WIP: Release 3. Behind The White Gate: A Novel: Sink or Swim.


Just Thrown into the deep end. Sink or swim.
From my earliest years when my papa taught me this, as a restitution for my own bad mistakes even then. For being defiant against what was a valuable warning.

That is what I’m doing now, I think. Galveston floods trying to sweep me away. Paying my restitution for my mistakes.

Two weeks prior. They said “Head down that hall and out the green door.” And suddenly I was out. Free. And terrified. I know had to face why I had spent two weeks in jail and waited for a judge to decide my fate. I had acted in self-defense was the final verdict. But still…I had the blood of my husband on my hands And his child inside my womb.
Terrifed didn’t even begin to cover it.
I stood a split second. No one was here. I hadn’t expected them to be. I had aready not allowed them to visit or be in court. But I was dissapointed and saddened even so. I had refused to speak to them during this time. I had left them sixteen years ago…why should they have jumped an airplane to meet me here now? Why make such attemt to reach out to me now after pushig them away for sixteen years? I couldn’t face them…..not then….especially not…

I let out my sad and dissapointed breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding…and stepped out. Praying to a God I didn’t believe in for direction. I moved in a numbness, in a shocked daze with no ability for thought or plan, which was usually my specialty.
I half believed that I didn’t deserve to be out in the sunshine and the free world to begin with. No matetr what a judge had decided. I believed they had made a mistake just as I had. I believed this was all a terrible terrible dream and yet when I closed my eye’s I still saw the blood…open and I squinted into the sun I had nearly forgotten about. I walked fast paced to nowhere. No clue where I was going or what I was doing.

I felt that all eye’s that turned my way anywhere I went, as I stepped onto the bus to take me in a direction I hadn’t even paid attention it went in, knew I was a criminal…even if the judge claimed I was innocent, I felt the blood of a man on my hands….no matter how much I scrubbed, I felt it.

I felt people recognize my face from the newspapers that I knew existed about the inccident and I saw fear in their eye’s. As afraid and terrified as I was…people feared me. I almost turned back, I had waited too long but realizing that if I turned, I was lost. I caught my reflection in a window and couldn’t recognize myself. That girl. She looked lost. Lost and hollow eyed. The look of fear in a wild animal captured that split second before they turn toward their fight instinct. That girl in the reflection…I didn’t see the fight instinct. I just saw the fear.
Lost. Yeah…that was it. This feeling. Lost in a way that the street signs didn’t make sense to me. Like they were forgien or I suddenly couldn’t read. Lost of direction. Lost of strength and energy. Even lost in faith in somethng I had held even if not in God, and belief for what I wasn’t sure, for I kept praying to God to direct me. I felt so numb. But the feeling that krept in past numb was terrified and past terried was lost.

I stepped off the bus and it seemed that even if I had no idea where to go…somehow my feet did. I ended up standing on the sidewalk staring at what was once my very own home. Still was by name. The concrete sidewalk in front of the door remained stained. I sighed and prayed that God would send reprieve my way…or me to reprieve.

Again with this God of which I didn’t believe in…or at least trust worth a damn and never had.

But I felt like I should shatter into a million pieces if I didn’t hold onto something and I didn’t have anything to hold onto.

Seeing the blood stained sidewalk where I had killed my own husband had my lungs filling up with chlorine. Stinging my throat…filling my lungs. I struggled with my arms to the surface, with my feet to feel the bottom to kick against but I couldn’t find it. I was drowning from no water at all…but the image in my head ….the purness of feeling physically to my body….I was drowning even as I stood in a perfectly sunny southern California afternoon.

I would go back. I was safer there. I belonged there. I didn’t have anywhere else to go and I couldn’t bring myself to step over that stain and slide my key in the door and enter into what could never be my home again. Back. Just that word was what was the light at the surface of which I swam toward.

The chlorine filled my lungs. I stopped struggling. My arms went loose and I floated in the water. The sun shining through the surface. So close. So far.

I couldn’t even see his face then, his curly wild hair that I’d loved so much or his crooked charming smile. I couldn’t even see the anger in his eye’s that came later. Standing there at that moment, drowning in no water, I only could see the blood.

This was my deep end. My papa’s lesson of consequences to my actions. As the sight of the blood pulled me down under I awoke to the knowledge that I’d lost him…my love. My best friend. Not when the blood fell onto the ground, but I had lost him long ago when he had changed, the blood was just when there was no longer any hope to hold onto. When he’d become broody and hard and always ready to boil over in anger. A lost person himself I’d thought then. He had lost who I’d known him to be. Now he still pulled me down underneath the current rather than up as a love should do and out to air. I lost him again right then. How many times was I going to have to lose him?

And I stopped swimming for him. I had swum for him for so long as his pull would drag me down to drown. I had been drowning for a long time…I had spent so much time just below the surface, just seeing the glimmer of the sun above but not being able to reach it…not being able to help him. I tried to leave that day. I tried to leave that day to prevent him from killing me…not as protection of myself or even my child but to save him one last time from him not to go through what he would if he killed someone.

In the end I ended up killing him when trying to save him. Now…I stopped swimming for him. I let go.


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