In My Mind
by Michelle K.

There's an old saying. I'm not sure who said it or when, but I've been thinking about it recently.

Three people can keep a secret - if two of them are dead.

But we kept the secret, the three of us. We bucked the trend somehow; we broke a cliché. Maybe we're better than the average liar. Or maybe two of us are already dead.

I don't quite feel alive. Ruth...God knows what she feels anymore.

But we both still have the secret. We kept quiet through the investigation - they actually only questioned us once. And it seemed perfunctory, pointless. I haven't decided if they don't think we did anything wrong - or if they just wouldn't blame us if we did do something wrong.

Which we did.

Even if neither of us wants to admit it.

Which we don't.

Not to each other.

It amazes me, her lack of desire to talk about it. After Frank died, she wanted to talk. She wanted to fight, she wanted to blame, she wanted to accuse. But now, now that I'm actually guilty of something... that I could actually be locked away, probably for longer than that bastard would've been...

Now she wants to avoid the issue.

Maybe because she knows she's guilty too; she knows she wanted this. She knows the blood stains both of us.

She knows she holds some of the blame. And she knows I'd tell her that.

So she's silent. We're both silent.

And I have what's in my mind.

I shouldn't feel guilty about what I did.

I know what he did wasn't an accident.

I know the fact that Frank was sleeping with her didn't give him a right to murder him in cold blood.

I know he was a bastard.

I know the minor words of contrition he gave me only came out of the fear that I'd blow him away.

I know that the picture of him and Natalie didn't mean anything. It just meant that they were happy once.

That she was happy once.

I know she's not happy any longer.

I know it's because of him.

I know I hate him.

For what he did to Frank.

For what he did to me.

For what he did to Ruth.

For what he did to us.

Not to mention Natalie and the kids. Or all our friends, who have to tiptoe around us like we're about to shatter.

I know I killed him.

I know he'll never hurt anyone else.

I know Ruth will never have to see the bastard smile at her.

I know we'll never have to worry about him again.

It's over, sealed in a neat package of revenge.

He paid. Ruth isn't tormented by him.

And I know I don't feel like anything changed for me. I don't feel vindicated, victorious, or righteous. Killing him didn't give me any satisfaction, except for the basic momentary thrill. Watching him crawling away, knowing it would be fruitless. Knowing he paid the ultimate price for what he did.

Nothing's changed. Except that I can now call myself a murderer.

Nothing's changed.

I have the same things haunting me. I still feel paralyzed by grief.

I still sit in his room and let the tears fall.

I still see Frank smiling at me.

I still see him, bright and young, with all the promise of a future he'll never have.

I still drink way too much.

I still have everything, plus the blood that's still fresh on my hands.

I still have everything and nothing.

We still live this life, this life we lived before. I go to the office; she goes to the school.

We both live in hell, and we both pretend that it didn't happen.

But it's me, in my mind, where I relive it all. And I see how I screwed up. And I see how I have no ability to change any of it.

And I see that I'm guilty.

I wish I were blind.

Then I wouldn't see myself.

I wouldn't see her.

I wouldn't see Frank.

I wouldn't see Natalie in that picture, smiling.

I wouldn't see death.

But, then again, I wouldn't need sight to have all these things in my mind.

In my mind, where they'll always be.

In my mind, where I've kept the secret.

In my mind, where it killed me.

In my mind, where Ruth doesn't dare travel.

I don't much like being there either.

But there's nowhere else to go.

And the truth of it is...

The truth of it is, I can't handle it anymore.


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