Thursday, April 4, 2013
D is for Death and Desire
Tessa slammed her hand against the alarm clock, switching it off. She didn't even know why she bothered turning it on. When a person stops sleeping, they don't need an alarm to wake them up. Another sleepless night, another bleary pre-dawn morning. Another day to get through.
It was the 11th day since her beloved husband Mark had died. Everything was numb. But, numb was better than the pain that filled her head when the numb wore off. And at some point during the day, somewhere between the condolences and the pity and the shielded looks, at some point, the numb would recede and she was faced with the piercing knowledge that Mark would never be back.
And for the 11th day, she would face it all again.
Tessa pulled herself out of bed and slowly padded toward the bathroom. As she reached for the lightswitch, a voice murmured behind her. "Tess." She screamed and threw herself through the bathroom door, slamming it behind her and flipping the lock quickly.
"I don't who you are," she yelled through the closed door. "But get out of my house. I have a gun!"
The voice chuckled. "You do not."
She frowned. That voice sounded familiar. "Fine. A knife, then!"
"What are you going to do, Tessa? Throw a bottle of shampoo at me?"
"Please come out, darling. There isn't much time."
Tessa opened the door cautiously, and peeked around it. Sure enough, there in the dark, she could see the form of her husband. Her dead husband. "I thought you were dead?"
Mark shrugged. "I am-- sort of."
She wasn't sure that she cared. With a cry, she launched herself out of the bathroom and into his arms, staggering them both backward into the middle of the bedroom. She pulled his head down to hers and pressed her lips against his, their mouths parted, as his hands roved over her back.
"Tessa," he breathed heavily. "I can't... I only have a minute." He glanced quickly toward the window and tried to step away. "There's a letter in my desk downstairs. It's addressed to you, and I need you to read it when I'm gone."
"Fine, yes," she waved the demand away and reached for him again.
"It's important, Tessa." He looked down at her and ran a finger over her cheek. "God, I wish I had more time." Bending his head, his lips claimed hers in slow tenderness, his fingers caressing her hair.
It was too late. As the sun peeked through the room's curtains, it was as if he began to disappear. It wasn't so much a fading, as it was that slowly, parts of him flew away. Despite her cries of anguish, it was only moments before she was once again alone. Once again without her husband. Once again numb.
Hours later, she remembered what this phantom husband of hers had said. And opening the letter she found, she began to read:
My darling Tessa... I'm not who you think I am. I'm not WHAT you think I am.