The Frail - Part 1

by Tyler Gibson

Preface

"I set both of us free of you, disease

And bask both in sorrow and joy

Finally able to breathe

I wipe away your memory"


            I woke up today with the same old sounds as always, the annoying alarm clock, the dog barking outside my bedroom window and the television downstairs with screams and laughs of a silly dumb cartoon show.

            I stared blankly at the clock, my arm stretched out, pushing the snooze button. Another day will go by, this is my motivation every morning, the next day, and the day after, they'll just go by.

            I turned and looked at her face; she was fast asleep, she looked so quiet, so peaceful, God...this is the woman I married, whom I fell in love with. What happened to her? She was so perky, always laughing, so spontaneous, God, I miss her...

            She woke up. I wish she hadn't, I wanted to admire her for a few more minutes.

            "Hey..." I said, trying to force a smile on my face.

            She smiled.

            "You better hurry up," she began while turning and stretching, pulling the bed sheets over her chin, "you are gonna be late for work, it's the third time you've pushed the snooze button!"

            My fake smile immediately changed into a frown. I didn't reply. That's all she said, and went back to sleep again, not a 'Good Morning Honey' not even a 'Hey' back.

            I quickly got up and went into the bathroom, shutting the door slowly, fighting against my will, slamming it hard on the door frame so she noticed my disgust. But I didn't, and I don't know why.

            Got in the shower quickly, my hand grasping the curtain, letting the warm water flow from my head to the floor, I got entranced by the magnificent sound of the running water, so peaceful, so calm. I wish I could stay here forever.

            But, I knew, any minute now, I would hear a knock on the door, she will probably ask me to do something for her, just like every morning, yet I get nothing in return, not a sweet appreciation, not even her gentle touch, oh, how I miss her.

*knock* *knock*

            Not a minute late.

            "Adrian, please be a dear and take Anna to St. Patrick's, I'm running late for some errands, so please hurry, I need the bathroom!"

            I didn't reply.

            "Adrian? Did you hear me?"

            I hesitated to answer, "Yes, I heard you" I said politely, faking of course.

            Anna is the uncanny image of her mother, looking at her reminds me of her instantly. I sometimes look away and I think she feels me reproaching her. To tell the truth, I wanted a boy, someone with whom I could practice football or boxing, talk to him about how I made the team in High School, and how I won some easy money in street fights, back in my teens.

            I looked at Anna and smiled; she smiled back, a little nervous.

            For a nine year old, she's pretty smart, I was young, forgot to protect myself. I still remember the huge fight I had with my parents. Nevertheless I manned up, and even in full regret, I took responsibility.

            Anyways, Anna is in a catholic school, perfect student, impeccable attendance, top scores, but I don't care.

Cold? Yes, what a horrible father I am.

I wonder, Can she peer beneath my eyes and detect my fake smile?

I turned to her again, "Would you mind dear, in the morning, turn down the TV's volume just a tad?"

"Yes...Dad..." she replied, she lowered her voice and head, and stared blankly at her lunchbox, "I'm sorry" she continued.

I tried to smile, maybe cheer her up a bit, kept alternating between watching the freeway and turning to her, waiting to start a conversation. It was like this during the 30 minute ride. We said nothing, not even goodbye as she shut the van's door, her head still down when she ran towards her friends.

            My clothes for today were already laid out on top of an armchair, my suit and tie hanging apart from the rest of the clothes of my closet. I do this every night, right when I come home and have dinner, if there is any.

            I wasn't like this before, this way of acting, routines aren't my thing, yet, I've been doing it ever since I, yes...ever since I married her. I miss myself as well.

            Another tedious and repetitive day at work, I am publicist, quite good at my job too, you might even say I'm successful, the envy of many, I get to handle all the big names in the city. Commercials, ads, interviews, a jack of all trades in my subject, they tell me every day I'll rise quickly, yet here I am, almost 3 years without a promotion, doing the same thing over and over again, sure I get paid quite generously, have pretty much enough to quit my job now and retire at my early age of 30 to Florida, but again...here I am, stuck.

            My boss is a complete useless grunt; I still question why he is my boss; it's probably some favor from the higher ups in the company, even though I'm relatively famous, he still gets part of the credit for the important commissions. The selfish old bald bastard, I bet he's the one halting my promotions. I'll try and be more patient, after all, that asthma inhaler he still uses at such an old age, well, I'll just count the days until he gets emphysema or a stroke.

            After work I decided to go with Daniel to the Black Bottlepop, a local bar a couple of blocks near the workplace. It was early, just after 7 P.M., told her I was going to be late, she didn't mind, as always, I asked her if she wanted me to pick up something for dinner, but as always, she said no.

            "I've noticed you been acting a little odd lately Adrian" asked Daniel as he sat on a stool on the bar.

            The barman immediately came by; as clich√© as it might sound, he was cleaning a long glass with a white rag.

"Scotch please, the usual Tony" ordered Daniel, he picked up a couple of peanuts from a bowl and started throwing them at his mouth with great marksmanship, he only managed to miss one.

"For you, sir?" asked Tony, the barman.

"Vodka, on the rocks please"

"Brand?"

"Whatever, really, just bring some Vodka Tony" I said, as politely as I could ask.

"So," began Daniel, "I know when something is wrong, what is it Adrian?"

            "So, back already Adrian?" said Marissa, her long shiny black hair hanging from her shoulders, caressing her body and red lingerie.

            She looked amazing, sweet big lips, eyes the color of emeralds, and a body to die for.

"I was thinking of you yesterday," she began, "I'm glad you called..."

            He had a gun pointed at me.

            I stood there frozen yet frowning. The mugger was five feet tall, I could easily take down the little bastard, but he had a gun, and was demanding money.

            "Walk, into the alley big shot," the man demanded, "I'll blow your fucking brains out, if you don't do what I say!"

            So I did, pressed myself against the wall, next to three trash cans on the ground.

            The mugger looked nervous now, looking out of the alley and in, waving his gun, its point never leaving my head.

            "Are you sure you are ok?" asked Detective Summers.

            "Yes, never better, I'm alright Detective," I replied, "It's just a scratch."

            "You were nearly shot!" he said, "Thank God the bullet missed your head!"

            "Yes...thank God..." I said sarcastically.

            Detective Summers raised a brow.

            "And of course, thank you for being there..." I quickly added.

The next day I woke as always, no TV this time though, last night was odd, the feeling I got...Drugs|Sex|Thief|Murder|Escape.

I had to shut her up, she kept repeating it over and over again, the list, why did I write this?

I enjoy it, every time I do it, a little of it goes away. Is it my humanity? Do I gain pleasure from losing it? Another name, redemption|joy|justice. One by one I gain credit, meaning, I know now what I needed, recognition, notice me, I'm here and you shouldn't, you underestimate me.

Regrets|Sorrow|Mistakes made in the past, still, I love you my dear partridge. I long for you, to lay quiet next to me.

Alcohol? Vodka?

He came in the door and looked at the gruesome sight. Detective Summers crossed the police tape while a couple of agents took photos. The camera's flashes reflecting the blood stained bed, a cup of wine on the birch floor. The man's body lay peacefully on the bed, a slight smile painted on his cold face, and in his right hand, a piece of paper, tightly held.

"So," began the Detective, "she survived?"

"Yes, she's in serious condition, multiple stabs on her stomach, it's a miracle actually" replied a blonde woman, red lipstick showing off her luscious lips.

"Did you notice the paper in his hand?"

The woman nodded.

"We waited for forensics, and of course, you, Detective."

Detective Summers tilted his head in pleasure, and walked towards the man's body. He looked at the man closely, nose almost touching, his expression in disgust.

"Detective?" asked the woman.

"You do it, Sara."

Sara, wearing a pair of latex gloves, opened the body's hand slowly, trying not to rip the paper it was holding.

"He's really got it tight" Sara grunted.

Finally, the paper was freed, and Sara unfolded it slowly, and began reading it.

"It looks like a torn page from a journal..."

"What does it say?" asked the Detective.

"I don't know, from what I can make out it's a list, with names crossed and...numbers? I can't quite make it out" she said squinting, "it's too stained with blotches of blood and ink; I'll hand it over to forensics..."

"Wait, let me take a look at that..."

"Just, what is this?" he said, flashes from cameras filling the room.

The Detective read the list in disbelief.

"I can't believe Adrian was into this, who would've thought..."

"Seriously Detective, this is can't the first time something like has happened in your career, I'm sure"

"I know Sara, but someone so close..."

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