It was perfectly silent that Sunday as the sun started to rise, began to colour the deep blue morning sky. A blanket of white snow had been sprinkled over everything outside and on opening his sleepy eyes, from beneath the white snug sheets holding them both inside, it was the lingering cold of the moon slipping in from last night which wrapped him around her within their sunlit room. Entwined together, skin warm and perfect to hold close, they seemed to lay forever until subtly their yawning and stretching and snuggling stumbled into the kitchen. Here lingering lasted even longer and as the smell of fresh bread and smokes clothed their noses they dreamily draped themselves around a thick wooden breakfast table, talking idly about nothing much at all; but still every word became a reason to believe in their private and beautiful world. The day though did eventually grow and as they walked for miles through the snow, around all the splashes of flower colour, the flowing rainbow clusters refusing to conform with the cold; still they held each other close, whispering and kissing as they went. So then, in a similar manner the evening also came and began to descend. Filled with comfortable food it consumed them before carrying their hazy sleepy heads back to bed. Warm and entwined again, the night dimmed over them while smouldering sex merged late with the slow beginning of another day.
She had already left for work when he finally woke feeling thirsty and hungry that next morning. He made his way alone into their still dirty from yesterday kitchen and after picking his way around the moulding ones, found a bowl before munching some early lunch. He sat there after that for some time trying to figure out how much they had left to spend and, dreading the start of his impending night shift, realised he already felt like going back to bed. But then the phone rang. It was her and he was so happy at first but soon he began to feel down. She was lunching with Peter who he didn’t like very much. She came home just when he was about to leave, as was the case when he sometimes worked late, however her face seemed strange today and after they had hugged he said,
“The heating's gone.”
“Wha' d’ya mean? So it’s gunna be cold for me tonight is it?”
“I found it on high when I woke up, you must have left it on and now it’s blown. Your fault, but shit happens. I’ll get it fixed tomorrow. Wrap up, you’ll be okay,” he replied before slipping both arms into the sleeves of his coat.
“No it fuckin won’t. You’re a twat and this house sucks my ass.”
“You’re a twat! You are allowed to fix it yourself you know!” he yelled and feeling aggravated he slipped his toes then feet into a pair of boots.
“Fuck it! I’ve had enough, I’m leaving. Can’t be bothered with this anymore,” she declared.
With a look of shock on his face he stared at her and said,
“What do you mean your leaving, going where?”
“I’m leaving us, this relationship, I Just can’t be bothered anymore. I’m gone,” and with that she stormed off and out of the door.
Fuck you then he thought, thinking she’d come back but she never did. Just like that he had lost her, colder than he ever thought she could be and never a sorry. Poor Jack, he felt so sad. All the hope he’d ever had he abandoned because of her and in its place a fierce bitterness landed but he’d get over her, Sara Whitacare, she was merely a name and there were many of those still left out there.
The whole of the next week consisted of him either sulking miserably or throwing mental fits of rage. While he was sulking, thoughts of revenge would contaminate him, extravagant plans of how he would get his own back, show her just how much she’d hurt him, filled his head. The rage would then follow, spilling out of him it would mostly only messy the air in his room but occasionally he did attack her with it. He made her cry many a time but it never did change anything, she was still with her new him and he was still at rock bottom fucking nothing but himself up. As time moved, his attacks did become less but still his sulks grew until he hardly ever left the house. Self-doubt and whys haunted his claustrophobic life and cut his arms as he tried to fight back but he always failed. One day though, when he was feeling extremely bad and looking rather pale, he began chewing his toenails to pass the time. Harmless fun he thought until his nailless toes began to hurt and so he started sucking them to relieve the ache. However, being used to chewing, his teeth soon started to grind and grown very used to self indulgent pain, before he knew it he’d eaten his big toe and was now licking up it’s fleshy remains. That night the only thing shifting around in his brain was the marvellous and euphoric release that, even if it was short lived, had pleased him. So the next morning, without even thinking, he munched another one and then another after work. The remaining two were gone by the end of the week but he didn’t stop there. His addiction now had hold of him and it was only until he had eaten past his knee and was chomping on his thigh that he realised: this was so wrong!
A long while passed from then on and during that time he never once nibbled himself, not even a toenail. He also made large efforts to leave the house and generally get back to normal living again. It did seem to be going fine most of the time and even the loss of one of his legs didn’t bother him as much as he thought it would. The questions from friends were a little awkward but he just lied, said it was an accident and that he was lucky to survive and so they would smile and pile on the sympathy and that was how he happily lived until she heard about it. She dropped round one afternoon when he was not in the best of moods to offer him her condolences and explain how something like this puts things into perspective, but he just told her he’d never forget and sent her away. Sadness filled him that evening, memories of lost beauty and close friendship, intimate companionship and happiness circled inside his mind. He felt so lost, and craving something, anything, his desperation turned into obsession into the removing of his shoes, socks and trousers, toes and leg. The next morning he woke up cursing himself and retching and, after emptying the contents of his stomach lining, decided that it was time to finally try and get some help.
The wheelchair had been pissing him off all week, it was old and rusty and squeaked as it moved. Fucking NHS he grumbled while he rumbled down the cobbled path leading up to an old building and its cold wooden room, inside of which he was due to meet the rest of his self help group that evening. The group were all sat in a circle when he wheeled in, their shifty eyes flinching away and towards anywhere else whenever he attempted to smile at any one of them.
“Don’t worry about ’em, fucking shits all of ’em. Ain’t ya Jim,” said an attractive lady who’d just walked in and was now staring at a hunched up young man cowering in the corner.
“Fucking retards,” she complained, mostly to herself.
“So what ya up ta? What’s ya problem?”
“My legs,” replied Jack when he realised she was talking to him.
“Only been in this damn thing a week,” he said banging one of its wheels, “Accident.”
“I see. I’m Marie.”
“Jack,” said Jack, “so why you here?”
“Because I’m broke as fuck and hooked on crack and, believe it or not, used to be twenty eight stone. Got my friends worried, me being so thin,”
“Or jealous,” Jack butted in.
She smiled at this,
“Truth is I’m lazy. Always have been, never followed anything through. Dropped out of everything I’ve ever done but fuck it. I’m happy. Love this bullshit, it’s so much fun being one of these pricks.” Sarcastically smiling she scowled around the room and they all ducked away.
“Well you’re beautiful at least,” he told her and then squeaked into position as their hour of “How to believe in ME” got underway.
The lecture ended after what seemed like a lot longer than an hour since it had begun. But as much as he felt stupid it had done the trick. Smiling and squeaking, out he went ready to face the world, refreshed and full of happy fuel. But before he had even reached the door he lost control of his wheels and was pushed out into the street, fake feet bouncing as he leapt off the curb and into the road and then onto the back seat of an old Cavalier. From here he was spun around and lying on his back, looking up, he suddenly felt elated to be greeted by the smiling teeth of Marie and her undressing body.
His happiest month in recent times had gone by, he’d spent almost everyday with Marie and, just when he thought it couldn’t get any better, Saturday arrived. Waking early the sun was in the sky and, leaving Marie lying he heaved his body into the wheelchair and squeaked off for some morning shopping. The streets were quiet and the air still seemed tired as he brushed by it. Peaceful and hopeful clothed him as he slipped between the few people strolling alongside. With should be like this everyday feelings he wheeled until his arms turned him around and back to bed, bags full of goodies hanging from every jagged wheelchair edge.
“Hey,” came a jokey sulky smile, “I’ve been missing you, Poo Face.”
“Sorry,” he whispered back into her ear as she leaned over and peaked into his bags, then lifting up his arms, he laughed as she dragged him back into bed.
“You’re the best. Thank you,” she purred, snuggling in beside him before beginning to nibble on a huge piece of French bread. The day floated by motionlessly from then on until suddenly the T.V caught his attention,
“Fuck Me! No way, fuck! Fuck me. No way. No way!”
“Whassup?” she asked him.
“My luck is up, that’s what. Fucking crazy this world ain’t it? Fucking hell. If mine are the numbers I’m sure they are…. Well then I’m a millionaire. Where’s me bag?”
“What? What you talking about?”
“There, look, on the T.V. 3, 13, 23, 34, 36, 43. They’re my numbers!”
He’d won the jackpot on the lottery and so full of even more happy they passed the rest of the day. The morning though did eventually come and, still feeling hung over with excitement they sat down in the kitchen. With talking dripping from their lips, sipping tea and eating biscuits, they discussed how this would change everything and how now would be a good time for her to move in. He could employ her to take care of things since he wasn’t so able and she would receive a regular wage and accommodation until she got herself back on her feet. The proposition was perfect and so she agreed and the next day moved in; at last he felt as if the world was finally swaying to his rhythm, repaying him everything he was owed.
Officially she had moved into the spare room, that was where she piled all of her stuff, but they always slept together and she always used his things so, very quickly, she became fully integrated into even the tiniest part of his life. But it wasn’t all cosy and floaty light, in fact her presence was now beginning to feel like more of a hindrance than a blessing. She was eating everything in sight, and with her wage, was buying eighth after eighth of green, smoking it up every day and doing absolutely nothing to help. They were still happy but his nagging was starting to take its toll, every time he asked her for even the smallest thing she would tell him to fuck off and, miserable in the mouth, complain that she wasn’t his slave. She was going to pay him back everything one day, this was a temporary state of affairs she’d say and he would tell her it was okay, but then she would just cry and nothing would change until it happened again.
Chewing on a cold chicken leg left over from yesterday she sat scowling at him; watching him and his stumps as they squeaked around, struggled up and down the house, until eventually they came to rest, twitching beside her.
“Could you pop down the shops for me and buy something nice to eat, there’s no food in the fridge at all. Please?” He asked her.
But all she wanted to do was tell him to go do it himself, sick of serving this limbless thing but too lethargic to attempt to move and feeling too fat to charm much else she felt trapped and so just sat and shrugged.
“Actually, it don’t matter, think I’ll go anyway. Haven’t had much fresh air today so might as well take a roll. Get the kettle on, I’ll be back in a bit.”
Squeaking away he hoped she’d be okay when he got back, but she just cursed under her breath as soon as he’d left and, slamming the kettle onto the hob, hoped he’d die or get lost: it was time to end this. He got back sooner than she’d expected and was a lot different from when he had left. He was muttering swearwords under his breath and panting and was clearly distressed.
“I fucking saw her again, she walked right up to me and all condescending asked me, with a smirk on her face, if I wanted some chicken legs. Bitch! Who does she think she is working in that store, packing meat and speaking to me like that? I’ve got millions, slag’s got nothing but twisted teeth. Stupid bitch!”
“It’s alright love, here look, have a cup of tea,” offered Marie.
She did feel sorry for him and as much as he had been niggling her it was the least she could do. But that was it though, sad prick was still so hung up it kinda made her cringe to think about it. He wheeled off to his room soon after and, thinking it best to leave him alone a while, she started smoking again, she closed her eyes and drifted away. A little later she woke up hungry,
“Jack! Jack!” she shouted walking up to his door, “Jack, we ever gunna eat or what?”
But when she reached his door a thud and a groan echoed from inside. She burst in,
“OH MY GOD!” She started screaming, panicking, freaking out,
“Fucking hell Jack that’s so wrong!” Trembling she ran out before throwing up in the sink.
Pulling himself along by one arm, the other in his mouth and dripping red with blood, eyes running with tears, he groaned and then passed out as the rest of the day span off around and around drowning her. Out of control it tumbled into a trance as she began clearing up his nightmare mess and feeling very distressed, she vowed to escape that vile lump who she could now barley remember having ever loved.
When Jack woke up he felt really dizzy and had the worst hang over he could ever remember experiencing. His mind was full of weird dreams, almost memories, he wasn’t sure but what he did know was that he’d never felt this bad before. He was examining his newest stump when she walked into the room wearing a brand new dress, fatter than ever and smiling slyly,
“So how ya feeling then, you cunt?” she enquired.
“I’m feelin pure crap, what the hell did they do to me and what's with you?”
“Nuff cash that’s what.” His head was thumping already and she wasn’t making any sense so he said,
“From you. Bitch!” she muttered, staring down at him and laughing before turning to walk away.
“Wait!” he called after her, “what you talking about?”
Whipping her head over her shoulder she hissed,
“You’re my husband now,” and slammed the door behind her as she stormed out.
Their wedding had been a quiet and quaint affair; she self-indulgently hummed as she told him how he had just sat there completely drunk and drugged up throughout the ceremony. She laughed at how the priest still bound them in holy matrimony, thinking it would be better for him to have a good home and a wife to recover with. But having saved the best ’til last, she was glowing when she told him about forging his signature to get her hands on his cash. She was his wife now and that meant no more nagging from him or doing anything that she hated. With only one arm he was almost a worm, so if he didn’t want her to treat him like one he’d better fit in. The days went by and he mostly kept out of her sight while he tried to get things right in his head. But he had no plans to remain in hiding and so as soon as he felt fit again he came out fighting, told her this wasn’t right.
“You’re not right, in the head!” she said and, repulsed by his twitching and squeaking, locked him in the cupboard under the stairs where he stayed for two days before she let him out again.
His life was hell now and, after a year of being repeatedly locked in the dark, his mind had grown sore from so many haunting thoughts and his stumps (four now after taking his final limb sometime around March) were torturing him whenever he flinched or accidentally wiggled them. He became an insomniac as the periods of darkness outgrew those of light. His head, he was sure, had been used to mop the floor. But so far gone was his sense of what was real and with such a low opinion of Marie it wasn’t easy to say anything was definitely not a dream. The hours kept on flowing and he kept on moaning, time endlessly ongoing felt like it would never stop; that was until one day the cupboard door burst open and he was dragged out and dumped in the garden.
“Bloody hell! You weren’t joking were ya!”
“I told you, disgusting isn’t he?”
It was her voice, not Sara come back to him but the other one, Marie. What's she doing he thought?
“Come on help me, get him in there! Don’t want this thing in my house. Quick, before the kids see. You stupid Bitch, why didn’t you tell me?”
Who was that voice? That man with her? Talking to her and why is he throwing me into a wheelbarrow? Came Jacks thoughts again.
“I thought you’d hate me, be disgusted of me, I’m so sorry,” she replied.
Not Sara, she hadn’t come back to save him, it was still Marie’s voice.
“It’s not your fault. I can’t believe it, who would believe this? You poor thing it must have been so horrible hiding this from me, dealing with it all on your own. The filthy dirty thing, it’s making me feel sick just to look at him.”
“So you still love me, Peter, tell me you love me?” pleaded Marie.
Not Sara, she hadn’t come back to him. They kissed then, the man and Marie, before wheeling him into the basement and lighting the furnace.