W A R D U N I
V E R S I T Y|
Faces & Voices IV
AN ANTHOLOGY OF VERSE AND PROSE
I was jolted from my sleep by a loud thunderous banging. Someone was knocking at the front door. I rubbed my eyes and wiped away the trickle of dribble that was gradually streaming down the side of my mouth. Where was I anyway? Little by little, I made out the vague outlines of the stove and refrigerator. In the darkness of the kitchen, I glanced at the bright yellow digits blinking on my wristwatch. It was 1:49 a.m. By then, the candles I had set alight were nothing but unlit stumps of wax and the intimate but untouched dinner of chicken breasts in mushroom sauce, steamed vegetables, and potatoes au gratin had long gone cold. There was an empty bottle of Moet and Chandon lying on its side on the floral silk tablecloth, and the remnants of a glass of champagne sat near where I laid.
In a brief moment of recognition, I figured out who was knocking on my
door. It had to be my wife.
She’d forgotten her keys…again.
I attempted to rise to my feet and swiftly collapsed right back into my
The pounding on the door continued relentlessly.
It seemed loud enough to wake my neighbors, who were at least a mile
away. The knocking coupled with the horrible pounding in my head
was almost enough to drive me crazy. I was dizzy and disillusioned and
everything but the scene directly in front of me was hazy.
Again, I attempted to lift myself to a standing position, but having
learned from my initial attempt, I was sure to steady myself on the back of my
chair. I cautiously crept towards
the front door. My trip down the hall, across the living room, and finally
through the foyer seemed to last for an eternity and my stomach bubbled and
churned along the way. When I
finally got to the door, the insistent knocking had stopped and I peered
through the peephole. I caught a
glimpse of my wife’s back as she retreated from the house. I hurriedly undid
the deadbolt, removed the chain, and hauled the door open.
The clattering of the door hitting the inside wall startled her and she
“Oh honey, I thought you were asleep and I didn’t want to…” She
stopped short and her eyes became wide saucers.
“What on Earth happened to you?
Why do you look like that,” she asked me.
“Look like what,” I slurred as I spun around to look at my
reflection in the mirror on the opposite wall.
What I saw almost frightened me into sobriety.
My eyes were bloodshot and glazed, my hair matted and stuck to my
forehead, and my clothes disheveled and wrinkled.
I looked as if I had just returned from a three-week visit to hell.
She walked up the steps and past me, staying as far away from me as
humanly possible. After I got
over my initial shock about my appearance, I shut the door.
The lights in the kitchen had been turned on and I followed the soft
glow. I found my wife busy
putting away the food and loading dishes into the dishwasher.
When she heard my footsteps, she turned around to address me.
“Sweetie, I’m so sorry! I
completely forgot about our plans tonight!”
“You forget a lot lately,” I said huffily. Our relationship was
traveling down a highway to disaster at 100 miles per hour.
My wife was a work-a-holic. She
spent unnecessary overtime hours at the office and, in essence, completely
neglected our marriage. We had no
children, so every evening, I would come home to an empty house at about 5:30,
only to sit alone for another six or seven hours awaiting the return of the
woman I loved more than my life. Many
nights, sleep would come before she did.
And even on the nights when her arrival found me awake, either one or
both of us would be too tired to even imagine partaking in any intimacy.
For this reason, I had planned this special night for us.
One day, I called her at her office and literally had to beg her to
take a few minutes out of her busy schedule to talk to her husband.
I desperately explained that I simply could not deal with her
absenteeism any longer. I told
her that unless she made a serious attempt to focus her attention on “us”,
I would be forced to leave. The
cozy dinner was actually her idea. She
told me to make all the arrangements and she would be there.
So tonight I’d had dinner catered, bought a $200 bottle of champagne,
lit some scented candles, put on some romantic music, dressed in my best pair
of slacks and a button down shirt, and even threw in some sexy, new lingerie
from Victoria’s Secret for her…but she forgot.
As I stood there replaying her selfish actions in my mind, my blood
began to boil. How could she stand there “sincerely” apologizing, yet
not come over to me to offer a hug or any other type of affection?
She just continued to straighten up the kitchen and then proceeded to
tell me about her “terrible” day at work.
I was conscious that I was drunk, but the rage had already won out over
any common sense. I staggered
over to her and stuck my finger in her face.
“I’m so sick of your bullshit,” I screamed.
I was on the brink of insanity. She shut up instantly and stared at me
“You always forget! Sometimes
I have to wonder if you’re married to that damn job or me!
I waited for hours! Hours! Oh, I know what it is! You’re
having an affair, aren’t you? I
knew it! Who is it?
Is it that Leroy Finley? No,
no. It’s your bastard boss!
That’s why you’ve been doing so much overtime!
You probably screw him when the office is closed!
I don’t believe this!”
A small part of my brain was frantically screaming at me to be
reasonable. I knew that what I
was saying was totally irrational, but I was far beyond the point of no
return. I kept telling myself
that she deserved it for the way she was treating me.
I brutally pushed her into the dishwasher as I directed a barrage of
obscenities and accusations at her. I
didn’t realize what I was doing until I felt the sting of my hand slapping
her face. After the first slap, I
couldn’t stop. It felt so good
to vent all of my frustrations on the person who had caused them!
The slaps soon became punches and then kicks.
I barely heard her screams of terror or saw the fear in her eyes as she
cowered and attempted to protect her face from my angry blows.
I grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her incessantly, finally
pitching her across the room. The
first thing I heard clearly was the resounding “CRACK” when her head
connected with the edge of the sturdy, hardwood table.
After her body slumped to the floor, she didn’t move. That was when I
began to come out of my stupor. Fright
hit me like a freight truck. I
ran and kneeled over her seemingly lifeless body.
“Honey! Honey! Wake up! Sweetie!
Get up,” I screamed frantically as I shook her.
She was not moving. I put
my ear to her chest, but I didn’t hear a heartbeat.
“What have I done? I
killed her! No! She can’t be dead!
Please, God, don’t let her be dead!”
I spotted the cordless telephone lying on the counter and picked it up
without thinking. I dialed 911
and the instant the dispatcher answered, I began shrieking insanely.
“I’ve killed my wife! I
didn’t do it on purpose! It was
an accident! I swear!” I was
sobbing uncontrollably and the dispatcher’s attempts to calm me were futile.
I slammed the phone back into its cradle and grabbed a knife from the
block on the counter. I walked
over to my wife and sat beside her motionless body.
Being very careful not to get any blood on her beautiful face, I laid
back and slit my own throat. As I
felt the hot gush of blood spurt from my throat, I vaguely heard the sound of
sirens approaching. Then,
everything went black…
2000 Howard University.