The pain and despair she felt bleed from the deepest recess of her soul; a void that could not be filled, cleansed, erased, or eradicated; always consuming, growing, gnawing, overwhelming her.
In a state of semiconsciousness, she bleakly, deliberately, sullenly, slipped into the kitchen and retrieved the sharpest carving knife from the culinary block. Filled with an unquenchable rage that welled up within her, dredged up from the black, near-mortal wound that had been permanently instilled from relentless years of abuse and hopelessness, she moved tediously, yet somehow with an aggressive vigor, down the hallway.
Entering the bedroom where Liam innocently slept, she motionlessly glowered at him; and saw all the vile monsters, demonic entities, and creatures denuded of humanness that clouded her reality and veiled her eyes. Only the illusion and false persona of Liam that she had erroneously created pierced the realm of her perception.
She grasped the knife, relished the feel of power in her strong, slender hand.
She temporarily wielded the means to succor the pain, misery, and bleakness that had pervaded and saturated her for an interminable time.
She raised the knife, savored the feel of its capacity; the miraculous shining of the blade illuminated from the glint of diffused sunlight that shone through the window blinds in their bedroom. In her mind’s eye, the blade was an archangel that would sever the restraint that linked her to this world and transport her to another realm, where peace and purity reigned.
Seconds before the blade entered Liam’s heart, he opened his eyes and grasped it. He felt the instantaneous, gut-wrenching pain as the blade sliced his hand and penetrated his soul. He loved Destiny with such a pure, passionate, all-giving love, that he would endure anything for her, die if necessary to ease her internal suffering and despair. Tears brimmed in his eyes as he gazed at the creature of his desire; he acknowledged that she had the potential to snuff out his life.
“O Destiny, my beloved wife, my precious darling. Look at me, see me, know me, feel me, feel my love, my passion for you. If you must thrust the blade, pierce me forcefully and accurately, deep into my loving heart. Please make it quick, so I’ll experience only a brief instance of nothingness without you.
“My love, my beauty, my existence is you and only you. Do you see me, feel me? You know I would die for you. Please, Destiny, you must believe me!”
But the cold look in her eyes told him that she didn’t believe him.
Still, he released his bloody hold of the blade.
Thereon she swiftly pulled the knife back, raised it high, then suddenly she saw him, really saw him.
The knife fell out of her hand; she collapsed onto Liam, sobbing with such intensity and severity that he was sure her tears would occlude the canyon of perpetual sorrow, that finally she would be depleted and cleansed of suffering.
But Liam knew this scene would be repeated. He never fully anticipated when or how, but he was constantly, acutely aware of how primed she was for unmitigated violence.
She began to kiss him with such passion and intensity that he feared she would devour his lips; but it fully excited him, and he felt equally as passionate.
These potentially lethal incidents always culminated in the most intense lovemaking anyone had, could, or would ever experience. He almost yearned for them, but that would make him a masochist; and that was undeniably not his true nature. Destiny had created him, molded his psyche, his passion, his eternal love. He didn’t want anything or anyone to terminate what they had.
She licked the blood from his wounded hand, which fervently stirred his desire. They then “attacked” each other, fused as one under the covers, reveled in ecstatic, ethereal passion, neither of them wanting to separate ever again.
Today was Saturday, and tonight was their longstanding date. Liam cherished these dates, and greatly looked forward to them all week. Destiny always awoke in the morning by delicately kissing him in sensitive areas; they then shared no less than two hours of blissful lovemaking. After mutually showering, Liam had prepared Destiny’s favorite breakfast and lovingly fed it to her. She provocatively licked his fingers, which rekindled their passion, but they decided to wait until they went out that night to culminate their resurrected passionate desires.
They spent the day whispering cajolery to one another, each trying to outdo the other with creative combinations of persuasive flattery. It was a day filled with the gentle warmth of the sun. They ambled through the forest, holding hands, basking in the glorious rays and heat of one another. They talked about their life together and stopped every few moments to kiss and gaze into each other's eyes. Alas! They were blissfully unaware that the day was about to take a twisted turn into a tumultuous whirlpool of jealousy and rage.
They walked till the sun was setting and the sky was crimson from the last rays of day, creating the silhouette-effect of the trees in contrast.
“It’s such a wondrous scene created just for us, my love,” Destiny remarked.
Upon returning home, they showered together and readied themselves for their date: dinner at Roberto’s Eatery, their favorite Italian restaurant, and attending a play of Destiny’s choosing. Liam didn’t care what they went to see (she loved musicals) as long as his Most Beloved was by his side.
Destiny brushed her fiery red tresses, and chose to wear a dark turquoise, V-neck, swooping back, skintight dress that accentuated her voluptuous breasts, and her incredible derriere. She had a heart-shaped face, startling emerald-green eyes, and perfect lips.
Liam had raptly watched her dress, and fervidly complimented how incredibly sexy she looked when she asked him what he thought of her outfit. By now he was intensely interested, and was impelled to distract his thoughts, or the night would have ended right then and there on the bedroom floor. (If he’d possessed a gift of foreseeable insight, he would have chosen that ending, and not regretted it.)
Destiny’s husband was unmistakably “Black Irish.” His complexion was swarthy, his raven hair was wavy and curled around his collar, which Destiny found to be sexy and desirable. His face was strong and chiseled, his eyes a mesmerizing, deep-ocean blue that continuously refracted the light and caused them to appear to pierce the onlooker’s soul. He was fit and muscular enough to cause Destiny’s libido to rise if she ogled him too long.
Liam had donned a black wool-blend suit jacket, black slacks, a button-down taupe shirt, solid black tie. He was very dapper and the habitual object of Destiny’s desire.
Roberto’s Eatery was proximate to their home, so they arrived in less than five minutes. Liam had reserved a table-for-two in the corner of the romantic establishment, beside a glowing, artificial fireplace. They ordered their favorite entrées and a bottle of Pinot Noir with tannins and red fruit that were organically grown. They gazed lovingly into each other’s eyes while eating. At every opportunity they rubbed each other’s leg under the table.
A few minutes past seven, Liam said, “We have to leave now, honey, if we don’t want to miss the beginning of the show.” He was planning to hold her hand for the duration of the play, thus building and fueling the smoldering passion sparked earlier.
They walked abreast toward the exit when a shapely, exotic creature entered the restaurant. She had glistening, jet-black hair that careened down her back. She wore a tight red dress with a plunging V-neck. Destiny narrowed her eyes, clenched her jaw. Obviously you have it, you temptress, but do you have to brazenly flaunt it?
Destiny suspiciously watched Liam. Seeing someone approaching, he innocently glanced in the woman’s direction, and instantly looked away. Whereupon Destiny’s long, sharp, manicured nail pierced his cheek, and she raked it downward with intense pressure, all the way to his chin.
Liam winced. Blood quickly pooled to the surface. Destiny’s eyes were crimson with rage, and Liam knew he’d lost her, but hopefully not forever.
She shoved him out of her way and started towards the woman. Wide-eyed patrons were gaping at her. Liam seized Destiny’s arm to stop her from the inevitable damage she’d surely inflict upon the blameless creature. Destiny jerked free of his grasp and stormed out of Roberto’s.
“Honey, wait! Please!” Liam desperately called.
Destiny kept going, and swiftly disappeared. Liam deeply sighed, shot the temptress a cross look—she smiled seductively—and hurried after Destiny.
This public scene had happened numerous times in their eight-year marriage: Destiny became insanely jealous over Liam’s perceived indiscretions, furiously tramped off, and sped off in their car until he made it a point to keep the car keys on his person.
This extreme jealousy was the psychological result of Destiny having been violently sexually assaulted by her three older brothers for six years. Although it ceased when she was eleven, her profound mistrust and hatred of men continued unabated to the current day.
Liam was the only man she ever loved, or trusted, and she was terrified of losing him. She genuinely believed he was the only one in the world for her, which propagated overreliance on and excessive possessiveness of him.
“God help you if you even try to leave me,” she’d gravely warned Liam more than once. Paradoxically, the very thing she was desperate to prevent—losing Liam—she nearly caused via her rageful eruptions of jealousy.
Following each perceived indiscretion, Destiny would vehemently accuse Liam of flirting back with the woman, of wanting her sexually, and warn him in an undertone, “All your indiscretions have formed emotional nails, a mental coffin in my brain. And that fate can become a reality.”
And each time he’d plead for mercy, ardently apologize for something he didn’t do, and calmly explain that her overreaction was the same as a mondegreen situation in her beloved musicals. His desire, his goal, was to convince her that she’d misinterpreted the scene, without further wounds being inflicted upon his person.
Eventually, gratefully, she acquiesced. Thereon the ending would be one of crucifixion of her unfounded rampage, climaxing in unbridled, satiating passion.
Until then, he was consumed with apprehension and dread. Like he presently was.
Behind Roberto’s, staring at the spot where their car had been parked, Liam dropped his head and murmured, “Stupid me left the keys on the restaurant table.” He gazed wearily off into the distance. “It seems like the bulk of my life is spent trying to propitiate her.” A frustrated sigh. “The thing is, I never even look at other women.”
Sharp pain coursed through his face. He looked down. Blood continued to drip onto his taupe silk shirt. Dabbing it with the thick cloth napkin he inadvertently took from the restaurant, he hastened over and into an idle taxi, and apprehensively prepared for the inevitable.
* * *
It was a vitreous, sunny October day filled with hues of splendor, painted by the hands of nature. Destiny and Liam both took personal days so they could ride their motorcycles. The day began with glorious lovemaking, then breakfast at a local diner.
Liam’s favorite place to ride was Skyview Mountain, for it had a lookout at the summit where everyone stopped to appreciate the splendor of the panoramic view, especially in autumn. The view always romantically stimulated Liam, and Destiny readily yielded to his desire, later in the woods.
She’d earlier beseeched Liam not to go riding today. It was Friday the 13th, and though she wasn’t superstitious, she had an intuitive sense of foreboding. But Liam was so corybantic about going, so she’d capitulated.
Their Indian Scouts would take them on this adventure; the thought of a salacious romp in the woods aroused and titillated Destiny; the fearful feeling was supplanted by her feeling of sudden jubilation for the ride, and the tempting reward it would offer. Besides, spontaneous lovemaking enraptured Liam, and she lived to please him. She had ceased being a separate entity years ago. She never resented that her identity was now and forever one with Liam. There was no time, no spatial relationship, no emotion, no life, without Liam.
Upon finishing their tasty western omelets, they went directly home, showered together, dressed in their riding gear, and “hit” the highway sans helmets. Out on the road, Destiny enjoyed glancing at Liam and drinking in his splendor. He’d adoringly glance back at her, and she felt like the luckiest woman in the world.
They started out at a reduced speed, then played cat-and-mouse games for variety and fun: Destiny would speed ahead, Liam would hang back a bit, then race up to her, and they both grinned with delight. The glint of excitement and adulation for each other was manifested in their eyes.
Gazing fondly at Destiny, Liam thought how unfair it was that he had such an exquisite creature, and blissful happiness, when so many others never experienced what they had. He was so thankful he’d been blessed with an ineffable life with Destiny, his bride, his love, his only reason to exist. Destiny was so appropriately named, as her appellation was written in the Universal Code of Life: She was to be his destiny, now and forevermore.
As they reached the summit of Skyview Mountain, Liam was intently focused on Destiny and not the road ahead. Thereupon Destiny saw an old pickup truck suddenly cross the center line, directly in front of Liam. Seconds before it struck him, she veered her 500-pound machine in front of it—there was the sickening sound of colliding metal—absorbing the full impact, and sparing her cherished Liam. But the momentum catapulted Destiny over the truck; and she violently smacked the berm of the road, and lay preternaturally still.
The rusty jalopy screeched to a halt. The driver, an unkempt old man, jumped out and hobbled up to Destiny as fast as he could. Liam dismounted and bellowed, “Get away from her!!”
“I’m so sorry,” the oldster craggily rejoined. “I dropped something and was trying to pick it up.”
“I said get away!!!”
The man stepped back, buried his face in his hands, and quietly sobbed.
Liam dropped to his knees, cradled Destiny in his lap. “Does it hurt, baby?”
Through shallow breaths, she replied, “No, but there’s excruciating emptiness—generated by—the trepidation that I’m—leaving my body—perishing without my soulmate—saying my final goodbye.”
Tears gushed down Liam’s visage. “I’ll long for you even into death.”
Destiny’s eyes were glassy, unfocused. “The veil that shrouds—this earthly plane—from the afterlife—is tearing as you hold me. I feel it pulling me—away from you. Please forgive me—for all the pain I’ve caused you.”
The high sun mercilessly beat down upon Liam, but he was wholly oblivious to it. “Try to dwell on the wonderful times we had, the pleasure we experienced, the devotion and adoration I had for you.”
“I couldn’t fix myself. I tried.”
“I know, sweetie. I know.”
She vigorously coughed. Blood gurgled in her throat. “I couldn’t bear the thought of you—even glancing at another woman—for fear of losing you.”
Liam gently patted her head. His shoulders shook from silent weeping.
“You were always the only object”—more vigorous coughing—“of my desire—my love—my existence—only you Liam.”
“You will live in my heart for all eternity,” he returned.
“Thank you,” she whispered.
“My spirit will be a permanent resident in your heart,” he quavered.
“Feel me always, Liam.”
“I will,” he promised.
“Goodbye, my precious darling.” All the air left her lungs, and the sparkle of life instantly left her gorgeous eyes.
His head fell, and his shoulders shook from hysterical crying.
Never would he be able to touch her, kiss her, revel in the ecstasy of her being, and the love they shared. The pain ripped his soul into threads. His heart was still beating, but he couldn't imagine why. There was a mortal wound imbued in it that could not be healed, ever.
He rocked back and forth with Destiny in his arms and prayed for the reaper to appear and claim him now. He had no reason to breathe, to function, to endure life without her. Never had such pain rocked the core of his being.
“Why—was she taken—from me? Why did the only pure love—I ever knew—desert me? Why did the universe leave me in this decimated state?”
Then, the answer came to him: If they couldn’t exist in life together, they would be reunited eternally in death.
There was no choice, no other way.
He carried Destiny to his bike, gently draped her body, face down, over the backseat. The distraught driver, who’d been trying to straighten Destiny’s mangled handlebars, came over and meekly asked, “What are you doing?”
Liam glared at him; the pain and rage was reflected on his face, and the old man backed away. Liam punched the electric starter, revved the engine once, carefully crossed to the opposite side of the road. He then aimed the front wheel toward the distant mountains, engaged the clutch and twisted the throttle. In a few seconds, machine and humans shot out over the cliff—Liam discerned the perilous, rapid descent toward the jagged grasp of death that would clutch their bodies in the cradled hands of time—and crashed into the boulders two hundred feet below.
All sound around the world ceased; the universe got a little dimmer.
A tribute to an eternal love that traversed the boundaries of reality had crossed into the realm of peace Destiny had so desperately sought. It was finally achieved for both, for it was Destiny’s sacrifice that was the price that had to be paid.