R. B. Pillay
A GENTLE NUDGE AT THE RIGHT MOMENT
I love my husband, but tomorrow, I am going to push him into traffic. Well, maybe not tomorrow, but soon.
Tomorrow, we are going to get groceries. I cannot do it on the way to the store because we need to buy milk and eggs, and I would have to put off the trip to deal with the ambulance and hospital and police. And I cannot do it on the way from the store because the milk and eggs would spoil while I dealt with the ambulance and hospital and police.
So not tomorrow. But maybe the day after. We have dinner plans with the Renfrews that evening. At his favorite restaurant, too, that steak house near the corner of Main and 5th. That should be nice. We do not see the Renfrews much since they moved. A nice last meal with good friends. He will be full of sirloin and potatoes and beer, no doubt, and slow to react. It probably will not even take much, just a gentle nudge at the right moment.
I want to kill my husband because I love him, and the truth of the matter is that my love for him is killing me. I am, I admit, a worrier. Anxious by nature. Easily startled. And he is a runner. A leaper. Wherever he goes, he must get there as quickly as possible on those long legs of his. My husband is a tall man, but a fistful of inches seems to evaporate when he sits down. His height is all in his legs, you see. They are quite beautiful, those legs. I love those legs. Strange for a man to have shapely legs like his. Not typically muscular hocks but rather the long, lean stalks of a gazelle. He bounds across streets without even a glance to check for oncoming traffic while I am left standing on the sidewalk, teeth gritted and fists clenched so hard I can feel the skin stretching painfully across my knuckles. I wait for the thump of crumpling metal against wet meat and screams of bystanders—I imagine only sounds because I cannot even bear to look, my eyes trail toward the sky so that I won’t have to see the body of my husband whom I love so dearly fly through the air or crash against a windshield or be crushed under wheels.
And when none of the expected sounds reach my ears—ears he loves, ears he has punctuated with his gentle lips countless times—I turn my eyes back down to earth and see him standing safely on the other side of the road, hands on his hips or gesturing for me to follow or simply grinning like a damned fool. You may well call me a coward, for I have died far more than a thousand deaths over the past thirty years while waiting for his.
I am tired of waiting.
But not tomorrow.
Well, maybe not tomorrow.