There are many things in life that I would rather not do. Killing my wife is on the top of that list. Unfortunately, there are some things in life you just can't avoid.
I remember many times when she had ended up in a mental health facility due to self inflicted injuries. She has struggled with mental illness for most of her life, but she swore to me that she would never kill herself. She always kept her promises, unfortunately.
It was a cold and sad morning in December. The walls of the house seemed to shiver.
I woke up next to my wife like usual, except today wasn't usual. I was immediately aware of her grief. She had been mentally deteriorating more and more for the past week. She carried a lot of baggage from her past and the weight of it crushed her. It grabbed onto her and strangled whatever life she had left out of her.
I told her good morning and smiled. She achingly inched her lips into a curve. The sadness was a shadow cast over her eyes ill concealed by her fading smile. This wasn't her usual sadness; I could feel the misery reaching its dark tendrils over my throat, trying to strangle me too. Even the floorboards creaked under the weight of her pain.
No amount of happiness in the world could ever bring her's back. I tried to cheer her up. It was futile, all she could do was barely force a laugh. It was the sad and empty laugh of someone who didn't know why they were still holding on. I could tell she was trying really hard to control herself so as not to worry me.
I still worried despite this. I decided to ask the question that was plaguing me all week, a question I never asked because I was scared of the answer. "What's wrong?" The words just fell to the ground, and then there was silence. The whole world was silent at that moment. Finally she picked up the words. She turned them over in her mind, kneading them into an answer, "I have no reason to live anymore," she said matter-of-factually. It was a response I almost expected, but the mention of it still tore at me. "Wait, so does that mean...?" My heart was beating in my throat and I couldn't speak. She knew what I was trying to get at. "No. I'm not going to kill myself." This did little to ease my mind. I was still worried about her well being.
We lay there in silence, and still more silence. I tried to grasp on to something, anything, to fill the ever increasing void consuming us both. It was a foolish question to ask. I didn't have to worry about losing her. She was already gone.
I got up and left the room. I didn't want her to see me crying. I went to go make breakfast. I cracked eggs into a pan and they sat there sizzling. When they finished cooking I tried to eat, but my body was already full with all the emotions that I didn't want to feel. Every morning has been like this for the past week, but today was the worst. At least I could tell that the she was still my wife. Today I could hardly even look at the stranger laying in my bed.
I sat and stared at my half eaten eggs before a voice from behind startled me, "I'm not going to kill myself," it was a haunting echo. She continued, "But I don't know how I can keep living like this." I swallowed, "I...." I didn't know what to tell her. She was crying now, "You know I could never break a promise to you. You know I love you and I've done so much for you. Now I just need you to do something for me." I was crying too, "You know I would do anything for you. What do you need, honey?"
Those two words were enough to destroy everything I've ever had for the past several years. "What?!" I nearly screamed, getting up from my chair and turning around to face her. Her face was folding in on itself, contorted in pain. Between sobs she spoke, "Please....Please....Just one small favor, just please kill me, end my suffering. I don't want to kill myself because I can't break my promise to you, but I don't know how I can go on like this." Each painful syllable bore into my mind and quietly took it apart. I was angry, upset, confused; every possible emotion was boiling under my skin. "No! How could I kill you!? Why would I kill you?!"
"Don't you love me?!"
She screamed at me. I stood there shocked. She covered her mouth immediately, as if she could hold back what she had already said. I solemnly stared at her and met her gaze. Her stare stretched for miles. Finally I spoke,
"You know I love you...."
"Then please, kill me."
She brushed my hair back and laid her hand on my shoulder. "You want me to be happy right? Every day I suffer so much. You know what I've been through. You know what I've seen. I've done all I could to make you happy. Please, just do this one thing for me. I will be at peace. I'll finally be happy."
She leaned in and kissed me, but there was no life behind it. I sighed, "Okay." "Thank you," "I'm sorry," "Honey, there's no need to be sorry, it's for the best. I will finally be at peace." "I'm sorry," I repeated. She retreated back into our bedroom and returned with my gun. Why did I have to buy the damn thing?!
She placed the accursed weapon into my hand. I froze, but then I started shaking. I was crying, "I can't do it. I can't do it!" "Please, you love me, don't you?" "Dammit Aurora." She stared down at the pistol in my grasp. I lifted it slowly.
The weapon felt heavy, yet my heart was heavier still. I didn't want to do this. I can't do this. I won't do it. I brought the gun back down to my side and sighed. She started begging again, "Please, if you really love me you would." I couldn't take her questioning my love. How could she be so cruel? I echoed it back to her, "Well don't you love me?!" She glared at me. I continued, "Don't you realize what you're putting me through?! You're asking me to kill you, my own wife!" She turned away and walked into the living room. I followed her. Her hands were balled up into fists by her sides and she started to shudder.
It was at that moment that the seams of her mind broke for good. She turned around and began screaming at me. "You don't love me! You just want me to suffer so you can be happy! What kind of husband are you?!" She began hitting me as she screamed. I put the gun down and then grabbed her hands and she glared at me again. She began to speak calmly, but with as much malice as she could convene, "I don't love you, not anymore."
Rage was the predominant emotion that was dictating my actions from then on. I replied with equal venom, "Fine, I'll do it." I wouldn't enjoy it, but our relationship had already fallen apart anyway. I grabbed the firearm and slowly lifted it once again. I placed it against her temple. She looked at me with a twisted sense of anticipation. It was obvious that I was more scared than she was. I held my breath, and my hand trembled violently.
Her eyes lit up with surprise as the bullet buried itself into her brain. My eyes lit up as well. My ears were ringing from the raucous sound of the pistol. Blood gushed out onto my hands and arms as she fell to the ground with a dull thud. The gun was again heavy in my hands, and my heart had sunk into the deepest recesses of my body.
She's gone, I thought. Everything that she was and everything that she would have been no longer is. I dropped the gun. My mouth was agape at the sight of her. Her eyes were open in perpetual surprise. Blood stained her white morning gown and soaked into the carpet. I felt my chest quake with the pounding of my heart. My head was pounding as well. My thoughts scrambled and could no longer form coherently. Before I knew it, I was laying on the ground sobbing uncontrollably. Oh my God, what have I done? What have I done?! The stress and guilt caused me to black out next to her lifeless body.
When I came to, there was still ringing. At first I thought it was the ringing in my ears that I had become accustomed to. However, I soon realized it was the phone. When I got up I was suddenly struck once more with the realization of everything that had transpired. I broke down sobbing again. What the hell is wrong with me?! I looked at her carcass once more. I lurched over and threw up onto the ground.
The ringing stopped. All I could hear then was the pitiful sound of my own weeping. I could tell that I was asleep for hours. The sad shadows cast by the daylight turned into a brooding darkness. The phone rang again. I staggered over to it and looked at the caller ID. It was Aurora's father. Fear struck my heart once more.
I tried to ignore it. I walked away from the phone, still grieving. I made my way through the living room and the ringing stopped again. Before I could make it through I tripped over her corpse. I lay there looking at the frightening cadaver. Her open mouth and wide eyes were an unsettling display of fear. The sight wrenched at the deepest parts of me as I felt the relentless stab of guilt. The phone started ringing yet again. That damn phone! The shame was too much; I finally ran over to it and answered it.
"He-hello?" I said, my voice trembling. "Hey. Is Aurora awake?" Her father's voice was filled with barely masked disdain. He never liked me much. He only allowed the marriage because Aurora insisted she loved me. Love, it was no longer the presence of something, only the absence of it. "W-w-why?" I was stuttering uncontrollably. I was trying so hard not to break down crying again. "Why? I just want to talk to her. It's been months since we spoke. What the hell is wrong with you?" He was starting to get annoyed.
Should I tell him? I can't tell him. Nononono, I can never tell him. "I-I..." once again I was at a loss for words. I never hated my guilty conscience more than I did then. The shame stole the speech from my mouth and made only the truth possible to utter. I mustered the courage, and then told him.
It took a moment for this to register. "Wait, WHAT?!" he was yelling into the phone. "H-how?! Why?!" he was sobbing, and I was too. A minute was devoted to shedding tears for the dead Aurora. After he calmed down, he asked me again, "How did she die?" I was still crying. "Well?!" he began demanding. "I killed her, dammit, I killed her!" It took a minute for him to respond. The silence ate away at my sanity. "You, what?" "I killed her. I placed a pistol to her head and shot her." "Are you fucking crazy?! I knew there was something wrong with you! I tried to tell her that you weren't right in the head! But hell, even I didn't know that you were capable of something like this. You're a wicked and evil man!"
The insults and accusations ached in every bone. He was ripping me to shreds with his anger. However, I was not mad at him for his harsh words. I understood his hatred. His loss had crushed him, and during the cruel winters of life, people burn each other to stay warm.
Each word from his mouth wore me down until I was nothing. In the middle of calling me insane and all his screaming I hung up and put the phone down. The last thing he said was, "I'm calling the police on you. I hope you rot in prison!" I was not going to rot in prison; I had other plans.
I slowly walked over to where I dropped the gun. The smell of death was still fresh in the air. I leaned over and picked up the weapon. I turned it over in my hand, looking at it. I began to think of Aurora, of her smile, of her being. I thought of when she loved me, and when we were happy. My life had fallen apart in these past few months. My crippling debt was increasing, and now, my wife is dead. Some of her last few words echoed in my mind, "I have no reason to live anymore."
As I stand here reminiscing about her last few minutes, I Imagine the extreme pain laden in each breath and the sorrow in her pale blue eyes. I look down at her again. Her face is still stuck in its fearful position. I killed her. Me, her loving husband, took her precious life. She was a very special person, and I took that away from the world; I took that away from myself; and most importantly, I took that away from her. As I stand here reminiscing about her last few breaths, I stand here taking mine. I place the gun that ended her to my own temple. The weapon that had been used to take her life will be used to seal my own fate. As I begin to pull the trigger, I whisper into the empty room, "I love you Aurora. I'm sorry," and cry for the last time.
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