Whiskey Blood

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - P R O L O G U E

Submitted: June 12, 2016

Reads: 258

Comments: 2

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 12, 2016

A A A

A A A

Life is short but this time it was bigger

//  Than the strength she had to get up off her knees.”

Brad Paisley -- Whiskey Lullaby

 

 

P R O L O G U E
 

"Don't do this to us, Myrna... " Ed gulped, his throat and hoarse from a long days' work, and a long nights' fight. He leant closely to the beaten-up, old bathroom door that had been no stranger to taking hits and shoulders; and being forced down, and fastened back up again. This was her place. The upstairs, en-suite bathroom was Myrna's rabbit-hole to Wonderland, where she would retreat to lose herself entirely. No, not to alcohol or pills or any other vices - but, to herself and her illness. Ed strained his hearing to listen in for the opening of the bathroom window, that led to a small, mock-balcony just the size and sturdiness for his wife to sit on and swing her feet over. He had removed every object that she could have ever possibly used to harm herself with - and even though he preceded with daily checks of every nook and cranny in that bathroom, he momentarily second-guessed himself and ran a mental checklist of the places he could have missed checking today. His heart sank to his stomach and floated within it, like a buoy on an unsettled ocean. Not today, Lord, he begged. Don't take her today.

Ed heard soft sobbing through the thin, white-painted door.

"I... I don't want to live like this." Myrna spoke, her words wet with saliva and dripping tears. "Ed, I don't want to be crazy."

"No, baby, you're not crazy. You don't have to be crazy. Just open up for me, alright, darlin'?" He tried to speak in a calm voice, as the psychologist had recommended, to talk her down from her manic episode. Myrna's depression had been out of control since the birth of their daughter, Andie, who was two-years-old today. Damn it, Ed thought, everything was going so well.

After a year of psychotic breaks, Myrna had finally been enjoying motherhood recently - Ed just knew it. It was written in the curve of her smile, and the crease of her eyes; in the way that she finally held Andie in her thin, frail arms and rocked her gently to sleep. Today, she had arranged for a couple of neighbours and co-workers to visit and celebrate Andie's second birthday - kids included. Ed lit up with admiration and pride watching his beautiful, healthy wife dance around the party store, flirting with every pink, gold, or bedazzled party supply that could be found. He finally had his lighthearted, loving wife back in his life and he could not have been happier. They splurged on the party - partly because it made Myrna happy to perfect every pretty-pink detail, down to the napkin rings, and partly because it made Ed happy to perfect every pretty-little detail of his wife. He needed her to be okay, for good. His own demons clawed his innards, asking to come out and play, but he refused them. Almost for too long. Sometimes, strength proves the ultimate weakness.

The party was an initial success: the Davids brought cupcakes - and good thing, too, because Myrna's parents and siblings had shown up unannounced to celebrate... or, grovel at and over their now-healthy daughter after abandoning and shaming her for her disease. The Clydes two daughters played with Andie while Johanna and Alvin - who both worked at the same insurance company with which Myrna had a secretarial position - filled their co-worker in on the office gossip her maternity leave had her miss. Everyone complimented the decorations, plenty. They complimented Myrna even more. It was as if she were a fragile autumn leaf, and nobody knew when she was about to blow away or fall victim to the sole of a shoe and crumble away. Thought it had been months since her last depressive episode, there was still a big, gray elephant in the room - and people tiptoed around it with niceties and compliments. Despite this, the party was still booming... until present time.

Myrna sat, holding Andie between her legs on the thick-carpeted floor. The guests all gathered around in a circle and watched eagerly and adoringly as Andie grew adorably flustered with ripping open wrapping paper and untying bows. She giggled her little laugh of innocence, and would look up to her mother and say: "You, please," in her tiny voice. After a few rounds of this, Myrna's father, Gene, brought out his camera.

"This moment is too precious not to capture, Mi-mi. Look over here and smile!" He chuckled lovingly, his voice deep and weathered. Ed recognized the change, immediately - as if he had just witnessed a switch flick off in the hardwiring of his wife's brain. Her face fell slightly, and her eyes dulled. She lingered her head hanging lowly for a moment, before mechanically flicking her loose, blonde hair from her face and peering up towards her father. He saw it behind her eyes, as if they were two snow globes containing the monster that infested her - a crack, from which it seeped out and began to consume her. Like an anti-glowstick that darkens once the solution inside begins to mix together. Ed began to dismiss guests, thinking the photo-op gave him a moment to find his footing.

"I have to go to the washroom. Excuse me." Myrna had said flatly to her parents and two sisters. She slowly stood, her mouth an underscore to her distracted eyes. When Ed returned, Marcy, his mother-in-law, was playing with Andie while Gene and the girls cooed over the recently snapped photographs. His pulse quickened. Where was his wife?

"Where is Myrna?!" He demanded, causing his in-laws to share a few unsettled glances.

"Bathroom. Why?" Melanie, her oldest sister, retorted while raising an eyebrow. Ed couldn't respond, he only sprang in to action... leading himself to the position he now found himself in. He could recognize Myrna's relapse in a split second, and he'd become more familiar with the quirks of her own darkness than he was with his own.

"What are you two doing up here," Marcy snapped, finally shedding her sheep skin now that the guests had gone. "That was extremely embarrassing for all of us! The way you rushed your party guests out the door? How unbelievably brash, Edward!"

"Marcy... I swear to God, this is not the time!" Ed whispered harshly, still leant against the door. Heavy footsteps were heard coming up the stairs. "Baby, please... your parents are here, love. Open up. Let's all go downstairs, okay?"

"What is she doing? What - what is she doing in there?" Marcy began prodding, scanning the bathroom door and pushing lightly to confirm that it was locked.

"Marcy? Mi-mi? Ed? You guys coming downstairs? You gotta see these pictures - oh, boy! They are just too darn-" Gene, his glasses halfway down his nose, looked up from the digital camera he could barely navigate once he reached the top of the stairs and saw his son-in-law and wife worriedly pressed against the bathroom door.

"This is your fault, Gene!" Marcy blamed.

"Wh-"

"Get that god damn camera out of here, God sakes!" She continued, initiating an argument between them. Gene was confused - he was losing his mind at this age, and even prior to it had been nothing but a gentle soul with a forever-youthful innocence to him. He was an honest man; a hard-working man. Above all, he was a family man. How he had ended up hand-in-hand with one of the most hateful and spiteful women anyone had ever met was beyond any fathomable reasoning. He adjusted his argyle suspenders and lowered his head. As he was about to head back down the stairs, Melanie came running up them.

"Fuck sakes, is she playing this pity party, again?" She snapped, pushing past her father and making her way to bang loudly on the bathroom door.

"Jesus, Mel - get the fuck out of here!" Ed defended, shoving her away from the door.

"Break it down, Ed! Look at what she did to herself last time! Do you really want to clean up that fucking mess again?!"

"I need a valium." Marcy dramatized.

"You got any of your crazy-pills left in there, Myrna?" Melanie mocked. Between her nagging, banging, and Marcy's going-on, Andie began to cry loudly and was brought upstairs by Marnie - the youngest sister of Myrna.

"You guys are making Andie cry!"

"Us?!" Mel and Marcy exclaimed together. "It's our unstable sister pulling one of her stunts that's causing her to cry!"

Ed began to notice an unsettling sound beneath the now-crying baby, the arguing siblings, and the meddling in-laws... one that he had never heard his wife make during her episodes... silence. He desperately tried to silence his family-in-law, but to no avail. He felt his entire body moisten with a nervous sweat, and the veins in his arms and forehead burst with a thick blood and heavy pulse. He began slamming his entire body in to the bathroom door, calling out for his wife. Each impact felt like a giant drum against his body, vibrating through him and pounding deeply in his ears. Finally, the door gave and he rushed in to the washroom just in time to watch his wife smile sinisterly and lean herself back, off of the ledge-sized balcony outside of the bathroom window. This was three stories up.

The moment was surrealistic.

Once she was gone from view, it felt as if she had never been there in that spot. No, she was downstairs enjoying Andie's second birthday party, which she had worked so hard to make perfect. She was slicing up white-chocolate cake with puffy-pink icing on the edges. She was laughing as Andie struggled to eat a hot-dog for the first time, the meat falling out the back of the mushy bun, and all way too big for her tiny hand to hold. She was hugging her estranged friends and co-workers, who were all so relieved to see her. She was side-eyeing Ed, with that loving glance that she would give him from across a room that still had his heart skip a beat. She was everywhere, but not there... and never on the ground below.

The time between watching her fall and watching her wheel away was indescribable and irrecoverable. It was a blur of color and sound, etched loosely in to Ed's memory in watercolors. The next couple of months were no better. There were death certificates, police reports, burial arrangements, funerals and wakes, lawyers visits, custody battles with his in-laws, unexpected bills and invoices, media inquiries, doctor visits... after it all quieted down, he realized that he had to escape this place. Myrna's ghost was too present, and her demons too loud - they never died, they stuck around and tried to infect him. Ed refused to allow them to. His daughter was his rock, now. And he had to be hers.

They were all that each other had, now.



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