I always considered marriage to be the most beautiful thing to happen to someone. I mean, doesn’t everyone though? To have one person in your life to feel a connection to like no other; someone to tell your secrets to, someone to tell what you’re REALLY thinking.
That’s what I thought. My marriage ceremony was just two months ago, yet all I could think about is one very specific part of our vows, “Til death do us part.” Surely, if my husband doesn’t die soon, I WILL kill myself.
My husband and I have been married for, as I’ve said, just over two months ago. Everything was perfect then; he was such a romantic, and his family – or, what I’ve seen of them – were absolutely charming.
But something changed. It wasn’t subtle, I assure you, but I did notice my newlywed husband start to act less like the man I knew him to be, and more… Well, business-like. He no longer gave me flowers at the start of every week like he used to, and he no longer cuddled me every night when he promised me he would. Sometimes he would come home, looking beat like a baseball, but I would always be the good wife and have the house clean and dinner cooked and warm for him right on the dot. I would ask him how his day went, and he would give his generic “It was fine,” response. I would wrap my arms lovingly around his neck and kiss his cheek, maybe a small nibble on his ear if I was feeling saucy – but no bite.
Day after day it went, this marriage that was built on such promises of love and affection which was now a disquiet sequence of conversation between two roommates who hardly know each other. Never mind that we share a bed, considering he hardly touches me these days. Was it something I did, or said? These were questions that plagued me for months.
To make it worse, it didn’t stop with my husband – his father would always give me such disdainful looks, and would low-key question was I was doing with my own life as I went to school. Like, when all of us were hanging out together – my mom and dad, me, my husband, and my husband’s dad – I explained I didn’t accept the job offer of working as a line cook while I’m going to school to be a medical assistant. I explained that I didn’t want to take on a part-time job, where I’m already struggling to make sense of all I’m learning unless it made some sort of sense with what I’m going through with school – even a basic receptionist job would be more beneficial for me than that of a line cook. But all my husband’s father had to say to that was, “Well, OKAY,” in such a snarky tone as they looked down at their feet with condescending eyes which knew didn’t want to meet my own. Condescending old shit.
That specific moment was just a little two weeks ago. Just thirty seconds ago I was pacing my bathroom as my husband lay dead asleep in our bedroom. I couldn’t sleep; it was just the same shit running through my head over and over, and it kept me up at night no matter how hard I tried to fight it, despite having a test to do tomorrow.
I tell you what – I was raised Baptist. I don’t necessarily worship the guy you all call God now – in fact, I would just straight up say I don’t believe in him, if not for certain things in my past. Yes, things did happen to me with such a level of “I told you so,” by a higher authority that I have no choice BUT to believe in him – that doesn’t mean I have to like him. No, I DO believe in God, the Savior, and the Holy fucking spirit, but that doesn’t mean I have to like him.
But therein lies my issue – I am this unhappy with my life, my marriage, and all the people involved with it, it absolutely feels like I have no way out. I don’t WANT to go to Hell, so there goes suicide as my ticket out. But I also don’t want to go to Heaven, as I know someday, I would be meeting my husband and my father again as they are both heavily religious.
I prayed and prayed (but not to anyone specific) for a way out of this.
And just as I knew there would be a higher power such as the Big-G God, I knew there could be something else out there to hear me.
“Hello, Kelsey,” I heard a voice behind me say. Though I was facing the mirror, the owner of the voice was just outside of the view of the prism. I turned around sharply and beheld the most beautiful man I had ever seen. His hair was blonde, slick back in a businessman-like cut, and his skin was white with a slight scan that gave it that trim peach color, though the shape of his eyes held a hint of Asian origin to them. The eyes, though – they were a sparkling emerald. Not just green, but literally the sheen of pure cut emeralds, and they seemed to be looking right through me. The rest of this man was wearing a sharp grey suit that seemed to be cut perfectly to his body origins – a solid 6’1” I’d guess.
I tried to conceal my surprise, but something in me told me that would do no good. “Who are you?” I asked with a voice that I hoped was unshaking.
“You may call me…” The man said, taking a slight pause as he licked his lips. “Mr. Green!” He finally finished with a flair of his hands. “I understand that you’re in a bit of trouble?” he asked, his whimsical smile turning to a frown.
I wanted to hate that frown, but it felt so sincere, so modest – like he truly did feel bad for me.
I didn’t want to say anything. Part of me wanted to scream for my husband to come and help. But I didn’t.
I looked at this man – this, Mr. Green, - and I felt hope. The hope of being free, the urge to live my life as it was meant to be lived.
“Don’t be shy, my dear. I know, I know… It’s hard to find trust in me. After all – did I not just appear in your bathroom in the middle of the night?” He chuckled as he reached his hand up to his face as if to examine it.
“But I assure you, we can be great friends. And I do hope we can be friends, Kelsey. But that’s not always such an easy step to take, is it?” He asked me, his emerald eyes flashing – literally flashing – at me.
“No,” I said. I don’t know how I knew it, but I knew that this Mr. Green wasn’t just some man – he was my way out.
“You want something from me,” I said to him.
Mr. Green chuckled at that. “Well yes, I do!” He beamed at me again, and his face turned back to a frowning sincerity. “But you also want something from me. That’s what friends do after all, yes? We help each other.”
I struggled to find the right words. I wanted to tell him to go away, that none of this felt right; and yet, all of this felt right, and I told him, “Yes. I need something from you. If you can do it?”
Mr. Green did not chuckle again like I expected him to, but instead, his stern countenance turned to a frown. “You want the power to be free,” he said, “But not just to be free from your husband and his father in this life, but in the next life as well?”
I couldn’t help it – it was the sheer power of it all, to hear it from someone else's mouth – I fell to my knees, and started sobbing.
“Yes… Yes, please…” I grabbed the hem of his too-nicely tailored grey pants and squeezed. I didn’t care that my tears were staining that fine cloth, and apparently neither did he.
Mr. Green slowly knelt down and clasped my hands. “Do not cry, dear. All I need is for you to renounce everything – renounce God, renounce Lucifer and all his devils – do that, and I can help you.”
I looked up at him, my sobbing at a confused halt, “What?” I asked.
At this, he did smile again. “Renounce belief in all of them, love. And you will have the power to beat them. There will be no Heaven.”
I was mesmerized in disbelief as I looked up at this wonderful man, so endearing and so all-knowing, so compassionate. There were a million things I wanted to say to him, but all I could say was, “I see you, Mr. Green.”
He nodded to me, then vanished. It wasn’t a dramatic flair of smoke, there was no whooshing noise – he simply was, and then simply wasn’t. It was then that I knew what I had to do. There is no Heaven.
Strangling my husband was easy. It was easy to look into his eyes, to see those questions building up. What did I do? How can we fix this? Why?
Why? That was the simplest question. In time, he would know exactly why – or maybe not. It didn’t matter. All that mattered was that it was finally over.
My husband’s father wasn’t as easy, however. When I drove to his house just two blocks down the road, I felt so true to myself. But as I stood there, over his bed the same way I did his son, my hands wrung around his neck, it was harder as strange as that is to say.
The old man looked more lost; confused would be the best word for it, I suppose. I don’t know if this expression could be put into words, but I like to think that it did mean why is my daughter-in-law doing this? That thought in particular brought a smile to my lips. I truly did hope that is exactly what they were thinking. But I knew I’d never find out, even then.
I made it back to my own house, and I saw Mr. Green sitting on the loveseat waiting for me.
“I see you took care of honeybunch. How’d it go with dear old Dad?” Mr. Green said. He didn’t seem to be his same, empathetic self - he had the cheery grin of someone who had just won the lottery.
I didn’t feel the same with him either. All the feelings of trust and security were gone. Here and now, I really did see Mr. Green. He was cold and heartless; he was all of the emotions I felt toward my husband and my father. “You know exactly how it went. It doesn’t matter now; I won’t have to see them again.”
“That’s right!” Mr. Green exclaimed, in a tone not too unlike that of a used car salesman. “You won’t have to worry about seeing them ever again – not where you’re going!”
I was taken aback by this. “What do you mean, “not where I’m going,”?” I asked.
“Well,” Mr. Green said, “I said there would be no Heaven. I didn’t say not for who. I don’t have the power to just take away Heaven, you know!” Mr. Green said with a light-hearted laugh.
It started to dawn on me what was happening, what was being done to me. Too little, too late. “You tricked me…” I said in a weak, shaky voice.
“Tsk tsk,” Mr. Green said. “I never lied, and that’s the truth. Say, Kelsey – you look like someone who's having a heart attack!”
I stammered and thought of slinging a million slurs at him, but all that came out of my mouth was, “I see you, Mr. Green…”
Mr. Green laughed and laughed, “Yeah, yeah… Just like a woman having a heart attack.” He said this last sentence more seriously, as I clutched my chest and collapsed to the ground.
Later the coroner would call the cause of death a heart attack, and the deaths of my husband and his father a freak strangling by some psychopath – as far as they could tell, there would be no reason to implicate me as the murderer; I just had a heart attack seeing someone break into my home, and that someone would go upstairs to strangle my husband. They’ll probably never see the truth.
I could try and explain to my husband and my father how I was deceived, how I really felt. We could probably just talk it out, right? But I don’t think I’ll ever see them again.