Bob Skrezyna

Writer | Editor

Let There Be Light

(This is a work of fiction.)

She had a habit of leaving her Bible open. He assumed that it was on purpose given his lifelong atheism but it wasn’t like her to be petty. Then again nothing was for certain anymore. And the fact that it was a Bible she was reading again – something holy and untouchable – made him laugh out loud.

He never paid too close attention to the page or passage she left visible. Or were they called verses? Really, he couldn’t care less what the snippets of text were called and cared even less about the contents. She had no business owning that book let alone reading it. For a brief moment, he considered grabbing it and chucking it out the open kitchen window into the light rain. It was then he realized that it wouldn’t have been the first moisture to touch the pages. They were already warped and stained with countless tiny discolorations. Teardrops? Maybe. From regret? Not damn likely. From the truth of having been found out? More likely, but it wasn’t by him. Perhaps it was the invisible man she talked to who had finally made her realize the utter shit she was putting him through. But really, did it matter? Would anything change? Did anything ever change?

No. The answer was no. It was always no. But the only word he would or could muster was Yes. Yes, I forgive you for lying. Yes, I forgive you for cheating. Yes, I forgive you for stealing. Yes, I’ll take you back. Yes, I know I’m a glutton for punishment. Yes, I know you’re the punishment and punisher. Yes, ma’am, please may I have some more of you and everything you wrought? Thank you, ma’am. Yes, that was great. Yes, we can start again from zero.

This had to stop. The time was more than right and most would argue well past. But like all things worth changing the acceptance was going to all but kill him.

Turning his attention back to the book had saw the word “version” in its title. How could the inerrant word of a savior of all mankind have any more than one version? He shook his head as he turned the book to see the spine and read aloud, “N. I. V.” He said each letter slowly as though pained from somewhere deep within to even breathe the syllables. He continued aloud, to no one, and flipped back to the page she had left open. “24. 26. Proverbs.” He ran a finger over the underlined words. “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.”

He almost collapsed from the irony. While honesty was far from his forte she was downright bad at it. Even when he caught her in the lie that led to this exact moment she would not come clean. She stammered and tried to redirect the conversation but he wouldn’t allow it. She cheated and had been cheating for some time. He didn’t know how long, and even now wasn’t totally sure, but he knew it was longer than he realized at first.

He placed the Bible back on the table and pulled out his phone. He tapped the browser icon and searched for a certain verse he recalled from childhood. He didn’t know any passages verbatim off the top of his head but this particular one came screaming back at him in a flash of physical and mental pain. The phone gave its answer and he let a slim smile make itself known. He picked the book up again and thumbed to Luke. Still smiling, a little broader now as another idea popped into his head, he picked up the red pen she had left on the table.

He dog-eared the page containing chapter 8. He circled verse 17 several times in ever thicker and deeper red lines. Then he added his own words to those of the infallible Creator:

Let there be light.

Not A Home, or A Few Direct Notes On Resentment

Sure there are cracks in the walls. The floors are uneven to the point of being dangerous. The walls don’t meet at perfect angles with the leaky ceilings. The carpet is worn and woefully dingy. The paint outside is peeling and in desperate need of attention. The grass is overgrown and patchy and the shrubs are no better. The garage lists precariously to the right as though being blown by an undetectable wind. The gravel driveway is overrun with crabgrass and dandelion sprouts so much that the city has warned us several times that it is no longer considered a driveway. There is a musty scent that won’t dissipate no matter how many candles we burn. There is a hole in the roof over the entryway.

This is our house.

This is not our home.

It used to be our home. I bought it for you. You asked. You smiled. You made your eyes glimmer in that certain way. You made me fall in love with you all over again. And I said yes. I wasn’t ready and knew it was a bad idea. But I said yes. You kissed me and I kissed back. And we owned a house.

We made two more babies in this house. We loved them all and made this pile of imperfections into a home.

But you’re gone now. You made the decision that this was no longer your home and then confessed that, if you were to be honest, it was probably never really your home.

How is that even possible? How could this place not be your home?

You picked it out. You forged memories I can only hope still reside in your long term memory and will remain there and become more and more important as the years pass within the confines of this building. This was our fortress against the world and all its heartache and grief. Little did I know that the real heartache and grief was building, completely unseen, within your mind and heart. It just had to find a way and a time to escape. A time and a way I never thought would come.

But it did. And now I’m here. And you’re not. And these walls are just walls. The garage is a garage. The carpet is just dirty. The memories are tarnished and some have already begun to fade. The walls are crooked and the entire roof seems to be coming down on top of me and crushing the dreams I once had about you and me and us.

This was your house. I bought it for you. I thought we had made it a home. You made me believe that. All the while you had a differing point of view. You were waiting – biding your time. When the time was right you flew. You didn’t walk away or even run. You flew. As soon and as fast and as far as your little wings could carry you.

I am supposed to bid you farewell and wish you the best and be humble and say that everything will work out for the best. But every night I slip into pajamas you picked out for me, I climb the stairs we made love on, I tuck our children in and kiss them goodnight, and then I lay down in the bed we shared for so many years. And all of this underneath the roof of the house I bought for you.

You. The woman who tricked me into loving her. It doesn’t matter why you did. You did it. And I’m the silly boy who fell – hook, line and pretty blue eyes.

I’m never going to thank you for the time we shared. Not now. Not that I have discovered the truth about you and what we were and what we became in your mind. No. I will not thank you.

But I will wish you good luck. I hope you get everything you never knew you needed and everything you wanted but never asked me for. I wish you understanding from within before you seek it without. I wish you honesty and self knowledge. And most of all I wish you time. Time to know yourself. Time to know others. Time to be alone. Time to become what you aren’t yet.

I wish you time with the knowledge that you have already denied yourself the luxury. And I wish for myself the gift of acceptance – because this is your mistake to make. And I need to let you make it.

So here I sit at my keyboard instead of in front of you. Typing everything I want to say instead of screaming it from the rooftops. You made a mistake. But to be clear: the mistake wasn’t that you left. The mistake is that it took you so long to do so.

Goodbye to you, my dear. It was really something, wasn’t it? We aren't in love anymore and the odds are good we never really were. And this isn’t a home anymore. Hell, it’s barely a house. A collection of walls and carpet and windows and doors can be just those things and nothing more, as sad as that thought is. It’s the people who make it more than the sum of its parts.

The trick is that those people need to be genuine and honest from the word GO. Not after eight years. After that amount of time any tiny white lie has grown into a giant monster creeping around the corner of every word you say. And sooner or later that monster is going to spring on you and knock you down. And even, in the worst cases, kill a love that at least felt real.

I don’t like this house anymore. I don’t like that monster. I don’t like you.

Now if you would excuse me I have to go to sleep and do my best not to think about what could have been.

This Is Now

I suppose you were damaged when we met. Fast forward to now and you're just plain broken. 

You say you're on to something new, something that will fix you and make you everything you were always supposed to be. And that none of this includes me.

The fact that you were broken in some way was not something you hid from me. The world, perhaps, but not me. I had come to believe that it was just "you". You were just short of comfortable and I accepted that. Little did I know what I really should have done is revolt against it and make you do the same. Perhaps if I had pushed you to be more than you were, more than even I thought you could be, things wouldn't have ended this way.

Maybe.

But probably not.

Maybe I'm part of the problem. You say I'm the key to the solution. It won't be until I'm out of your life that your life will really begin. Harsh. Hurtful. Stinging. But you say it with such apparent ease and poise that I can't help but admire the tone you use. That's the amazing thing about you: even when you're killing something you shine brighter than a supernova.

We are over. Rings are off, and so are the gloves. If friends had asked just three months ago I would have said that nothing was wrong. Nothing was wrong. I thought. Behind the curtain someone was moving the scenery of the next act of my life. It's all the same items: couch, coffee table, bed, closets of clothes - but they're rearranged and empty and in some way soiled. They will shine again with a little time and polish.

And so will I. But please do me a favor and take all your shoes. You'll need them to run far away.

That Was Then

It's pretty amazing when I think about it.

Just 12 short years ago I was the only one I had to concern myself with. No one was begging for attention. No one was asking me questions. No one was relying on me to do so much as one single thing for them. Then my daughter came. The next thing I know I'm all over the place in the best possible way. I have someone who needs attention. I have someone who asks questions (possibly too many). I have someone who relies on me for everything. 

It was me and her, her and me for a few years before I met the woman who is now my wife. Before too long we were expecting and we got married (not mutually exclusive events...or so I thought). Then two other kids came.

For those keeping score at home that's four kids and a wife. Each depends on me for one thing or another. They are all autonomous people for the most part but the kids need my paycheck, house and car. My wife needs the house. Obviously there is no blame to lay for any of this. In fact, this is how it should be. When you have a family you take care of them. But what happens when focus is shifted and things begin to...alter?

There are feelings and truths that once seemed so certain that to even contemplate the contrary would be grounds enough for admission to the best of mental institutions. These can no longer rightly be called true. And the word "feeling" no longer applies. There is so little the same as it once was that what once was seems to be a totally fabricated time that never existed anywhere but the darker corners of my mind.

The corners weren't always dark. They began that way,  and to an extent they have returned to darkness but for a glorious few years there was no darkness. There was us. There was love. There was family. There was everything that should be expected and nurtured and enjoyed.

That was then.  

ZOOM!

Life is changing fast.

I honestly didn’t expect my life to still in some sort of flux at 37, but here we are. Aren’t things supposed to be figured out by now? Aren’t even the most basic of issues supposed to be more or less figured out at this point? Shouldn’t I have some kind of direction?

It seems the answer is a resounding no.

Maybe that’s how it should be. The most interesting people over the age of 40 that I know are still not exactly sure what they want from life. They have the basics covered, of course, but the big picture stuff isn’t in as sharp focus. They seem happy, content and full of life. And I couldn’t be more jealous.

Perhaps I simply haven’t given myself enough time. This feeling of uncertainty is still pretty new, a few months really. I was under the impression my life was going just fine but forgot one important piece of the puzzle: I’m not the only one who impacts my life.

Interesting thought.

More to come.

All content copyright Robert Skrezyna / Word Rebel Ink via Creative Commons license(s).