TW: Mentions miscarriage, death, and suicide but does not go into too much detail about them.
It has been three days, twelve hours, twenty minutes, and fifteen seconds since my husband died. I could hear the laundry machine rumbling down below as I stared out the window, trying to decide if I should mourn his death or celebrate it. I washed every single item of his clothing today so that I could donate it to the goodwill, it was the least he could do. I can’t help but wonder how people would feel knowing they were wearing the clothes of a killer. A son on his way to a job interview wearing his new tie that was previously worn by a murderer. A father on a family vacation wearing his new shoes that once walked a route of lies. The thought of willingly sending a bad omen made me sick to my stomach, the knots becoming more intense with my thoughts. I ran to the bathroom and hugged the porcelain bowl as I sobbed. My feelings coming up my throat and filling the bowl until I had nothing left to give. I flushed my feelings away and went to wash my face, careful to not look in the mirror while doing so. I don’t want to know what I look like, I can only hope that I don’t look as terrible as I feel.
The laundry machine was getting louder as I approached it, but I held the button until it came to a quiet halt. I loaded the damp pile into a garbage bag, because I would never forgive myself if I passed on the curse that was my husband. The police had rummaged through every crevice of our home and took what they needed - which unfortunately wasn’t much. A pair of flamingo swim trunks caught my eye as they stared at me from inside the black bag. He brought them on our honeymoon as a joke, because of my irrational fear of large birds. I lugged the trash bags out to the front yard despite the neighbors being outside. I had been hiding from their whispers and sideways glances since the story made the news earlier in the week. ‘Suburban husband kills mistress and then himself’ might as well be branded on my front lawn. The hot air made me realize how badly I smelled, and I can only imagine what they were whispering as they watched me line up the trash bags. When I got back into the house I heard my phone faintly ring twice, and then go quiet. I don’t know who’s calling me but I'm glad I missed it. I grabbed my phone and clenched it while I walked through the dark hallways into my bedroom. I grabbed a fresh towel from the overly stocked linen closet and made my way to the bathroom to draw a much needed bath. The mirror started to fog up from the hot water, but I caught a glimpse of the mystery woman in the mirror. The tire, and sunken brown eyes were a nice take away from the knotted greasy lump that was once a bun on the side of my head. My pale, cracked lips were the last thing I saw before my phone started vibrating on the countertop. Rue, my best friend’s glowing, smiling face lit up the screen as I sighed and answered her.
“Please tell me you’re doing okay?” she asked.
“I’m wonderful,” I said sarcastically, “my life has never been better.” I said as I quickly submerged my head under the hot water.
“...you know we are all here for you,” I heard as I came back out of the water. “We love you and we are all just trying to help you through this. You don’t have to do this alone.”
“I kno-” I started to say.
“BUT, I know you don’t want to hear that b.s,” she groaned, “so I’m going to tell you what you need to hear.”
This should be good. I thought to myself.
“Benjamin was a low life, soul sucking, spineless, monster and I’m so sorry for what he put you through. He deserved everything he got Lydia and you better not waste anymore time crying over his sorry ass.” she spat. “He was great in the beginning, but somewhere along the way he turned into a whole other person. I’m honestly relieved that he fell in love with another woman because it could’ve been you Lydia! He could’ve gotten enraged about something one day and he could’ve taken your life!” Her voice wavered. “Thankfully, the thing that enraged him was getting caught in a lie and she happened to be with him at the time. I usually don’t condone breakups over text, but Lyd - I am so glad you didn’t confront him in person.”
I didn’t know what else to say because all I could do was laugh. The lavender scented bubbles shook as my laughter echoed off of the walls.
“Uh… I’m not sure if I should be happy or concerned for you.” Rue said.
“Thank you,” I said in between laughing. “I definitely needed to hear that. Benjamin and I had been rocky these last few years and I caught glimpses of his dark side, but I made sure to not push him over the edge.” I confessed. “I had been living under his shadow, trying to tell myself that we were fine but I knew there was someone else. My gut knew and I ignored it.” I sighed. “I keep trying to figure out why he would kill her though.” I said as I stared at the paint chipping off of the blue wall.
I had found the courage that day to confront him about his mistress, I waited until he slipped up and I finally had my proof. He had left his work laptop at home by mistake and I went through every single file, folder, and bookmarked tab until I found what I was looking for. A bookmarked tab for a floral shop 5 towns over. I looked through the previous orders until I came upon an order from May 16th - my birthday.
To my dearest Kaiya, I cannot wait until I can spend every waking moment with you. You are my happiness and my forever, I love you. Ps, you better not lift a finger.
“Oh my god!” I exclaimed, wide eyed. I was so blinded by rage that I didn’t put it together that day.
“What!?” Rue asked. “What’s wrong?”
“I know why he killed her.” I said. The blue room seemed to fade away as I sat upright in horror.
You better not lift a finger
That’s what he said to me when I was pregnant with our child. He didn’t want me to move a muscle once we found out that the IVF had taken. I had always told him he was being dramatic, but when I lost the baby I could tell he was mad that I didn’t listen. The doctor assured us that it was not my activity level that has caused the miscarriage, but we were never the same after that.
“She was pregnant, Rue.” I sighed. “He killed his mistress, and their baby.”
“How do you know that? Did you find something?” Rue asked, her voice getting higher in pitch. “Did the detective get back to you?”
“Rue I have to go.” I told her. “I will call you tomorrow, okay?”
“Oh, okay. Please take it easy.”
I could hear the confusion in her voice as I hung up the phone.
I got out of the bathtub and wrapped myself in a soft cotton towel, my mind was a carousel of thoughts.
All he wanted was a child, would he really ruin that chance by going to such evil extremes?
I should probably call the detective back tomorrow to put my mind at ease. I have so many questions that I’m ready to have answered. Once the thoughts in my mind calmed down, I checked back into reality and realized that it had been raining outside. I used to lay in the rain as a kid, letting the water dance on my smiling face with not a care in the world. I listened to the rain for a few seconds longer until I realized that the first step to reclaiming my life, was to not have a care in the world.
I sprinted down the stairs and felt alive for the first time in five years. I threw open the patio door and ran into the middle of the moonlit yard. I twirled around and cried as the rain cascaded down my body, the cold rain on my cheeks was soothed by the warmth of my tears. I laid down on the wet grass, the chill on my backside giving me goosebumps. My cotton towel was becoming drenched and clung to the silhouette of my body as I closed my eyes. The past will never be the past if I don’t let it go. I need to let go.