I could not believe I had said the words out loud. Kill my wife? KILL MY WIFE?! I noticed I had been shrieking and quickly hushed myself. My hands shook with a strange tingling sensation, something akin to anticipation. I deleted everything that I had typed on the screen and shut the PC off. Could I do it? Could I take another human’s life? I decided to sleep on it, falling asleep on my rickety wooden bed and dreaming of six million ways Lauren might die.
The next morning, I resumed my normal routine, but I was jumpy. I felt like anybody could listen in on my thoughts and discover what was sure to be my darkest desire. Lauren and I crossed paths once that morning. I was exiting the bathroom after my shower and she was ducking in for hers. It was a tense moment for the both of us. Then during breakfast, while I was watching Marley eat her cereal, I realised that killing Lauren would mean taking away the mother of my child. I shuddered and suddenly lost my appetite, anxious to get out of the house.
I went through the motions that day, not really hearing anything anyone said to me, all I could focus on was getting my hands around Lauren’s throat and squeezing it. Stretching my wide, warm palms around her skinny check and watching her delicious life flow from her eyes. My boss ended up letting me leave work early, obviously noticing my lack of attention. I decided to go straight home and have a stiff drink to calm my anxiety. Little did I know that my imaginary plan would be coming to fruition sooner than I had hoped.
It was 2.01PM. I remember the time because it was the last thing I saw before everything turned upside down. Lauren’s car was parked in the driveway. Her silver Toyota, parked in its usual place on the left hand side of our double driveway. I think I knew at that moment that something was seriously wrong. Why was she home from work? Was she sick? Was there someone else home with her? Was she having an affair?
Instead of entering the house using the front door, I had decided to slip around the side into the backyard and enter via our laundry. It was an almost silent approach and I knew she would never hear me coming.
The bottom storey of house was clear but I heard music playing somewhere upstairs. My heart rate picked up speed then. This was it. The confrontation. I climbed the stairs slowly, taking care to avoid the creaky fifth and eleventh steps so that she didn’t hear me coming. I heard laughter first. Her flirtatious giggle that I had not heard in years. The giggle was reserved for me but was now directed at a new companion. Then I heard the second laugher. A deep, sensuous chortle. Even the brief throaty titter roared with masculinity and youth.
Suddenly, a door opened. I ducked into our study and hid behind the door, listening for footsteps. I heard the satisfied humming of the man pass the open doorway and head into the bathroom, then the shower starting. I realised this would be the optimum time for me to strike. Get into the bedroom, strangle Lauren and then make a quick escape. I ran into the bedroom where I knew Lauren would be and there she was lying in her post-orgasm splendour She sat up quickly and we stared at each other for a few moments. Her eyes startled and wide. In that moment, I felt all the love I had left for that woman evaporate from my body. It fell off me and soaked into the carpet beneath me.
Resigned, I realised I couldn’t kill her. I was not a murderer. I laughed bitterly and shook my head as I exited the room. The intent evolved. The new goal became to pack a few necessities for myself and Marley and get the hell out of there. I strode into the guest bedroom and packed some clothes, thinking to myself that I had a few months worth of annual leave stacked up and now looked like a good time to use it.
I heard a rustle of fabric behind me and turned to see Lauren standing in the doorway, wrapped in a the 1000 thread count Egyptian sheets that were a wedding gift from my parents. “Bit late to preserve your modesty, isn’t it?” I chuckled darkly. Surprised by my response, she approached me with an outstretched hand, "What are you doing here? Why are you doing this?” I decided to ignore her and continue packing.
When my duffel bag was full, I set off for Marley’s room. Lauren followed me, shrieking. Words of repentance echoed off my back. I reached Marley’s bedroom and felt my heart stop dead. The room was bare. The walls which were cream, lined with baby pink and chocolate brown were painted over by an ice blue. Her teddy bears, her doll house, her bed, all of it was gone. I stumbled into the room, feeling lost. A groan escaped my mouth.
I whirled around to face Lauren and let the roar free, ‘Where is she, Lauren?! Where?!” I dropped to my knees and touched the spot of the carpet where we used to sit and read stories together, feeling a hollow ache begin to spread from my heart and into my stomach. I felt sick. Maybe she’d been moved to another room, I thought. A twinkle of hope soared through me and I began to run from room to room calling out her name. I checked every room over and over again, screaming my daughter’s name like a mantra until my voice grew hoarse. I was certain I had seen her that morning, had held her tiny frame in my arms and told her I loved her when I dropped her off at the day care centre. Nothing made any sense.
After what felt like hours of desperation, I sought out Lauren, who had hidden in the kitchen with a cup of coffee. Like a madman, I threw myself at her, pinning her petite frame to the wall whilst feeling thick globs of tears run down my face and onto my shirt. I questioned Lauren, screamed at her in my panic, needing to know where my daughter was. Lauren said nothing and silently wept before collapsing into a small heap on the tiled floor.
I felt a hand on my shoulder and a gentle voice spoke to me, “What are you doing here? Why are you threatening my wife?” I looked down at the woman on the floor and watched Lauren’s features change. She aged, her dark hair turning auburn and her smooth face turned freckled and sun-aged. I shook my head, trying to clear my thoughts. Then in the next moment, I felt a heavy force to the back of my head and I saw nothing but darkness.