“Oopsie!” she giggled to herself. “I got more blood on the carpet…” An old cartoon flashed incongruously through her mind, and she said out loud, “I’m a baaaaddd little boy!”
More little giggles escaped from her mouth. She put her hand up to stop them, feeling, somehow, that perhaps this wasn’t a giggling moment. She glanced again at the paper on the floor. Reaching out, she turned it over. And remembered. She threw the paper as far from herself as she could, but somehow, in that crummy way that always seems to happen, the breeze from the ceiling fan caught it up and brought it right back to her lap. She cringed, trying to escape its touch, and it landed harmlessly on the floor next to her right foot. Well, maybe not harmlessly, since it landed face up. She tried to look away but could not. It was a picture. Of them together. Her favorite picture of them together. Only now the faces were scratched out and she could no longer see the happy, smiling faces. Tears began to fall from her eyes and she glanced up from her place on the floor to her desk, where her computer sat. A wave of nausea went through her as she saw the glowing monitor. It was there. It was real. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut, counted to ten, then slowly, carefully, opened them again, hoping the computer screen would be different. It wasn’t.
Her sobs filled the room and she curled up in a rocking ball on the floor, heedless of the glass shards sticking to her skin, her clothes, her hair. For several minutes the crying, the moaning, went on, until she could no longer breathe. Gasping for air, she tried to get up but could not. Glancing into the dining room she saw the empty bottle of wine and an emptied bottle of tranquilizers lying on its side. Oh, yeah, that’s why I can’t get up, she thought.
So she crawled toward the refectory table that served as her computer desk. Crawled, slowly, across the glass-strewn floor. Remembering, as she did so, how she had fallen to the floor in a crumpled heap when she had read the letter. Remembered crawling to her bedroom, on the other side of the house, crying and screaming, to get her pills. Remembered pulling herself up by the post of her bed and staggering back to the kitchen with the little brown bottle. Remembered wanting the screaming to stop, needing it to stop, and taking all but one of the little pills to make it stop; washing them down, in two huge gulps with the entire bottle of wine – or is that whine? Within a few moments, the screams had lessened and she could breathe almost normally. She had staggered back to the computer and read the letter again. She called her mom and read it to her. Her mother begged her not to hang up, but Robin hung up on her anyway. Then she had glanced to the left of her computer and seen that picture. The one in the beautiful gold frame. The one containing a picture of those two, beautiful people, so obviously in love – NOT! She had been, yes, but according to the letter, he was a big, fat, fucking liar! She had picked up the frame and smashed it to bits on the door jamb to the office; beaten it against the corner until it broke into bits, glass flying everywhere, the picture flying out, the wood cutting into her hand. Once it was done, she had felt better, a bit, until she looked down and saw that the fucking picture was still intact. She screamed at it and fell to her knees on the floor. She snatched up a triangle of glass and scratched their faces out, screaming the whole time. Then she had passed out.
Well, I could have gone the rest of my life without remembering all of that, Robin thought. Pulling herself up into her office chair, she forced herself to look at the screen, forced herself to read those hateful words again, hating herself for sobbing throughout…not noticing the blood continuing to drip everywhere…
I no longer have a cell phone or a Myspace account. I did this because, as you know, I am a coward. I am doing this now because I owe you the truth. I did not feel what you felt when we first saw each other again. I lied to you because I could not bear seeing the hurt in your eyes. You guessed my thoughts and I made up the elaborate story of how I turned inward because I was afraid. I really did want to say good bye to you before it was too late.
More and more as time went on I thought of what I owed you for loving me so long and I tried to make you happy, even to the point of deluding myself into believing I could ever leave my wife and kids.
I had to get away from you long enough to figure out what I truly wanted and I know now I was never in love with you after Paducah. I was trying to say goodbye; I owed you that.
I owe you a lifetime of making you happy and taking care of you, but I can’t even take care of myself. I am trying to figure out why I can’t seem to feel anything anymore. All I know to do is behave myself and try to live out my days looking after my family. I have betrayed everyone who ever cared about me and I don’t want to feel ever again the self loathing I feel now. Please respect that. I pray you find someone who truly loves you and makes you happy. I am more sorry for the damage I’ve done than I know how to say.
“You mother fucking, fucking, mother fucking liar!” She screamed at the words. “You lied to make me happy?? Well, that worked out REALLY FUCKING WELL, didn’t it? Look how fucking happy I am!!!!!!! I cannot believe you have done this. Said this. I can’t believe you MEAN THIS!!!!!!!!! You really ARE the asshole everyone was afraid you were??? You fucking told me I was everything to you – and it was all just a lie? You must have been really and truly fucking bored to go to such lengths, mother fucker!! Oh My GOD!!!” She could barely breathe and her eyes were burning from the tears, and the last, tiny little bit of her heart snapped in two.
“You could have made me happy, you ass, with a couple of love letters and a pity fuck or two. Instead you have to put on a whole fucking production?? Who the hell do you think you are – Andrew Fucking Lloyd Webber???? And on top of all that, I asked you, no I begged you: IF IT WAS A LIE, PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME!! LET ME KEEP MY NEARLY LIFELONG BELIEF THAT WE ARE JUST STAR-CROSSED LOVERS NEVER MEANT TO BE!!! But, NO! You couldn’t fucking do that, could you?? Couldn’t leave me with anything but a fucked up life and a fucking TATTOO!! Oh, Goddammit, I hate you! I cannot believe I have….that I…” She struggled for breath, struggled to keep screaming at him, at those horrible words. “I FUCKING BELIEVED YOU!!!” She yelled as loud as she could.
Sobbing uncontrollably now, and feeling dizzy, Robin put her head on her arms on the desk and just…fell apart. Totally. Her whole body shook as she cried, near hysteria. (Near? I think she was there…) She whispered out loud, “You are a coward…you really fooled me, though, Michael. Instead of making me a princess, the princess…you always….said I truly was…instead of protecting me…after I told you everything that had happened – Gramp, Jeff, everything…after you held me and promised…promised that you would never let anyone hurt me again…you…YOU” – the sobs overtook her for a moment – “You fucking hurt me the most. YOU! The only person in the world I ever fucking trusted…the one person I believed would never, ever do anything to hurt me!!…Fuck!…You turned me into a whore…and a homewrecker-would-be…you…you left me alone. Again! I shouldn’t have ever answered your email. You dumb, fucking, mother fucking liar…you ass…I hate you…I hate you!…I…hate…” She paused and tried to breathe. “I want to hate you. I should hate you. But I’m an idiot and I don’t. I love you. Damn me to hell, but I love you!”
Robin sat up then and knocked over the computer monitor. She got up from the chair, headed toward the kitchen for something else to drink. But she only made it two steps before she collapsed to the floor, unconscious – whether from the pills and wine or from the loss of blood, who knows?
She was still lying there when her mother arrived twenty minutes later.
to be continued