Thursday, 22 June 2017

Ghosts on the Walls

I've been writing a lot recently. I'm trying to finish a collection, an anthology, and maybe share it here for some free reading. I worked on this one while searching for words that'll somehow trigger other words and ideas in my brain. 
Its a short story (an super extended prose) that revolves around a man who lost his wife. It's a story about him and how he dealt with everything that happened. I really don't know how to explain it since it's pure word vomit plus a lot of tears.

People wonder how he wasn’t crazy yet. Losing everything worth losing in one night, and to wake up again the following morning hunted by the pictures hung on the wall.
The night before the incident, he finally quit his job to tell his wife that he’ll always be with her. No more nights held up in his office because there’s too much work. No more birthdays and anniversaries spent apart because he’s at the other side of the globe. No more hanging conversations because one was too tired to continue talking throughout the night. He was there to stay by her side until she was sick of him. He got it all sorted out in his head. He’d take them on a holiday at the south of France, waking up to the sound of waves, watching the sun set by the shore and having romantic dinners facing the sea. He’d make love to her over and over again, to make up for the times he wasn’t there when she wanted him to be. He’d tell her he loves her because he never got the chance to. He’d make her feel his love, day in and day out. And when they get home, he’d open a small clinic near their house and be home for dinner every single night.
But he went home to a crowed of police officers, a lifeless body and a thrashed house that night. They had a break in and his wife was unfortunately making dinner for the both of them when it happened. Her body was found in their bedroom with two stab wounds on her stomach. The police suspected that she hid but the robber found her and killed her.
Everything crumbled down, he never thought that the feeling he read on books was possible but here he was, empty with nothing else to lose. He had dealt with death so many times on his table that eventually established a void inside his mind about loss and death. He started to question himself that maybe if he didn’t accept that last patient, he would probably have a wife. That maybe if he just lived his married life as a good husband he would feel grief rather than guilt the moment he saw her body.
When he arrived, he tried. He tried to revive her even though the paramedics and the cops told him she was gone. He revived so many dying patients on his table so why can’t he do it with his wife? But there was blood everywhere, on their bed and on the floor.
He just wanted to hear her voice one last time. Tell her he loves her. Tell her he’s sorry for the times he wasn’t there. Sorry for the times that she was sick but he was stuck in the hospital caring for others. Sorry for waking her up at two in the morning just because he was done with his shift. He was sorry for so many things and he couldn’t even tell her.
He wanted to see her smile again, and tell her she was getting wrinkles and laugh. She’d hit him but she’d laugh along telling her the same. He wanted to feel her warm tight hugs again. He hugged her body but it was cold, so cold that his tears won’t fall off. He wanted to taste her cooking again, to taste her. But he couldn’t get that now could he?
After that day he didn’t isolate himself. He was kept occupied with family and friends telling him how sorry they were for his loss. Why were they sorry? It wasn’t like they killed his wife. Though he didn’t talk to the doctors who autopsied his wife, it was too much for him to know how she died when maybe, he could have prevented it.
He continued on with the holiday, with his wife’s ring hanging on his neck, her picture tucked inside his wallet so she was still with him. He proposed to her again during dinner, just like he planned. He tried so hard to accept that she was gone, but when he said the words “Will you marry me?” and only the sound of waves answered him, tears gushed down his face. She was no longer there and his was the slap of reality that he kept on dodging.
He stayed at the same house they bought, the same house she died in, just without the blood, without her. He started to hang pictures on every wall, pictures of her, of them, in the living room, the dining room, his office and the bedroom.
Two weeks had passed when he realized that he didn’t have his phone—it turned out he left it at his old hospital locker. Two weeks had passed and he heard her voice again. There were two voicemails, her final voicemails. It’s been two weeks and her scent’s starting to leave the house. He was running out of pictures to hang on the walls. He was so scared that he’d wake up someday and he’d forget her. He was so scared to open it, but he did. He sat on their bed and the voicemail started playing.
“Honey?” Tears started to gather in his eyes upon hearing her shaky voice. “Someone’s at the house.” She breathed. “I’ve called 911 but he saw me. I’m scared. I’m scared I won’t get to see you home.
I… I’ve got so much to tell you. But I’m scared to tell you here because if I die tonight I don’t know what you will do. So please, take a deep breath, relax and listen to me. If I die tonight, I’m sorry.”
She started crying. “I’m sorry that I didn’t try hard enough to spend time with you. I’m sorry I fall asleep whenever you tell me how your day was. I’m sorry for not visiting you in the hospital more…
I love you. I love you so much and I’m scared that this is the last time I’d get to tell you that. But if it is, please don’t forget it. I love you so much…”
That’s where the first voicemail ended.
He could barely breathe with his continuous sobs. He was crying because he misses her, but much more he was crying because she was sorry for a mistake that weighed more on his shoulders than hers.
The second voicemail started.
“Hi honey.” She tried to sound cheerful through the phone. “Sweetheart, listen to me closely, okay?” She was having a hard time to breathe but she willed herself to speak. She fought so hard for her life and this is the last thing she could do for him, to at least say goodbye. “I’ve been stabbed. He’s gone but I don’t think I’m going to make it. I’m not sure if we’re going to make it. I’m not going to tell you not to cry because I’m starting to cry already… I don’t know how to start or what to say first. I’m gonna say I’m sorry again. I’m pregnant honey.” She sobbed for a couple of moments before speaking again, “I don’t know if the baby’s okay. But if it is, please save our baby. I don’t know if it’s possible since I’m only six weeks pregnant but please, if you can… I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner…” Her voice started to get weaker, and her breathing shallow. “I can hear the sirens outside, but I don’t know if I will make it. I love you so much honey. Please remember that. I love you so much that I’ll love you even if I’m dead. I love you so much that I don’t want you to stop living just because I’m gone. When you’re ready, go out, go date, fall in love again. Love her as much as you love me. Do it for me. I love you. Goodbye.”
He finally broke down. Right across, he saw his wife’s bag with an envelope sticking out. He willed himself to open and see what’s inside. He already knew what’s inside and there’s just the father in him that wanted to see. It was a sonogram of a six week old fetus and right at the back was his wife’s handwriting, “Hello Daddy!”
Of all the ghosts on the wall, that small monochromatic film tucked on top of his wedding picture was his favourite. It was a future he could have had. Something he no longer has, but something worth living for.


I hope you enjoyed it!

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