theshamelesswanderer

The Musings of My Mind

Category: Short story

Obscurity

After she fell asleep, I stared at the knife for what seemed like a really long time, though I’m sure it was just a few minutes. It called out to me in a low, cool whisper and I pretended to ignore it. I got up to wash the dishes, I took a shower, I watched the baby sleep, but through all of those things, I could hear the knife calling my name. It wanted to feel my insides and watch my blood and guts ooze out in a conglomerate of expression. Somehow, it knew that my mind was an amalgamation of hate and curiosity, so it called to me. For weeks, I didn’t adhere to it’s beckoning call. For weeks, I allowed myself to slump through my daily life of pretending to love my kid who seemed to cry even when he was happy, my mediocre job, and the frigid woman I’ve been with for the last 27 years. How tiring it is to wake up and live the same day over and over again. You never realize it’s actually happening until you notice that people begin to know your every move, every next step and the one after that. I was on the train some time ago and a poor excuse of a woman said to me, “I like your tie today. It’s always that same blue one with the white stripes, but today it’s yellow. Very nice.” I’d never seen her a day in my life, but apparently, she had seen me. She’d seen me enough to know when one little thing about my appearance changed. What’s worse is that the only reason my tie was different that morning is because I was lathering jelly on some toast and somehow, it got all over my tie. So, I changed. That was the morning, though. Once the sloppy, purple glob flew vigorously onto my tie, I rolled my eyes, and muttered to myself that I hated my life. It’s just jelly, I know, but you’d have to be me to understand. Then, the sight of the knife caught my eye. In a way, it reminded me of myself; wasted potential. Here I am with this powerful tool, this object capable of literally taking someone’s life, and I’m reducing it’s grandeur, it’s overwhelming capabilities just to put jelly on my fucking toast. That whole day, I thought about allowing it to roam freely through me in order for it to do exactly what it was designed to do. I danced around the idea relentlessly, doing menial house chores and work duties all while imagining the pain that would course through my being upon the insertion of that knife. Now, as I stare at the gleaming silver, edges sharp to a fault, I’ve decided to answer it’s call.

I picked up the knife and licked it. I licked a bit too close to the edge and nicked my tongue, but it felt sweet. It tasted like relief, and instantly, I knew I wanted more. I needed to feel more. I cut my tongue again, but deeper, and within seconds, blood pooled on my tongue, spilling out of my mouth with fury, and I let it. I looked into the mirror and smiled back at my blood-stained, toothy reflection. Heavy droplets of blood fell into the sink and just looking at it made my knees feeble. My heart curled at the sight of the slick, white porcelain become tainted by my sin. My grievances were all over the place, but it made me feel alive. I tingled all over my body, goosebumps rose on my arms, and then I cut my wrist. At first, not too deep. Admittedly, I was afraid. Although the pain was elaborate in it’s pleasure, I wasn’t prepared to end my little tirade and I wasn’t sure which direction to cut safely, so precautions were taken. But before I could restrain my excitement, I got carried away. Before I knew it, the knife had seduced my will and readiness. My right arm was slashed extensively, giving way to raw skin, and of course, a plethora of blood. It was eagerly pouring out of me as if it had felt trapped and imprisoned within the confines of my skin. If so, we were both breaking free.

Looking into the mirror, I felt like a masterpiece. I was quite pleased with what I’d done so far, but the knife still seemed to thirst for more. My hand held it steadily and tightly as I put it to my abdomen. It wanted to dig deeper, further its’ prodding of my body, but I hesitated. I questioned what the next step would be because surely, this could be it.

“Don’t be a pussy. Put it to your heart.”

Having been startled, I dropped the attempted murder weapon and swiveled around quickly to see my wife standing in the doorway with an unamused facial expression. I watched as her eyes roamed the entirety of my body, as well as the the blood spatter that had accumulated in various places. I tried to read her, but I couldn’t. In all honesty, she looked a bit bored. Almost as if this was a movie she had seen one too many times. I expected her to turn on her heel and remind me to shut the bathroom light off when I was finished, but instead, she bent down to pick up the knife. In a slow motion brimming with confidence and familiarity, she brought the knife directly to my heart and little by little, she pushed it in. At that moment, I stopped breathing. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. I began to imagine what dying would feel like, I tried to make peace with it, but I was afraid. Her serenity was daunting.

“Are you scared?”

“No.” I lied.

“Good.”

Finally, she removed the knife from my chest and stared at me intently. It dangled from her finger tips effortlessly, making me wonder which of the two was more dangerous; her or the knife? I opened my mouth to speak, but she shushed me. Stepping closer to me, my wife put her lips to mine, the knife to her throat, and when I pulled away, she collapsed. Blood spurted out of her throat in a way that made my excursion seem childish. I ogled her lifeless body, eyes wide open, mind wide shut, and I envied her. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, but I avoided my eyes. I couldn’t face the embarrassment I felt in failing at suicide. I sighed deeply and turned on the shower to clean myself off as my wife lied on the floor soaked in a puddle of her own blood. Right then, the baby let out a piercing cry as if he knew that his entire life just plummeted into a heaping pit of flames before it could even begin. At least one of us got away.

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9:30

With each step bringing him closer to the door that held his secrets between the hinges and on the other side of it, hesitance jumped out of the shadows and attacked him. Fear inserted itself into his body, and he turned back to his car to contemplate a swift return to the city in hopes of forgetting the whole thing, but he knew he couldn’t. He couldn’t if he tried because the dark thoughts that’ve trampled him since the incident would barely even let him sleep. Perhaps if he’d been the only person to witness his accident, the paranoia wouldn’t be so malicious in it’s intent to absolve him of clear and concise thoughts. Surely, he wouldn’t be forced to grovel and weep his way out of something that would stay within him until it was he who was a lifeless corpse and not an innocent bystander. But in fact, someone had seen. Images of her eyes, wide and glossy with tears pooling from disbelief and disgust, flashed before his eyes. They screamed loudly, making him squirm and gag for even he couldn’t believe that he was capable of such carelessness. Such disregard for life itself. He took one last glance at the door, shimmering in it’s olive green glory with a wiry brown wreath celebrating the joy of Thanksgiving. He gazed at the happy turkey and the little pilgrims that seemed to be dancing around it, all their faces clad with frozen smiles and black stitched eyes that held not a single emotion or thought. He envied them. He envied the fact that they weren’t burdened with the responsibility of existing. As he turned his back to the house and began to walk away from it, suddenly, the door opened. A bright light cast itself out from the inside and a shadowy figure stood in the doorway.

“I’ve been watching you this whole time.”

Her was voice scratchy and small. She sounded afraid, yet determined to hold her ground. He turned to face her and walked closer. Her cheeks were flushed and rosy, and lips slightly chapped. She fiddled with the red scarf that was bound tightly around her neck. She seemed nervous. He studied her posture, her frame, build, and height. He took a quick look around the area and noticed that they were the only two people out. He could kill her at this very instant by choking and strangling her to death. He imagined his dry hands wrapped her neck, pushing her back into the house and up against the wall as he stared deeply into her eyes while she took her lasts breaths. Except he couldn’t and he wouldn’t. Someone was always watching. He knew that now.

“Listen, I just…” He sighed. “We need to talk about what happened.”

“I don’t think there’s anything to talk about.” She seemed angry.

“Jules, I’m sorry. Okay? I’m sorry it happened and I’m sorry you had to see it. It was all…really fucked up. It was an accident and I hate myself for it. You have to believe that. I don’t know how I’m going to live the rest of my life with this.”

“At least you’ll have a life to live. Did you ever think about that?”

He lowered his head and said, “everyday since the accident.”

They stood in silence feeling their lives exploding around them. Everything seemed to be at a standstill. Simply waiting for one of them to take their next breath, speak their next word. One, drunk night had taken a wrong turn and there was no going back. He could see the fear in her eyes and hear her heart beating too fast. He attempted to reach his hand out to her but she took a step back and scowled.

“You’re a…you…” Tears began to fall freely, but she wiped them away. “You killed him!”

“I know what I did. I’ll never be able to forget it.”

“You asshole! You killed him and you left him!”

“Shhhh! Don’t…you can’t shout things like that. Maybe we can just go inside and talk about this?”

All of a sudden, her face fell. Laughter trickled out of her little by little and then all at once. Her face still wet with tears, she laughed so hard she had to hold on to the doorway to balance herself. Finally, she looked up at him and shook her head slowly.

“I can’t believe you thought I would actually let you get away with this. The police are on their way.”

And with that, she kissed him on the cheek, walked into her home and closed the door. She left him on her stoop, banging on the door violently and awaited the sound of piercing sirens that’s should’ve been heard that night.

Misery Pt. 2

I walked away from him to grab a diaper from the changing table, but I stopped in my tracks and considered not changing him. I wondered to myself if diaper rashes can lead to something greater, ultimately being a cause of death, but in the middle of my deceitfulness, he let out a piercing cry that nearly shattered my ear drums. At that moment, something inside of me snapped. While he screamed, my anger screamed louder. The walls were talking, reminding me of each and every thing I’ve done for such an ungrateful bastard. They told me I deserve silence, so I walked back toward the crib slowly, fuming and submerged in wrath, and imagined throwing him out of the window. But that would take the fun out of doing the job myself. I reached into his crib and picked him up. His face was two shades lighter than the blood I imagine will spew out of him once I‘m finished, tears streamed out of his big brown eyes faster than little ants in roaming in their colony, and I waited to feel something. I waited to feel anything for him that wasn’t hatred or resentment. As my body grew hot and his screams got louder, I knew that feeling would never come.

“SHUT UP!” I yelled directly into his face.

For a moment, he stopped. His eyes wide open and his mouth shut, he looked at me in amazement possibly trying to figure out what just occurred. I drew my face back from him, hoping the problem had been solved, but it was short-lived. He wriggled his little body in my hold, swatting his hands at me and screaming. He’s always screaming. I violently threw him back in his crib, groaning and grabbing my hair tightly as tears rolled down my face. Two big babies just sitting in a room crying. Except, one baby was bigger and badder and refused to be outdone. Feeling like new strength had resurrected itself inside of me, I eerily smiled, deciding that I would end this once and for all. I walked to the kitchen, leaving his relentless cries behind, and filled a pitcher up with scalding hot water. When I got back to the room, I placed the pitcher of water on the night table. His cries were weakening, but my ears were still ringing from his previous laments. I peered at him from over the crib railing, my face cold and still, wondering if I was still angry. Again, I searched his face for a cute little nose, eyes that could make me weak, or a mouth that I wanted to receive kisses from, but nothing. I need him to disappear. That’s what would make me love him.

Instead of putting him through my personal torture chamber, I thought maybe if I asked nicely, he’d stop and I wouldn’t want to kill him. I smiled sweetly, wiped his tears, and stroked his face gently.

“Baby, do you want to stop crying for mommy?” I awaited a miracle, but it never came. I could tell he was getting angrier by the way he tried to slap my hand away, scratching me in the process. A slew of obscenities came out of my mouth and next thing I knew, my hands were wrapped around his neck.

“I was trying to be nice, you ungrateful little shit.”

My hands got tighter with each passing second, the color being drained from his face little by little, and then he started turning blue. I could feel him trying to get out of my grasp, but he was getting weaker. His writhing was slowing down, his eyes slowly closing, and finally, I had my silence. I released him from my chokehold and watched in amusement as he gasped for air. His wailing continued shortly after, but in the meantime, I fetched the pitcher of water. His chest rose and fell quickly and heavily. He tried to catch his breath, but between the tears and the lack of air in his lungs, he might just end up killing himself before I have to. For a brief moment, I thought I felt a twinge of pain, causing me to take a step back and ponder my actions, but then I realized it wasn’t pain. It was excitement. I grabbed the pitcher of water and poured it over him. He turned his face quickly, but with his mouth open, there wasn’t much he could to avoid the splash. Steam rose up and I could hear him try trying to cry out in pain, but it came out as a forceful gargle. Completely soaked in his blue onesie, he rolled around the crib looking for an escape, but each time he got to his knees, I pushed him down. Blinded by droplets of water in his eyes, he felt his way around the crib in search of his pacifier, in search of something to save him. I found the pacifier and pushed it further away, laughing at the sight of him looking hopeless. I looked at the clock perched up on the lima bean green wall of his nursery and saw that Chad was due home at any moment. I was running out of time and needed to end it once and for all. I took one last look at him, then reached to pick him up. Even though I harmed him, he still reached for me. His eyes told a sorrowful tale that could liquefy cement, and all he wanted was a hug. His little frown trembled from fear and defeat, he extended his arms out to me saying, “Mama..ma..mama.” If only he knew how much I hated being called that.

I laid him down on the changing table behind his crib, and I began to choke him, once again. This time, he watched me intently as I tried to bring him to an early death. He didn’t wriggle as much, nor did he try to fight me. He seemed to be accepting defeat. Either that, or I’d weakened him. I allowed my hands to strengthen around his tiny neck, strangling him and attempting to rob him of his last breathe. Veins began to appear in each part of his body, but mostly his face. As I held him down tighter and longer than the last time, I finally began to see his life vanishing. I could see it escaping his small frame, but really, it was all in his eyes. But then, I heard the door squeak. Out of fear and shock, I released him immediately and turned to the door to see Chad staring at our baby. My body began to shake, mortified that I’d been caught, scared that I’d have to explain, and upset that I allowed myself to get caught. I slowly distanced myself from the table and tried to read his face, but he stood there emotionless.

“Chad…I…”

I didn’t know what to say. Honey, I tried to kill our kid?
With his hands in his pockets, he walked over to the baby and picked him up. Chad rocked him back and forth, rubbed his head softly and told him everything would be okay. I stood there frozen in my place, my mouth slightly ajar in amazement as he slowly gave our child back his life. He kissed his forehead and then the turned to face me.

With his face still lacking any sort of emotion, anything telling me that he thought I was a monster, he continued to cradle the baby in his arms. He looked into our baby’s eyes, furrowed his brow, then looked into mine, and asked,

“Do you need a hand with this?”

Misery

I lied still in a rare silence. My life has become a chaotic embrace of hair pulling, coddling, and faint echoes of mental screams reverberating in my mind. My body aches in places I didn’t think were possible, and there is no one here to soothe me but my own bitterness. Chad is working late yet again, and I’m sure I’ll barely get see the back of his perfectly coiffed head in the morning. Oddly enough, I can’t remember him being so enthralled by his work before the baby.

Oh, the baby. The monster that has come from within me. I long for the day that I look upon his face and feel something other than sheer regret. I’d never dare speak such malignance in front of other mothers, normal mothers, yet I can’t help but feel like my child is a bottom-feeding moocher who will destroy me for years to come. When he wails and wails, finds himself throwing a tantrum or even begins to feel colicky, I want nothing more than to wrap my hands around his tiny, pale neck and squeeze ever so tightly until he stops breathing. I’d like to say that when I got my very first look at him, I felt happy. I might even like to say that I felt blessed. What I truly felt was hate. I was rabid with annoyance at the fact that he wouldn’t just stop…needing so much. He was sucking the life out of me – not to mention completely obliterating my nipples — and I’m afraid I’ve reached the point where I can only find solace in imagining that he’ll choke to death on his own spit. Perhaps he’ll be diagnosed with cancer and there’ll be nothing we can do. I don’t get lucky in these ways, though. Instead, he gets the flu, diaper rashes, or diarrhea.

When I found out I was pregnant, my feelings were an amalgamation of shock, excitement, and acceptance. Chad and I weren’t even trying, but we were in such a good place that we just chalked it up to being something that would add to our dizzy happiness. We were like two teenagers who’d just discovered the wonders of sex, and needless to say, he was calling out of work multiple times a week. Our days were filled with late mornings, sunshine seeping in through the curtains reminding us that a new day had arrived, prompting more love and exhilaration. We were fun. Our smiles were nearly running off of our sun kissed faces. Every weekend, we’d drive down to the beach and spend countless hours riding waves, making bonfires, and sharing secrets with each other and the star-studded night sky that loomed above. I suppose we really were acting like teenagers because we never once discussed what would happen if we were to procreate. Yet, at the time, we had formed a home beneath the brim of serenity’s hat, and we didn’t think anything could ever cloud our blissful reality.

But then, something did.

Once we got closer and closer to our due date, dread became a third guest in our home while we awaited its replacement. It drew a distance between me and Chad that until now, remains unchanged. We’ve now become grey, better yet charcoal. Our fire is dead and the love has long escaped our grasp. The baby scared it away, it scared everything away. I suppose I, or we, should take some blame, but I refuse to. I tried to abort it, but by the time I realized that bringing life into the world is horrid, I no longer qualified for an abortion. I tried drinking whiskey for three days straight, I drank vinegar, and I even called a friend of mine and got her to let me do a line of coke. Needless to say, I tried everything to make this thing die inside of me, but nothing happened. So, I kept the baby. Be it the error of the decade, I kept the fucking baby. And now, I can barely stand to look at it. The worst part is that I can’t even tell anyone. I know chad hates it too by the way he refuses to relay any form of parental affection or duty onto him, but he’ll never say it. I’ll never say it. The old us probably would, but not this decrepit version of us.

I may loathe this thing that I created, but I’m a decent mother. I don’t neglect it, I feed it, change it, make sure it’s clean, and I even take it to the park to get some fresh air. As I mindlessly push his stroller back and forth in an attempt to create a soothing environment, I sometimes overhear new mothers complaining about they’re lethargy. They discuss their hatred for breastfeeding, saggy skin and stretch marks, but it’s always worth it for their little bundles of shit. Joy, bundles of joy. I even once eavesdropped on one of the mothers who was worrying she might dislike her baby because she let him cry for a few minutes before adhering to his beckoning screams. She explained her post-partum depression symptoms, and then she cried. I almost laughed. I thought to myself if that’s what they considered terrible, I can only imagine what I’d be branded if they discovered the true nature of my motherly ineptitude.

Suddenly, I heard him. I’d been lying there dazed by my own mortification that I forgot the baby actually existed. All the hairs on my body erected themselves. Effortlessly rolling my eyes, I fought the urge to cry. As I sat up lifelessly, I suddenly felt that I resembled a robot. I was on autopilot. I did everything I was supposed to, I played my part, I was seen, but not heard. Yet, I lacked a soul. My once lively, twinkling hazel eyes were now dead and cold. They no longer held the buoyancy Chad was so fond of. They told the world everything there was to know about who I’d become, bringing truth to the expression of eyes being windows to the soul, or lack thereof. I walked to the nursery slowly, dreading each step that brought me closer. I couldn’t remember if he was hungry or if his diaper needed to be changed. Maybe he was just screaming to piss me off. I walked into the room and was immediately ambushed by the vile stench of baby poop. I fought the urge to vomit and walked over to his crib. I looked at him over the railing and watched him writhe around in agony over something he couldn’t tell me was bothering him. He lifted his arms and his little hands reached for me. They reached for a mother who would pick him up and rock him to sleep. He reached for a mother who would kiss his tears and laugh at his frustration, whisper sweet things about him being the best boy in the world as he cooed innocently in the arms of the only person who could love him forever.

I’m not that mother.

Stork

“Excuse me, sir. Can you help me find my mom?”

I heard this tiny voice and my first instinct was to ignore it. Maybe he was talking to someone else. I tried to go back to eating my bagel and tried my best not to look over my newspaper, but the kid was persistent. He reached over and tapped my shoulder. There was no way I could ignore him now, he’d touched me and made his presence known. Out of all the people sitting here, he’d chosen me to come to his rescue, and I’m probably the only person who doesn’t instantly flash pictures of my family without even being asked.

I put my newspaper down and forced a smile, the smile that comes along with gleaming eyes that are mostly always used for children.
I said “Interesting place for a kid to be lost. Is it Bring Your Child to Work Day?”
He pulled out the seat across from me and sat down. Before he answered, he looked around the room taking in every face, every move being made. “What do you do here?”
I was confused. I don’t have much patience, which is why I don’t do well with kids, so I could already feel my temper flaring. I was given this task and I wanted to get it over with. I can’t lie, he’s a pretty cute kid, but I didn’t want to spend my lunch break playing 21 questions. “Uh, I’m an engineer.”
“What does an engineer do?”
“Well, engineers don’t help kids find their parents, but this one will. So, when did you see her last?”
He stared at me for a moment before saying, “She said she was here for a job interview and told me to wait in the waiting room. That was two hours ago.”
For a brief moment, I had the thought that this kid had just been abandoned, and then I kind of laughed. If he was getting abandoned, this would make a great story one day. Normally kids get left in front of hospitals or orphanages. Not that I’d know personally, I’ve just seen it in films. Then, I realized that she was interviewing for the chemical development department. She was going to be in there for another hour.
“Alright, dude. Your mom is still in her interview. How about I buy you something to eat and you go back to where she told you to wait and then uh…yeah, that’s it. Are you hungry?”
He scrunched up his eyebrows and shook his head. “The lady at the front told me I couldn’t stay there anymore.”
I folded my newspaper and sat back in my seat. I furrowed my eyebrows, closed my eyes and tried to think of which girl could’ve been up there. Going through the schedule in my head, it finally clicked. The “lady” he was referring to was good-in-bed Leila. Most of the girls on my roster are hot, but they just lay there like idiots. So, what I do is add in an average chick with low self esteem so she feels that she has to compensate for her physical inadequacy, and then comes the best sex or blow job
of my life. Maybe both if I’m lucky. Leila, though, that girl is a fucking sin. She’s the whole package, but she’s a bitch so I’m not surprised she kicked the kid out.

I could’ve came up with ten different solutions, but I could tell he would’ve fired back a response as to why he should tag along with me. I glanced at my watch, and let out a sigh of annoyance. I had no choice but to take him back to my office. I packed up my things and we proceeded to make our way to the elevators. On our way there, various women in the building, some I’ve slept with and some I haven’t, stared at me with come-fuck-me eyes and I knew it was only because of the kid. Women who are impressed or turned on by men with children have daddy issues. That’s the only logical explanation. I shook off the attention and barreled him inside the elevator. I even let him press the button. I know, I’m a good guy.

At that moment, I realized that he never told me his name, nor did he ask for mine. I like the direction he’s heading in though; loose and detached. Names never really matter.

“What’s your name, kid?”

“Skylar.” He looked up at me surely anticipating the joke that would follow. His mother gave him a girl’s name. I’m almost certain he isn’t the popular kid on the block.

“That’s a girl’s name.”

He scoffed. “It’s unisex.”
I had to laugh at that. Right then, Marcie from the eighth floor hopped on the elevator, and at the sight of Skylar, her eyes lit up like a virgin in a strip club.

“Oh my stars, what a babe! Duuuuuncannn, is this your son? Why didn’t you ever tell us you had such a darling son?” She was practically yelling. I’m not sure who I hate more; Marcie or people like Marcie.
I rolled my eyes discreetly and told her he wasn’t my kid. She cocked her head to the side and said, “Hmm, that’s odd. He looks just like you.” Skylar and I instantly turned to face each other, we furrowed our brows and at the same time, and said, “No.”

Marcie awkwardly laughed and continued to ask Skylar stupid questions. I don’t know why people treat kids like babies, the kid had to be at least 10. He’s practically a grown man by now. Before I could kill either myself or Marcie, the elevator dinged and we were finally on my floor. I apologized to Marcie for having to cut our little chat short, grabbed Skylar and whizzed past all the annoying secretaries in hopes that I wouldn’t be asked anymore questions about this kid. When we got inside my office, he stood in the doorway and stared wide-eyed at all of my things.

“So, I’m guessing you like airplanes?”

“I want to be a pilot. This is so cool!”

For the first time since he ruined my day, I smiled at him. And it was real.