“John sought stability,” I said. “He liked to eat, and he liked his life to be predictable and ordinary and he built his entire world around me. I didn’t always appreciate him, you know.”
Azariah said, “Sometimes you wanted more?”
“Yes, sometimes I wanted more. I just felt so trapped. I blamed John, but it wasn’t John. It was just me. I’ve spent my life feeling like there had to be more to life than just living and dying and not really making a dent in the way things are, and just going the way of the grave like all my ancestors had done before me. I have felt out of place every day for as long as I can remember, like I didn’t belong to anyone or any group. Don’t get me wrong. My parents were great, but there was always something missing in my life.
“I got married way too young, like a lot of Kentucky girls did back in the day. I gave my life to someone else before I even knew what life was all about and I ended up often resenting John because I felt trapped. I couldn’t leave him because he had nobody else and I didn’t want to hurt him, but I daydreamed about my freedom.
“He used to go to town and while he was gone, I would think about what if he didn’t come back. I would think about all the things I would do if I didn’t have anybody to always have to answer to. Then one day he went out to buy a gallon of milk and he didn’t come back. He had a heart attack in the grocery store parking lot.”
I choked back my tears. “I will never forget that day. I had been fussing at him that morning about all of his junk in the basement and I didn’t even want to give him a kiss when he left that day, but I did anyway, reluctantly. He said he loved me and I mumbled that I loved him, too, but in my heart I was angry at him and I just wanted him to go away for a little while and to stop always being here, always telling me what I needed to do, and telling me the time and the temperature and what the neighbors were doing and stop complaining about all the little things that didn’t suit him, and I wanted all of his clutter and junk to be gone. Then he died and I…” I was crying now. “I felt like I was a monster.”
Azariah stopped doodling and came over to me. “Anna…”
“I missed him,” I said. “I wanted to be rid of him but when he was really gone, I missed him so much. All the junk I hated is still in the basement. I couldn’t find it in my heart to get rid of it. All of the stupid little things he used to nag me about, I missed and all the big things I planned to do if I ever got the chance, I never got to do anyway.”
Azariah put his arms around me. “Anna,” he said again, “you live in a broken world with twisted rules and people who are blind to what they are or how they’re supposed to be. You are not a monster. You are not horrible. You are as Jane says, human….”
***the manuscript is “out there” floating around to agents and publishers and I hope that SOON someone will say a big fat YES to it:)