She opened the front door to find his keys on the counter. "Oh, he's back", she said to herself. She laid her bags and keys on the counter next to his. She switched on the lights as she went inside the house. Her head was aching; she needed a glass of water. She opened the kitchen cabinet to get a glass and moved to the sink to fill it. These headaches were becoming a pain!
Almost everyday for the past 9 months they had been more of her friend than he was. Maybe that was the real reason they were not speaking to each other. She turned to see the roses had wilted. Did she get roses this morning? Or were they daisies? She didn't remember. She didn't care. She moved to the stove to turn it on. "Maybe I'll make some tea today", she thought. Whoever said coffee was good for a headache, sure didn't have hers.
Kettle on the stove, she opened the fridge to check what she could make for dinner. Asparagus! Not her favorite. She remember how he loved asparagus. "I should try to love him", she thought. "After all he does love me". She got the packet of asparagus out and started towards the sink to rinse them.
"Don't you know that I love you more than anything?" she shouted.
"And don't you know that I don't love you anymore?" he blared. "Why are you still holding onto this? Why won't you let me go?"
"Why should I let you go? You're free to do whatever you want, just as you've been doing all these months. And still you want me to let you go?" she said.
"Come on Janie! As if you didn't drive me into all of this!"
"I drove you into all of this? Oh, how I wish I had!! We would be far more better off than where we are right now", she shouted.
"No! I can't do this again!", she said to herself. This is how it started every time. The fights, then the name calling, then the trying to hit each other, then feeling utterly helpless, liked someone sapped the lights out of you. This had to stop.
And the tea wasn't helping much. "Was I supposed to add sugar in this?", she asked herself. "Or did I and it still tastes the same old bitter self." She had decided she wouldn't love him anymore. Like saying I'll quit smoking. She thought she could do it. She was trying to do it. But it didn't feel the same anymore.
These days it was more of a formal relationship they shared. He learned to keep to himself and she learned to sleep on the other side of the bed. Sometimes she didn't even realize he was home. But the keys on the counter made his presence known. Maybe she was in love with the keys more than him.
"Oh, stop it Janie!" she shouted inside her. "You don't love him, remember? He's the one that loves you! Just be polite and get this day over with." She moved to the stove to stir the asparagus in the broth and add some salt. "Maybe I'll add some spaghetti to this today." She went over to the cabinet to get the spaghetti.
"Honey, would you like spaghetti with this tonight?", she raised her voice to ask him. 5 minutes later and still no answer. "You sure are silent today", she thought. Then, she heard the shot! She rushed into the other room, from where she thought the sound came. Why was it so dark? Where are the switches when you need them? She finally found them and flicked the lights on.
There he was, sitting on the couch, in front of the TV. He was wearing his brown shirt. He loved that shirt. Used to say it was the best thing she got him. "But why does he have ketchup all over him?", she thought. "And what was that black thing near his pocket?" And then she screamed!
She didn't how long she screamed. She knew that that was the only thing she was capable of doing at the moment. How could he do this to her? He loved her! She stumbled towards the
phone. She had to call for help. She could still save him. Like smoking, she knew she couldn't quit on him. She called her mom. She would help. She worked at the hospital.
"Mom? It's Janie. I need your help."
"Mom! It's me. Janie. I need you to come over. Something's happened to Keith. I was in the kitchen making dinner, when I heard....."
"I'm sorry. But who is this? Is that you Shannon?"
"MOM!! It's me! Janie!"
"Janie? Am sorry dear, you must have the wrong number", said the sullen voice. "Janie died 9 months ago."
And then she heard the shot again.