I Saw the Light!
The cotton feels rough against my neck, the plastic too cold beneath my feet. I struggle to find reasons as my legs quiver and shake, ready to give up. And I’m taken back to the night I got engaged.
A beautiful autumn evening, my birthday party, the huge gifts from friends and family, and the conspicuously tiny, yet obvious, one from my boyfriend. Before midnight, having waited for hours for my mum to show up, as my boyfriend suggested I should, we threw in the towel and opened the gifts before everyone left. As I sat there staring at the emerald and sapphire studded ring, the stones a nod to the colour of our eyes, I begin to hear wedding bells. As I gaze into the promising future and have imaginary kids in an imaginary home, a gentle voice and a soft touch brings me back to the present.
“It’s for you,” he says.
“What is it?”
I reach for the phone, slightly chirpy.
“Hello,” I say, with a stupid smile planted on my face.
“Yes, this is her,” the smile remains.
And the smile freezes. I don’t have the strength to wipe the damned smirk off my face. Fuck it, go away, fuck, fuck, fuck! This can’t be.
Voice on the phone: “Are you still there? Hello…hello? Can you…”
My ears begin to ring, a tightness in my chest, the questioning glances of the people around…
“I can’t…I ca…” I can’t breathe, I can’t speak, my throat is too dry.
My heart being hammered on an anvil in my chest.
I leave the room, out the door, past the gate, into the silent street. The faint smell of eucalyptus and the slight breeze breathes the air back into me. I feel like I am dying. I know I am dying.
They say you see a light when you are dying. I see it. There, in the corner, by the bush. I make a run for it, stumbling, I reach it.
Three hobos by the fire. Pain shoots in my head. Blood begins to trickle down in tiny rivulets. The fourth emerges from behind me, a rock with my blood on it in his hands. The world becomes distorted, I try to focus but everything is a blur.
My head hits the ground. My jeans pulled off, my shirt ripped. With a hobo on my chest and another between my legs, I actually can’t breath. The wall is right behind my head. Each thrust bangs my head against the wall. Seconds go by like hours as the hobos take turns. Hours go by like seconds and the sky suddenly brightens. A car passes by without noticing. I muster all my strength and get up. I make my way back home, with a broken heel and a lopsided gait. The door is open and I find myself in front of the mirror. My own reflection frightens me. It reminds me of the supposed bloody Mary or a corpse bride. An elegant dress, slightly torn and shabby, stained with blood, but still holding on. My blonde curls with bloody fucking highlights. In the fluorescent lights, the ring sparkles. A sneeze expels the jizz and unblocks my nose. I can breathe.
I never spoke about it. No one spoke about it. It was like it never happened. When the bells rang again, I wore a white gown and exchanged vows.
“I now pronounce you, man and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
“What was that?” muttered the groom under his breath.
“Not here,” I whispered.
The hotel room, the soft bed, the silky sheets, the headboard, a man in black suit.
The corner of the street, the mud, the fire, the wall, four hobos.
“I love you,” he says.
“Just fuck the bitch,” they said.
“Honey, it’s okay. Relax,” he says.
“Take it in, you fucking whore!” I hear.
But every time he came near me, all I saw was the four hobos.
“I’ll be with you, honey. Don’t worry, take all the time you need,” he says.
“I can’t take this any more,” he will say.
The next time I wore a white gown saw the birth of my daughter. She repulses me. I try, trust me, I really do. I just can’t.
“Call me Beth.” “To forgive is to move forward.” *more quotes*
“I want you to feel comfortable.” “I want you to tell me what happened that night.” *more ‘I want you tos’*
“I need you to try, at least.” “Listen, I can’t help you if you don’t want to help yourself.” *frustration*
Put a pan on fire and heat it until it turns bright red. Put your hand on it.
Would you do it again if I said it will help you heal?
“For fucks sake, she needs her mommy,” he says.
I can’t. I just can’t. I fear the darkness. I lay awake all night. The rising sun reminds me of that morning.
I hear the bell again. The phone vibrates in my pocket. It startles me and my legs give up. My feet slip on the plastic and the chair gives way. The rough cotton tightens around my throat. I can’t breathe. I’m dying. I really am dying. I really can’t breathe. There is no light to see. I squint to see the light but my eyes open as wide as my mouth in the darkness.
“Suck it, you fucking cunt!”
I can’t breathe.
“It’s about your mum. There’s been an accident.”
“I’m sorry for your loss.”
I am dying. I can’t breathe.