"A Jaded Life" (part 2)
Mission Impossible # 3 (Part 2)
I closed my eyes allowing it to creep forward, curious of how it would make me feel…
I closed my eyes allowing it to creep forward, curious of how it would make me feel…
I was lying on the bed back in the old apartment that I shared with Jade. I was bundled up in layers of clothing, while Jade angrily kicked the heater. She likewise wore several layers of clothing, her cheeks and nose pink and her annoyed breath steamed out into the cold air with a soft growl.
“If you kick it one more time it might work,” I teased her rolling onto my side to watch her. Her clear blue eyes met mine, forcing me to smile. She smiled back and kicked it one more time as a joke making me snicker despite myself. The heater clanked and the metal facing fell off making a loud crash on the ground. She giggled and hopped into bed with me, cuddling close to stay warm. The lady below us rapped her broom on the ceiling to inform us that we were disturbing her.
“Should we give her a real reason to hit the ceiling?” Jade suggested with a seductive glance, yet her smirk told me she was merely making a jest.
“Too cold. We’ll freeze together,” I said rubbing her arms to create warmth, my gloved fingers beginning to lose their numbness. “Some Christmas we’re having. No tree, no presents, no heat,” I complained with a sigh.
“What would you want for Christmas? If you could pick anything in the world, what would it be?” Jade asked in a whimsical voice, her mind drifting into a make believe world, one much better than our own. Her eyes peered through the ceiling as if she could literally see this magical world she was creating.
“I don’t know, maybe a job I could respect myself doing. To be able to take care of you better. What about you?” I asked her, trying to see what she could see, but my limited imagination and morbid grasp on reality prevented me to follow her into her fantasy.
“A thousand moments just like this one,” She replied with a happy grin towards the ceiling. Good old romantic girl, able to find good in all that was bad. I closed my eyes, trying to imagine things that made me happy, to improve my spirits to equal Jade’s.
“You wouldn’t want money, or a supermodel, or like world peace? Just a thousand freezing, starved Christmases?” I tempted her innocent mind away from all her noble notions.
“Maybe world peace,” she answered looking at me slyly from the corner of her eyes. And I had believed she was going to make a joke about a male supermodel. She was so sweet and caring I felt guilty for not being the same.
“I don’t deserve you,” I said quietly and with meaning, cuddling closer for warmth.
“You never will,” She said touching my chin. I searched her mysterious eyes for meaning, but was unable to tell if she was joking or if she meant it. She always had that stoic, penetrating stare that made you believe she was always serious. Jade giggled and kissed me allowing me to see she was attempting a joke, not an insult.
“You don’t want anything? You’re happy living like this?” I asked her in a serious tone, wanting her to dispel my worst fears.
She responded with a bite of the lip and a bobbing of her head in confirmation before adding, “I don’t need money. I’m not with you for that. I’m not even trying to get you to reconcile with your parents. I don’t want their filthy money. And I don’t want yours either.” At that moment she reminded me of a stubborn little girl, innocent, wholesome, adorable and would always have to have her own way.
“Good, cause I don’t have any,” I said petting her blond streaks.
“That’s the way I like it. You don’t have to worry about money. I’m a big girl Peyton. I can take care of myself.” She buried her head into my neck and I held her close. She smelt of peaches, baby powder, and stale cigarettes…
The phone rang bringing me back to reality from my past reveries. I didn’t want to answer it, or open my eyes, but I had to. I needed to leave these images to the past, just as Tony had advised me. I grabbed it up answering it with a tired voice. It was Tony. I was late.
I got ready slowly trying to forget about the ghostly visage of Jade. I was successful in putting her from my mind, but a feeling of melancholy spread over me, engulfing me like a festering disease. Whenever I felt this way, I would read my favorite book, the depressing nature of it somehow uplifted me, but I hadn’t brought it with me on this trip. I read it first in high school and I was unable to remember the title or its contents, until Jade, who was an avid reader told me what it was, but the ending had stuck in my mind for years before I bought and reread it. A powerful man in Africa was ill, delirious and dying and his last words were, “The horror! The horror!” and I can’t recall what the teacher told us it meant. To me, however, the horror changed to something different on every reading, my book creased at the page where I first knew he would die, reading and rereading as if it would be different every time.
What did “the horror” mean to me the last reading? It meant the horror of the monotony of life and the never changing atmosphere of the nine-to-five job. The horror of every day being the same and not having someone to share it with. The horror of living with mistakes and the inability to take them back, change them or fix what had been broken. My horrors of living, breathing, without the guile to end it myself. These were my horrors; my heart was the darkness, the evils of the world turned inward on myself. What purpose in life did I have?
I was a void, a space, just a blob of matter taking up room in the world. Accidents happen, people die every day, ones with loving families, children, not loners like me. I was spared, a third of my life had gone by and I had nothing to show for it. I wondered from time to time if anyone would notice if I died, constantly thinking about the old man who lived in my former apartment building that had died of a heart attack and wasn’t found for six weeks. Not a single soul checked on him or worried about him until the strange smell emanated from his apartment. The smell of his festering body kept the place from being rented for six months, the neighbors moved as if death were contagious.
Would this be me when I’m old? Would they find me after two lapsed mortgage payments, bald and pot-bellied, lying lifeless on a vast collection of baseball cards? I hate baseball. Before my death would I hobble around on a cane and grumpily curse at everyone younger than me about things being different when I was their age, while collecting spoons from vacations taken alone? Would I die knowing I let the one woman I ever loved get away, my regret my only companion and loneliness my only lover?
I tried to shake these morbid feelings away, to clear my mind from the grim thoughts that plagued me. It was hard for me to see the positive aspects of my life. I didn’t doubt they were there; everyone had something to look forward to. I just didn’t have the gift to see them, to count my blessings.
With a sigh I stood up and grabbed my jacket shaking my shoulders as if the thoughts would fly from them too. It was Tony’s night, not mine, so I had to go and pretend this melancholy feeling didn’t exist. I began to walk the ten blocks to the strip-club as opposed to taking the cab, loving the crisp air of the cool night. I wasn’t sure if it was cold outside or if I just felt that way on the inside. Every step I took, I felt more of a chill spread over my body. A chill, which I was sure no matter how much whiskey I drank could quench.
On arriving to the strip club the guys were already drunk and I realized how late I was. I put on my happy masquerade and made sure my best friend had the night of his life. I swore my mood would not improve but somewhere between the first club and the last bar I let go of time, of worries, and realized I was having fun. The night seemed to shoot by so fast, just a montage of strippers, shots, and loud music. I found myself drunk, on the curb supporting Tony, who couldn’t hold himself up.
With great effort and patience on my end, I managed to get Tony back to my hotel room where he passed out on top of the bed across the room snoring loudly. As I lay down on the stiff bed, my head began to whirl in circles as if I were riding a roller coaster. My eyes snapped opened, focused on the ceiling and the spinning stopped. I stared at the pebble-like ceiling until my eyes drooped shut and the whirling recommenced, turning my stomach sour. I kept my eyes open, listening to the bustle of the streets outside in the city that truly never slept. The subway always rumbled underneath, sirens could be heard, as well as prostitutes and bums calling out to people walking by.
My exhausted eyes began to droop bringing back the drunken swirls and a new wave of intense nausea. I jumped out of bed and raced into the bathroom to get sick barely making it to the toilet. Only then did my head return to normal and the effects of the alcohol began to subside. After I plopped into bed the second time, I fell into a drunken, fitful sleep where I was haunted by a dream that was so vivid I thought it was really happening at first. It was more like a memory that crept into my consciousness. A memory I long ago suppressed…
Jade, beautiful as ever, although clad in a gray waitress uniform two sizes too big for her, set the table for dinner. I looked to the microwave to see a casserole dish spinning around and knew its contents from the polluting smell of tuna. Jade had her honey blond hair pulled back in a low ponytail and bent over the table, her short skirt showing off her fabulous legs. I wanted to wrap my arms around her and kiss her neck, keep her safe from the world’s harm, my harm. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t touch her at all or my willpower would vanish. She gently laid two paper towels on the little round table to serve as napkins and turned looking at me oddly. Her eyes danced across my face searching for the answers to the questions she was afraid to ask.
I felt trapped in the hot little room, like the walls were slowly closing in on me and needed to go outside for fresh air. My life felt oppressing like a horrid pattern, constantly repeating itself every day. The uphill battle I faced, making money, paying bills, and doing it all over again the next day. Always struggling to stay even, never ahead of what life had to dish out. I wanted to leave, just opt out of the stuffy little apartment, opt out of this life. But how could I leave her?
Before she had a chance to speak, I walked towards the bedroom muttering something about changing my clothes. I was going to slip out the fire escape for a smoke, which I hoped would calm me down into rational thoughts. After Jade quit smoking, she wouldn’t allow me to do it in the house. I had told her I quit too, which wasn’t a complete lie; I had cut back. I always thought about lighting up to provoke her, but I enjoyed the escape outside, the moment I smoked I could pretend I was somewhere else. I was high up and free with the vast sky above me, the ground a few floors down, in complete openness.
“I know what you’re going to do,” Jade’s shaky voice stopped me in my tracks. I composed my face before turning around. What was she talking about? She surely couldn’t tell I was contemplating leaving her. That was impossible. She must be confronting me about my smoking. I turned to see a cockroach scurry under the stove and cringed thinking of baked bugs. She wasn’t facing me, but laying plates down on the table, her back stiff, shoulders tight, telling me something was wrong.
“What are you talking about?” I asked her emphasizing my confusion.
“Peyton, I’m not stupid. I do have a brain.” She dropped the rest of the plates onto the flimsy table with an angry bang. All I could think of was how the room stunk of warm dead fish as Jade spun around her cheeks red with emotion. She looked ravishing, flared up, rosy, and excited. I had to put those thoughts from my head, distance myself from feeling anything or I wouldn’t be able to leave. I had to be strong.
“I know you’re going to leave me,” she said quietly her voice going thin although she struggled to keep it strong. Tears welled up in her eyes despite her strong nature. It wasn’t like her to get emotional over anything, even the thought of me leaving her. But here she was emotion itself, raw and blistering under the strain.
“What are you talking about?” I said with surprise. I didn’t have to feign the feeling, for I was extremely surprised that after only two years she could read every thought on my mind and I hardly knew her.
“Don’t bother pretending you have no clue what I’m talking about,” she said boldly finding her strength at last, crossing her arms in anger and glaring at me.
“Jade, why would you think something like that?” I asked attempting to mask any emotion from coming through. My voice came across more harsh and unfeeling than I had hoped for. This wasn’t at all like I planned: she wasn’t supposed to know. I was just going to slip easily from her life and never return.
“You self centered son of a…” She stopped herself. Just like Jade to not utter a curse word in her highest fit of anger. She’d steal before she could curse; she used to tell me it was vulgar and unlady-like. “When were you going to leave, next week? Tomorrow?” She continued spitefully as every sentence overpowered me. I was the man here and I was the one who should be in control, only I was frozen, transfixed, distancing myself away from feeling anything that might stop my decision. I was merely thinking about abandoning her and the city, but she helped push me over the edge, as always, and made the decision final.
“Tonight, maybe,” I said, knowing well how much it would hurt her to hear the words. I didn’t care how much I hurt her at that moment; I wouldn’t have to face her ever again. I wanted to go now and not face any outburst from her but my legs were not in my power to command.
My comment had much effect on her. She gasped in surprise and sank into the chair, going pale. As I forced my feet to move toward the bedroom, she stopped me by sarcastically commenting, “Before or after dinner?”
I lost it then, letting out the anger I was desperately attempting to mask as indifference, “Damn it Jade! Why do you have to bring things up? Why do you have to pry? I was thinking about leaving and you press me and squeeze me and force me to act on it. It was a thought and now you have yourself to thank now that the ball is rolling. It’s no longer a choice now.” I spat out stabbing her like a thousand knives, her cringing at every moment. Seeing I had the upper hand, I continued: “You always want me to be honest. Brutal honesty is what you asked for isn’t it? Here it is honey! I don’t love you anymore. I can’t stand this hellhole we live in. I hate every single thing about my life, so I’m leaving! Is that honest enough for you?” I demanded towering over her all my anger boiling over.
She trembled, crying at my brutality, but stood up with solid stoicism and stared into my eyes, her strength not fully abandoning her. “What are you going to do? Go beg your mommy and daddy for your fortune back?” she challenged attempting to get me to explode. But I wouldn’t let her win. I held my anger back, grinding my teeth to do so, and simply walked away from her into the bedroom.
“If it makes you feel better you can tell yourself that, but you know I won’t,” I muttered loud enough for her to hear me answer her challenge.
What do you pack in a time like this? I didn’t know, but I grabbed down my grubby brown suitcase, emptied my only dresser drawer into it, threw in my shoes and zipped it up, not taking time to fold anything, leaving behind toiletries, CD’s and a few personal items. I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing, but I knew I would never return to New York or home to Boston.
Unwillingly, I forced myself into the kitchen towards the front door. I tried not to look at her as she violently sobbed, her head resting on the table. Her fingers dug into and crumbled the paper towels. The tuna spun in the microwave, stinking up the room.
“Peyton,” she cried, the weakness in her voice made me look at her with pity. “Do you even care about what will happen to me?” She was so pitiful I almost put my bag down. My mind whirled thinking of postponing my leaving, or attempting to take her with me. But she knew I’d leave; the moment she brought it up she knew she had set it in stone. How could I back down now? I was only a step away from the freedom I was longing for.
“You’re a big girl Jade. You don’t need my money,” I said with conviction to show her I wouldn’t change my mind, while reiterating our last Christmas conversation. Over six months ago I had been happy and now my life was completely the opposite. She silently stared at the ground, so I went for the door…
I shot awake in bed sweaty and in a tangle of sheets, unaware of where I was. Then I lay back down sighing, remembering I was in the hotel, in Manhattan and relaxed. Tony still snored in the bed across the room. I got up and washed my face looking at myself in the mirror. Would this terrible feeling of guilt ever leave me? Would I continuously think of her and dream of her every time I thought of New York? When I had left, I forced myself to dispel her image and refused to let myself ever think or wonder about her. But, now, here, I was exploding with all the feelings I should have experienced then if I had let myself. Why did I come here? I had to do something about it. I had to end these suffering feelings, and I knew that meant I’d have to do what I dreaded most: confront Jade. Rena surely knew where she was. No matter how hard it would be I’d convince Rena to tell me. Five years after I left Jade, I still needed some form of closure. I couldn’t go on much more without knowing she was all right, that I didn’t ruin her life from leaving it. I walked back into the room and climbed into bed. It was still dark, but I felt sober so I must have had a few hours sleep, which was good considering I would not catch a wink the rest of the night. The image of my pale, chubby, bald, lifeless body on the sofa rotting and stinking up the room kept flittering into my mind all morning. I wasn’t even balding yet.
“You alright bud?” I asked him, putting my hand on his shoulder to stop him.
“Am I doing the right thing?” He asked me with the earnestness and innocence of a child afraid of disappointing me. His eyes pleaded me for advice and reassurance, needing help to make the decision that would affect the rest of his life.
“What do you mean? Of course you are. You and Rena have been together for ages now. It’s logical. Nothing has to change really. It's just a piece of paper, you know?” I urged him. “Funny coming from me being that she and I have never gotten along, but if I had something like you two have I would hang onto it forever. I know I haven’t been a great person or a friend to you at times, but trust me from someone who knows: don’t walk away. You’ll never forgive yourself. The regret will never leave you. ” I turned from him so he couldn’t see the dampness of my eyes. My own speech had gotten the better of me, and I fought that damn chicken bone in my throat that was attempting to make me lose it. I withheld my emotions and turned to him realizing my speech had served its purpose and Tony had lost his cold feet. His eyes were damp and he grabbed me and hugged me tightly, then let go, looking at me earnestly as if he had to tell me something important.
He looked at me with pain, sat down and said, “Peyton, before we go in there, there’s something I need to say…”
The doors flung open and Rena’s panic stricken sister came out interrupting, “Is everything alright? You were supposed to be in there already.”
“It’s my fault. I didn’t realize the time,” I blurted out to take the blame. She looked at me with disapproval; eyes that matched her sister’s and I knew Rena had already poisoned her mind against me. Rena’s sister didn’t leave until she saw we were on our way and the subject between Tony and I was dropped.
I ushered him in to where his bride was anxiously standing, and when they saw one another both of their anxiety slipped away, and smiled at greeting one another. Their deep affection was apparent, so lovestruck and nervous. I couldn’t imagine myself marrying or ever feeling as these two did about each other. I had become too emotionally devoid to all stimuli that love was most likely improbable for me.
The ceremony was short and to the point without any religious garble and I was relieved. Every moment in that room was suffocating. There was so much love between Tony and Rena that it almost hurt to see their happiness when I had none. But I was the maker of my own grief and I couldn’t blame anyone but myself for my lot in life. Jealousy, regret, and guilt filled up my empty heart and I drowned the feelings with as many drinks as I could at the reception held in their bar.
After the party was in full swing, I made the decision, with my drunken confidence, to confront Rena about Jade. The guilt of leaving her was haunting me and I didn’t think it would ever go away until I saw she was doing well. Many hopes filled me up, not that I thought of trying to get her back. She was sure to have moved on and if not what reason could I give her to ever trust me again? With my inhibitions gone, my mind dabbled in all sorts of possibilities. So many happy thoughts filled my head that I knew I had to see her, and Rena was the only link.
“Rena, I need to know where Jade is,” I said bluntly. She was beyond drunk and I was sure she would be of no help, but she managed to answer me. She turned with astonishment and looked at me oddly through bugged-out eyes. My question shocked her so greatly that I thought for a moment she’d faint.
“What?” She looked at me if I was stupid but then her face sunk and she grabbed a napkin. “Here’s the address,” she said quietly handing it to me. She didn’t mention why Jade hadn’t appeared today, but I didn’t ask. Knowing Rena, and her judgmental temperament, I’m sure the two had a fall out.
Rena looked at me gravely making me wonder why she was behaving so strange. Instead of asking, or waiting for one of her lectures, I walked away sure she was looking at me with disgust. I knew she would not want me to disturb Jade after jilting her at a time she needed me the most. I didn’t want to be scolded and told I was a dick for what I had done. I already knew I was, but there might be time for redemption.
I slipped out without saying goodbye to Tony and walked out the sunlight, my eyes needing a moment to adjust. I walked around aimlessly, debating whether I should go see Jade or abandon the quest and just hop on the train to Boston and forget her and the city forever. It had felt like a homecoming until I found out Jade wasn’t coming. Manhattan, my mother, had left me, changed forever in my eyes to a place of deep regret, festering guilt, and horrific memories. I shouldn’t have come back at all. New York had been a place for the past and I should have left it that way.
I loosened my tie and took a deep breath in to calm myself down, my heart beating fast with expectations. The sun began to set behind the skyscrapers, and I realized I had enough time to see her and still make the last train to Boston. I pulled the napkin out and peered down at it, a new nervousness spreading over me. The address was just outside the city; I could reach it in just over a half hour. I hailed a cab and climbed in handing the cabbie the napkin.
As I watched the city go by my tired body slumped into the seat, and despite my best efforts to stay awake I began to nod off. My alcohol buzz was long gone and I felt more exhausted than ever before…
“You’re a big girl Jade. You don’t need my money,” I said with conviction to show her I wouldn’t change my mind, while reiterating our last Christmas conversation. She silently stared at the ground, so I went for the door.
“You’d leave even if I was carrying your baby wouldn’t you?” She asked sadly. I stopped, letting go of the rusted handle.
“What are you talking about? You’re making things up to get me to stay,” I said making my voice seem much stronger than I felt. I was stunned; my heart skipped a beat, anticipating the worst thing possible. If she was… I couldn't bear to bring a baby into this life. I would rather die than to see it happen. My child in this world, this city, this life I so desperately hated, it seemed a brutal cruelty I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
“It’s the last bit of truth I have to get you to stay,” She said with numbed grief. She was speaking almost inaudibly, her eyes downcast, staring at a cockroach scurrying across the floor.
I stood unable to say a word with that damn chicken bone clogging up my throat, not letting me speak. I couldn’t breath and my hands shook violently from my nerves, as I grasped the cold brass doorknob. Finally, after a full minute’s silence I dared to look back over my shoulder and match my gaze with hers. Instantly, her eyes betrayed the truth: she was pregnant. With a simple wounded puppy dog look she begged me to stay. I sighed with exasperation and stared at the rusty old doorknob, now the symbol to my freedom. The four locks on the door reminded me how bad of a place this shit hole would be to raise a kid. It was the prison from which I was trying to escape. The financial difficulties, the fact the child would be unwanted and unloved by me…. I squashed the roach under my foot, and the sudden action made Jade flinch.
I found my hand had turned the knob already before my mind made the decision to do so. It was so hot in the stuffy room and it stunk like fish, as the walls began to tighten around me. I couldn’t handle feeling like a trapped animal and I had to get out or I’d pass out. The chicken bone grew bigger, blocking my voice, blocking my ability to breath, and I thought I might faint. I needed fresh air.
I opened the door wide, slipped out being sure not to look back and closed it behind me. Jade wailed in agony inside, making me flinch as she had only a moment ago for the innocent roach. I stopped for one moment, my eyes tearing up, blinding me, contemplating if I should keep going or turn back. But I had gone this far and the hardest part was over. I moved one foot in front of the other and then I raced down the steps two at a time and busted out the main door and ran another block out of sight. I fell to my knees on the hard pavement, not caring about the pain, as I gasped for air. After finding my breath and wiping the tears away I stood up and continued walking. I had no idea where I was going to go, but I knew that it wasn’t where I just came from…
I awoke in the cab as it wound around the streets, making a good pace, which told me we were out of the city. I tried to diminish the horrible memories from my head by filling my thoughts with hopes and aspirations for the future. I wondered again how Jade was doing, well it seemed to afford life in the suburbs. My mind whirled about the future, not that I believed Jade and I would ever be together again. I was sure she was probably married or almost there, but I wondered about my child. I wondered if it was a boy or girl and if he or she looked at all like me. The child would be about four years old now. Would I have any rights to see it? The cab drove by an attorney’s office and I wondered if I should tell the cabbie to stop and find out. No, I needed to take things slower, one step at a time. I was getting way too ahead of myself. I took a deep breath and exhaled. However, it did not calm down my anxious heart.
The cab slowed to a stop and I paid him for the long journey and groggily climbed out of the car. I was hoping I’d make it back for the last train to Boston, but if not it didn’t matter. Seeing only a long expanse of woods in front of me I turned around to see a large wrought iron gate connected to a stone wall, with the words “Neville Park Cemetery” above it.
“This is a graveyard,” I exclaimed to the driver in confusion. He must have stopped at the wrong place, unless Rena’s memory failed her and she wrote down the wrong house number.
“That’s the address you gave me. You wanna go somewhere else buddy?” He asked me. I looked at the napkin with Jade’s address on it, marked with Rena’s own handwriting. The plaque on the wall matched the exact address given. Was this some kind of joke? Why would Rena give me this address, unless… no they’d tell me if… I didn’t want to think that. This was a mistake of some sort, and as I looked up and down the street and saw no residential dwellings, I realized it was not a mistake.
“Hey buddy, you want me to take you back?” The cab driver pressed me for an answer his voice annoyed at my indecisiveness. My mind swirled trying to find excuses to make this all wrong; I needed it to be a mistake. I scanned the road again, desperate to find a house or an apartment building, but all that met my eyes was woods and a long expanse of wrought iron fencing and stone.
“No, thank you,” I managed to say, as the truth was falling on my shoulders like a ton of bricks. The cab drove off leaving me in a cloud of gravel dust. As the dust cleared, my mind was far from clear. I walked numbly through the gate staring at the address willing it to change. I looked up to see a large stretch of tombstones that lined the hills that stretched before me. The place was desolate, but beautiful with blooming trees, fountains and carved marble crypts. It was as if they tried to compensate, making the place so beautiful when the most depressing moments of one’s life must take place here.
Unsure of where to go next, I flipped over the little paper several times till I noticed a little scribble on the bottom of it that read “106 C,” which I had previously dismissed as an apartment number. 106 C? I looked at the tombstones to my left and right and realized there were signs of labeled sections to guide you, 106 must be the plot number in sector C.
With nervousness crawling over my skin, I took a stroll through the winding path, over a hill and through some trees approaching the section of graves I was in search of. The chance of it all being a horrible mistake still gave me a shred of hope, clashing violently with my anxious uneasiness. I was terrified, unable to think about what I might find, but drawn to know the truth to why Rena sent me here. How did Jade die and was it before of after the baby? Why hadn’t I asked Rena about the baby? Why hadn’t I asked Tony? He would have told me the truth instead of playing a wicked trick like his wife had played on me. Then I remembered before his wedding he was trying to tell me something serious. He was trying to tell me and like a fool I asked his cold wife instead.
I cursed myself for being so foolish as I entered sector C and took the winding path down the hill glancing at the iron poles that held the signs telling you what span of plots were in each row. It hit me hard that I was nearly there. A wave of anxiety rippled through my body, my heart beat fast in dreadful anticipation.
The blood drained from my face making me feel dizzy, when I realized I was staring at the sign was for plots marked 100-135, the grave only a few steps down the row. Time seemed to slow down to almost a stop as I forced my feet to walk down the isle of tombstones, being careful not to step over where I thought the bodies were laying below. All I could hear was my own heart pounding, my breath coming quick. I felt everything closing in on me despite being out in the open. The tombstones and the trees where reaching in to grab me, pressing closer to me. Frozen in horror, I stood most likely now right in front of the grave I was seeking. All I had to do was look down, but a sudden anxiety overwhelmed me making me immobile.
Chills went up and down my spine and my stomach flopped as if the ground dropped out from under me. I was unable to look down at the tombstones in front of me, too close to finding out my worst fears. I paused believing I was actually going to be sick, as the bile boiled up into my chest making me dry heave. I gasped for air leaning on a tombstone for support as my knees shook, clanking together. I couldn’t control my own body’s ramblings. I could hardly breath, the infamous chicken bone stretching in my throat. I looked down realizing I was standing over someone’s grave, six feet over some rotting corpse. I took a step back almost losing my balance as my vision blurred. I rubbed my eyes and looked at the tombstone, which read “Jade Marie Howard and child.” The girl and baby I jilted, that lived only in my hopeful imagination, lay six feet beneath me.
The dreams I had earlier today vanished into nothingness. I felt my gorge spasm and the world began to spin into dizziness before I could see the date she died. I couldn’t focus my eyes on anything. I knew the horror of it all still had to sink in, a new horror worse than any I ever imagined before. My knees could no longer hold and I felt my body sink towards the ground. Then, before I knew it was happening, the world faded to black. As I slipped away into the obsidian darkness I knew when I woke up nothing would ever be the same.