‘Tap, tap, tap…’ droplets of water fall freely in the half-filled tub steaming with hot water. Helen sits in the next room on the couch they used to share staring on the floor upon which he took his first steps. Little Adrian… her son and life, now gone. Memories come unbidden to her mind of their lovely laughter. Adrian’s and Victor’s. Their home was once filled with warmth of family and pure joy of life itself. Now, its icy touch creeps upon her pale skin, freezing the blood in her veins, her heart waning in the colorless days which go by without notice. Only the color of despair and shades of emptiness are her entire world. Victor was gone now, taking their son with them – “because of your erratic behavior, I won’t let your destroy our son,” – it said in the letter which now burns in the fireplace.
Did he ever really know the struggle of being different? Did he ever truly know how it was to be afraid of one’s own mind? Did he ever truly believe she would put her light and soul in the form that lovely bundle of hands and feet and toes in danger? How could he even imagine such a heartless act?
Heartless, that is what she was now. The pain of losing them both overwhelmed her and it has become too much to bear. The undeniable truth of that complete and silent loneliness bores inside her skull, and she can almost hear the accusations and the mockery.
“You are to blame.
You are crazy.
He is right to take him away from you.
You are a burden.
You are worthless sack of meat.
You are nothing but a coward.
Did you truly think you deserve a fairy-tale’s ending, Helen?
You do know what they do with the broken, right? You should, as you have done it so many times as an executive.
Confess! What have you done with the broken, Helen?”
“I discarded them,” she screams at the silent empty room, her voice reverberating back to her from the pristine beige walls. The fire crackled in the fireplace flooding the room with dim warmth. Yet it couldn’t reach her. No, she was so far gone in the void of self-loathing, in that cold place in between the shadows – that most private of places, her own personal hell, that no warmth can reach her now. The world slowly collapses around her, waning, evaporating… everything becomes so… distant… surreal. She isn’t needed anymore. Adrian would be better off without her around to poison his mind with her brokenness. She wouldn’t let him grow up in a broken home. It was better this way. Victor was right.
The time is nigh.
‘Tap, tap, tap…’ the droplets beckoned from the bathroom, the only other sound besides the soft crackling of the fire. Her gaze locks on the lavishly ornamented letter opener – a gift from her mother. She lifts the blade and carefully inspects it in the firelight. Its pristine edge hasn’t been used for some time now. Ever since her parents moved away from New York and stopped sending letters. No one sends letters to Helen now. The blade slowly moves to her exposed forearm. The pale skin already bears the marks of the blade’s previous kisses, criss-crossing and in different shades of red. Helen closes her eyes. Another kiss, deep and long – like a love-bite.
Helen gasps in catharsis. the blade slowly falls and hits the table with a reverberating sounds, almost like a bell tolling. Helen lets her nightgown fall on the couch. A crimson trail follows her right arm, blood drops falling on the fabric, couch and on the table next to the half empty glass of wine and empty aspirin bottle. She enters the bathroom and passes in front of the giant mirror next to the hot, steaming tub. It is cold in here.
Her form is partially lit from the firelight in the living room. Her dark eyes stare into nothingness, while part of her torso is smeared with the red, sticky liquid coating her right arm. On her other arm, another set of marks are illumined. She turns around and slowly enters the tub. She finally feels a shred of warmth caressing her body. She closes her eyes and lies back, waiting. The warmth floods her body and the warm water slowly laps against her chin, in time taking on a coppery tang.
The pain slowly fades away, her eyes become heavy, as does the rest of her body. She smiles softly at that peace that is embracing her gently but firmly. Soon everything would end, all would be right in the world again. A world without one of the broken ones. Slightly purer world. She feels the icy cold embrace that envelopes her, she’s scared but trapped inside her body, unable to move. She hears the voice cackling:
“You are home at last, Helen,” and the world evaporates in a vortex of cold winds. She drowns blissfully until…
Coldness and wetness surround her, her right arm feels clenched in a strong, uncomfortable grip. Voices swirl around her, sirens and sounds of engines pass her by. A single voice crystallizes.
“Don’t you dare give up on me my dear,” the panicked voice says. Whose was it? It sounded familiar? Peter? The guy she callously fired just two days before? What was going on? She was still drowning inside herself.
She feel the touch of lips upon hers. She feels life being breathed inside her and with that all the pains and sufferings of the world return like a tidal wave. Yet, she isn’t alone.
She isn’t alone anymore.