The thousand injuries of Fortunato
I had borne as I best could,
but when he ventured upon insult
I vowed revenge.
–Edgar Allan Poe
When her life fell apart she reached for him, but he was not there.
She reached for her pills and overdosed on morphine and muscle relaxants.
This wasn’t a cry for help.
This was an exit demand.
Her trip to the hospital was a blur – policemen laughing amongst themselves, paramedics apparently speaking in tongues, random faces that smiled as they jabbed her.
After a day in Intensive Care, she spent a week in the psych ward.
She called him from the hallway phone.
He told her if she’d really meant to kill herself she would have used bullets.
The inpatient Lonely Hearts Club reassured her that she wasn’t a failure. She didn’t need a man who held a crowbar to her heart, prying for secrets and fantasies. And she sure as hell didn’t need a man who wanted to mold those fantasies into something new for his entertainment.
She was strong.
But when she got home she called him once more (of course) and found him snarling.
Did she think she was worth another chance?
She stood outside herself, helpless, listening to her own groveling.
He said he’d think about it, and hung up.
She knew if she stayed home she’d hurt herself so she drove for hours, aimlessly. At eleven o’clock she went to a bar she rarely visited, and a man sat near her.
He ordered a shot and a beer, and he looked like she felt.
She expected her hello to be snubbed. But he smiled and they talked about what they wanted to do with their lives.
It was delicious.
No one to sacrifice.
And when they left the bar the sad-eyed man pulled her close for a kiss.