My Cold Breath

March 24, 2017

Where do I begin as I sit in the corner of my padded cell? My name? My background? I think I might have forgotten all of that in the recent months that I have been here. I believe my name is Ashley, a twenty-six-year-old nurse in training who is in a place where I believe I do belong. The reason I’m in this padded cell inside of an insane asylum, is because I murdered my spouse, which if I’m reading right it states that I severed his Brachial Artery as he tried to "defend himself" from three other stabbings from my blade.

Every waking morning it is all the same; putting on eyeliner, a dash of blush, and my red lipstick. Going down stairs and letting our dogs out into the yard to run around and do their business, while I make a cup of Allen’s coffee, the best coffee on the shores of Maine. I open the door to let Willow and Chloe back inside, then I walk back upstirs to let my husband know I will be home later in the evening because we are going to be conducting a biopsy. I go back downstairs and grab my keys off the counter and head to the garage, but I know I’m forgetting something that I must have on me at all times, yes my I.D. how can I possibly forget a plastic card on some string. As I open the door from the garage and begin to walk past my dogs to head upstairs, I begin to my husband Paul on the phone with what I believe is another female. I let it pass me because his boss is a female so it must have to do with work and his upcoming business trip; I walk upstairs and create some noise so he is not spooked by me still being home. I grab my I.D. and tell him goodbye once more, as I jump into my Toyota Celica GT, a very nice 2015 model might I say myself. 

Bar Harbor is a quiet town, but the peace is very welcoming. It does not take long for me to get to work, which is the best part; Paul owns the Mache Bistro that is not far from me, so I tend to go there for lunch because I get to taste the new dishes they decide to bring to the public. For me there is never a dull day; I walk down the halls filling out papers for patients and getting the opportunity to do emergency fill-ins for those who call in sick for work. There haven’t been any incidents like that for a few days so I’m behind my desk getting paperwork filled out, looking at the babies in the nursery, and that’s when Paul walked out of the nursery. With of course confusion I had to ask, “why were you in there, and without authorization from any other nurse?” of course he had no answer to either one, so he answered a question with another one “weren’t you going to perform a biopsy today?” I know I told him “that’s not till later in the afternoon; plus, there’s nothing except paperwork to do.” He of course kisses my cheek, grabs his jacket and takes the elevator down.
I am done filling out so much paper work, I feel like I have paper cuts on the nubs of my fingers. I take the elevator down, and walk outside to my car where come to find out I find some dumb ticket, I suppose my plates are overdue. Whatever; I grab the ticket and place it in my back pocket and sit down and listen to some Katy Perry as I head to Paul’s work. However, on arrival, his car is not even around; it is not hard to look for it, it is the only C5 Corvette in town. I open my purse and grab my phone, but there is no text from him saying he was not going to be able to do lunch today. Well today thus far is going weirder than any other Monday, even upon walking in and saying hi to Michelle, she hasn’t seen him all day neither in his office, but maybe he’s in a business meeting to open up in another location. He knows I come in before business hours, always on the dot because I hate being late to anything. I ignore it and sit down at our table where it is not to shady and not too much sun, so I can order the daily special.  

No sign of him or the sound of his car pulling up. So I begin to wait another five more minutes and before I know it, other customers begin to pull up to the restaurant. I pay for my meal, dessert, and leave a tip for Michelle that I know will go towards college. It is time to head back to work and see if I have more piles of files to do, or talk to more patients. However, guess what I see upon arriving to work; his stupid car in the parking lot, like how ridiculous to see it here than where he works and where we like to have lunch. He must have taken a different exit because when I got inside, he was nowhere to be seen but he was the talk of the place, and it caused such a big stir between everyone that is around my desk. Tracey kept asking me if I was all right coming back from lunch. John wanted to comfort me, but for being the shy person in the office, he does not know how to comfort. In addition, god, Steve was the only one who decided to tell me straight up with a question that had me thinking the things from hell. “I know you weren’t pregnant when I first saw you, so are you and your husband adopting?” I could not believe what I just heard. “I was never pregnant since I’m still a nurse in training, and we didn’t make a decision of adopting.”

I couldn’t remember what happened from Monday afternoon. I was told that I passed out at work, and I collapsed pretty hard, “that all explains why I’m still in my work uniform, with a bandage on my forehead.” I decide to check my phone which is on the table next to me, and yep I have plenty of messages to answer to. “When are you come home?” “Will dinner be made as usual?” “So am I supposed to leave the dogs outside for an hour?” I chose to ignore his ignorance, since he didn’t come to find me, or bother to ask anyone from work where I was. Can’t you feel the distance? No, but I do feel like he’s hiding something from you. Maybe we should consult with him, OR how about we follow him around town? But he will notice because of your car; unless we’re smart and keep our distance. “What the hell is going on in my head?” As I yell to myself, Michelle walks in and hands me a glass of water. “Were you just talking to someone, or was that your phone going off?”  I really didn’t know how to answer her, my head was pulsating still trying to think about what happened yesterday. “What even happened to you?” she asked. “I think it was just the buildup of stress from home, and throughout the day, from that afternoon.” I sit up more and have Michelle turn off that blazing light; “Home, home is where I need to be right now, not the bed at work.” She knew what I needed and had me stand up to take me home, even knowing that my car is here in the lot.

During the car ride, I couldn’t stop looking out the window and just thinking on what I’m going say, or even ask him what the hell is going on! “We’re almost home and soon you can put your mind to rest after that whole thing from yesterday; I’ll tell brad why you’re not coming into work today, I know he will understand.” Michelle wasn’t wrong, I really needed rest in my own home and not some filthy bed at work. As Ashley walks into her home, she notices that the entire home is quiet. The fish are all “sleeping,” her dogs are probably outside and that’s why it’s majorly quiet, and Paul as she knows is at work getting bills done; or maybe he’s elsewhere but work. “I must be losing it, all because I say Paul in the nursery.” “I need sleep most of all; I want this swelling to also go down and make my head normal again.” I walk up stairs and into our room to lay down; upon picking up the sheets of my bed I spot a pair of cuffs, which don’t bother me because their mine, I think I’m just over thinking things and need to talk to Paul when he gets home from work. It is now the afternoon and Ashley is sound asleep but Paul is still not home, turns out, he is knocking back a few cold ones with his friends at some pub. Paul assumes it’s like a day off because he’s not hearing anything from Ashley, nor is his phone going off with phone calls; but he senses something wrong and lets his friends know that he is heading home to see if Ashley is there waiting for him. “Am I doing the right thing by still giving into all the compassion?” “It feels right by doing so, but then what is she getting out of all of this?” Paul was right; but not being so bright while intoxicated, and having poor judgment, Paul manages to get into a wreck going fifty miles over the regular miles of a school zone, which is twenty.   

It is now Wednesday; Ashley is feeling fine with the swelling gone and her splitting headache disappeared until she turns on the six-o’clock news and finds out that there has been an accident. However, the picture of the man is blurred out because he has a few warrants under his name. “That can’t be him, but Paul never came home last night, but it still can’t be him.” Ashley grabs a set of new clothes, puts her hair into a messy bun, lets the dogs inside and heads out the door. “This is all just fifty-fifty, I can’t really be sure until he picks up his phone, maybe I’ll call him to see if he’s alright.” Ashley quickly dials his number and puts the phone on the car speakers, but the voice that is on the Paul’s phone is no nurse or bartender.

Stranger crying: “Paul can’t come to the phone right now but I’ll take a message.”
Ashley: “Why can’t he come to the phone?”
Stranger: “He was recently in an accident.”
Ashley astonished: “You mean he was on the news this morning, and is now under investigation.”
Stranger crying: “Yes that was Paul, but I don’t think he will be able to talk to anyone for two days.”
Ashley in silence
Stranger: “Hello, are you still there.”
Ashley did not have time to plug her phone in, and now she rushes to the parking lot of the hospital where she runs into a group of people inside crying, but she knows she has no time and rushes to the front desk to find out where Paul is being held. “Third floor, room two-hundred and twenty-six.” “Thanks Rachel.” As she skips the elevator and runs up two flights of stairs, down the hall, taking the right corner fast and arrives at door number 226; but what she finds is not what she expects.
Officer #1: “I am sorry mam, but this room is for family members, and is only open for ten minutes”.
Ashley: “I am his wife!” “Do I not get any special right to enter?”
Officer#2: “His wife is already inside and saying her last good byes before we take him away.”
Ashley is astonished at what she is now hearing, and is not moving an inch until she finally processes what she heard.
Ashley: “Out of my way, that’s not his wife!”
Ashley makes it passed both officers and burst through the door where Paul’s mistress is standing next to his bed. Ashley grabs the scalpel from the table and charges at the mistress and their child, but as she strikes Paul’s arm gets in the way hitting his Brachial Artery and no less than fifteen seconds, Paul had no pulse and was dead in front of the officers, Paul’s mistress, and their child.
About one week later
                                                      New York Times magazine

In the state of Maine, the court finds Ashley Mary Smith guilty of second-degree murder, is sentenced to life in the Maines insane hospital, and has no subject to early parole.
Reports gather around Ashley as she is leaving the courtroom.
“Why did you murder your husband?” “Was it over jealousy of the mistress?” “Did any knowledge of the child bring you to do such a thing?” Ashley’s response, “I never was fond of Paul, and I have never seen a man die in front of me.”
The reporters back away in shock as Ashley continues to walk into the armored vehicle and the officers drive off into the distance.

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