I sat in the room beside her. I tried to remember; it was only a few years ago, this uncomfortable silence was absent. Instead, there were only the noises we made, doing what only came naturally. Fast forward five years into the future, and I didn’t want to look at her. The mother of my children, the keeper of my home. It was a home no more, though, it was merely a house. Whatever spirit of belonging had once existed in me, whatever attachment I had to this house, it was long gone.
I sat beside her, watching her flip through pages of a magazine I neither knew anything about nor cared for , something to do with Balcony Furnishings or Bathroom Fittings, it’s irrelevant. Dressed in a nightgown, her face plain as daylight, unkempt hair, she had become everything she despised five years ago.
This was not the woman I had fallen in love with during my days at the old job. This was not the smart, conversant and deliciously sensual woman that I could not stop thinking about every living second. That woman was going places, this one was just going shopping.
She had always been beautiful, gorgeous, in fact. She was one of those women who were supposed to stay beautiful till the day they dropped dead on the floor, with a thousand lovers to mourn her death at that. Lately, however, I had become a little more aware of her ageing, She looked older, the sparkle in her eyes I saw every time we met at the cafe on the south side had disappeared, leaving her eyes hollow, sucking in all the light from the room, sucking in my very soul.
It was nauseating. The prospect of growing old in this house was horrifying.
I looked at the wall, and saw the marks we made over the years on the edge, a happy little audience, watching our sons grow taller and stronger every day. Maybe it was worth it, after all. “It’s all about the kids”, I kept telling myself, “It’s not about you or her, it’s the kids.”
Yes, that was it. The kids. The one thing in my life that kept me sane in this monotonous, dry, repetitive hellhole of a life. The umbilical cord that kept me attached to this house. All of a sudden, I knew why I hadn’t up and left all these years. My children, the seeds I had sown so long ago, the very reason for my being. All of a sudden, it was obvious why I had put up with years of dissatisfaction and dullness and not ventured into new horizons alone. All of a sudden, I knew what had kept me here, and not let me out into the world, exploring new boundaries, the likes of which I hadn’t seen in years.
All of a sudden, I knew what I had to do.
I sat next to her in the kitchen. She was still beautiful. Her eyes, hollow as they may have been, were still the purest shade of brown I did ever come across. Her lips were still the rosiest shade of red. I watched her sitting on the chair, staring at me right in the face, not making a sound.
Not making a sound.
I watched the blood trickle down her throat, I watched her lifeless eyes lie still, motionless. I watched the white of her nightgown slowly turn a bloody shade of red, her lifeless hand still holding on to the knife-handle sticking out the back of her neck.
I could still hear my oldest shaking violently in the upstairs bedroom, trying to break free from the ropes that tied him to his bed. He would be asleep soon, too. The blood would soon run out. It would only be so long, the blood would definitely not last much longer. Not much longer, for sure.
The baby was sound asleep when I found it, It didn’t wake up when I carried it from it’s room all the way to the upper floor. The bucket was full and ready. I saw my baby smile as I put him inside his watery grave, and for a moment wondered what he might have been dreaming about, then decided not to spend time on needless ponderings. He might have been screaming the whole time he was in that bucket. He might have been crying. I don’t know. I think that was when the magnitude of my actions sunk in, because everything blacked out.
My oldest no longer made any noises, that was a good thing. He was at peace. The poor boy probably had it worst out of the lot. The pain he went through, it was unfair, but all that suffering probably shortened his sentence in purgatory. I looked into the bathroom and saw the bucket containing my wife’s favourite child, though I never condoned having favourites among children. Still, it wasn’t as if the stupid harlot considered my opinion about anything anymore.
As I walked towards the door, preparing for my final exit, I looked at my wife, staring lifelessly at me from the kitchen, and the gravity of the situation hit me like a fist to the face. My wife, was sitting in the kitchen with a knife through her throat, my oldest son was in his bedroom with incisions all over his person, and my baby, my four month old bundle of joy, was packed face down in a bucket full of water in the upstairs bathroom.
My family, the people I loved, the people that loved me back, the mouths I worked day and night to feed. They were gone. They were all gone.
And I was free.
As I walked out of the door, I whistled to myself, and waved to the friendly lady next door. She was so nice, and the food she made was marvellous. As a matter of fact, I think I fancied her all these years. She’d make a jolly good wife, I’d say.....