called her his Hey-Baby, with a lazy wink of his eye. Yeah, he drank, but probably all he needed was the right woman to really, truly love him. If his cup of self esteem was filled with love, she thought, who knew what worlds he might conquer?

And so she loved him, invited him into her home. And she'd been right, of course. He made repairs, put in a garden, fixed her car. He praised her drawings and her cooking. She craved his approval, and felt all wriggly inside. At night he made her feel beautiful and desirable.

When did everything change? Their wedding day? He hadn't come to bed that night--had sat up listening to the stereo, promising to be in 'soon.' Finding him on the couch the next morning, he looked so vulnerable it was easy to forgive him.

She didn't understand that he had simply dropped his camouflage. The predator had bagged his prey. There was no longer a need to pretend.

For months she refused to see what he was. He was her husband, and she was loyal. The first time he kicked her, when she shouted at him, hurt and angry, he laughed. "I was just playing with you baby. Don't take it so seriously."

***

It's been nearly two years, she thought. Nothing ever gets better.

"I ain't leaving!" he roared, when she told him she wanted a divorce. "You're just like all the rest; nothing but a bitch. You're my wife and I ain't leaving!"

For months his rages had been more frequent, less controlled. She felt like she was losing her mind. She needed help, but she couldn't tell anyone how bad it was.

He'd been sick for weeks. She was sure he had pneumonia, although he refused to see a doctor. She knew it was because he couldn't take the chance he'd have to leave his bottle. Driving home from work she felt exhausted and defeated. She hadn't slept in days, between caring for him all night, and dealing with her job all day. She even found herself wondering how she could kill him and not get caught. The thought terriefied her.

Everything looked normal when she pulled into the drive. Or looked like what had become normal. The bass rumble of the stereo greeted her as she walked up to the door.

The door was locked. He probably hadn't been off the couch all day.

Inside, the dog cowered behind the couch. "I don't like the noise, either," she murmured, rubbing his ears.

She steeled herself as she marched into the family room. Without looking at him she turned off the stereo.

He didn't say anything.

Surprised, she turned around.

He was in his usual spot on the couch, his cigarettes and tequila within arm's reach. A half-burnt cigarette had fallen out of the ashtray. He lay so still...she felt a flutter of hope mixed with fear and watched for the rise and fall of his chest. His eyes opened and he stared at her. She waited for the cursing, but when he opened his mouth he seemed to convulse into a fit of coughing. She stared, horrified, as blood belched from his mouth.

Somewhere in her mind she thought, esophogeal hemorrhage. Call 911.

Slowly she backed out of the room, eyes fixed on the blood.

At the door she whistled for the dog and put him in the car. "Come on boy. Let's go to the park."

2 comments:

HLiza said...

That's interesting. Can't wait for the rest..

Hann said...

Wow! I read a book about abused woman who kill once and it was amazing and one can understand why and how. The book was written by a defence lawyer but no I can't remember the name.
Is it your story! Fantastic talent you've got Gramma!