Waiting For You

Entry by: JC

9th November 2017
I’m waiting for you. They could have done more with the waiting room – some magazines or a nice fish tank. Even a dusty aspidistra or two would’ve brightened the endless rows of wooden chairs. Most are filled but there’s little conversation. I don't care. I don’t need to be entertained. Thinking of you keeps me fully occupied.

I’ll never forget our first meeting. I was coming out of the supermarket and struggling with a laden trolley. Its wonky wheel hit the sloping gutter and pulled me off balance. The whole thing was toppling until your tanned, muscular arms reached out and stopped it. How my heart fluttered at your dimpled smile. When you offered to wheel the beast to my car I readily accepted though I could have managed from that point. We started talking about the items in my cart. You were curious about the extravagant food. I waved the list I’d been given explaining that I was shopping for my sister’s party tonight. She and my other sister were busy getting their hair and nails done and the groceries were last minute additions they wanted. Instead of asking when I’d be getting my hair done you said you hoped their hairdresser was as good as mine because she’d made me look like an angel. That was when my heart stopped fluttering, and melted.

The few short weeks leading to our marriage went by in a whirl. You treated me like a princess – infinitely precious and fragile. I luxuriated in your cotton wool, thrilled to receive such attention for the first time in my life. It wasn’t until the honeymoon that I finally felt the need to come up for air. Activities abounded on our tropical island. On the first day a waiter smiled at me and I kissed away your wrinkled brow. When our surf coach complimented my technique I laughed at your scowl, imagining those shows of jealousy to be your funny way of expressing your love. But that night you punished me for flirting.

Over the next two weeks whenever we ventured out together we went arm-in-arm. Others chuckled indulgently but I knew by then that such an arrangement isn’t always romantic. You frequently went off to swim and enjoy yourself, instructing me to stay in our room and watch TV. I didn’t dare disobey.

Shortly after returning from our honeymoon I found I was pregnant, and the joy of growing a new life inside me lightened the dread that was taking hold. The days became filled with prenatal exercise videos, sewing, crocheting and cooking healthy meals from the groceries you brought home. I loved the cot you chose but wished you’d let me go with you to buy it. You insisted I not get overtaxed. I didn’t see how the occasional visitor would overtax me but I’d learnt not to argue.

Your little punishments became more frequent. For arbitrary infractions you found ingenious ways to inflict pain without leaving marks. I tried desperately to please you – keeping the house spotless and laundering your clothes exactly as you liked. When the baby finally arrived I thought my heart would burst with joy. Our little girl was so beautiful. I hoped that fatherhood would mellow you, and for a while it did. But then the baby got colic.

She couldn’t help her crying. Really she couldn’t. I would have taken her for walks outside to free you from the noise but you wouldn’t allow it. What were you afraid of? Showing a less than perfect baby to the world or having a runaway wife? You needn’t have worried about the latter. I was completely in your thrall. I still melted when you turned on the charm and treated me tenderly. But when our intimate moments were interrupted by the baby I would hold my breath. I’d always been the outlet for your suppressed rages but suddenly I began to fear for our child. I was right to be afraid.

She’s not in the waiting room with me. A baby hasn’t learned to hate, doesn’t need revenge. This place – some on Earth might call it limbo – is only for those like me who are waiting for someone. I’m waiting for you. Turns out heaven and hell aren’t quite the way the religions paint them. Those who have done no harm and who seek no justice, never see a world beyond death. They rest in peace. But the spirits that ache for revenge come here – to the waiting room. This is where we ponder the ways we will deal with those who eventually come to us. I’ve devised a marvellous repertoire of ‘treatments’ for you. Many stem from the things you did to me but the worst will be variations on what you did to our daughter. Your ‘hell’ will last as long as I want it to. Only when my passions are finally spent will I allow us both to rest in peace.

So, my dear. Enjoy what’s left of your short corporeal life. Your death will be long. I’m waiting for you.