The clock on our kitchen wall rang; reminding me it was twelve thirty. Only a half hour, I thought. The clock hung precariously over yellowed wallpaper desperately in need of changing, some day. Not today though, not with a wedding a half hour away. My future wife, Alicia, was standing across from me. Her lips bent into the wonderful smile I fell in love with. The white dress she was wearing was the same dress her mother got married in, but it fit her as if it was made only for her. Her blonde hair was pulled into a tight bun, making the skin on her forehead appear taut, and her deep green eyes were glassy as if she is about to cry.
I stood up, putting my hand on the side of her face, stroking it. "Don't cry Alicia, we're getting married. You can't cry on a day like this" I said with a smile. She smiled back at me. As I pulled my hand away I noticed something out of the ordinary by the side of her eye, a wrinkle. "Uh-oh, somebody is getting a wrinkle" I joked, "We'll just have to fix that after our honey moon." I could feel my face get serious. "Alicia do you remember the first time we met, I'm never going to forget it."
It was an abnormally warm day in October. Joggers were out downtown trying to catch the last of the sun before it was gone for the dreary winter. I was going Ronald's Coffee Shop, on the corner of Main and Gary Street, planning on watching all the people pass by. I was deep in thought that day, about what I can't remember. Alicia was behind the counter. Her blonde hair flowed just past her shoulders and stood out against her black cashier uniform. She smiled at me as I came up to order. "What are we going to have today?" she customarily asked me.
"Oh I don't know" I said thinking, my right hand rubbing my chin. "I think I'll just go with a latte today, I'm going to go sit over there, and watch the news" I said pointing to the table underneath the TV, playing CNN.
"That sounds like a fun time, maybe I'll join you" she said winking, as she walked away, to make my coffee. After making it she came down and sat down next to me, handing me my coffee.
"Aren't you working" I asked teasingly.
"Do you see anyone else here?" I quickly looked around, and she was right, I was the only customer in the place.
"Is it usually this slow?" I asked, taking a sip swishing the coffee between my teeth.
"No, I don't know where those damn kids are today, must be enjoying their time outside." She paused, "Speaking of the outside, why aren't you out there? That's where'd I'd be if I wasn't stuck here." I took another sip, swishing it again. I looked at her, as I swished it between my teeth. She had bottomless blue eyes; her pupils dark never ending tunnels. I could see bits of green, dancing around them as the light reflected off them at different angles.
"Do you know how pretty you'd look with green eyes?" I asked. She gave me a sideway glance "No really, green eyes would go perfectly with your hair and with your skin. Green eyes would just suit you."
"Thank you? I don't know how to take that?" She awkwardly paused, "Well I have to get back to work. I have things to clean."
I looked up at the clock in our kitchen. Only fifteen more minutes, I thought. "Honey, I'm going to go check on our guests make sure they're okay." She smiled back. I walked down the hallway opposite of our kitchen which lead to double doors, that opened to our church, at least on that day it was our church. I had built this addition off the side of our house, a few years back, just so we'd have a spare area for visitors. On that day though, I had arranged it for our wedding. As I walked in I could see 6 rows of benches, made by me, 3 on each side of red carpet that led all the way to a cherry wood altar, also made by me. Along the wall near the benches were small bunches of red roses that stood out against the bright white wall, Alicia's favorite. Behind the altar were five vases full of the same red roses, and above the altar were two perfectly white doves, that I had stuffed after a taxidermy class I had taken in high school. Even after all these years I was still very proud of them.
At the altar stood the priest, he was a tall, smiling man. I walked down the red carpet, surveying the guests. In the first row sat Alicia's parents, her father smiling through his large beard, his brown eyes blending in with his bushy eyebrows. Her mother, a larger woman, with a heap of black hair, was admiring the work behind the altar. I turned around in the front of the altar taking in the whole room. It was perfect. Well everything was perfect except for the women in the back corner, my mother.
She was sitting in the back corner; I was hoping I wouldn't have to see her sitting back there. Her yellow, tinted, wrinkled skin hung off her face, accentuating the features of her tight lipped permanent scowl. Her eyes were cloudy, making it hard to see the color they once were. She was wearing a modest red dress, with a small red blanket covering her wrinkly shoulders. My mother stared at me, I remembered that look; it was the same look she always gave my father before they fought, when I was a kid. I always left when I saw that look, hiding under my pillow until they stopped screaming. But one night I snuck back down the stairs, every night after that, I wished I had stayed under my pillow.
It was after dinner and my father was yelling. "I'm going to leave Laurna! I'm going to take my shit and leave!" Whatever my mother responded with was drowned out by the crashing of plates she was throwing. I heard my father get up, slamming a chair into our tile floor.
"You're nothing but a lousy drunk!" I heard my mother scream.
"Is that what you tell your boyfriend about me when I'm gone!" my father screamed back. There was an odd silence, followed by the sound of skin hitting skin. "You bitch" yelled my father. I heard metal hitting the kitchen floor, and the sounds of struggling. "Laurna stop!" my father yelled through a grunt of air. My mother's screams turn into sobbing. I was too curious to not peak through the kitchen door. I made eye contact with my mom, and quickly closed the door, but not before I saw my father lying on the kitchen floor. I tried to run back upstairs but my mother was out before I could reach the stairs. She grabbed me by my arms pulling me against her chest; I could smell the cigarettes on her breath.
"Oh my poor baby" she said rubbing my arms. It took me many years before I figured out why her hands were sticky.
I scowled at my mother as I left our church, walking back down the hallway towards Alicia. She was still standing by the table smiling at me. "Everything is almost ready" I said "They're just waiting for us now." I paused "Alicia, I have something stuck in my head. I just can't get it out; do you remember when I saved you from that bastard, Michael? It won't get out of my head"
It was a humid Saturday night, after a full day of rain. I was walking down Main Street to our old house, after a busy day at work. My hands were in my pockets, my left one fiddling with the 4 inch knife I kept there since I was ten. I walked past the alley way that ran behind our house, and I heard something peculiar that made me turn around, that was when I saw them.
Against the white fence that walled off our backyard, was Michael, pressing his lips against Alicia. His hands running over her curved body, revealing her porcelain skin under her bright green shirt. His hand slipped under it greedily fondling at her breasts. She was trying to pushing him away, her hands tearing and pulling at his shirt, I could hear the rip of the fabric all the way from outside the alley.
I snuck into the alley keeping to the shadows caused by the blown out streetlights. I slid my knife out of my pocket, flipping it in my right hand. I could hear him grunting as he pressed his hands against her body, I could hear her moaning with effort as she tried to push him away. I was behind them now. I snuck out of the shadows, crouched low to the ground. I got within a few feet before I stood up. My eyes connected with Alicia's blue eyes, reflecting the fear she felt. She was finally able to push him away, and she screamed.
I rushed forward, my left hand grabbing his left shoulder, my right shoving the knife into his body underneath his ribs. I could feel the tip bounce off his bottom rib as the knife slid in. I heard the air leave his body in one large gasp. I pulled the knife out as he tried to turn around. He stared at me with almost grey eyes that were full of fear. He put his hands in front of his body trying to stop me. He weekly resisted as I pushed them down.
Alicia was still screaming; she was huddled in a ball on the wet ground. I stabbed him in the neck three times, on the last stab he tried to scream and fell over. He laid in a puddle staring up at me, the fear leaving his eyes as his blood ran red between his fingers, making his hands hard to see under the night light. Alicia was still screaming; I crouched down next to her. "Shh, Alicia it's going to be okay". My hands lightly stuck to her arm as I rubbed it. She screamed louder. "Alicia" I said a little louder, "You need to be quiet, or someone will come down here and see what we did." she screamed, hiding her face in her arms. "Alicia, please be quiet" I said even louder, almost yelling. She didn't stop. I felt the rage fly up from my stomach, "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" I yelled, as I hit her in the head with the butt of my knife. She stopped screaming and slumped to the ground, sinking into the puddle she was in. I picked her up and carried her inside our house, laying her down in bed, as I contemplated how I was going to hide the body in our alleyway.
The clock rang again, letting me know it was one O'clock. My stomach tied itself into knots. It's time, I thought. "Are you ready Alicia?" I asked. She smiles back, teary eyed. I went to her and picked her up in my arms, and carried her down the hallway towards the doors. I could hear the music playing inside the church, I pushed open the doors. All of our guests were looking at us, each one smiling. A camera flash went off right on time. I began to carry her down the red carpet towards the altar where our priest awaits us. Another flash went off just how I wanted. The last camera flash went off from the front row as we reached the altar, perfectly timed. The music stopped. I set Alicia down in front of the altar, to the left of me. She wobbled, and I put my hand in the small of her back to steady her. I smiled at her, she smiled back. I looked up at our priest standing behind the altar, his hands resting on it. He smiled at us, his almost grey eyes full of excitement. As I looked at him, I noticed three scars standing out on the side of his neck. I'm going to have to fix that later, I thought.