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The Man Who Never Left His House
The pounding on the front door induces my heart into throbbing faster than a runner who just concluded a marathon. My wife Emily jumps at the sound and leaves the kitchen table to greet our new friends, Grace and Jack, who are unaware that shutting the door behind them locks themselves into my prison.
Emily checks behind them to make sure no one else is outside down our dark, narrow driveway hidden from the city. She welcomes them into our beautiful house by giving them a brief tour before we start the evening off with the appetizers. She shows them into every room besides the last door on the left which is where I sleep. Emily avoids explaining what occurs behind that door by announcing, “That’s where Rosalina, our personal cook and maid sleeps, I wouldn’t bother going in there anyway, it’s pretty much a pig sty.” Grace and Jack chuckle to one another while Emily gives me a death stare to make sure I continue to be on my very best behavior in front of our guests.
Lastly we enter the kitchen and introduce our friends to Rosalina who is preparing the appetizers. The smell of whatever Rosalina is cooking tonight triggers my starving stomach into growling, and Emily looks to me in disgust. It’s not my fault that she only feeds me when I am near close to starving to death. “ I have fried calamari and c***tail shrimp out to start us off this evening” Roslina says smiling and offers the food around to our friends on a gold platter highlighting our wealth.
Everyone in the circle seizes at least one and starts munching away until Rosalina holds the platter out to me, “Oh my gosh,” Emily looks bewildered, “Will, I forgot you are allergic to seafood! I’m so sorry.” She gives me a dramatic face for effect but deep down she knows she has defeated me in yet another way that I may not resist. I clench my fist to prevent myself from helplessly blurting out anything that may lead to torture later on.
“Will, is there anything else that I can get you for an appetizer that you can eat with your allergy?” Rosalina asks, unaware of how much I appreciate her in that very moment.
“That would be awes-” I begin but am interrupted immediately by none other than Emily.
“Oh Rosalina that is so kind of you, but truly he can wait another hour or so until dinner, you should get started on cooking the main course anyways,” Emily yet again takes the words out of my mouth and replaces them with her revised and approved answer. She turns to inform our guests “Rosalina is one of the sweetest young ladies you will ever meet, in fact almost too nice sometimes.” She chuckles.
We gossip away and I mostly follow Emily’s lead into the conversation’s agreeing simply to whatever she has to say. After what feels like an eternity, Rosalina carries out our main meal, and I can barely help my agonizing hunger from getting in the way of being a good hostess and waiting for everyone else.
“Did you two enjoy your honeymoon in Hawaii last week?” Jack inquired.
Emily smiles and reaches for my hand under the table squeezing it until it turned purple, “Ugh it was simply breathtaking, not to mention the balcony view from our suite on the beach. Right, honey?” She nods in my direction, permitting me to add my lies about the trip.
I snap into reality, “Yes Em, it was astonishing,” I happily lie, as I carry on muttering under my breath in disgust, “Probably because the window was the only view that I saw the beaches from.” I stare down at my salad and stab the fork into the lettuce, impeding the tears from streaming down my face like a water slide.
“Ah yes, Hawaii is just somewhere I would just love to go,” Grace remarks as she dives off into a daze. “It must have been so perfect as a honeymoon destination. Regardless, our vacation to Thailand last month was wonderful as well.”
Oh, how I wish that Emily and I were like Jack and Grace, a perfect couple.
While we eat Rosalina enters the kitchen with her bags, “Sorry to interrupt but just wanted to say it was nice meeting you Grace and Jack,” She smiles and than continues to Emily and I, “I will see you two tomorrow evening because I’m headed home for the night.” She says politely.
Grace looks confused and turns to Emily who’s turning redder by the minute, “Emily I thought you said Rosalina slept here in the back room?” Grace questions causing Rosalina to look embarrassed.
“Did I? Gee, sorry if I did I meant to say that's where our family friend sleeps.” Of course Emily covers herself up as always and the conversation returns to normal.
As dinner comes to a close and the last bites of chocolate lava cake are devoured, I dread the thought of going back into my enclosed room for god knows how long. Where my next meal could range anywhere from tomorrow morning to next week, where the confined space with nothing to do makes my brain go insane, and where the thought of living another day, absolutely repulses me.
The Starbucks around the corner of 15th Avenue buzzes filled with early risers sipping their coffee and typing away on their laptops.
“Excuse me, is someone sitting here?” A beautiful blonde haired lady, with a sparkling smile, wearing a light blue dress that perfectly complements her ocean eyes nods at the seat across from me.
“Uh no, well I mean now it is,” I stutter nervously as she sits down and pulls out a stack of paper taller than the Empire State building, “Wow, your boss must really like you.” I joke.
She laughs and says, “That’s what I like to think anyway…”
“I’m Will.” I state, putting my hand out in front of me for introduction, praying she doesn’t notice how sweaty my hand is.
“I’m Emily.” She answers and shakes my hand in return.
Emily and I go on talking for what feels like forever, but not in a bad way. She tells me about how she doesn’t really have any family left but her job keeps her busy. I even open up to her about the fight with my brother Chris that resulted in us losing contact for the past few years. She’s elegant, smart and pretty, practically everything I’ve been looking for in a woman. Which is why when she glances at her watch and sees that she’ll be late for work, it feels like the end of the world.
One week after meeting Emily in that Starbucks, she’s all that is on my mind. After doing 10 short minutes of creepy yet quite necessary research on my laptop I find her facebook. “Emily Brown”, a single woman living in New York City who is a professional therapist and counselor for families. My heart is racing as I gain the courage to type up a message inviting her to hang out.
“Hey Emily, it’s Will. I really enjoyed meeting you last week. Any chance you are going to Starbucks again soon :) ?” I hit send and resist the urge to stare at my computer screen until she answers.
Within 5 minutes a sound rings from my computer, “I’m headed there on my break right now...see you in 15?” Butterflies immediately erupt in my stomach and I am unable to contain the excitement.
I arrive at Starbucks early, praying that it wasn’t a joke and sure enough it wasn’t. Today, I pay for her drink as a gentleman should and again we talk for the full hour barely getting sips of coffee in between our intense and nonstop conversations. She starts to feel more like a best friend, rather than a woman I met a week ago in a coffee shop, and something about her just feels right.
The click from the lock of the door behind me has become a familiar sound yet a friendly reminder that the fight is not over, but it is a relief that it was just the lock of a door, and nothing more because it allows me to fill the bare, empty room with my hideous plans for revenge. My golden watch, and most prized possession reads 1:30, lunch time. My mouth waters with the thought that everyone else is eating a delicious lunch, refueling for their eventful work day, completely oblivious to the fact that it has been 67 days and 11 hours since I married to most psychotic women of all time.
I am allowed a limited number of items in my room, none of which could help me defeat Emily and escape this trap. I started out with a regular room similar to one you may find in a hotel room, with the ability to use a small kitchen but with every attempt of escape, more and more items are seized from my belongings. A toothbrush, a watch, a mattress, one pillow, a chair and two bottles of water per day are my only items remaining to entertain my countless hours staring at the blank wall, waiting for Emily to return home.
At quarter to 6:00, Emily’s black mercedes crumbles along the pebbled driveway loud enough for me to hear from my second story bedroom. She hops out of the car talking on her cell phone, grinning at whomever she was talking to and at that point I come to a new realization. I suddenly know why no one has caught her and that maybe no one ever will. Emily looks far from a psychopath who has been kidnapping her disheveled husband, stuck in between 4 dark walls of an old bedroom for the past month. All of which destroyed his relationship with his family, forcing him to abandon any friends and loses all privileges of a civilized human being in America.
She enters my room and I long for it to be a plate full of hot food considering it has been 2 long days since I’ve last eaten. Instead there is a wine glass filled to the brim, for her.
“Hello husband,” She grins sarcastically closing the door behind her and taking a large sip of red wine, “I have recently been checking your facebook account and you have had quite a few messages. People are wondering where you are and I certainly don’t want to panic them.”
“Panic them… yeah well they should be panicked I mean look at me.” I say in fury.
She looks at me long and hard before agreeing, “Will, no need to get snippy towards me, it won’t help you whatsoever. But in all honesty you do look quite slim, it is getting to be a bit unhealthy. Maybe a little more food will do. Lets go downstairs for a bit, shall we?” And it’s times like this that I completely forget that I’m being held captive, when the door from my small room opens up to a beautiful home that I could be living my dream life in.
She sits me down to the computer and watches me log into the account, reading aloud every letter and digit I type. My profile picture is a subtle reminder of the smiling man I used to be surrounded by my friends and family who loved me. The people who loved me are the ones I betrayed for a women who pretended she did.
“There’s no point in watching you answer these people,” She starts tying my legs to the chair with a knotted rope to prevent me from escaping, “I will go ask Rosalina to cook us some dinner but I hope you know, everything you do I can see so watch your back.” She warns.
I don’t even acknowledge her as she closes the door and her black high heels tap away down the grand entrance to our home. I see I have 12 missed messages, 5 friends, 6 family members and one unknown. I click on it and see it is a friend request from our friend Grace, and enclosed is a private message from her.
“Will, it’s me Grace. When I came over for dinner, you seemed quite panicked, besides the fact of how controlling Emily was over you. Are you okay?” My heart skips a beat and I can barely concentrate. Someone noticed me. I glance behind me just to double check that Emily is not around the corner waiting to prance as soon as I make a move.
“Grace! I do need help!! Emily seems like a nice and beautiful girl but she has been holding me hostage for 3 months. She is not the person you think she is. I really need help.”
The reply is almost instantaneous, “What can I do to help you?!”
Emily’s punishment for me would be brutal if she ever found out, which is why this process can not waste any time, and I’ll need to put extra effort into making sure it all is deleted. My mind can’t help from wandering to the endless list of things I will be able do once I regain my freedom and escape this jail.
“ I need you to call the police and give them my address. Tell them it is urgent and that my safety is on the line between life and death” As I hit enter, a huge wave of relief washes over me.
“Ok.” That is all Grace replies, not “It’ll be okay” or “The police are on their way” or any confirmation of any sort. Seconds turns into minutes and there is still no update so I delete the convo just in time as Emily’s black heels come trotting back down the hallway.
She fumbles with the keys before turning the lock and swinging the door open, “I’m glad you think I’m nice and beautiful still, your actions lately have concerned me that maybe you don’t love me anymore.” She smirks at me.
“I neve-” I begin to argue until she shoves her phone screen at my face. My facebook conversation with Grace is illuminated on her screen and my heart sinks.
“How did you see that? I deleted it two minutes ago!” I shout in anger, clenching my fist.
“Well it’s as simple as I was the one sending those texts. There is no Grace trying to help you on Facebook. Gosh you are really just so gullible.” She chuckles and shakes her head back and forth in disappointment.
“How could you? And how ironic, that you are a family counselor but all you do is break them apart!” I swallow hard as tears well in my eyes. Never in my life have I felt so desperate and agitated at a woman.
“Hah, you’re asking me. I shock myself with creativity sometimes too. But in all seriousness Will, your not getting out of here anytime soon, sorry to say. Have you not noticed? Nobody cares. Nobody has even tried to get in contact to see if you are okay. All you have is me, so maybe you should start being a little appreciative that I’ve kept you alive this long.”
That’s when I lose it. My face burns with fiery red and my fist clenches at the thought of listening to her speak another word. My fist reaches her face before I even have time to think what the consequence will be for that, but damn it felt good. The sound of her body smashing against the concrete floor was music to my ears.
It’s been two months since Emily and I began dating and it is the most amazing feeling in the world. Something about it just feels right, like she’s one in a million, and I just won the lottery with her as my girlfriend.
We’ve only started spending the night at eachothers house within the past few weeks which is why I’m shocked when Emily says she has an announcement.
I roll over in the bed to face her as the sun rises welcoming Sunday morning, “I’m all ears.”
“So I know this sounds completely crazy because we just started dating but please tell me you won’t bail on me just for asking you this” I feel her body tense up as she continues, “What if we got married? I know the guy is supposed to ask and it’s supposed to be a big deal but I’m not into that. We could just go to the town hall, get the papers signed, elope and then when we come back make arrangements for a wedding party.”
I contemplate this for a quick second before realizing that she is the one. I love her and there is no debate on if I want to marry her. “It may be completely crazy but I’m in. I love you Em, you’re the one.”
Later in the afternoon we rush to the courthouse in New York City, ready to begin the next chapter into our lives together and leave the past behind. My emotions today have hit me like a roller coaster ride, but I know the feeling is almost over as my ink brushes off the paper and all signatures are final. I have now reached a point of no return, but I couldn’t be happier. The summer sun beats on the tar during a hot July morning that I will forever treasure as my anniversary. I still have much to learn about Emily, as she does for me, and the future holds many secrets to come about my perfect wife.
I realized it as soon as I did it. The war was no where close to ending, it was only getting started. My hand is aching in pain but not as much as Emily’s face must be hurting. She stands up and the blood is streaming down her face like how the Niagara Falls flows into the Great Lakes. Her ocean blue eyes turn to crystal ice, staring deep into my sole with disbelief.
The old Will would never have punched a woman, nevertheless my wife. But in reality this is what my life has come to, it's not a happy ever after fairy tail like it was supposed to be, but it has become some sort of cruel game that I cannot seem to win.
Before I can think, my wooden chair comes flying towards me but I duck just in time and it hits the bedroom mirror behind me. It shatters into a million pieces as I turn around to see more damage that once again I have caused. Suddenly, my body is thrusted to the floor by an excessive force and my hands stop my entire body from being sliced open by the glass. My hands are severely cut tho, but no amount of pain, no matter the depth of the cut, can compare to the amount Emily has put me through during the past few months.
I stand up and admire my hands that are no longer recognizable because they are covered in blood. I rinse them in the bathroom sink as Emily is bent over in pain with her hand over her nose. I turn around and instantaneously the bathroom door slams closed and the lock is twisted, confining me into an even smaller space.
This was the next thing I lost.
“Enjoy your new bedroom, you may be there a while.” Emily manages to get say, despite the great amount of pain I know I put her in. With that the garage door goes up and Emily is yet to be seen.
I really should not have hit her, because it only made my life more painful. Emily hasn’t returned in 3 days, meaning I’ve been living off bathroom sink water and zero food. I don’t understand why I allowed my frustration to dominate my actions so cruelly, because in the right state of mind I know better than to act out so horrifically that my freedom could vanish.
This has become a new low for Emily, every once in a while she wouldn’t return overnight but never has she left me for more than 24 hours. I begin to wonder if she’ll ever return or if I’ll be stranded in here forever.
When she still hasn’t returned by 8:30 pm, I decide to finally go to bed. Nothing but boredom and reckless thoughts have filled my brain but nothing spectacular has come up that could help me defeat Emily.
At around 11:00 pm, the crunching of the pebbles outside awakens me. I peer outside and can’t tell if I’m relieved or disappointed to see that Emily’s black mercedes is pulling into the driveway. I roll over in my bed so that I don’t have to speak to her and receive the punishment on top of being starved for the past 3 days.
Because silence is the most powerful scream.
The airport is filled with a mixture of people, some happy to be getting away while others are sad to be getting home. I am one of the excited ones, considering Emily and I are taking off for our honeymoon today. I received a text from Emily earlier in the day telling me to meet her at the airport because something had come up. And I’m slightly surprised that she doesn’t respond when I tell her how much I have been looking forward to our getaway.
Emily arrives and walks briskly towards me. I give her a smile and lean in to give her a kiss hello when she says, “Please don’t do that in public.”
“Oh, sorry. How was work today?” I question, attempting to change the subject.
“It was fine. Let’s get in line.” She says sharply.
I can’t tell if she’s mad or maybe just nervous about going away for the first time together, because she doesn’t talk to me the whole way through security. When we reach the gate, I try to start the conversation up again.
“Do you prefer the window or the aisle?” I ask.
“Well I don’t think this conversation is necessary, we aren’t sitting together.” She says.
“Oh, that's weird. We can try to rearrange our seats.” I suggest, heading over to the ticket counter when she suddenly grabs my wrist and pulls me away.
“No I did it on purpose. I don’t want to sit next to you.” Her words shoot daggers into my chest.
During the 9 hour flight, I come up with as many reasons as to why she could be mad at me and prepare whatever I’ll say to her once we get off the plane.
“Emily, I’m sorry for whatev-” I begin until I’m interrupted by Emily shaking her head.
“I’ll talk to you once we are in the hotel” And I realize my 9 hours of thoughts are suddenly thrown away.
The silence is the most intimidating part of it all.
We check into our hotel which is beautifully located on the beach. I’m relieved that we are here and that I can finally relax in the hawaiian sun or swim in the turquoise waters. The door shuts behind us in the hotel and she locks every single lock that is available on the door.
“Emily?” I question.
“Well now that we have arrived in beautiful hawaii, I should probably tell you something.” She begins her first real words of the day.
“You won’t be getting to go to the beach. In fact you won’t ever really be able to do anything for as long as I’m here. And it’s not just here that you can’t leave the hotel, you won’t be working, visiting family, or doing anything without me at home too. And no one will be able to help you because they won’t know.” Emily begins.
I’m utterly confused, maybe this is a joke. “Hah funny Emily. Seriously can we get over this whole fight thing and go to the beach? I’m dying for a pina colada!”
“Will I’m serious. I’m going to be keeping you hostage and you have no way of stopping it.” She says and I suddenly realize she’s not kidding. I spring up get my phone and my passport out of my backpack when I realize it’s not there.
“Why are you doing this to me?” I say and my eyes well up with tears.
“I wasn't treated too good as a kid and I was always told to treat others the way I was treated.”
My fist clenches with anger, “No, you treat others the way you want to be treated. Didn’t you ever wish you were treated well?” I beg.
“I do but I just wasn’t that lucky. Good news is, you won’t be either.” She exclaims and she leaves the room slamming the door. I run after her but the handle won’t budge on the steel door and I’m trapped.
That’s when I realized that the door shutting behind her, opened the door to my new life.
It’s not Emily who gets out of her car, but it’s some man who is not recognizable from the second story bathroom window. Whoever it is, has the key to our house because it easily opens and the footprints are wondering through the house. My instincts believe it’s a burglar but why would they be driving her car or already have a key to the house?
The footsteps are louder and louder until he is right next to the bedroom beside to my bathroom. He pushes the glass out from around the door and enters. He’s so close that I can hear him breath and suddenly the door in front of me swings open. My jaw drops in disbelief when I see who it is, as does his.
“Chris! What are you doing here?!” I question, maybe I’m dreaming of my brother magically showing up to save me.
“ I came to pick up my girlfriends phone charger. She keeps meaning to get it but she came down with the flu so I decided to while she was sleeping. More importantly why are you here, and why are your hands covered in blood?” He asks.
“Emily, has been holding me hostage. She and I started seeing each other a few months ago and then we got married really quickly which is when it all started. I can’t escape, I’ve been stuck behind locked doors for the past few months.” As I say this, Chris turns red and his hand covers his mouth in shock.
“Oh my god,” He begins as he scratches his head, “I can’t believe this. I should probably call the police, are you okay with that or should I take you to the hospital first?” He says, and suddenly the past 4 years of disconnection are recovered over the course of 10 minutes, despite how big our fight was.
“You can call the police first, thanks.” I reply. I still think I’m dreaming, and the starving for the past 3 days was suddenly worth it. No matter what, I was safe now. Chris talks on the phone nodding and answering the miscellaneous questions. He tells me that the police have her and immediately it feels like the weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
We hop in the car and drive to the hospital, in the same black mercedes that I driven with Emily, where I was forced to speak nothing but lies so that she wouldn’t get caught for being a psychotic woman.
As we back out of the driveway, I catch one last glance at the window where I spent all my time waiting for this exact moment, the day my dream of being free would come true.