by Emily Atkinson-Dalton
I cradled her beautiful face in my hands. Her big blue eyes looked up at me and her smile shined radiantlywith the glowing light bouncing off her white teeth. We looked at each other for a while; admiring one another silently, as my eyes traced the perfect outline of her features. I brushed her hair back and stroked her cold cheek with my thumb.
“You always did have such soft cheeks and supple skin” I told her, knowing she wouldn’t reply.
I placed her carefully back on the shelf and closed the door, until she was encased in darkness.
“Sleep tight princess” I whispered as I blew her a kiss.
“Oh, almost forgot” I said to myself, opening the door once again to grab a pint of milk. I poured myself a glass and put it back in the shelf below her.
“Night honey” I kissed her cold forehead and shut the door.
I solemnly climbed the old stairs as I had done many a time before, slowing my pace as this time my mind took a courageous path it never had done before. I made a decision half way up… and stopped momentarily, looking back at the fridge, imagining her smile.
“I always loved your smile, darling. You’re cheeks. You’re beautiful, beautiful mind. That’s how I will remember you” I told her quietly.
I climbed eagerly. As I reached the top of the stairs, Iopened the door to the large closet, which was situated right at the top of the stairs. I carefully reached behind the piles of coats and jackets and felt two thick, plastic handles, one in each hand. I yanked a few times, and my wrinkled fingers tugged as vigorously as they could. Finally, the wheelchair came flying out of the closet, and went tumbling down the wooden stairs. With me still attached.
I awoke after a couple of minutes at the base of the stairs, the wheelchair landed just above my head near the door, the top wheel still spinning.
Beside me lay my wife. Well, most of her anyway. Her poor body seemed so old. I guess it had been in there a week or so now but, the thing is, it looked the same as when she was alive. Her crooked, witch- like fingers held the same crippled position they had for the last few years of her life. Her arms and legs lay trapped in that same sitting position she had been in for the last ten years of her life. Her body was not her, it was her traitor.
I picked myself up, tears leaking Sent from my iPhone
I opened the front door and set off. I threw a blanket over her before I left, but honestly, if someone had been walking out at that time of night and seen me walking my decapitated wife’s body down the road, I would have accepted my fate. It has been so hard living without her. And pretty hard living with her too actually, speaking in a more practical sense. At this point, I needed to what I needed to do for us. Nothing else really mattered.
As I walked down the street and pondered the realities of what my life had become, I realised after about ten minutes that we had finally gotten to our destination. I looked out across the river as it glistened in the moonlight, and my eyes fixated on the riverbank, where we had our third date. It was a picnic I’d organised, albeit rather haphazardly, but she didn’t mind. We talked and laughed for hours, getting to know one another more so than ever before. We spoke of our hopes and dreams, and fears. We fed the ducks and although it sounds clichéd, it really was one of the best times of my life.
I made sure there were no ducks around as I used all of my strength to lift the wheelchair containing her body over the bridge, and hurled it into the river.
She made a great splash as she hit the water and sunk away out of sight. She always loved the water. Her tomb was now lost in a sea of darkness, and I felt a sense of freedom I wish she could have shared with me.
I stood for a moment, thinking, lost in memories, before heading back to her.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.