“Would you die for me?” Her voice trembled to the sound of the ratcheting hammer. Anger is the catalyst for her tears instead of sorrow. She looks at me in a way in which I have never before seen, and cannot say I have seen since.
Hours have gone by already. The two of us sharing this one room. Not a large space by any standards, and made smaller by the presence of her pain. And the gun in her hands.
I can’t say I didn’t deserve to be in the situation I found myself. By even my accounting, I’d done enough to break the will of this woman to earn this punishment and plenty more. Not all of it intentional. But once the lies started to roll out of my mouth, it was just easier to continue them instead of coming clean to my deeds. I suppose I finally just pushed a little too hard, and her hard exterior broke. Shattered. I obliterated everything she was. I can admit that much now. What the final straw was that broke her otherwise unbend-able back, that I cannot say. Hers is not a mind for me to know. All that really matters is that we find ourselves here now.
The hows and whys of this room specifically are lost to me now. They are matters I cannot seem to bring to the front of my memory. Facts like those come off trivial when overshadowed with the greater and more profound incidents that created the mess to begin with. I suppose I came here willingly. I may have been invited. Perhaps I supposed she was extending the hand of forgiveness. Whatever the initiator was, obviously I went for it and walked through the door of my own volition. She’s not a big enough girl to have knocked me out elsewhere and carried me here on her own.
Now in peril.
Being tied to the chair is a thing I recall. Why not fight, you may ask. It’s a fair question, a good one, even. There was trickery. The ropes were added as an insurance. Just in case the handcuffs failed. That happened when I sat down. She just walked right up behind and unleashed two pair of already positioned police-issue restraints upon my wrists.
Why not run? Another valid query. Due to the matching set of hollow-points inserted just below my knees, I’ve found it mildly difficult to do much moving at all, let alone enough of it to save my own life. Sure, I’m mentally kicking myself now for not seeing this all coming. When you crush the spirit of another human being they’re capable of anything. And I knew she was more predisposed to violence than others, yet I persisted. It’s truly my own poor foresight here.
Once bound, and shot, it has all been her will. Her ire taken out in words and blows to the skull with the butt of her weapon. I might have believed at first that she meant to leave me alive at the end of it all, but I’ve sense mended those notions. She does not wish me to learn a lesson and treat the next one better. She desires that I learn this all now, repent, and commence my burning in Hell while she watches. Again, she’s not entirely out of bounds with her desires. There isn’t very much I could have done to make all of this worse, for either of us. Me, my situation now, her, all that I’ve wrought upon her. But surely a man can want that he should not be at the brunt of this type of revenge.
Surely he can regret, not that he’s done the things he has, but that he’s done them to somebody already unhinged.
Better choices could have been made on my part to assure that I wouldn’t be imprisoned in a bleak little room far enough off the highway that my torture has not aroused the suspicion of anyone. At the very least I might wish for a room with some art upon the wall. Then there would be a thing other than her and the hollow of the barrel to look at. Could I have just not done things I did? Of course. I very well could have kept to the beliefs and promises of our early times. But I did not. Could I have ended our time together before she found out? Indeed. But I did not. Could I have finished the relationship right in the middle of all of it, when she was hurt but could have remained whole? Absolutely. And yet.
I can look back and see all the should haves. Including the one that surrounds whatever brought me here. The problem is that I can’t change the past. No time traveling for this man. I can apologize, but it seems to fall on deaf ears. She is unamused with my efforts. Too little, too late, I think, is one of the phrases she has hissed in my direction.
Nothing now can change my fate, take back all the blood I’ve lost, or replace the teeth I’ve spit onto the hideous carpet. I must resign myself.
I want to.
I know I should.
But that look sticks with me. Fleeting as it was. I know I saw it, it was there. Maybe she doesn’t realize it herself, she’s been so stone cold with the rest of it. If you were to ask me to interpret that look, I would sear, bet money even, on what it meant. For two seconds, no more, I would have said with full belief that she still loves me.
Most of me wonders now if it was just gas.
A man must have hope, however, and it’s that hope that clings. If she loves, even just a little, perhaps I can make it out of this, life intact.
“Would you?” it’s a demand. I know I’ve told her this in the past. That I would. It wasn’t a lie, then. Mostly. I don’t know what she wants to hear now. I suddenly and completely lose all trace of that hope with the new expression crossing her countenance. Burning hate. Loathing that reaches to the core of her soul. I am the most despised thing in her litany of dislike. The list is very vast and I am momentarily proud to be at the head of it.