Call it Love by Gregorio Osha
Call it Love
I eventually unplugged the phone. I could no longer explain to people why I stayed. I really didn’t know, myself. How could I explain that I had destroyed someone’s life, and now was destroying my own to let my guilt rest. I would end up yelling at them anyway, like a kid lost at the carnival, I didn’t know how to react. A fake smile, now twisted, had left my face wrinkled and worn. I was nothing more than a ghost of a once happy man. My wife was diagnosed with Diffuse Axonal Injury, after the accident. For five years I fed her, cleaned her, talked to her, and on occasion slept with her.
I have a recurring nightmare of the day it all happened, only bits and pieces of it stayed with me. The thing I could remember most, is walking into her hospital room. I never could have been ready for what I saw that day (I threw-up, my body didn’t know how to react, so it had thrown up). The doctor told me she had suffered major head trauma, that her skull had cracked open upon impact, rattling her into a new person. That she would no longer be able to eat, drink, let alone survive on her own. I tried to convince them I was up to the task, but any person could see that I was scared.
Initially when we went back home, curtains still sagged, lights flickered. But she was no longer the person I had fallen in love with. Her face a scar of former tissue. When I told her I would stay with her forever, that I loved her no matter what, she looked blankly into my eyes and began to scream. I continued to talk to her, only to get nothing in return. Sometimes a grumble, sometimes a flinch, mostly nothing. I think it hurt for her talk, knowing that I would not understand.
I couldn’t help but relive our past, a fantasy forever lost. Black shoes scratching on the cold pavement. A cigarette dangling from my mouth. Inhaling the last four years of my life, a sensation flowing through me. A pleasure never before felt. That’s when the blue VW bus pulled up and out came a woman. Her hair was a dirty orange, her nose crinkled, and her eyes screaming for adventure. She was the kind of girl you’d do anything for, a goddess among men. Walking out, long legs swaying with certain imperfection, a body like no other. She had my attention. She grabbed my hands and said “Let’s go.” Apparently there was more to the story, but those were details lost in my conflicted memory. Soon that became my life. A van, a girl, and a longing for a purpose.
There is a point in life only the very unfortunate reach, where death is the easy way out, the one you wish you had. Thoughts of killing myself ran rampant in my head. But the ones that worried me, were the thought of killing her. She seemed so miserable, a quick pill, both of us would be better off. I would suppress those, somewhere deep inside. No longer would the neighbors wave at us, they would do everything in their power to stay away. I never heard from our friends again. They didn’t know how to handle the situation. No one did. I took every prescription possible to prevent me from thinking about killing myself, or rather her. I was in a permanent daze of denial and false hope.
I had changed. When I went to the market a year before she died, I was doing my once-a-month shopping trip. I was walking down the aisle, when a young boy started to breakdown in the store. He had just been told his grandmother was terminally ill, and was expected to pass. He was rolling in the ground, with sorrow and grief. But, for some reason this made me mad, an anger hiding deep, unleashed. I screamed at the kid for three minutes, telling him how his problems were insignificant. This was before I was thrown out. That was the first day I had cried in years. I felt an unquenchable need for a sign of prospect, I ran home and plugged in the phone, waiting for the flood of messages to come. But nothing was there… No one called.
It was almost a normal day when she died, no phone, no funeral, nothing. But I was free.