PICTURES OF US
by Savannah Hendricks
I knew I was dead. I could feel it. I looked down and through myself. They would have performed CPR if I had a pulse, but at this point I didn’t. The EMT had dragged my wife back to the ambulance to sedate her. I wanted Kristy to know I was here. Her screams subsided, and I knew the medicine was finally working its way through her blood stream.
At the hospital I tried to show Kristy in some way that I was there, but nothing prevailed. I had yet to find out why I was still lingering about in this state. After a couple of days my wife was finally released to go home. I think she wanted to stay.
Kristy climbed into her car in the hospital garage; a police officer had driven it there for her. I rode with her on the drive home. The car was silent, except for the trembling of her hands on the wheel. I wondered if she was paying attention to the road or just driving from memory. Kristy pulled into our driveway, shut off the car, and sat. I noticed baskets of flowers and other trinkets by the front door. I doubted if she noticed them yet.
“What am I going to do Nathan? This is our house.”
Taking a large over-drawn breath she opened the car door and climbed out. Her pace to the house was sluggish and wobbly. Walking up the front porch steps she came upon the gifts. She covered her eyes and sank to the concrete step below, tears rolled down her palms.
“I am right here honey, please don’t cry.”
I felt helpless, she couldn’t hear me. Kristy finally stood, leaving the gifts where they were, and unlocked the front door.
The red light from the answering machine blinked rapidly, but she ignored it and walked straight to the kitchen sink. She lowered her head and slurped water from the faucet. Wiping off her mouth with her right sleeve she turned around. I stood a foot away from her, but she didn’t see me. Kristy headed upstairs into our bedroom’s walk-in-closet. She began throwing all of my clothes off the shelves and hangers.
“Damn you Nathan! How dare you!”
Everything that came out of her mouth was sharp with rage. Kristy fell asleep that night on the closet floor wrapped in my clothes.
My mind went back to when I died. I could see her car, finally coming upon the crash site. She saw my car, the accident, and slammed on her brakes. I watched her stumble over to my mangled chaos of metal, screaming. She tugged and pulled the passenger door, eventually getting it to budge.
“Nathan, wake up, come on,” Kristy said with such patience.
Blood ran down my temple and across her hand that rested on my cheek.
“Please just let me wake up enough to say good-bye!” I screamed from my soul. “Please! She needs me. Can’t you see?”
I hung somewhere between layers of an eternal divide as I watched Kristy start to lose control. I remained in the driver’s seat as she pulled my head to her chest.
“Please no!” Kristy continued to plead. Her tears ran down and mixed with my blood below.
You think that I’d be concerned about where I would end up. At this point I didn’t know, and didn’t care. Watching Kristy being pulled away from me by an EMT seemed heartbreaking – if my heart could still accomplish such a human feeling at this point.
As the days went on, the nights turned into the worst part for Kristy. I realized for the first time in my life what love meant. I knew I loved Kristy. I had since our third date. But now I saw what love looked like from the opposite side. Deep and powerful, beyond anything I had ever realized. For the first time I recognized how much my wife loved me and how short I fell in my love for her.
Kristy was having a microwave dinner, the first so called real meal she had since coming home, she paused, picking up a picture frame from the pile spread across the couch. The photo was of our vacation to New England, the fall colors behind our cuddled up bodies. Pictures of us together had all been taken out of our photo albums and placed in plain sight all over the house. You couldn’t turn an inch without seeing one. Taped to the kitchen cupboards and walls were wedding and Christmas pictures of us.
Seeing something move fast out of the corner of my eye I moved closer to Kristy. Her hand was by her neck and then it gradually fell to her side. In her neck was a serrated dinner knife, the black handle protruding. Tears fell from her troubled eyes as blood flowed from her mouth and neck like warm maple syrup.
“No, Kristy! Honey what are you doing?! No!” I yelled without meaning.
She dropped to the floor in one swift movement. In her hand she held a picture of us in formal wear, her in lacy white, me in a black tuxedo. The picture of us slid from Kristy’s hand as her eyes gazed on.
©2016, Savannah Hendricks