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For months now, I have had a monkey on my back. Constantly, consistently, talking non-stop, never letting me catch one breath without thinking about my mistake. It mocks me, tells me I have never deserved the luckiness that has fallen upon me. And I listen. Listen with bleeding ears and tear-stained eyes and I remember. The night in its silence, the cloud cover that was blanket over the sky, the descending and old stairs. I wish I could’ve done something to change the outcome of that night. Of course, there’s no use in wishing away the past. I know that now.
I watch as time slips by like watching a television as the channels continually switch. I lay; dead to the world, feeling my woes curl up inside my organs ready for a long stay. I know, how could I possibly be so selfish? Wallowing around like a weak, little worm, but still that monkey holds on with a vice grip.
I wish I could tell you this. I mean, you visit me everyday. How can I watch you sit there and cry without comfort? I don’t know. You’re eyes speak more truth than I have ever seen. Distressed and depressed as if nothing happened that night to incriminate me. But you know it and I know it, and it’s just a matter of time before you come out of denial and cease to visit. I dread that day.
The days are getting longer, it seems. Is it spring yet? I feel as if winter has lasted too long, the darkness still scares me you know, even as time flows by. White coats are getting more frequent in my room. They all look concerned, but they don’t know the half of it.
Sometimes I dream of that night. The number of white coats increases still. They work tirelessly and I see you watching them with that worried look you always wear. I wish you would smile, darling. I wish it with all my heart.
Do you remember before that night? It was so wonderful, Sara. I hope we can go back to the lake sometime when they let me. It was so beautiful, the glittering water as the full moon shone on it. I still have the picture you took of it with that camera of yours. You know the one you accidentally dropped in that same lake? The whole thing was ruined save that picture of the moon and the lake and us standing together. Why couldn’t we have stayed there, Sara darling?
The picture hangs in my room with that oak frame you gave me for my birthday. I see it everyday as the sun shines through this ungodly white room. They make me stay here, and I don’t like it. The whiteness at night holds shadows, and they bring back the memories of that night. The monkey is everywhere.
My throat feels like it hasn’t been used for awhile. I should talk to you as you sit next to me, but my mouth never seems to respond to the truth. Why not? I’m getting scared, and the monkey isn’t helping.
I think I’m losing it, going around the bend. I feel woozy all the sudden, my vision seems to have gone blurry, and now I can’t make out your beautiful face. Your blue eyes, your scarlet red hair waving down your petite body, and the spicy cinnamon scent that follows your graceful movements. I miss you, Sara, even as you sit next to me.
I can tell it is spring now. The birds continually chirp in my ears and the light shines in my eyes. But I can’t see you anymore. You’re just a blur of colors, but I can feel the tears that drench my hands as they endlessly drip down.
It gives me solace, the light that spring brings.
Sometimes I hope you will come out of denial, and see what a monster I was that night. Why can’t you see it, darling? Oh, darling Sara, wake up.
Wake up. Wake up. Wake up. Wake up. The words travel in and out of my ears like a broken record. Wake up. Wake up. Wake up. Wake up. WAKE UP. WHY CAN’T I WAKE UP?
Sara, what’s wrong with me? Am I dead? Sara, why can’t I speak or eat or move or do anything?
Something happened to me that night, didn’t it? What? I can’t figure it out. It’s like I can’t remember anything now. I remember the stairs, creaky and scary. Why did we go into that charming, though ancient, house? Because we wanted to buy it, right? Is that what we wanted? I find my brain going blank and some parts of that night are like looking through that ruined camera of yours. Spotty and dark and hazy.
Wake me up, Sara. Please, wake me up.
My head pounds as if someone has taken a hammer to it. Does that mean anything, the pain? Am I waking soon? I want to wake up. Please.
I killed that man, didn’t I? Oh my God, I killed him. I’m a monster and you still come. You saw me kill him. He was hurting you, attacking you, and I could’ve knocked him out, but I killed him. Why did I kill him?
I remember anger now. He was hurting my dear, sweet Sara. How dare he! I remember my blood boiling, my heart pounding as my head pounds now. And then I remember the stairs.
Why can’t I wake up? Please, let me, Sara darling. The white coats have multiplied since spring begun; their sympathetic eyes are like bullets to my heart as they float around the room like ghosts. And everyday I see you there, a perfect, little blur to my damaged eyes.
The monkey hounds me still. That night, I left you until I heard your desperate scream. Why did I leave? Why didn’t I stay? Oh God, have mercy! Let this monkey be gone, and let me wake up. Let me wake up.
Wake up… Wake up.
The monkey clings, and there’s no use panicking anymore, I realize.
I know I’ve done plenty wrong, but I can’t let you worry so much. So, Sara, don’t. Maybe heaven is ready for me or maybe hell is. Don’t look so sad, darling, I’ll be fine. Maybe I’ll wake up soon, when I finally get this monkey off my back. Maybe I’ll learn to forgive.
Maybe always leaves room for hope, you know.
Yours most truly and forever,