Treat Me Well | Teen Ink

Treat Me Well

October 28, 2021
By Abby93 BRONZE, Franklin, Wisconsin
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Abby93 BRONZE, Franklin, Wisconsin
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"You didn't just keep me alive, you made me live." - Adam Silvera (They Both Die At The End, page 345)

Author's note:

I have loved writing for a long time, but this is my first attempt at publishing a story. 

I stared at his body, lying lifeless on the ground. I tucked the bottle I had been holding into the pocket of my dress. I would throw it away later, my husband was the most important now. Tears came to my eyes and spilled down my cheeks. I looked around, hoping someone would come. The brightly lit cafe had decorations and portraits covering every inch of the walls. There were many portraits of the cafe workers, but none of them could help me, they were just pictures after all.

Where had the man behind the counter gone? Surely he had to have heard the breaking of the mug that crashed to the ground as my husband fell. Surely he had heard his body thud to the ground. Surely he had heard my sobs before I fell silent in shock. 

I looked back at my husband, and he was frozen, his legs bent and his arms spread as if he were a bird flying. But he wasn’t moving. I knelt to the ground, the hot coffee from the shattered mug soaking through my red dress and burning my knees, but I didn’t care. I could barely feel anything. I was numb. I touched his neck, looking for a pulse, but immediately drew my hand away. His skin was cold. Too cold. 

He was paler than normal too, and his face was slowly starting to become more translucent. His arms were still spread across the ground, opening up his body to the ceiling.

Finally, the man that had been working pushed open the metal door behind the counter. He must have been washing dishes or something. “Did you drop your...” he cut off suddenly, looking at me, kneeling in the dark brown liquid, tears streaming down my face.

“I think he’s d-dead,” I choked out. I grabbed my husband’s hand, holding it for one of the last times I would ever be able to. 

The man’s name tag read John. John was more sensible than I. He went to the phone on the wall behind the counter and called 911. I heard him say something but couldn’t hear what. 

I shook my head, trying to clear it. My head felt foggy. Finally, my head cleared enough to catch what he said. “Ma’am, I need to know your name. The operator needs it.”

“Y-yeah of course. My name is Helen. Helen C-Cole,” I stuttered out, my voice shaky. John repeated my name back to the operator and kept talking. 

After a few minutes, I heard sirens, the red and blue lights flashing in the windows, casting a bright glow, a great difference to the usual look of the cafe, which usually had a warm glow from the lights.

There was an ambulance, and the paramedics came rushing in. As they saw him, their faces fell, only confirming the worst. He was dead, and there was nothing we could do. One helped me to stand up, and the others picked up his limp body, placing him onto a stretcher, which was brought outside immediately, and loaded into the back of an ambulance. I stared, watching my husband, my love, being wheeled out, dead.

The police sat me down, asking me basic questions, like what had happened, who was the man to me, what I believed had happened. I only provided vague answers, through my anxiousness. They released me to go home and to try and relax as if I could. 

I took my husband’s car, driving home, the lights and other cars blurry. I had ridden in this car so many times, on this exact route, but I was never the driver. To my surprise, I made it home with no accidents, despite barely being able to see. The second I got home, I took off my shoes, and flung myself onto my bed, not bothering to change.

I tossed and turned all night, not being able to sleep. Any time I closed my eyes, I could see him frozen on the ground. I could see the flashing lights. I could see the stretcher being wheeled out, my husband on it. I couldn’t sleep.

The next morning, I woke up, with one persistent thought. I needed to go back to the cafe. Back to the scene. Back to where I had seen my husband for the last time. Back to where I became a widow. Back to where it all happened. I needed closure.

I took my husband’s car, the last thing I had from him. The thing he loved the most, even more than me it seemed like. The car was my trophy, a trophy to remember the first and the last guy who would ever lay his hands on me, just to hurt me, the first and the last guy that would ever treat me the way he did, the first and the last guy that I would ever murder.

 As I got to the cafe, I was brought back to that horrific, yet memorable night.

My cheek stung as I tried to cover up the bruise he had left on my cheek with my makeup. It hurt like hell whenever I touched it, no matter how gentle I was. Why? Why did he hit me? Why did he treat me like this? I was always nothing but loyal and kind to him.

He had come home pissed at me, but I hadn’t done anything. He must have had a bad day at work, but he had no reason to take it out on me. It was the final straw.

I had been planning this out for two months and I was done waiting. I grabbed the poison from the drawer where I kept my hygiene products, a place no one, especially not him, would ever look, and tucked it into my purse, carefully covering it with a handkerchief.

I sat in the passenger seat of his car in complete silence. He didn’t turn on music, but he also didn’t utter a word to me. He only got like this when he was extremely angry. 

When we pulled up to the restaurant, he put on a fake smile. I smiled too, but the only difference was that mine was a real smile. The thought that I wouldn’t have to put up with him anymore was enough to lighten my mood, so much so that I felt as if I were floating. Once this bruise went away, I would never have to cover up a bruise from him again. And in seven years, my body would generate completely new cells. In seven years, he’ll never have touched me.

After about half an hour sitting in the cafe, listening to my husband making ‘jokes’ with the man working there, about how he was doing a woman’s job, and a woman should be making the coffee and sandwiches, I decided I had had enough. So when my husband went to the bathroom, I knew I had to do it now. I reached into my bag while the man working had gone into the back. 

I held it discreetly, the bottle being so small that I could fit it in the palm of my hand. It was now or never. No one was in here to see me.

I made sure that no one was looking, but my husband was still in the bathroom and the man working was still in the back. I uncapped the bottle, and held it over my husband’s coffee, but hesitated. Did I want to do this? Would I regret it? But if I didn’t, I’d be covering these bruises again, and I’d be held back. It was best if I did it, right?

Before I could rethink my plan any more, I dumped the bottle in. The contents spilled out, and I quickly grabbed a spoon, mixing it into the coffee. It still smelled as coffee did. It still looked as coffee did. The poison couldn’t be detected, at least not by looking at or smelling the coffee.

I heard the slam of the bathroom door. My husband really was in a bad mood. He seldom slammed doors in public. He did at home, and the days the doors slammed at home, I knew to stay away from him as much as possible. When he’s mad, you don’t get in his way. I learned that way too quickly. But him slamming a door in public was different. He was always respectable in public. Both of us were. No one could know what happened at home. We couldn’t damage his precious reputation, now could we?

He sat at the table, and I avoided eye contact. That was always best in these situations. Never make eye contact when he’s mad; one of the first rules I had learned about this marriage.

My husband picked up his coffee, and I examined his every movement. The way his hand wrapped around the handle of the mug, the way he opened his lips ever so slightly to sip the coffee, his neutral face after drinking it, as if he wasn’t being poisoned; as if this wasn’t the last thing he would ever drink. But of course, he didn’t know that.

He seemed very unaffected. What if I was lied to? What if the poison was fake? What if he survived? I couldn’t live with him anymore. I couldn’t do this. 

I watched him closely for the next few minutes as he drank more. A few minutes later, he started He started staring off into space and swaying back and forth. He seemed very drowsy. Suddenly, his body collapsed to the floor with a thud. Out of shock, I gasped.

I ran to his side, sobbing, again, out of shock. The rest of his coffee in the mug had spread across the floor, and kneeling in it soaked through my knees, burning them. But it didn’t affect me. I stayed kneeling by his side, realizing that at this point, it was best to stay here, to avoid suspicion.

Eventually, I worked up the courage to touch him, to look for a pulse. But his skin was ice cold. I immediately withdrew my hand. He was dead. I had killed him. I had killed my own husband.

Finally, the man working came into the main area, asking if I had dropped something, but he stopped immediately when seeing my husband and I.

“I think he’s d-dead,” I choked out. The man working, whose name tag I now realized said John, ran to call 911. My head was a foggy mess, trying to block out everything around me.

I didn’t hear the conversation that John had with the policeman, and I had to be asked twice what my name was. I couldn’t focus on anything. 

Soon, the police came, questioning me. But I was a woman. I wasn’t capable of doing something like this, at least in their eyes. And the autopsy wouldn’t show the poison, according to who I had bought it from. I was innocent, at least to them. They let me go home, and I drove my husband’s car, a smirk on my face the whole ride. I was still in shock, but it felt good, going home alone for the first time; going home and not fearing I would be hit. The feeling was amazing, and I could get used to it.

At home, I tossed and turned, the guilt finally washing over me. The brief thought of turning myself in crossed my mind, but it was the worst thing to do in this situation. I was finally free, free from him, and free from his abuse. But maybe I wasn’t completely free. I would always have this weighing over me, no matter how much time would pass.

I trudged to the kitchen, in a daze. The phone was right in front of me. I could end the guilt, and just turn myself in. I picked up the receiver, and started to dial 911, but stopped. I slammed the receiver back into place. I couldn’t do this. There was one way to get rid of the guilt forever, but I wouldn’t be free anymore. I would just be dead.

I looked at the receiver again and decided to leave it. But I did more than just leave it there. I walked a few steps away, yanking a drawer open so hard that it almost broke. I grabbed one of the knives from the kitchen and took the few steps back to the receiver, those few steps feeling like a few years. 

I raised the knife, and sliced the phone’s chord, sawing it in half. Now I couldn’t call the police, no matter how much I was tempted to. Now I couldn’t turn myself in. In the process of cutting the chord, however, I had sliced my finger. The blood spilled out, the cut deeper than I expected.

I chuckled to myself, staring at the blood, as if in a trance. Oh how I would have loved to see my husband bleed, but that would’ve been a sure way to end up in jail, and I wouldn’t be free, now would I? I continued laughing, getting louder and louder until I sounded maniacal. That’s what I was, maniacal. What kind of person laughs when her husband is dead? Well, the answer to that is me. I laugh when my husband is dead because I killed him.

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