Same Time Next Year

Happy Halloween!

Last Year

He clasped my hand and whispered, “You made it through another Halloween.”

My expression darkened and I growled, “You don’t know how angry I am at you right now!”

He returned my glare with a smile and responded, “You’ll forgive me because I’m irresistible.”

I rolled my eyes and retorted, “Yeah, in your own mind.”

His eyes became serious and he made me promise that we’d do this again the same time next year.

This Year

I didn’t expect one kid, yet I bought a jumbo bag of candy. By 8 PM, with no one stopping by, I wrote “Treat” on the bag and set it on my neighbor’s porch without ringing the doorbell. I had my own business to conduct.

The pink capsules allowed me to sleep. The orange tablets lowered my blood pressure. The white caplets eased my pain. The blue ones were my favorite. They took away my anxiety. A vodka chaser completed the mix.

He and I barely spoke in three months, and as Halloween approached, I assumed he forgot my promise. As I downed the last of my cocktail, his text pinged. It read, “You broke your promise. If you aren’t here in an hour, I’m coming for you.”

I cursed under my breath. Within 40 minutes, I reached his house. A couple was leaving and I snuck through the door. The drugs were taking hold. He thumped my shoulder, smiled, and handed me a martini and a bleu cheese olive. As I finished the olive, a beautiful woman entered the kitchen and introduced herself as his fiancée. My knees almost buckled, partly because of the news and partly because of the pills and drink.

He introduced me as a coworker from out-of-town whose hotel room was cancelled at the last moment. My suitcase made the explanation plausible. He led me upstairs to the spare room. I remembered it from last year. The view from the balcony was gorgeous and peaceful.

I put my clothes on the couch, sat in a lounge on the balcony and closed my eyes.

He knocked and entered the room. I jumped and ran to the door as I heard my name.

“Are you okay?”

“I am.”

He grabbed my hand and as I flinched and pulled away, his fingers slipped through mine as if they were fog. He tried again. We stared at each other, then ran to the balcony. We saw my body slumped on the chair. He tried to revive me, but after a few moments, I begged him to stop.

He clasped my hand and asked me if I felt it. I didn’t, but in order to make him feel better, I nodded my head.

“You didn’t make it through another Halloween.”

I gazed at him.

His expression darkened and he growled, “You don’t know how angry I am at you right now.”

I smiled and blew him a kiss and responded, “You’ll forgive me because I’m irresistible.”

He asked me what would happen next

“I’ll see you the same time next year. I promise.”

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