25 Years

Cynthia and Tom looked intently into each other’s eyes; a bit weathered from the years. They were celebrating their special love day with all their friends and family.

All sat transfixed as Tom professed his admiration for Cynthia. He was boasting of unending mutual love and respect, suggesting not one uncompromising moment in those years.

What an Ooh, Aah storybook marriage all those in attendance felt!

The loved ones thunderously applauded. Tom sat down with a happy grin.

Cynthia stood up, raised the gun and smiled as the bullet tore into his braincase.

Wow, what had he gotten so wrong?

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Audience Of One

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Van-Renselar

Pictures and scenery from years gone by flash before my eyes as I’m laying here on my deathbed. I’m simultaneously smiling and crying, wishing to be back in those memories as a more willing participant rather than just as a casual observer.

Who would have ever thought that desire to experience those times again would creep into my psyche? Weren’t those experiences hard the first time? Now laying here I realize, accepting this unfulfilled life is much harder to endure than all the things I had to go through while I was still young or even middle-aged.

Before withering away to my end, I had only watched the days go by without me really participating in them or enjoying sharing good times with others. Now, it’s an even lonelier existence. A hospital bed and my dreams to give me my only real comfort now; closing my eyes make me an audience of one to my past.

I experience a rare joy when nurses or doctors come to call. I can smile a bit with them, forget the sadness I feel. Then they leave and once again I am by myself, alone with my physical pain and my emotional sorrow. The tears flow silently, streaking my face like tiny little rivers through the cracks of my aged appearance.

Looking up, the ceiling offers no hope for some sort of release. I find the only way to escape this dreary loneliness is to sleep and join those characters that brought me what was, in hindsight, the most joy throughout my life. Experiences that I didn’t really know how to appreciate or even understand at the time. Simple pleasures like just being with someone I cared about and truly enjoying the time spent together. Looking at the sunset and its beautiful shades of color as it dipped down below the tree line. Feeling the wind blowing and licking my skin with its light, feathery touch. The little tingles of love and appreciation I should have felt when my children looked at me adoringly. If only I had taken the time to really let all those good things resonate in me deeply. If only I had been an active participant in my life while I had the chance then maybe the sadness now wouldn’t be so profoundly devastating.

I built a lifetime of feeling alone and preoccupied. Connecting to my existence, fully engulfing my experiences could have – oh, they would have – made for a richer take-away than what I chose to be left with at that time. So now I’ll exit this world with only memories, their impact and meaning only now being revealed; a lesson of life learned much too late.

**Originally published on PhiloSusi 4/16/2014. Reposted with minor revisions.

Carotid Wine

1

She’d had enough.

His end was near, didn’t know it though. He was clueless.

Her knuckles tightened around the elegantly shaped wine glass. Instinct and rage fueled the glass crashing into the side of the table. Only one crescent-shaped shard fell away.

It was the perfect edge to damage a pulsing artery.

She gracefully, furiously, lunged for the side of his throat. His vital organ cut wide-open. A rhythmic stream began pumping out, gushing blood down and out over his body. With stunned horror, he gripped his throat to stop the bleeding.

She watched, fascinated, as he was dying.