“How could you?”, Susan shouted hysterically as she rummaged the room with her eyes looking for things that had once belonged to her in a former life. A tablecloth that had once covered the kitchen table where sh’d served her husband home cooked meals each night, now was draped across Ann’s table. It grasped Susan’s attention and wouldn’t let go. “There is no other way,” she thought as the wheels in her mind spun out of control. Susan felt a burning sensation in her wrist for a moment, as she collapsed to her knees. She wanted them to see just how far they’d pushed her, and to feel ashamed, but of course that was asking too much. She just wanted to die; the only escape route she could find from the pain that ached inside her. Her heart echoed the sound of a drumbeat each time it tried to pump blood through her body, but would escape into the air instead. Hot puddles formed on the floor around Suisan’s crumpled body. Still she held the blade tightly in her hand, as a child would it’s blanket.
Memories of their life together, before Ann, flashed across the walls that surrounded her; their wedding day, their first Christmas together, the birth of their daughter…She looked up at them through tired eyes, and saw them laughing at her as she lay there dying. Laughing at her tears and very satisfied at what they had accomplished, completely destroying her life. Susan gasped fro her last breath, but couldn’t. At last, the warmth of darkness surrounded her, and PEACE possessed what was left of Susan’s soul.
Awakened by the pounding of her own heartbeat, Susan quickly sat up in a cold sweat. “3:30 am, Damn it!, Why can’t I just forget about him, for just one night!” She clumsily made her way into the small, but cozy kitchen, poured some orange juice, and popped yet another nerve pill. Susan crept quietly through their little mobile home into her daughter’s room. Stacey’s room was cheerful with all the pink teddy bear ballerina decorations, and had a way of calming Susan. She looked down at Stacey’s sweet little face, “that’s why”, she thought as she tucked the covers around her tiny pink arms. Susan had long ago stopped loving Richard, but something inside her just wouldn’t let go. “He betrayed me, he betrayed US.” She sat on the floor leaning against Stacey’s bed with her knees pulled up, as she thought. Her cotton nightgown wasn’t quite warm enough on a night like this. She tried to think of the snow that was piled on the porch railings as sand at the beach, to help her stay warm, but nothing worked. She shivered from the cold, not knowing if it was from the night air, or from the bitterness in her heart.
Life had become so hard for Susan, trying to stay strong for Stacey, yet about to fall apart inside. She tried to hold back all negative emotions until her daughter was fast asleep each night, then the pain and hurt would come rolling in, like thunder. She had to pinch pennies just to pay the bills, rotating each month so the same bill wouldn’t be paid late every time. Black rings encircled both her eyes from all the worrying and stress. Stacey was life, for Susan. Still Susan found herself lonely for a companion, but not willing to risk getting hurt again, so soon. She longed for someone to love her again, to talk with about life, and to just hold her. “I’ve got to get a grip!”, Susan murmured under her breath, “and I will, assuring herself, “One day at a time.” She rose to her feet, leaned down to kiss her little girl, and hesitated a moment before leaving. Susan smiled as she regained focus of what mattered. Stacey was a little angel, her little angel, lying there with her rosy cheeks, little curls, and dimples. In her heart, Susan knew that Stacey was all that really kept her going. “We will be just fine,” Susan said softly as she pulled the bedroom door shut.
After turning up the last swallow of orange juice to wash down a sleeping pill, Susan put away the razor blade she had fallen asleep with earlier. She walked slowly back to her bed and pulled the sheets up tightly as her head sank into the softness of her pillow. The warmth of darkness surrounded her. “One day at a time” she whispered, as peace possessed her soul.