Love and Assassins
Chapter One – Part One
My life wasn’t always this bad. I don’t think. I mean at no point would I have called it incredible but… suicide? No. Never would have crossed my mind.
So I guess it’s not that life is horrible from the beginning. It’s more that they lead you down this beautiful little path – full of pitfalls and fallen trees and jaguars with long claws, yes.
But, but… every now and then you see a flower. Maybe not a breathtaking one, not the prettiest in its class – but a flower all the same, living, breathing and staring at the sun. And you think, “It’s gonna be alright. It’s gonna get better. I mean, it can’t all be this bad, right?”
And in the end the worst part isn’t even that it’s so horrible. It’s that you think there’s going to be a happy ending, a pat on the back, just – just… some kind recompense for having walked through shit for so long! I mean that’s what they tell you, the movies and books and stuff.
And that’s a lie.
Take me, just – random example, okay? I got out of high school seven years ago. What did I want to do? Become a writer. What did I do? I became an accountant.
See, there was this girl named Jenna. And she was pretty and blonde and slim and rich. She was my girlfriend for most of high school. Well, except for those two weeks when she left me for Jack… My best friend… And maybe had already done so once or twice before that…
But hey, mistakes happen. She was my girl and we were back together. We were in love. Right? So when high school ended it seemed the logical thing to do to get married. I mean that’s what you’re supposed to do. It’s what’s right.
Man. It was beautiful – Hawaii, flowers everywhere, cliff top overlooking the ocean. She had arranged it, her father paid for everything. All the right people came. I was happy then, wasn’t I? I was doing what I was supposed to do, right?
In any case I was fine. I had some money from my parents death, her father was well off, I could write. The perfect life.
Six years later I’m working late every night, an accountant at her father’s firm. Jenna’s daddykins didn’t like the idea of a deadbeat writer for his little girl. Jenna’s husband needed to be a man. Someone who could support her, who would be there to take care of her when he was gone. Someone tame.
So, I never became a writer. I toyed with it, wrote a few things, even finished a novel. But I never told her, never sent it out to the agent who’d read part of it and said they wanted it. That wasn’t how life worked.
See, you don’t take chances. You don’t take risks and emotional leaps.
You stay at home or at work and leave the fairy tales where they belong, in books about a life that doesn’t actually exist.
So, six years passed. Or was it seven? I don’t know.
Then one day something happened. I couldn’t tell you what, I still don’t know. I was in my office, staring at balance sheets and mid term reports, trying to make sense of a series of bonuses paid to the executives of the firm.
Maybe it was that I hadn’t eaten lunch. Or maybe that I hadn’t seen Jenna that morning and I missed her. She was asleep when I woke up, as usual. Just as she had been out the night before when I finally went to sleep. As usual. So maybe it wasn’t that.
I don’t know what happened. I don’t know why I did it. I just did. I got up, grabbed my briefcase, and left. Didn’t even tell anyone. Just suddenly had to get out, to get away.
I remember walking through the streets, staring at things, people going about their day. It just didn’t seem right anymore, it seemed off, unreal, like I was surrounded by manikins in a department store.
Something was wrong. I didn’t know what but I knew it was there, a hole in my life, glitch in the matrix – call it what you will – I was missing something big and I knew that if I didn’t find out what now then it would be gone and I would never find it again and I would turn into a manikin and disappear into the crowd, lost forever in oblivion.
I took the train out of the city, staring out at the harbor and the people walking about. The Statue of Liberty stood tall surrounded by dark waters, her face a blurred image of an emotion I’ve never seen in real life.
I got off the train a few blocks from our house, a moderately large victorian place an hour out of the city. Striding down the sidewalk I stole a few roses from a neighbors yard, carefully preening them of thorns.
Suddenly everything made sense somehow. It was like someone was pointing something out to me and I was finally seeing, finally getting a glimpse of the “mystery”.
I knew exactly what I was going to do. I was going to walk up to the house, Jenna would be there watering the flowers or reading a book on the porch, maybe singing – she had a beautiful voice.
And I would come hopping up the little path to the porch, whistling maybe. And she would see me, her eyes lighting up, a beautiful smile blooming across her face. And I was going to pick her up, kiss her and say, “lets get out of here.”
And she would smile and say, “where to?”
And I would say, “anywhere.” And we would leave that afternoon, destination: unknown, adventure: to be determined.
A few minutes later I was walking down the block to my house. Trees were turning gold and red in the autumn sun, bees buzzing about, birds chirping. I was happy. I had it all figured out.
I walked up onto our large white porch, flowers hanging in pots, wood slat chairs stretched in the shade of the awning. No Jenna, but that was fine, she would be inside, it was a hot day.
I opened the door, a smile as large as Texas crossing my face. And there was Jenna… my beautiful wife… my loving wife… naked and kneeling, head down in my best friend’s open lap, his flabby little butt pressed deep into the perfect little pillows of my perfect white sofa.
Fast forward to six weeks later and here I am in a shabby little apartment, living off Fruit Loops and Cap’n Crunch, lying in bed, staring at the wall, ready to end it all.