“The Beginning of Perfection”

Cowley Student (Vol. 7: 2017)

Looking up for the first time to really acknowledge me, he simply says, “I know you do.”  It was quiet, but very matter of fact and I couldn’t really tell what he was feeling, if anything.  What the hell was wrong?  I knew this wasn’t a good time to suggest a camping trip.

I cleaned up the kitchen, while he went to get ready.  That is when I saw the headlines,  “Missing body found of…..’’  Was this what he had been reading so intently? It was 12:30 when he left for the interview and I sat down to watch the news.  Luckily he had left before they began to highlight the progress of the missing women’s report.  Only today the headlines were filled with reports of one body being found.  Normally, we always curled up on the couch that seemed to swallow us up in comfort, to watch the evening news together.  Lately, he refused to watch it and seemed unusually agitated when the reports of local missing women came on.  He scoffed that the police were obviously not doing their jobs very well and might need some additional help. 

Regardless, we didn’t need to listen to all the hype. So, I had resorted to catching up on the afternoon news. It was disturbing that very little, if any progress was being made; except for escalating everyone’s fear.  I wish I could share my feelings and fears with him, but he would just laugh and say, “No one would dare touch my girl and live to tell it!”

I felt the urge to really busy myself to get my mind off the news.  So, I ventured downstairs to tidy up.  As I was picking up all the laundry, I noticed a sack of his clothes that were exceptionally dirty.  Something told me not to ask any questions and get out of there.  In my haste, I knocked over a notebook and its contents flew everywhere.  They were all clippings about the missing girls.  Now I was really confused!  Why would he be collecting these articles and why didn’t he want to talk about them?  I gathered them and put them back in the notebook and went back upstairs.  I now knew I had to get to the bottom of this immediately.

It was almost 6:00 p.m. when he came through the door with that winning grin of his.  I could see the exuberance in his eyes and he practically squeezed me to death, as he twirled me around and around.

“I got the job!” he shouted.  Now, this was the guy I had fallen in love with.  A joy and peace swept over me, leaving me mesmerized by the handsome hunk standing before me. 

“Let’s celebrate with dinner out tonight; after we pack up for a weekend around the campfire,” I said.

His laughter was like a roar, as he pulled me close and whispered in my ear, “Woman of my heart, you know me so well.”  His lips found mine, as the passion welled up in both of us like an exploding volcano.  Everything was going to be alright.

Dinner was romantic and things seemed to be back to normal once again.  We headed out to the campsite he said he had just heard about recently.  I marveled at his ability to always find the perfect spot to set down camp.  We had already started the campfire and set up the tent when we realized we had left the ice chest in the truck.  I was up and running before he even realized what was about to unfold.  I open the big tool chest in the bed of the truck and was reaching for the ice chest when something caught my eye.  It looked like a driver’s license. 

Upon closer observation, there was a total of five women’s licenses.  A sickening feeling swept over me and a sense of panic gripped my soul.  That is when I felt him behind me.  I refuse to look behind me, not yet anyways, not before I am done looking at these. They are the missing women, oh my god there is clothing with blood on it…what is he going to do? He hasn’t tried grabbing me or tried getting my attention pulled away from what I have found, but I know he is behind me. Do I run, I feel like I should run, but which way? No, I can look for the keys, but that involves turning around…I’m ready, I can do this! I slowly turn around and find his green eyes glaring at me and they are watery. He is shaking and his fists are clenched so tightly his veins are popping out all along his forearms. I look around to spot the keys and notice that he has them in his clenched left fist. He takes a step towards me and I run as he grabs my hair and starts dragging me…oh god; what is going to happen to me?

“What are you doing?!”

“You shouldn’t have seen those, I’m so sorry. It wasn’t supposed to go like this”.

“What do you mean?”

“I’m sorry”.

He is dragging me towards the lake and he keeps apologizing, but for what? I keep clawing him and flailing around; I can feel his skin under my nails and the tears running down my cheeks. He is going to kill me, I know it. I stop fighting him and stop flailing about. He looks down at me with tears rolling down his cheeks and apologizes once more. Those green eyes drowning as he puts me on my knees with the murky brown lake water coming up to my belly. He shoves my head into the water as I’m flailing; I can’t breathe! I keep swallowing and inhaling water, it hurts so much! I’m clawing and hitting at him, but he won’t stop. My face burns, my lungs are on fire and I can’t…breathe. 

 

*  *  *

The mud is drying on his forearms, his clothes are wet and weighing him down. His shoes squish-squash as he walks to the edge of the cliff that oversees the massive lake before him. He plops down and rubs his face; it’s still bleeding. Everything feels different to him now, he used to enjoy it. The lake is still, the murky brown water reminds him of her eyes and how he could never tell what was beneath the surface. The sunrise is full of pinks, purples, oranges, and yellows but he doesn’t understand why it is there or why people find it magical. She always found the sun rises and the sun sets beautiful, but he found her to be beautiful. Her sharp jaw line, the way her chestnut hair framed her face, her small nose, her plump pink lips and those eyes. She could always tell when something was wrong, he would look into them and just melt. He realized that the crickets have stopped chirping. Suddenly, he is aware of the fact that he is alone and starts sobbing. It was different this time and he knows it will never be the same again.

By the time the sunrise reaches the top of the tree line, he has managed to stop crying. He stares blankly at the tree line, so many of them, and he takes a deep breath allowing the pine aroma to sweep through his nasal passages and fill his lungs. The world seems empty to him, he knows he can’t change his ways so why should he try? He hits the ground five times, it is rough and has crevasses with sharp edges throughout it. His hand burns and he sees white flakes and red splotches along his knuckles. He wonders why he has issues controlling his anger, but he doesn’t ponder that thought long. A light breeze brushes his hair out of his eyes, he sees a rock by his left leg. He picks it up and slings it towards the lake, he could feel his shoulder pop in and out of socket, as he slung the rock. The rock shattered the surface of the lake, so many ripples it was collective chaos to him.

The thought crosses his mind again, but instead of sobbing this time, he smiles and starts to stand. His pants have dirt stuck on them and there is a wet imprint of his butt on the edge of the cliff now. His clothing is still wet and weighing him down, as he paces back and forth the smile on his face growing bigger. He can hardly keep his excitement concealed, a warmth from deep within is over whelming him. The glorious thoughts running through his head, he comes to the conclusion that since he can’t change his ways, or his ideas, he will perfect them. He walks back to the edge of the cliff and plops down beside his butt imprint. He takes a deep breath, stretches, and pops his neck. The peace is broken by his stomach growling and his saliva glands salivating his mouth, so he takes one more look at the lake and stands up, so he can walk back to his truck to leave. He is ready and he is very hungry, with that big grin still stuck on his face.