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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

The Countdown: One woman's way to get out of what she perceives a suffocating existence.



Five…  four… three… two….one. The alarm goes off startling him out of a deep slumber groaning as a bear awakened out of hibernation. He rolls over to my side and softly kisses my cheek as he did the morning before and how he will do tomorrow and the day after that. I am wide awake, but he is unaware as he slowly exits the bed and stumbles to the bathroom. It is only after my eyes open. I hardly sleep these days as my mind is the Indy 500. I countdown five… four… three… two….one. This calms me, I stop thinking for just enough time to breathe. He is getting ready to head out to start his day five… four… three… two….one. He is gone. A sense of relief has taken over as my mind has stopped. I am free for the next six hundred and thirty minutes.I can breathe again; he is gone and so is the stifling feeling of suffocation. I slowly begin to get out of bed, seems to take me longer every single time I try. Today it just seems agonizing I have no understanding why. Finally, I can sit up and plant my feet on the ground. Rising feels like an out of body experience. I have never felt this way before its different, my body is a hollow shell, and my spirit is elsewhere. As I take a few steps suddenly my spirit comes back, I feel whole once again. So strange it was and yet I am not fazed by what might have just happened as I get ready to start my day.

I walk downstairs to my beautiful modern, upgraded kitchen. like the ones that soccer moms dream of, that I do not deserve but he wanted me to have. Everything is just as I left it the night before not one dish in the sink, not even a coffee cup. It is odd, normally he makes his coffee and toast to enjoy while reading the morning paper. this morning it appears, he did not. There is a note next to the coffee pot. “My darling, no need to worry. Meeting the boss for coffee this morning. Might be home late tonight do not worry about dinner. Have a wonderful day beautiful, I love you.” If only I could believe him, I cannot remember the last time I felt that love he claims to have. To me they are empty words with no truth. Tossing the note aside I turn the coffee pot on as the coffee brews I make my toast. Once everything is ready, I sit at the table that is way too big for just two people. Yet he wanted it. Maybe he had the hopes of children one day, maybe once I did too.

After finishing my third cup of coffee and reading the morning paper I get ready to leave the house. I have so much to get done before another outlandish gathering that he wants to throw this weekend. I cannot wrap my mind as to why he feels the constant need to impress and show off what seems to be an amazing, fulfilling existence. If only they knew the truth, the pain, and the agony that only these walls have heard. It does not matter; it is all about him and his world I am just here for his use and pleasure. Forget that I have feelings and emotions that run deep as the ocean. the deeper you go the darker it gets until its nothing but black all around.

Ring, ring “Hello” I answer. “Good morning Mrs. Danning I hope today finds you well.” “It does thank you; may I ask who is calling?” “Oh yes terribly sorry my name is Trudy Maxwell I am the caterer Mr. Danning hired for this weekend.” “Trudy, yes, I’m sorry my husband informed me to expect your call. I assume you would like to discuss menu options.” “Yes, I would Mrs. Danning. Are you able to meet today at all say around noon? I have some items to sample that I believe will be great food options for your event.” “You mean my husband’s event?” as I roll my eyes. “Yes, for the event this weekend.” I could tell she was taken back by her tone. “Noon will be fine, just text me the address and I will be there.” “Wonderful! I look forwards to meeting with you then Mrs. Danning.” “Okay, see you then.” I hang up before I give her a chance to say goodbye. I have no patience, nor do I feel the need to be pleasant for someone that is helping him. though she has not the slightest idea of who my husband truly is. Just one of the many who do not really know the truth. then again, I do not even know how much “truth” I know.

I sigh as I gather my things to head out for ridiculous list of errands that need to be accomplished, not to mention a meeting with the caterer. Ring, ring my phone is going off, it is him. “Hello” I answer. “Good morning my beautiful wife, I trust you got my message.” “Yes, I did, I hope the meeting went well.” I say whilst rolling my eyes. I wonder if he can feel the tension through the phone. Judging by his peppy attitude I can assume he has not a clue. “Yes, my meeting went well. We are going to dinner with some clients tonight, will you be okay by yourself?” Suddenly a bit of relief comes over me as I reply, “yes dear, I will be fine.” I prefer to be alone these days anyway, not that what I prefer matters. “Okay my darling, we are going to Di Aromos, our favorite Italian restaurant. I’ll make sure to bring home some tiramisu for you to enjoy.” “That’s sweet of you dear, thank you.” I roll my eyes once more. “Of course, my darling. I’ll see you later tonight.” I grab my keys as I reply, “Okay honey, have a good day.” He hangs up and I immediately want to just throw my phone across the room in frustration. I loathe hearing his voice let alone being in the same room as him.

Ten o’clock, I am already exhausted. I feel like I have been run over by a freight train and I have not even left the house to face the world. Five… four… three… two… one. I am ready to go. I get in my pristinely upkept Audi that was an over exaggerated birthday gift presented to me last year.  As the ignition starts, I just want to back out of my driveway and never look back. Alas I cannot just run, a man of my husband’s stature would find me faster than the speed of light. Driving down the street I notice a sweet family enjoying the beautiful morning. I would give anything to be that happy, assuming they are happy. What is happiness, how does one know that they are happy? Most would assume that I am happy, that I am the luckiest woman alive. To be doted on by a successful, handsome, and loving man. Yet I feel empty, dreary and I blame him for this endless feeling of suffocation. I want to breathe; I deserve to breathe. Why won’t he allow me to breathe.

As I wandered through my thoughts I somehow managed to drive to the dry cleaners and pick up our clothing. The attendant seems so unaware of my inattentiveness when cashing me out. She might have a wandering mind just as I do. Back in the car I notice the time, eleven thirty already. How I managed to waste my morning away I cannot comprehend. Getting lost in my thoughts is my only escape from my dreadful existence that and when I count. Five… four… three… two… one. I am once again relieved it is a sense of high just like a drug gives that I cannot seem to get enough of. One day it will destroy me as all drugs eventually destroy a person. For my brief period of relief, I do not care, I will let my wandering thoughts tear me inside and out. But for now, I must compose myself as I meet the caterer. Ms. Trudy Maxwell, a petite lovely little thing. Long dark hair, eyes blue as a blue jay and perfect fair skin. She is the type of woman that men fawn over.

“Good afternoon Mrs. Danning. It is a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for coming out, I hope it didn’t impose on your day too much.” She is sweet, there is a genuine innocence about her that not many people possess. “Not at all Trudy, I must apologize if I seemed haste earlier. Planning my husband’s events is a daunting task that tends to wear on me.” Her composure has changed “No apology necessary Mrs. Danning. If it makes you feel any better, I can assure you that Mr. Danning is most grateful for everything you do. The way he talks about you, it is how all husbands should speak of their wives. You must be extremely happy.” Ugh there is that dreadful word again “happy” will it ever cease to exist? I nod and smirk “Yes Mr. Danning is quite the husband indeed.” I can tell by her expression she is uncomfortable with the sarcasm in my voice.

“Well enough small talk, follow me Mrs. Danning I have all the items ready for you to try.” We enter the building right away I am captivated by the ambiance of the room and the savory aromas of food being prepared. “This is an amazing set up you have here Trudy. Beautifully presented, even if the food were to be terrible it all looks delectable. That is a sign of a wonderful caterer, I can’t even begin to explain the atrocity of my last caterer.” She seemed relieved of my comments “Thank you, I take as much pride in my presentation as I do in the food I prepare. Everything is made from scratch with the freshest ingredients. I will damn near go in field and harvest my ingredients. Try the bruschetta, it’s a family recipe passed down from generation to generation.” I take a bite of the bruschetta that is placed on top of a piece of bread, it is amazing. “Wow I am impressed Trudy. The way the flavors of tomatoes and herbs bind together. Just tasting this, I have no doubt your food will not be a hit. Is there anything else that you suggest I sample?” Trudy picks up a plate of what looks to be some sort of fruit tart, possibly lemon. “Try this Mrs. Danning. It’s my famous lemon tart that was nominated and won best dessert by the state.”

The lemon tart has touched my lips and it is even more amazing than anything I have ever tasted. The tart flavors of lemon on a flaky sweet crust with a dollop of freshly prepared whipped cream. “Mm mm, this is delightful Trudy. You are a talented young woman. I look forwards to you catering my husband’s event on Saturday evening.” My phone buzzes in my purse, excuse me while I take this call. Trudy steps away. “Hello.” I answer. “Where are you? Why aren’t you home?” a strange voice asks. “I’m sorry who are you looking for?” I ask confusedly. “You know exactly who I am! Get home now or else there will be serious repercussions.” My heart is pounding, I must leave now to figure out who the hell is in my home demanding me to come home. Surely, it is not my husband, at least I do not think it is.

“Trudy, I must be going. I have all the faith that you will do amazing. I will see you tomorrow evening. Please arrive no later than three in the afternoon. Guests will be arriving around five or so.” She has a huge smile “Of course Mrs. Danning, I will see you tomorrow evening. Have a wonderful afternoon.” I start walking away as she tells me goodbye, I must get home. My car ride is insane, driving as fast as I can as if I am on a high-speed pursuit. My mind is racing again I am scared, asking myself if I should go home. Before I can finish my thought, I am parked in my driveway. Five… four… three… two… one. I slowly open my front door, it is quiet, too quiet. “Hello, who is here?” I say loudly and confidently as I am searching the house. The closer I get to my room the more afraid I become. My heart coming out of my chest and I cannot breathe. I open the room door…. No one is there. How can this be? I spoke with someone on the phone, I know I did, what is happening???

I am overwhelmed with confusion am I going crazy? Have my constant thoughts of leaving turned on me? I hear someone coming. I start my count five… four… three… two… one. The door opens “Hi my love” it is my husband. It cannot be it is only two-thirty in the afternoon. I look at my watch, it is nine o’clock. What have I been doing? I have wasted away my day, my freedom. “Honey are you okay?” I look up “yes my darling I am fine, just lost in my thoughts. I trust you had a good day?” I force myself to hug him and it is taking everything out of me. “Yes, my love, I trust that everything is set for tomorrow. There will be some very important clients attending everything must be pristine, that goes for you as well.” Ugh why does he do this every single time “everything is ready, I have my hair appointment early tomorrow. Do not worry as I will be your perfect, pristine wife that you will indeed show off along with your lavish event.” He is mad, shouting “Why do you insist on tearing into me about this!?! You know who I am and the important people I associate with. Do I not give you everything? What else do you require of me?” I am shaking, tears falling down my face “Require? From you?” sarcastically smirking “I require nothing from you.” Knowing that I want to be free. I want to run and never look back alas I cannot. “I am sorry my love, I don’t like when we fight. Please forgive me as I am wiped out from my day. I think I will enjoy a night cap and go to bed. Care to join me?” He reaches his hand out “I forgive you; I am going to take a bath. I will join you shortly.”

Sitting in my luxurious tub, letting the jets hit me. I cannot wrap my mind around anything anymore. Nothing makes sense, I need things to make sense. How can I get things to make sense? I am not myself, I used to be so full of life and love. What has happened to me? Suddenly I hear a whisper. “You know what you have to do. It is what we have planned. Do not back out!” I am alert “Yes the plan!” The only way out of this is to get rid of him for good and it will be nothing short of an epic performance for everyone to see. The whisper again “No! You will get caught and thrown in prison. Stick with the plan.” Looking in the mirror “Yes the plan.” A mischievous grin on my face in my mind I am going with my own plan and it will go down in history. I will take down my very powerful husband. I lay down next to my dear husband for the last time, I countdown five… four… three… two… one. He leans over to kiss me goodnight, this will be the last time as well.

I cannot sleep my mind racing like the Indy 500 yet again. Many terrible thoughts that all lead to the same conclusion, I need to fight till death for my freedom. My happiness, and most importantly my life. I just need to execute my plan without a hitch. It must be flawless just as my husband prefers everything to be. Consequences be damned, anything will be better than this dreary existence that is my so called “life.”

The sun rising, I get out of bed before my husband awakes. The party planner will be here shortly, and I must leave to take care of loose ends. I head downstairs to meet the planner and his crew. “Mrs. Danning a pleasure to see you again, looking lovely as always.” I reach out my hand “Why thank you William. I trust that I can leave you be? My hair is in dire need of some TLC before this event.” William a tall, slender, and quite charming man who prefers the company of other men, such a waste. “Of course, my darling, you should be worried that I don’t steal your place as the wife of Mr. Danning himself.” He laughs. “She has nothing to worry about” as my husband joins us, he squeezes my waist. “Don’t be so sure my love, William is quite the charmer these days” I joke. William can sense some tension; I must leave before he starts to inquire as he tends to. “Well boys I am off. I will see you both in a while” I hurry out.“Mr. Danning, is she okay? She doesn’t seem herself these days.” William asks concerned. “She is fine, we just had a little tiff last night. She will be over it soon enough.” He changes the subject quickly as not to bring any more attention to William’s inquiry. “Now tell me William what is new in your world these days?” William perks up “Oh you know the usual. Breaking hearts and planning parties, nothing brings me more joy.” The men walk out to the back patio laughing.

I get to the salon and my girl is waiting for me as usual she does amazing work. She seems to de done the minute after I sit down, “Thank you for squeezing me in Natalia” I say as I pay her. “Oh, it’s no trouble at all Mrs. Danning. You know you’re one of my favorite clients.” I laugh replying “That’s because I always take care of you” whilst handing her a hundred-dollar tip. “Indeed, you do Mrs. Danning. Have fun tonight give my regards to Mr Danning.” As I get up from the chair “I will my dear, you take care.” Knowing this will be the last time she will ever see me again. After this evening I will be free, and all will be right. Looking down at my watch, oh crap I am late I must get home. Driving fast thinking of my plan, my heart is racing as sweat is dripping down my back. The closer I get to home the more surreal everything becomes. It must happen tonight; I cannot wait any longer I think to myself walking into the house.

My husband comes in from outside “You look stunning my darling, now hurry and finish up. I will be upstairs in a minute.” I say nothing as I rush upstairs. Once to my room I pull out a knife from my bag. It is small but sharp enough to do the intended purpose. I put the knife in between my breasts that my corset will hold up for me. I cannot do this, there has got to be another way. I hear a very faint whisper “You know what you have to do.” Yes, I know it is the only way, I am terrified. Can I do this? What will happen? “Happen to what?” my husband asks startling me. “Oh, I was just talking aloud. What will happen tonight? I just want things to be perfect.” My husband doesn’t quite believe me he knows something is up “Everything will be fine, no need to worry. Now hurry and get dressed the guests are arriving.” He grabs his suit jacket and walks out. I need to do this, I must, I tell myself while getting ready. I get ready to head down to the party knowing what I must do, everything will end very soon.Here I am beside my husband as he shows me off bragging of his many accomplishments. Ugh he never stops; it is so dreary and redundant. The closer we get to greeting everyone the more tense my body becomes. My heart is racing, I feel the sweat starting to drip down my back. For a minute I do not want to go through with the plan.  

I hear my queue as William announces our initial kickoff dance. As my husband takes me to the dance floor, we start to sway side to side. “You look so beautiful, thank you for being by my side. I love you my darling wife.” As he dips me, I raise my hand and reach down my dress, five… four… three… two… one. “I wish I could say the same my darling” I say while my hand has struck the knife, that was hidden so perfectly, into his heart. He immediately drops to the floor and my dress is covered in blood. As I look onto the crowd that is stunned motionless and I shout at the top of my lungs. “FIVE… FOUR… THREE… TWO…ONE. I AM FREE.” I kneel beside my dying husband and whisper “I told you that there was nothing you could do for me.” Instantly I rise and run through the front door down the street as I hear sirens behind me. Suddenly I stop, my body has frozen into place. Slowly I am able to turn and face the officers. Their guns are drawn on me yelling at me to drop the knife. I smile and shout “FIVE… FOUR… THREE…TWO…” a gun is fired. It is only now I am truly FREE.

Submitted: December 07, 2020

© Copyright 2021 jenroselamb. All rights reserved.

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