It Lurks Around After You’re Gone by Henry Martin
October 24, 2011 Comments Off on It Lurks Around After You’re Gone by Henry Martin
It lurks in the shadows after we say our good-nights and I-love-yous … after you kiss me on the cheek and give me your best hugs. The kids are asleep. The TV is off. Only the sounds of chirping cicadas cut through the darkness. I walk you to the bedroom, brush the hair off your forehead, and lean over to give you a kiss. You smile at me, and our eyes meet briefly just before my lips make contact with your skin. That’s when it jumps up, claws stretched, its tongue sharper then the knives in the kitchen.
It strikes without warning, thirsty for fresh blood.
It hates all the things you once loved about me when you and I met for the first time. It hates the things you and I have enjoyed over the years.
It hates me.
Pure hatred, nothing more, nothing less.
The tattoos you once loved tracing with your fingers make me look like the criminal that I, apparently, am now. The earrings that, in your eyes, once made me look like a rebel have turned me into a gay pirate look-alike, and the hobbies I enjoy in the garage are now nothing but piles of junk.
Our relationship has become a meaningless farce.
I stand there, aware of the kids, taking blow after blow while silently I beg it to stop. Its skinny little fists beat me in the chest, the arms, and about the shoulders. It tries clawing at my face, but I push its arms aside.
It starts sobbing – a broken heap of nerves and emotions. Deep inside me, I want to comfort it, to hold in my arms, yet I cannot bring myself to do it. After a while, I sit down next to it and run my fingers through its messy hair. It jumps up, screeching as it grabs the phone.
“Don’t you fucking touch me, you asshole! I’m calling 911 on you.”
“Go ahead,” I say. “And what are you going to tell them?”
It has no answer.
After a while, it falls asleep, so I go outside, light a cigarette, and look at the stars. The outside is so peaceful.
When I come back in, the kids are still asleep, and the light in our bedroom is off. I walk in. You are on the bed, breathing heavily in your sleep. I cover you with a blanket, and then I look around.
It is gone.
In the morning, you and I don’t talk much. The kids laugh and play at the breakfast table while we get ready to go to work.
“Bye Daddy,” you say with your hand on the door handle after you kiss the kids goodbye.
“Bye.” I look at you. I want to talk about last night. Want to say I’m sorry, but you cut me off before I can finish, and then you are gone.
There is a monster living inside you. It’s been there for ten years — lurking — ready to strike at any time.
I want to kill it,
But I fear if I do …
I’ll wind up killing you.
© 2011 Henry Martin
When he’s not buried elbow-deep in some greasy motorcycle project, Henry Martin enjoys reading quality literature and writing prose and poetry of varying coherency. He finds inspiration in conquering the open road while trying to outrun some of the characters he created in the past. He lives with his family in NH, surrounded by coyotes, foxes, and bears.