A Drumming Lullaby
Why was it always raining? Every day for the last month, the only weather was rain. No wind, no sun, no snow, no sleet, just rain. The weather was a summary of Brian's mood. Glum, depressing, grey and cold.
This particular drab rainy day was Brian's anniversary. His wife Jean, had been married to Brian for the last fifty years. This had lead to resentment on his part. If only she said no when he proposed, then he would have been free for a few more years. He missed bachelorhood. He missed takeaway pizza, loud music and heavy drinking. He missed going out on the pull. Not that he ever did this as a young man, but he missed it all the same.
Jean had planned a romantic meal in for them. Probably some form of meat with tasteless vegetables. The prospect of this, along with the rain hammering on the windscreen of the car, perpetuated the melancholy of his situation. He considered veering into the oncoming traffic, just as an excuse to not go home. He didn't want to die, he just didn't want to have to sit there and pretend to enjoy the bland mulch of Jeans mashed potato.
Fifty years is a long time when you hate the person you're married to. Brian didn't hate Jean for the whole fifty years, just for the last forty-five. The turning point came after Jean decided she didn't want children and went ahead with a hysterectomy without consulting him. This was a shock to Brian as he always thought that, one day, he would take his boy to the football or to the pub for his first legal pint. Conversely, he wanted to walk a daughter down the aisle on her wedding day, to threaten her first boyfriend. These were fantasies taken from him by his wife, his lover, his life partner. By this point in his life, he imagined he would have grandchildren.
Brian didn't want to go home. He wanted to just walk into the sea and not come out. Just like his hero, Reggie Perrin. He wanted to start a new life. So he did.
Rather than start a new life straight away though, he thought he should at least let Jean have her anniversary meal. It was only fair, she had put up with him for fifty years. He continued on, homeward bound. He assumed this was the start of a mid-life crisis, but disregarded the thought. He too old for a mid-life crisis, wasn't he? Who's to say? He supposed a mid-life crisis could come at any point during the period known as "mid-life." Two words sprang to his mind, "Fuck it." If he was having a mid-life crisis, then that's what he was having. Who was he to stop it?
He pulled the car onto the driveway, and turned off the engine. He stayed in the car for a while to gather his thoughts. He didn't want to stay there too long or Jean will think he's gone peculiar. He muttered a short prayer to himself. He hadn't done this since Jean's hysterectomy. He became so consumed by his thoughts, he almost fell asleep. The rain still drumming a soft lullaby on the windshield. Was he seriously considering a new life? He was too old. He wouldn't be able to enjoy it for long enough before the icy hand of the reaper grabbed him and took his soul from him.
Stepping out of the car, Brian felt the icy water run down his neck. This somehow removed all doubt from his mind. He didn't want it to rain anymore. This was what he needed. This was what he wanted. This was the christening for his new life.
He opened the front door to the house. Just walking from the car to the door, he was soaked. Stepping inside, he was greeted by the aroma of over stewed cabbage and carrots. The prospect of soggy root vegetables nauseated him. He saw Jean in the kitchen and she smiled warmly at him. To Brian though, it was a hollow and empty gesture. Her smile was designed to lure him in, like the sirens lured Odysseus onto the rocks. Much like Odysseus however, Brian was not to be lured onto the rocks by this siren song.
He walked to the kitchen to seemingly greet his wife. They embraced for the millionth time in their marriage. Brian picked up the knife Jean was using to prepare food and thrust it into her side. The look of shock in her eyes screamed at him to know why.
She gasped for breath, but it didn't come. The knife had punctured her diaphragm and air suddenly became a part of her distant past. Doubling over in a mixture of pain and shock, Brian removed the knife from her side and stabbed again and again. He concluded his assault with a slice to the throat. The arterial spray covered Brian's face as Jean slipped from his grasp and collapsed to the floor. Her blood continued to pump, saturating the linoleum floor. There was a distinct rattle to Jean's breathing. Brian recognised this from his days in the army. She was dying. He considered putting her out of her misery and ending her pain, but the pain and resentment from the past forty-five years made him want her to suffer.
Her breathing started to slow, and the light behind her eyes left. Jean was dead. Brian could finally start his new life. His ascent up the stairs to the shower was the best he'd felt in a long time. He was finally free. He made his way to the bedroom where he undressed. He made his way to the bathroom and turned the taps for the shower.
As he washed the blood from his hands and face there was a tightening sensation in his chest. His breath became shallow and he felt palpitations in his heart. The pain worsened and he felt the rising feeling of vomit through his gullet. Collapsing under the warm stream of water he looked to the window. For the first time in a month, it had stopped raining.