No one has stayed in my house for a long time.
They used to come, back then. But now no one will even call anymore. I wish they would just stay for a couple of days, then they could see how I changed up the wallpaper in all the rooms.
I switched the bedsheets, too. Now each room has a different sheet on it’s bed. I did that one day, just to switch it up. I rearranged the lamps, and hung up a different picture in each room. I redesigned until I realized that I had designed them by color. There was a blue room, a purple room, a green room, and one with tints of yellow all around. I don’t call that one the yellow room, though. My grandchildren used to call it the dog room, because of the dog statue standing valiant guard in the corner. I can’t bring myself to call it anything else, so we have three color themes and one dog room.
I’m in the blue room now, it’s always been my favorite. I put all my best antiques in this one, and there’s a painting of two young girls by the water.
I bought this painting because they looked like my two oldest granddaughters. Their family used to live in California, and of course they loved the beach. Those girls are much older now, though. One was even married a while back.
But I wasn’t invited to the wedding. I don’t blame her, of course, but I still wish I could’ve been there. I’ve never even met the boy she’ll now spend her whole life with.
Sighing, I close the door to the blue room. Spotless, newly cleaned, and left to collect dust. One of my daughters said that she would come to stay for a week so I cleaned it for her. She cancelled, though. I’m not surprised considering the timing.
Leaving all my guest rooms behind me, I walk down the stairs to the main level of my home. Everything is neat and in its place; there’s really never anyone here to disrupt the house. I tell myself that it’s nice, being so peaceful, quiet, and clean. But you can have too much of a good thing.
The clock on the flat landing of the stairs ticks endlessly. The air smells of some muffins I began to make, which will now go uneaten, and the fan in the oven whirs as it cooks pointlessly.
It all seems very pointless.
Sitting down at my computer, I open a new word document. I stare at the thin bar blinking patiently, waiting for me to type something. Anything. I have about a hundred opened documents that I never wrote anything in. I can’t figure out how to delete them and I don’t want to use the same one.
Maybe if I start on a fresh page, I’ll be inspired to write something.
I tell myself this every day, but each day is the same. Lacking in motivation, lacking in inspiration, lacking in any pleasant emotions at all, really.
I’m in my older years. I should be enjoying retirement, and tending to grandchildren, and painting like I so used to love. I had that all, once. But those days were as fleeting as the birds that fly through my backyard. At least I still have the birds; they don’t seem like they hold grudges.
So I leave my computer to go and feed the birds. They’re not my birds, of course. I doubt the same one passes through more than once a year at most. But I still like to give them funny little human names like Gertrude and David.
David is my husband's name though, so I don’t name any birds David. I’m sure he wouldn’t be happy if he came home to find that a bird had taken his place…
He’s been gone so long though that I may forget all about David the bird by the time he’s back. That is, if he lives long enough to come back.
Part of me hopes he doesn’t outlive his sentence. Maybe if he’s gone for long enough, my children will start to call again…
No. No, Dorothea, what a horrible thing to think. You love your David, don’t you?
I hear his voice in my head, and I walk to sit on my red patterned couch, closing my eyes and listening to the fictitious sound of his voice.
You love me, don’t you?
Of course, darling.
Then we won’t say anything about the incident. Right?
Of course, darling.
If only my children could forget about all that nasty business for good. Their father isn’t even here anymore. If it’s him that they’re uncomfortable with, then why won’t they come visit when it’s just me?
“Oh,” I wail into the maddening silence of my house, only to make any kind of noise.
But no matter how many times I may cry at these heavily decorated walls, I know exactly why they never follow through on their shaky plans.
Because they think it’s my fault, and the jury’s conviction wasn’t enough revenge for them.
What about when I die? Will they ever regret these times, when they left me all alone in this home, the home I raised them in?
Every moment of silence crushes me. The complete absence of noise apart from the faint ticking presses in on my ears, until the tiny ticks are deafening and pounding in my ears.
It reminds me of the pounding of that gavel. The solid, unforgiving pound of that wood.
We, the jury, find the defendant…
I can’t stay in this house any longer.
David M. Sutton, on counts of sexual assault…
The silence is too stifling and the ticking is pounding in my ears.
The word rings like a dark and hollow church bell, sounding just like it did then.
Every part of me is shaking. I truly think I’m dying, and I can’t help but feel relieved. This house has been my prison for too long, long before David was sentenced to life in his. I wish I could’ve changed something long ago, but no part of me was ever strong enough.
That’s the real reason that I’m alone. Because I was too weak to fight for them and they know it now. They realize that I didn’t fight hard enough against him, and I didn’t say anything about the incident until it was too late.
He created a trap, a cell for all his family, and now he’ll rot in his.
But you love your David, don’t you?
No, darling. I never have.
But I loved my children. My perfect little angels, who I thought would never leave me. These people that could be for me to have. David could never take them; at least I thought he couldn’t. Now he’s taken them and he’s not even here.
I just wish they would’ve come to visit.