“You are lucky to be alive”, the nurse told her.
“Can you describe him?” Asked the policeman.
“Describe who?” The woman asked.
“The intruder. The person who attacked you.”
Had she said that? Had she really said there had been an intruder? The woman could barely move on the hospital gurney. The stitches pulled with each breath and she was thirsty. She watched news reports about a young woman who had been attacked in the kitchen of her home and was now recovering in hospital. She didn’t realise at first they were talking about her. Her work colleagues sent her flowers and her mother visited every day. He came too of course with false sincerity and crocodile tears in his eyes. Not for a second did she doubt that after he left each night he went to ‘her’. He and his slut were free to roll around on the 1200 count Egyptian cotton sheets all night if they wished, now that she was conveniently confined to a hospital bed.
It took a little while for her to realise that the physical description she had given of the intruder matched her husband perfectly. The police noticed it sooner. When they questioned him he denied it of course but then she played them the voice message from his whore telling her was a terrible wife and that she should “just drop dead”. She had her phone in her hand when the maid found her outstretched in a pool of blood on the marble kitchen floor. Her husband turned up much later at the hospital with no alibi. Naturally his fingerprints were all over the knife. It was the one he used to cut up meat when they had barbecues. She didn’t exactly say he had tried to kill her but for some reason any effort to protest his innocence refused to push past her lips.
The lawyer told her it was an open shut case. They were even considering a charge against his bitch for conspiracy. Of course she didn’t tell anyone the stab wound was self-inflicted. That she had listened to the voice message, walked calmly into the kitchen and grabbed the knife. She had fully intended to bury the cold steel blade deep into her heart but filled with misery the poor organ must have retreated to the size an acorn. When she plunged the sharp edge into her chest she missed her heart completely. A full recovery was expected. With the attempted murder charge against her husband, she was sure she would get to keep the house. She made a mental note to burn the sheets.
© JULIETTE GILLIES
Yesterday I died. I wasn’t murdered. No one stole my life away. I wasn’t run over by a car. I didn’t drown. I wasn’t in a plane crash. I didn’t stand on the edge of a cliff and wish everyone goodbye or wash down 30 pills with vodka and choke. It was nothing like that at all…
It was my Dad’s birthday. He wanted a book by his favourite author and I had to import it from overseas. I was so glad it arrived in time and I picked it up at the post office before choosing him a card and some nice wrapping paper. I walked home from the shopping centre, enjoying the sun on my face. The day had been so calm. Not too hot and not windy. The few clouds that scattered lightly along the sky were fluffy and white. Birds chirped playfully in the trees above my head. When I got home I went about wrapping my father’s gift and spent about 20 minutes trying to think up something clever to write on his card. I decided on wishing him a Happy Birthday with all my love. It wasn’t as creative or original as I would have liked.
I checked my email quickly before my shower and John had finally messaged me. He had just gotten back from Bali and wanted to catch up. I was ecstatic and replied immediately suggesting next Friday at the café on King Street. We had spent so many late nights there amongst the tattered cushions, art students and organic coffee. I quickly went into the bathroom and got ready for Dad’s dinner. I had chosen a bright pink dress to wear, probably because my own heart was so happy. I checked my email again before leaving, but John hadn’t replied yet. On the way to the restaurant I thought about all the time John and I had known each other and how many missed opportunities we’d had. I hoped that this time it would be different. I couldn’t help but smile as I thought of his handsome face.
When I arrived at the restaurant my parents were already there. We had seen each other only two days before, but greeted like long lost friends. Bear hugging and laughing we sat down to our meal. We cheerfully ate our Italian food and enjoyed one of my Dad’s infamous wine choices. We chatted happily about our lives and joked about Mum’s latest conspiracy theories regarding grocery prices. Dad loved his present. After dinner we relaxed over coffee and I talked excitedly about my email from John. Mum reacted encouragingly. Dad wanted me to take my time and be careful with my heart. We all knew how badly broken it had been just before John left 6 months ago. I promised to be guarded while all the time knowing I wouldn’t be and would throw myself heart and soul into a relationship with John, if that was what he wanted. It was my fate in life to love big and risk falling hard.
Outside the restaurant we hugged again near our cars and I watched my parents drive away. I remember thinking how in love they still were and how very much I loved them. I drove home singing along to my stereo. When I got to my apartment I hopped into bed with my cat Charlie at my feet. I felt warm and safe. I was happy. I think I may have even had a small smile on my lips as dreams started to dance in my head. My last clear thought wasn’t of John. It was my Mum’s face. It was like I remembered it from my childhood. Everything about her was soft and hopeful. There was that special sparkle in her eyes that said, “All the very best of everything in the world, is what I want for you my love”. I went to sleep soundly. And I never woke up.
It was an aneurism. I never had any symptoms. Not even a headache. I didn’t feel any pain. I didn’t feel anything. It was like I just fell asleep, forever. Like Snow White only with no prince to ever wake her. I’m sure people are sad that I’m gone. I know Mum will never really recover but I hope Mum and Dad can endure it and eventually laugh at all those silly things we used to laugh at together. I wonder if John is sad. I don’t suppose it matters now that I am gone, but I think I would prefer it if he was sad. Just for a little while anyway. I hope he doesn’t bring a date to my funeral.
I hope someone takes good care of Charlie cat. All he needs is a warm lap and a can of fish. Even if he misses me he won’t ever show it. Cats are like that. I think what I will miss most, other than my family and friends, is my future. My hopes, dreams and the plans I had made. The husband I will never marry. The children I will never have. All the things that will never be but could have been are just forgotten now, blown away like dust by a careless wind.
People are born into this world every day. Yesterday I died. My name was Michelle. I was twenty years old.
Original published in Luna Station Quarterly, Issue 11.