A Shift in Perspective.
You are gone today. No farewell kiss or wave goodbye. Gone. No time to reminisce about the fun times or the tough times we shared. Flicking through the snapshots of my mind, I relive strolling hand in hand on the beach. Rufus, the affectionate King Spaniel you gave me when we first met, sprinting ahead, dashing into the waves, and barking at the sea-birds.
I miss Rufus dreadfully, my sole companion on those long days and nights you were away; where you went or what you were doing, you told me not to ask. The day you carried Rufus’ limp body into the house is forever embedded in my mind. An accident, you said. He pulled on his lead, you said and ran into an oncoming car.
You tolerated my abysmal cooking, my shoddy housekeeping, and my unkempt appearance. I tried harder. You showered me with tender care whenever I injured myself, a frequent occurrence. A blackened eye from an open cupboard door or a broken wrist from slipping on the grease-splattered floor I hadn’t cleaned properly. Clucks, you’d joke. You need to take better care of yourself, you’d say.
Living in this remote location was your preference. I endured it. It’s private, you said, away from nosey neighbours, we don’t need anyone else, you said.
At eight months gestation, our baby was stillborn, and you picked me up from my depths of despair. You held me tenderly, consoled me, cried with me. Told me it wasn’t my fault. Your grief was rawer than mine.
Yesterday, the first anniversary of the baby’s death, I burnt the toast. But rather than you getting mad, you held me close and prayed for the baby. When you left, fluttering my eyes coyly, I promised a surprise for when you returned.
The day after Rufus died, I noticed the dent and a scratch in the paint on the car’s bumper. I hit a wild pig, you said. I kept quiet.
I never disputed the narrative surrounding my injuries, the open cupboard doors, or splattered grease on the floor. I kept quiet and vowed to try harder.
A hefty kick to a pregnant woman’s womb will have a deadly effect on the innocent fetus within. I kept quiet, my spirit died.
Whenever you’ve a job to do, do it right, you said, plan every detail carefully, shift your perspective if need be. Do it right, you said, and you can’t fail. I listened.
When the doctor confirmed I was pregnant again, I followed your advice; I shifted my perspective. I organised the surprise to the minutest detail. A candle-lit dinner, a mulled wine – the usual ingredients with one extra additive – and my choice of weapon, hidden. And then there was me, dressed seductively. I could not risk failure.
Your surprise was a great success, but one question remains, one detail I hadn’t planned: what to do with your cadaver. If only I could ask you, but, alas, I cannot.