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Saeria
January 26th, 2013, 12:06 PM
This is far different from my usual writings. It almost isn't fiction at all as much as it is a re-telling of my grief after the passing of my husband. Sometimes reality is more frightening than fiction.

Murderer

There is a curious heaviness that only depression seems to create. Maybe it isn't depression at all. Maybe it's really just the liquor that makes a person so heavy. I flexed my hands over the steering wheel one last time before finally turning off my car and trampling up the foreign stairs to my new apartment. I marveled at how I was able to drive home safely in this state; my gait was unsteady. I had just escaped the clutches of yet another heart cath the previous day. Those assholes in cardiology really know how to bang up a girl's leg with a clamp.

It was well past 2 a.m. By the time I finally swung the door to my apartment open. I had never wished so badly for a chair as I threw myself to the barren floor. I came here without even a T.V. So the best entertainment I could afford was the ceiling fan that whirred noisily overhead in the silence. I hadn't even bothered to close my front door, mostly likely because I was so accustomed to spending summer evenings in my old house with only the screen doors closed just so I could listen to the tree frogs' serenade. There are no tree frogs here. Just silence and the overpowering stench of the nearby papermill.

I hated how I could hear the traffic outside. I had never actually lived in an apartment, or even a city for that matter. This was not my home, just a place to rest my head for now. My home was more than likely still in the process of being stripped as greedy in-laws packed away the belongings I once shared with my little family. As the blades of the ceiling fan twirled overhead, my thoughts went back to the home I had left behind.

It was a small house, strange and beautiful with its plywood ceilings and metal roof. I would have given anything to trade the sounds of the highway for the sounds of acorns striking tin in a fierce breeze, a sound that once irritated me. I remembered how proud I had been of that house as I hung tapestries and paintings and how beautiful it all was as the morning sun shone through the bay windows. I wanted to go home. This was not home.

I shook my head and roused my heavy limbs; it was time for just one more drink. I stumbled to the kitchen and pulled out my one cup and the remainder of my Canadian Mist. Rotgut! I muttered to myself as I took a long draught, fighting to keep it down. There was nothing in my kitchen to wash the horrible metallic taste from my mouth save half a pitcher of Kool-Aid. The water from the tap had a distinct taste that was all too close to the smell of paper-mill for my liking.

Cup in hand, I returned to the livingroom, watching the ceiling fan once again, when suddenly a moth flew through the door. It was an ugly brown thing with ragged wings. I figured that if I were a moth, I would look just like this one. The moth made a wide circle around the room before aiming itself at the light beneath the ceiling fan. I could hear the gentle tapping of moth striking the light over and over again.

“You remind me of me.” I said to the moth softly, taking another drink of whiskey. “We aim for the light, but no matter how much we beat ourselves against it, there is always some obstacle in the way.”
The moth made a few more attempts before tumbling to the carpet at my feet. The poor thing shivered, tattered wings vibrating in dismay as it crept across the carpet. I laid my hand out and to my surprise it clambered onto my fingers, waving it's feathery antennae at me as if to say “Go ahead, I'm listening.”

“Well, if you really have nowhere else to be right now I suppose I can talk with you, but I can't promise I'll be very enjoyable conversation.” The moth shivered again. “I guess first I ought to tell you why I'm drinking, eh? Well, it started a couple months back. You know it wasn't too long ago life was very different. I was a busy chick back then.” I shifted and drew the moth closer so I could look at my new friend in the beady eye.

“I didn't live here, I lived in East Texas and I loved it there. It was quiet. Oh, you would have loved it there too. There were many more moths to see there. My husband and I used to sit outside on the patio chairs and watch the tree frogs gather beneath the security light to snatch up little bugs just like you.” The moth fluttered its wings and took a step back.

“You don't have to worry about frogs I guess. My husband and I would make bets on which frog would eat the most bugs. He usually lost, but we didn't actually wager anything other than the joy of being right. You know, I actually think I miss the idiot.” I sighed a little too heavily and my breath disturbed the moth on its perch. I let it resume its place on my finger before I continued.

“I can't even remember what he looks like even though we were married 10 years almost to the day. All I can remember is the horrid powder blue coffin his mother insisted upon. If you had known Greg you would have known he was a pine box kinda guy. He was simple, yet all too complex for me to really understand. We had a strange relationship.”

The moth shook its front legs a bit before stopping to listen again. “We spent many years in hell. You know that asshole used to beat the snot of out me. Heh, maybe I deserved it, maybe it was the booze. Who knows. I should have left right then but I didn't. I still don't know why. Anyways, after he hit a certain age he just sorta grew out of it, or I grew out of being so defiant. I guess after that I just never allowed myself to forgive him, nor did I give him the chance to ask for my forgiveness. We just pretended like it never happened.”

I stretched my sore leg, leaning against the wall. My head was swimming in inebriation at this point. The moth was now a fuzzy blur in my vision, but yet it remained, listening intently.

“We didn't kiss eachother. I can't even remember the last time he hugged me. There was no denying, however, that we co-existed well. He needed someone to complain about life to, and I needed someone to lie next to at night to stave off the loneliness that tried so hard to overtake me. After he quit the drinking and the drugs we were a peaceful family. How I hated it when he went back to his old habits!” I closed my eyes, trying my hardest to ward away the heaviness inside me.

“I hated him the most then. I hated seeing him in the hospital with his blistered hands and that look on his face. He was so pitiful right then and I despised him for it. Greg was supposed to be the stronger of the two of us. His eyes, glassy from long nights of wrecking up his mind, grew wide as I broke away from his grasp. 'My actions, my intentions, they weren't real. My love for you is though.' he whispered hoarsely. Blinded with anger I responded, 'What's real is that we have lost so much of what we worked hard for in just a few nights. What's real is that I have to go home and tell our child why you're not coming home tonight.' Those were the last words I ever said to him.”

My chest ached as my straining heart thudded in time with my thoughts. The moth sat silently.

“There isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish I had chosen different words. If only I had known they would be my last words to him I could have told him the truth. I loved him, little moth, damn I loved that man deeper than I had any business loving him. If I had told him that instead perhaps I would be home, grousing about having to share the bed with another person and that stupid smelly dog of his.” My head sank and I fought the strong emotions boiling under the surface of my thoughts. The only weapon I had at my disposal against remembering him was the drink at my side.

“So you see little moth, I too have spent my days beating myself against a bulb, never realizing that the light on the other side is unattainable. You'll never actually get to it, no matter how hard you try. You will just bruise yourself up instead.” I think the moth was taken aback by this. It was a stubborn thing, I noted as it suddenly took to the air back to the bulb. I stood up unsteadily, trying to swat the thing away from the light, back out the door but to no avail. It was out of reach.

I resigned to watching it make the same mistakes I had always made. I took one last swig of the whiskey and watched the moth throw itself repeatedly at the light until my eyes finally closed.

My head pounded as I finally roused late in the afternoon. I noticed that someone, likely a neighbor, had been kind enough to pull my front door closed again. The moth would have been all but forgotten I think had I not noticed a peculiar shape floating on the surface of the whiskey in the cup. It seemed my carelessness had taken yet another life.

dolphinlee
January 26th, 2013, 01:37 PM
I thought this was an excellent piece with a very few very minor problems. Well done!

There is a curious heaviness that onlydepression seems to create. (1)Maybe it isn't depression at all. Maybe it's really justthe liquor that makes a person so heavy. I flexed my hands over the steeringwheel one last time before finally turning off my car and trampling up theforeign stairs to my new apartment. (2) Imarveled at how I was able to drive home safely in this state; (3) my gait was unsteady. I had justescaped the clutches of yet another heart cath (4) the previous day. Those assholes in cardiology really know howto bang up a girl's leg with a clamp.

1) This sentence is perfect.
2) I really like the way you have written this sentence. However I would have preferred the word tramping rather than trampling (unless she is very, very drunk)
3) Semi colon is not right here. A comma would bebetter.
4) cath = ?

I hated how I could hear the trafficoutside. I had never actually lived ………………….

When I was half way through my book I was advised that the full forms like ‘Ihad,’ can make the writing sound formal and may distance the reader from thework. I believed that the full form wasmore correct. The next day I went to the library and checked in books by well-knownauthors like Sara Paretsky. I found that they all used contractions like “I’d,” “I would’ve” and “I mustn’t.”

“Youremind me of me.” I said to the moth softly, taking another drink of whiskey.“We aim for the light, but no matter how much we beat ourselves against it,there is always some obstacle in the way.” This is just perfect.

“Well, if you really have nowhere else to be right now I suppose I can talkwith you, but I can't promise I'll be very enjoyable conversation.” (?)

The moth shivered again. ………………………….I couldlook at my new friend in the (?) beady (?) eye.

“I didn't live here, ……………………………..The moth fluttered its wings and took a stepback. (wonderful sentence)

“You don't have to worry about frogs I guess. …………. (whole paragraph is great)

“We didn't kiss each other. …………………………………. How I hated it when he went back to his oldhabits!” This lastsentence is a little cliched.

“I hated him the most then………………………….., 'What's real is that we have lost somuch of what we worked hard for in just a few nights. What's real is that Ihave to go home and tell our child why you're not coming home tonight. (Thisdialogue is excellent)

I resigned (myself?) to watching it make the same mistakes I had always made.

My head pounded as I finally roused late inthe afternoon. I noticed that someone, likely a neighbor, had been kind enoughto pull my front door closed again. (I’mnot quite sure she would have remembered.)

The moth would have been all but forgottenI think had I not noticed a peculiar shape floating on the surface of thewhiskey in the cup. It seemed my carelessness had taken yet another life.

This is a perfect ending.

Ariel
January 31st, 2013, 04:13 AM
This was beautifully sad. I was jarred by her talking to herself about the rotgut because it took me a minute to realize she was talking aloud. I think that phrase needs to be on its own and in quotes.

Very sorry for your loss but it's good that you're able to write about it.

Jarhead
January 31st, 2013, 07:15 AM
The comparison of the moth and the narrator is beautiful. This is a good example of how to incorporate a lot of the fundamentals of writing (i.e. plot, character development, how the setting affects things, etc etc). It's nice to see something I can learn quite a bit from.