The sky was dark. The smoke-filled air eliminated a view of the moon or any visible stars. Forest fires were burning too close for comfort. Above me, I saw nothing but blackness, an abyss. I had read something once about nearing a full moon. The energy shift that occurs, the effect it can have on people’s moods. Did I wonder?
Yeah, of course, I did.
Too late now, though.
The summer heat had been blistering each day, fuelling the raging fires, aggravating what remained of my constitution. The sun beat down on us, magnifying our inadequacies. Our air conditioner crapped out months ago, and I chose not to spend the money on fixing it. I am frugal, not cheap. When you’re too hot and you don’t sleep well, everything tends to seem worse. She wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t say it was an accident; it wasn’t. But it wasn’t like I planned it. I did cover it up. That’s true. Ask me now if I care?
I planted marigolds.
That was what I thought would be best.
I had a decent shovel, a spade with a sharp point for cutting through the grass. The first cut made me sad. For years, I spent a decent amount of time mowing and fertilizing, cultivating the perfect lawn. You know, for the neighbours to see. Appearances are important. You can’t have too many weeds. Cut once a week. Bag the clippings, trim the edges. Maintaining is quite a hefty process, a responsibility that I have never taken lightly. I pride myself on having the best lawn on the street.
Is it important?
I believe so, yes.
It’s all about appearances. The cars, the house, the clothes we wear, all of it, I mean, if I had to be honest, even the spouse I chose was more about my consideration of what other people think than what I wanted. I decided on a Mercedes Benz to drive because I thought it might make me look like I succeeded. That somehow in my life, I was on the way to the top. However, I hadn’t quite arrived. I’m not sure where it was that I lost track of myself or when I thought it necessary to start play-acting. I was pretending to be more than I was, keeping up with an expectation set by someone that I would never meet, adding more payments to my monthly nut and needing more things. Once you start, it just keeps piling up. The more the lenders will give, the more you take. The more you take, the wealthier you appear to be. Everyone does it, right? It’s the American way.
I thought it would make me happier.
I’ve never been more wrong.
She made a Lobster bake for dinner, with corn and wine, the works. It was fine, a touch elaborate for a Tuesday, but I ate it without protesting. I never was one for complaining. It seems like such a waste of energy. I try to stay positive, using my energy to uplift the room. If I must, I keep my mouth shut. But when I don’t speak, I am criticized for not talking. Not talking gives the impression that I don’t care. I don’t. Let’s be clear. On ninety-nine percent of the discussions, I just don’t give a horse’s ass. But I didn’t like being accused of not caring because I chose to remain silent. That seemed unfair.
I never say much.
I preferred the quiet solitude of anger.
The soil felt nice in my hands. It was rich, dark and moist. So, once I had the grass out of the way. I set aside the shovel and dug with my hands. Just so that I could feel like I was accomplishing something. I was doing something for once. Getting my hands into the work made it seem more accomplished. Then, maybe when I go to sleep tonight, I won’t hear her voice repeating over and over. “You’re a bloody waste of skin, and I should never have married you. I should have listened to my Mother. She knew. She saw you for what you really are. She saw right through you!”
Her voice was like a Magpie picking at my nerves.
I suppose I’ve taken care of that bird.
After digging the hole, I went back inside for her. Unfortunately, she was heavier than I anticipated. One might have referred to as ‘deadweight.’ In movies, you often see killers moving bodies around wrapped in area rugs. What a crock that is. The dam area rug weighs forty pounds by itself. I can’t even imagine moving it plus the body. So instead, I wrapped her in a bedsheet, one of those fitted ones. They’re hard to fold but quite handy for this, it seemed. I duct-taped her up and dragged her outback. I threw the remnants of dinner in with her, the Lobster shells, the corncobs, the buns, and the empty wine bottle. She enjoyed the meal, so she may as well have the scraps. No one saw, no one cared, and like I said. It was dark.
Till death do us part.
So be it. Adieu. My love.
It didn’t take as long as one might think to fill in the hole. While I’m shovelling the dirt, I imagine what it will be like tomorrow. I think about having my coffee alone. I consider the idea of doing my laundry and shopping for myself. But then, I realize that I can never tell anyone what I’ve done. The best-kept secret is one that only one person knows. I shan’t tell a soul. So I will plan a getaway, a vacation for two, to a remote European destination. Then I’ll return alone. Eventually, they’ll stop asking. It will be as though she just disappeared.
Wiped clean, like the wine from her chin.
A forgotten waste of skin.
You probably think me a bit insensitive. She just got on my nerves one time too many. You know how it can happen. It was too much. Constant nattering and bickering. How much can one person be expected to endure? It’s not like she came with a warning label. She seemed fine in the beginning. It was satisfying enough that I supposed I could manage. But then she got mean, really mean, and vindictive. She would wake up in the morning and plot how she might ruin my day. Not one day, every day.
It became about survival.
Which one of us would live.
Her favourite show Jeopardy was playing on the television while we ate. The same each night. Local news, with the weather and sports and then Alex Trebek. I liked it because I could pretend like I was listening to her, but I watched the program. That night she just wouldn’t let it go. There was something off-kilter, with the Lobster and the butter all over her chin and the corn kernels flying out the side of her mouth while she was belittling me. I suppose I lost my temper.
One swift blow.
The head isn’t as sturdy as you might think.
Like I said, maybe it had something to do with the moon. She needn’t be disappointed or sad in the way her life took a turn. She loved the garden. If you want to get a good understanding of anything, though, you need to be totally immersed. Now she will learn to appreciate each day amongst the flowers. I planted marigolds because they ward off parasites but attract ladybugs. I reckon she’ll enjoy it there. I know this is the best place for her. She can ask her pesty questions all day and wait for an honest answer.
A cheery garden flower that weakens garden vermin.
What’s a Marigold Alex?
Taught by some of the greatest literary minds of this century, Sandra Dosdall’s delivery method is reminiscent of her mentors and yet uniquely her own page-turning style. Her novels are suspenseful, unpredictable, & thought-provokingly colorful. Follow Sandra on Twitter @mrsdozzy and visit her website at www.sandradosdall.net.