Bear With Me

I read that writing a journal every day might help with being down in the dumps or being in a funk.
So I’m going to try it.

So today it rained in the afternoon which was really nice, I love how the desert smells after rain thanks to the creosote and it’s nice to get my car’s tires rolling on wet roads.

I tried to figure out why I’m so bitter about the world lately. My mom said it started when I was with my first boyfriend. At the time, I was upset because I was rejected from my dream school, Texas A&M. I was  heartbroken that I wasn’t smart enough to get in, and it meant that I couldn’t leave El Paso like I wanted to so badly. My boyfriend at the time was also getting comfortable in the relationship, and he acted more like my child than my boyfriend. I think I was hurt and frustrated because I felt that the man should be the strong one and take care of his woman. Maybe the reason I don’t like kids is because they get taken care of by default, and I wanted a bond like that with someone romantically, and I never got it.

Maybe the reason why I’ve been so down is because I’m finally realizing that that dream is dead, and long dead at that. How do you mourn a dream?

That’s where I am this evening.  Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

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That devastating moment

When you realize that you have the man you wanted. All you ever wanted was to have a good man and be his number one. His one and only.

That devastating moment when you realize that, thanks to making the mistake of a child with his now-ex-wife, you will never, ever, be his number one.

Do I stay? Or do I leave and let him keep that snotty nosed, mumbling, diaper wearing 3 year old and shut everyone out again?

Repulsive

I had to leave the group Childfree Chicks Confidential on facebook today. 😦 I love that group and being a part of it, but being around people who think the same as I do makes the way I feel about kids cement into my brain. I mean, I’m pretty stuck on the “Despise Children” setting anyway, but knowing that there are so many other women who feel the same way really tears away the handle on that switch so there’s no going back to “Kids? Whatever.”

The last post I read on that page is that one of the women thinks it’s cute to see a man holding a baby. Me? It’s actually pretty repulsive. For example, whenever I see my man, no matter what he’s wearing or what he’s doing, I can’t help but stare. I am incredibly attracted to him. But when his kid was here and ran into a wall and my man picked him up to comfort him… I almost couldn’t hide the scowl on my face. My man became incredibly unattractive just in that one action. If my man were to hold a puppy or a kitten, I’d still be completely attracted. But a kid? GTFO.

I’m so glad I have this blog. I’m not sure whether you all actually read these or they’re more like a diary, but my blog is safe. My man doesn’t even read the posts I WANT him to read, much less every post I create. And right now, I really appreciate that I can put all my true thoughts out here and I know I won’t hurt his feelings. Maybe it helps me to get my thoughts out. Don’t get me wrong, I want these thoughts to change. I love my man with my entire being. But the fact that he has a kid and claims another one as his own too… it feels like a punishment to me.

I’ve always said, “I’m not a Christian. I have a relationship with God.” The word Christian connotes a lot of judgment and hypocrisy. But my relationship with God fits me. But when I was having trouble finding a good man, I turned to God and asked Him to bring my perfect man into my life. I asked Him for specific things that I would like in a man. And weirdly enough, that’s when my man came into my life. A mutual friend of ours texted me and asked me if I was still looking for someone. My man had never spent free time with that friend before, and I hadn’t heard from that friend in well over a year. It just felt like my prayer had been answered when I went on that first date. But then he told me he has “kids”, and I only put it in quotes because only one of them is biologically his.

It’s no secret that I despise children. In fact, one of the first questions I asked my man is if he had kids, and honestly I should have walked away when he said yes. I really should have. But his personality is so perfect for me. I really feel like we’re supposed to be together. But the fact that he has kids? It feels like God opened up the sky and said “Here ya go. Here’s what you asked for. But fuck you for asking, your man has kids.” I feel like I’m being punished for asking for what I wanted. I thought that you’re supposed to ask Him for what you want. God knows trying to find a man on my own was just getting me heartbroken over and over.

I really don’t know what to do. I love this man, but the baby mama and the kids are killing me… What can I do? I don’t want all this drama with the BM and the kids… I want to be number one in his life. I deserve someone who puts me first…. but I don’t want to leave this one because I know there won’t be anyone else like him out there. And honestly, I don’t think there’s any changing how much I despise kids. That’s just the way I am.

To whoever is reading this, any advice is greatly appreciated.

“Leah’s Discovery” Part 2

               Leah went back to sit on the bed, waiting for Charlie to wake up. That was the last straw. She needed to talk to him about what was going on. He must have felt her presence close to him but not relaxed, because he woke up just minutes later.

               “Good morning, love. Are you alright?” Charlie asked innocently, his eyes full of what seemed like genuine concern.

               “Charlie,” Leah started slowly. “Where did that black wrapping paper come from?”

               “One of the guys gave it to me last night when we went out. He just gave me a little gift.”

               “To celebrate what?”

               “Guys can’t give random stuff to their friends?”

               “Of course they can. But it’s very rare. And not so soon after the recipient gets mystery calls all the time that he doesn’t want his wife to hear but calls that she hears anyway.”

               “What are you talking about, Leah?”

               “I overheard your phone conversation the other night. Saying you can’t wait to see that person again and that you would take a nice bath with them with some wine. That you’re coming up on a relationship milestone.”

               Charlie shifted, laying on his back and staring at the ceiling. He took a deep breath and began explaining. “Leah, I love you more than life itself. But I’ve recently discovered that you’re not the only one I love.”

               “Who else do you love?” Leah knew that it was a man, and that that man’s name was Ryan, but she needed to hear Charlie say it.

               “His name is Ryan.”

               “He came into the shop yesterday. Bought a set of dog tags and asked me to engrave them. So today is your one month mark with him?”

               Charlie looked over at his wife when she said that. He nodded, not taking his eyes away from hers.

               “So you’ve been cheating on me with a man. Is it at all because I haven’t been doing something that you need from me?”

               Charlie immediately got up and went to Leah, kneeling in front of her and reaching up to put his hands on her shoulders. He was about to start speaking, but he stopped. “Hang on,” he said, getting up and going to the bathroom.

               Leah heard the sounds of him brushing his teeth and washing his face, wondering why he cared about morning breath when they were discussing him cheating on her. Morning breath was the least of their problems at the moment.

               Charlie returned, taking his spot on his knees in front of her again and placing his hands on her shoulders once more. “Leah, I didn’t turn to Ryan because of anything you did. You have done nothing but give me everything I want, and you have taken care of me very well, and I still love you more than life itself. You’re still so, so important to me.”

               “But?” Leah asked despite a lump in her throat with tears stinging her eyes.

               “But once when I was out with the guys, I met Ryan. He and I talked a lot that night, and when the guys decided to go to another bar, I stayed to keep talking to Ryan. He bought me several drinks, and we went to a part of the bar that was a little more quiet, and he was telling me about how he used to be straight, but he wanted to try being with another man once, and he was hooked. He isn’t completely gay, he still loves being with women too, but he likes to be with men as well.”

               “So he convinced you to try him that night and you got hooked on it too?”

               “Not that night. But yes, that’s what happened in essence. It’s just different being with him than it is being with you.”

               “So you still love me, but you’re cheating on me.”

               “I would have thought you wouldn’t mind, since it’s another man.”

               “It’s still cheating, Charlie. When we talked about maybe bringing in another woman and how that wouldn’t be cheating, that was because you would be right there with us. It’s not cheating if everyone agrees. You were hiding this from me completely. I only found out because I overheard your phone conversation and then Ryan came into the shop and I saw the same wrapping paper I used on those dog tags in our bathroom trash can.”

               Charlie didn’t seem to know what to say to that. He just stared into Leah’s eyes and when he saw the tears fall from them, tears welled up in his own eyes as well. After a moment, he said, “I’m sorry, baby. I don’t know what to say other than ‘I’m sorry.’”

               Leah shook her head once and moved to get up, forcing Charlie to shift his weight back on his heels so she could move. She walked over to the window and stared out at their yard.

               “Well, didn’t you tell me once that you’d be open to bringing in another man as well? In the same conversation where we were talking about bringing in another woman?” Charlie asked, desperate to keep Leah from being upset.

               “We also mentioned bringing that third person in once and then never talking to them again to preserve our relationship, Charlie. Not an ongoing thing.”

               “So you would be opposed to pulling a Charlie Sheen and having two men living with you?”

               “Charlie Sheen is Charlie Sheen. He can do whatever he wants because he’s Charlie Sheen. And I believe his ‘goddesses’ are mostly there for him, not that they were together and then joined him. This is something where you have a lover on the side and you want to keep him, so you’re asking me if I want to share you with him. This is you trying not to have to make a choice.”

               “I don’t want to have to make a choice.”

               “You married me, Charlie. You made a commitment to me. The fact that you have someone else now that you’re adding into the mix tells me that that commitment means nothing to you. That you just want to keep doing what you’re doing and try to make it seem like the best thing for everyone.”

               “You’d really like Ryan, though. And I think he would really like you, too. You just might fall in love with him, as easily as you fall in love.”

               “Not when he stole my husband in the first place, I don’t.”

               “He didn’t steal me, my love. I’m still here with you. I still love you.”

               “And you lied to me and you were hiding phone calls with him from me and…. You know what, that’s why I let you have guy time and I don’t beg to come along with you. I trusted that you would remember that I’m your wife and I’m supposed to be the one satisfying you. I trusted that you wouldn’t go off and hide things from me. This isn’t even about you being with a man now, it’s about trust and how you broke mine.”

               Leah had given Charlie something else he couldn’t find an answer to. She shook her head again and went to the closet to get dressed. She couldn’t stand to be in the house with him for another minute with how upset she was. She didn’t even care if Charlie brought Ryan over while she was gone. She just needed to get out of the house.

               She called her best friend Marlene and explained the situation as she was driving, and Marlene graciously invited Leah over to her house immediately. Leah spent over three hours with Marlene, crying and drinking the Jack Daniels bourbon Marlene kept in the house and crying more, and Marlene kept up with her in sympathy. Leah didn’t know where to start when it came to thinking of a solution.

               That evening when Leah decided it was time to go home, she was thoroughly intoxicated, so she left her vehicle at Marlene’s house and called a cab to take her home. She managed to unlock the front door and make her way to the couch, lying down and turning on the television to select a movie she didn’t really need to concentrate on. She heard footsteps in the kitchen and sat up to look.

               Charlie was there, and Ryan was with him. They were apparently making dinner and Leah hadn’t even noticed. The men stopped what they were doing and looked at her, and she looked at them. She only held their gaze for a few seconds, however; her body decided it was time that she fall asleep until her drunkenness had subsided.

               When she woke up, she was in her bed with the covers over her. She remembered what had happened the day before, and she was surprised that she had ended up in bed instead of the men leaving her on the couch. She pulled the blanket back and found that they had even changed her clothes. There was also a note on the bed next to her pillow. It read:

               “Leah, I’ve told Ryan about you, and he thinks the three of us could make it work. It’s up to you what you’d like to do, but until you make your decision, I’m going to give you some space to think, and I’m staying with Ryan. I hope we can work things out. Much love, Charlie.”

               “Well, you kind of made my choice for me, didn’t you? Staying with Ryan instead of with me while I think about things. I hope you’re happy with him, since you chose him over your wife.” Leah thought, and went to the kitchen to find the telephone number of a divorce attorney in the phone book.

“Leah’s Discovery” Part 1

               “Oh, I’ll be right back, sweetheart, I need to take this call,” Charlie said, bracing his hand on Leah’s knee as he got up. He didn’t press the ‘send’ key until he had reached the back porch and closed the sliding glass door behind him. He hadn’t even waited for her to say anything.

               He never missed seeing The Big Bang Theory. Ever. No matter how many times episodes were run, Charlie watched them and sometimes spoke the lines along with the characters. But lately he had been missing more and more of them for mystery calls like the one he just took. Leah had been suspicious of him for several months, but in the past two weeks, Charlie was over-doing the secretive thing. And it wasn’t because her birthday or their anniversary was coming up and he was trying to hide what kind of present he was getting her. He had worked to keep presents from her, but nothing special was coming up anytime soon. He used to drop by the shop she owned every single day to take her something special for lunch and spend an hour with her during the day, but for the past few weeks he had been coming in less and less often. She knew his work wasn’t getting too busy for him to be coming in, either. He was a car salesman, working at the Dodge dealership close to her shop, but he always made sure he came in around lunchtime whenever he was done with the customer he happened to be working with.  

               Leah had come to the conclusion that Charlie was cheating on her. Without turning on any extra lights, she walked to the kitchen where she had left the window open to air out the room, keeping it from smelling like the salmon she had prepared for dinner. She heard Charlie’s voice right outside the window, so he must have been leaning against the house as he talked to whoever was on the phone. She knew that she shouldn’t be eavesdropping, but she couldn’t help herself from trying to find out if her suspicions were correct.

               “Oh, I’m just sitting here with my wife watching The Big Bang Theory. What? I know, but at least I do spend time with you when I can, you know that. I know, I can’t wait to see you again either. You know what I realized the other day? We’re almost hitting a relationship mile marker soon. Yes, I’m excited about it. I have something special planned. I don’t know what I’m going to tell her yet. Don’t worry though, I’ll tell her something and you and I will have a special evening, you have my word. Okay? Don’t you trust me? Yes, we’ll have plenty of time for that. Take a nice bath together or something to start off with, how’s that? I’ll stop by and get us some wine to enjoy, too. Yeah, I think I like getting you drunk…” Charlie paused in between sentences, letting the other person talk.

Leah couldn’t listen to any more. She walked back to the couch, sat down, and blankly stared at the television. After a minute of staring, she decided she’d like to go and take a hot shower instead. It hadn’t sounded like Charlie was going to be done with his conversation in the next few minutes, so she started taking off clothes on her way to the master bathroom, dropping them on the floor when she felt cool tile under her toes. For the first time since she married Charlie nine years ago, she closed and locked the bathroom door as she finished undressing and turned on the water. The bathroom was completely lined with tile, so she knew the sound of the water falling from the showerhead would overpower any sounds she made if she started crying. Which she did.

Her body shook with sobs, and she braced her hands on the wall the showerhead protruded from, letting the hot water fall on her. Her long blonde hair had fallen over her shoulders and was now plastered to her breasts, covering her nipples. She had the fleeting thought that her hair was long enough and thick enough to keep her breasts from swaying obscenely as she cried. That thought led to memories of Charlie in this very shower with her, his hands where her hair was now, pulling her body tight against him. She wondered what his mistress looked like, and if his hands cupped her breasts as gently as they did hers. She wondered if the mistress’s head met Charlie’s chest at the perfect height like hers did, if he stared into her eyes with as much love as he had stared into hers. She knew it was even worse for her to be thinking those thoughts than listening to that conversation, but she honestly couldn’t help wondering where she had failed her husband for him to find someone else to satisfy whatever need she couldn’t.

She cried harder, until her legs became weak and she sat on the floor of the full-size bathtub, her head right under the hot spray, droplets of water that fell from the showerhead disguising the drops of water that fell from her eyes. She knew she couldn’t hold back all the noise she made crying, but what noise she couldn’t hold back, the echo of the running water would cover. So she let out all the hurt that had filled her heart through all of her suspicion.

Then she heard a knock on the bathroom door. Charlie’s voice filtered through the door, “Honey? Are you okay in there? You never lock the door when you take a shower.”

“I’m fine, Charlie, just needed some me time.” Leah knew that excuse would work.

“Okay, sweetie. I was just going to come in to use the restroom, though.”

“You can’t use the bathroom in the hall?”

“I meant I wanted to take a shower, too.”

“I’m using the shower right now, I’m almost finished.”

Charlie paused. “Oh. Okay, honey. Just let me know when you’re finished. I’ll be in the living room.”

Leah waited until enough time passed that would allow him to get to the couch and get comfortable, and then she shampooed and conditioned her hair, shaved her legs, arms, and for the first time in several weeks, the area between her legs that made her entirely female. She couldn’t resist giving herself a little extra pampering, making herself as beautiful as she knew how. She would get Charlie all worked up, and then tell him that she was going out with her best friend Marlene.

She would call Marlene on the way, of course, asking for permission to go to the house and have a glass of wine and maybe watch a chick flick. But she would make Charlie miss her. And then she would leave him hot and hard and ready for her and then just… walk away. She could do that. He deserved balls the color of a Smurf. Of course, if she went out and left him hard, he would likely call his girlfriend over and make love to her in their marital bed.

Maybe she should just get all prettied up and then go to bed. Let him wonder why she’s so smooth and moisturized and sexy. That sounded like a better plan.

“Okay Charlie, I’m done,” she called to him when she was finished.

“I’ll be there in a sec, sugar, the show’s almost done,” he called back.

Before that phone call, Leah would simply have gone about her business and left him alone. Now, however, she wanted to know what was really going on.

She approached the living room and stopped just before the corner, angling her head so she could see his reflection in the glass front of the kitchen cabinets. The Conan O’Brian show was on, The Big Bang Theory had ended. Charlie hated Conan. So she peeked her head around the corner just enough so she could see, and she didn’t have to worry about him seeing her. His eyes were closed, his pants were low around his thighs, his shirt was up around his chest, and he was pleasuring himself with one hand and holding his cell phone up to his ear with the other hand. He wasn’t saying anything, but Leah was guessing that the other party was happy with doing all the talking without getting anything in return. She wasn’t sure how long he had been working at it, but she didn’t want to see him climax listening to someone else’s voice.

She went back to the bedroom and got into bed, hoping to fall asleep quickly so she didn’t have to see him walk in trying to cover up the mess he made on the way to the bathroom. The mundane noises in the house and coming from outside faded in and out, and she was grateful to fall asleep quickly.

The next morning, she woke up with her alarm and found that Charlie was already gone. Sometimes he did leave before she woke up, so that wasn’t any cause for alarm. He had done that since they were married. She finished her morning routine and left for the shop, hoping today was one of the days that he didn’t take her lunch.

Customers came in and out steadily throughout the day, purchasing small gifts for their loved ones. Most of them were repeat customers, and she knew they didn’t need her help. One customer, however, she had never seen before. As he walked in, he looked a bit lost, so she asked if he needed help.

“Uh, yes, ma’am, I’m looking for something special for my boyfriend?”

He didn’t throw off any “normal” signs of being gay, and the statement took her back for a moment. “Of course, sir, do you have an idea of what you’re looking for?”

“Well, I see that you have sterling silver jewelry, and I was wondering if you do engraving or if you have personalized jewelry or things like that?”

“Yes sir, I do, and I will engrave anything you like, if you give me about an hour and a half. The most popular things I have that people engrave are in this case over here, let me show you,” Leah said as she led the young man to a glass case.

After looking over what she had, the young man decided to purchase a set of sterling silver dog tags. He pointed them out and looked up at her with a bright smile, as if he knew this was exactly what his lover would want.

“Great choice! What would you like me to engrave on them?” Leah said, unlocking the case and taking out a spare, brand new set of the dog tags.

The young man said simply, “On one, ‘To Charlie’ on one side, ‘Love Ryan’ and on the other one, I’d like ‘One month’ and tomorrow’s date?”

Leah stopped for a moment again, and then convinced herself that he couldn’t be Charlie’s lover. Charlie wasn’t gay… was he? “That sounds wonderful, congratulations on one month together.” It took a lot of effort for her to smile over that, but she did, and she was confident that it looked genuine. She hoped it looked genuine, because she didn’t want this young man to think she disapproved at all. She truly was happy for him and his partner. “I can have that ready in about an hour and a half, or possibly sooner, does that sound good?”

“Oh, yes, ma’am, that sounds great. I’ll be back around that time, then.” He handed her his credit card and paid for the item, walking out with a big smile.

Leah couldn’t help but be happy for the young man, seeing his happiness at buying a gift for such a short-term anniversary. First, she hoped it wasn’t her Charlie, and second, she did hope they were happy together.

She engraved the dog tags just the way he wanted it, with a font that suggested both masculinity and a touch of class. It only took her 45 minutes to finish the engraving, and her other customers were all regulars that she knew didn’t need help, so she took an extra step with the gift and wrapped the box in black wrapping paper and added a deep red ribbon, working hard to make the bow perfect.

The young man came back just as Leah was finishing the ribbon, and she was very pleased to hand him his gift just as he walked back up to the counter. He seemed very pleased with how quickly the engraving was done, and he left her a tip, telling her not to tell anyone.

Leah finished her day without any other big event, and threw herself on the couch as soon as she got home, not bothering to take off her shoes or anything. She quickly fell asleep.

When she woke up, Charlie was leaving the house, evidently after having a nice shower and making himself look very handsome. Leah almost told him to come to her and make love to her, but instead she asked where he was going.

“I’m just going out with the guys, sweetie. I’ll see you in the morning, okay? I love you,” Charlie replied, not even coming to her to say goodbye or even kiss her on the forehead.

Leah almost began crying again, wondering if there was anything she could do to get her husband back. She was still so in love with him, and she was willing to do almost anything to get him back and keep him. All she could do now was make herself dinner and relax for the night, watching a movie to try to keep her mind occupied.

The next morning, Saturday, Leah woke up before Charlie, and when she went into the bathroom to brush her teeth and wash her face, she saw black wrapping paper in the wastebasket. She also saw a red ribbon that Charlie had tried to cover up with what had been in the wastebasket before. There was also a set of dog tags in Charlie’s shaving kit.

“Fatality”

A twinkling eye can mean so many things. The ones that are twinkling at me right now have murder in them. These same eyes twinkled at me with love when I was sixteen years old, just five years ago. My mother loved me with all her heart when I was a child. She was a normally functioning, socially relevant figure, the director of a MADD-like group in our city of Casper, Wyoming. I say “MADD-like” because those women were against… just about everything. Alcohol, drugs, prescription pills, just about anything that wasn’t natural. They didn’t see the good things that prescription drugs could produce, just the fact that they can be used as things to alter brain function and damage a life.

People tried to remind them that almost anything can be made into a drug with enough willpower and the right tools, but we still had permission to use Sharpie markers, White Out, and paint for assorted activities we needed for school and things like that. Those ladies were kind of crazy, but everyone appreciated what they did to keep the children and teenagers away from drugs.

I had a little sister. My dad had divorced my mom when I was ten, and mom remarried when I was fourteen. She got pregnant with Lee’s child within months of marrying him, and I was just about to hit my fifteenth birthday when she had my little sister. I thought it was pretty gross, actually. She made me hold her hand when she was giving birth, because Lee was off on a business trip. No one is ever supposed to see their mother give birth. It’s just wrong. But I stood next to her and held her hand and said nice things to her because I loved her. And I saw my sister’s tiny face and squinkly eyes and… I loved her, too. I guess being there for my mom through the whole pregnancy triggered some kind of maternal instincts in me, too, because as soon as I saw my sister, I knew I was going to keep her safe.

My mom was always there, too. Lee wanted her to stay home with Isabelle, and mom was happy with that. She took great care of both of us, making sure we ate healthy things and did our homework and everything. I actually had a great life, and even though I thought I wouldn’t like Lee because he wasn’t my real dad and all that, he treated me just as good as he treated Isabelle. It was like I was his blooded daughter, too. And I learned to love him like my own father.

My best friend and her family lived on the property next to ours. They had a man-made lake on the property, and we went swimming a lot, despite the water being so cold. My mom always told me to make sure Isabelle never saw me swimming in that lake, because she was afraid Isabelle would want to swim in it even if no one else was around. So I always told my mom when I was going over to swim so she could distract Isabelle and I could hop the fence and I knew that Isabelle couldn’t see the lake from the edge of our property if she decided to look for me.

But one day, Isabelle did see me swimming, and she asked my mom if she could swim, too. My mom told her no, of course, because the water was too cold for her. Isabelle was only three, and she was stubborn and very smart. She decided to go swimming when she knew my mom wasn’t paying attention. Mom knew I was at my best friend’s house, and she had given Isabelle some activities to do so she could have time alone with Lee. Isabelle saw her opportunity, and she went over to that man-made lake and went swimming. I guess she had just eaten lunch, so she must have developed a cramp in her stomach that was only exacerbated by the cold water. She drowned in that lake.

My best friend and I had come outside to have girl talk away from her parents, and we were going to sit by the lake with some blankets and lunch. That’s when we found Isabelle. I took her body out of the water and ran back to my house, yelling for my mom. She came downstairs after a few minutes, in a bathrobe and her hair disheveled. She called 911, but Isabelle had been dead for some time, and there was no way the paramedics could have saved her.

My little sister died because my mother was having sex with her husband. And my mother never forgave herself for it. Rightly so, in my opinion. She knew how Isabelle was, and she knew that Isabelle wanted to go swimming. She knew that I wasn’t aware of where Isabelle was supposed to be. She had my little sister cremated, the ashes placed in a beautiful red painted urn, and she placed that urn on the fireplace mantel. Red was Isabelle’s favorite color.

Things started to go downhill from there. My mother was always out of the house, walking the streets looking for God-knows-what, maybe even trying to find Isabelle. Someone mentioned to me once that they had heard my mother praying to God, asking Him to bring Isabelle back from the dead and back to her. I didn’t doubt it. I think Mom loved Isabelle more than she loved me, although she’d never admit it. She seemed to go a little… mentally ill after Isabelle’s death. She would be making dinner one night and suddenly come to my room, asking me why I was yelling at her when I hadn’t even said anything out loud at all. I would tell her so, but she always contradicted me, saying that I was yelling at her and I just didn’t want to admit to it. Lee actually sided with me several times, defending me against my mother’s random attacks. Then she would yell at him, saying that he didn’t want to have Isabelle and that he took her to the lake so she would drown just to get revenge for Isabelle being born.

Which totally wasn’t the case. Lee loved Isabelle, and she was the only child he ever fathered. He had been hoping that he and my mother could have a child together since they were engaged.

Lee tried to get my mother to go to a counselor or even a psychiatrist to get evaluated, but she kept saying that she wasn’t crazy, she didn’t need help, she especially wasn’t going to a psychiatrist because all they would do was prescribe her drugs that she would get hooked on and eventually overdose. She wouldn’t go talk to any professional, and then she stopped talking to everyone. Lee wanted to divorce her, but he couldn’t bring himself to leave my mother in that state without any support, and he wanted to make sure I had someone to take care of me. I was eighteen, but I hadn’t applied to any colleges and my minimum wage job wasn’t going to pay any bills. And I really appreciated him staying, because I was afraid that I would start acting like my mom if I stayed with her and didn’t have any other parental influence.

Eventually, my mom disappeared. One night she went to bed when Lee was out of town on business overnight, and when I woke up in the morning, she was nowhere to be found. I waited all day, hoping that she would come back from one of her walks, but she didn’t. I went to my best friend’s house, asking if I could search the lake to see if my mother had drowned herself, but my mother wasn’t there. Lee returned, and we waited another two days, and there was no sign of my mother. We didn’t bother calling the police about her. If she had been causing trouble, they would have called us. We didn’t get any calls or visits from the police, so we guessed that she was out there somewhere.  

It was cruel, but we joked that maybe she went out into the mountains to find a place to die and put herself out of her misery. We continued on through life, and still there was no sign of my mother.

Now I’m twenty-two years old, I live in the same house as I did when Isabelle died, and my mother is at the door.

“You’re alive.” I point out, not knowing what else to say.

“I am. And I’m here.” Her hair is disheveled again, almost exactly as it had been when she found out about Isabelle. She is wearing a different nightgown than I remebered, but I guess she must have stolen a new one. She neglected to steal shoes to go with it.

“You didn’t take your key with you when you left?”

“I didn’t plan on coming back.”

“So why did you?”

“I forgot Isabelle.”

“It’s been years. Why now?”

“Because I wanted to take you, too,” my mother spits at me, suddenly slashing at me with a giant kitchen knife she had obviously been using on other things that could bleed, evidenced by the red-stained wooden handle.

I move quickly, dodging her attempt to slice my stomach. Her momentum takes her into the house, and I slam my elbow into the center of her back, hoping to knock her to the floor. I succeed, the impact of falling knocking the knife out of her hand. I jump on her, pulling her arms behind her back and straddling her ass. It must look like a mix between a legitimate arrest and a bad lesbian porno, and I actually chuckle at myself for coming up with such a good analogy.

Lee shows up in the doorway, freezing for a moment and then rushing to call the police. The officer must have been in the area, because he shows up with lights flashing and siren crying in three minutes. Which feels like forever when you’re trying to hold down an insane woman who wants to grab the knife she came to your house with to try to kill you.

The officer clicks the handcuffs, making them tight so there’s no chance my mother can escape. I help him try to lift her up and she kicks me in the knee, hyperextending it. I back away, grimacing and wanting to punch my mother in the face for hurting me.

“Sir, can you hold your wife back so I can get the extra cuffs from the patrol car?” the officer asks.

Lee nods and sits my mother back down, facing the house so she can’t see out the front door. The officer returns in seconds, holding another pair of handcuffs and what looks like a chain that will connect the two pairs. He places the second pair around her ankles and clips the chain to both pairs as I suspected, effectively hog-tying my mother. She is lying on the floor on her belly, knees bent and her ankles in the air due to the cuffs. She turns her head to face me, and her eyes are twinkling with murderous intent.

“I just want both my daughters together. I want to have you near me all the time so I never lose either of you,” she says, her voice strangely plaintive, completely at odds with her stare.

“I’m not dead, Mom. You can’t keep me like Isabelle.”

“Do not say her name!” my mother yells at me, struggling against the steel that holds her wrists and ankles.

“Isabelle. Don’t acknowledge her existence without her name, mother. Isabelle,” I say gently, hoping to change something in my mother.

All she does is scream, and the officer makes a comment about having to take her away and put her in jail until someone gives her the right analysis that would put her in an insane asylum. Lee and I help him take her to the patrol car, lying her on her stomach in the plastic backseat as she screams and spits and yells out curses on all of us.

Lee and I stand on the porch watching the patrol car disappear down the street. We never heard anything about my mother again, although we heard rumors that she escaped from the insane asylum and was hit and killed by a train on her explorations. I’m sure she hated dying a different way than Isabelle died.