Albert thinks about killing his wife. He doesn’t want to, but he does.
Seven days a week, several times a day the thought crosses his mind. It presses in, an unwanted force so sudden he can’t stop it before it takes hold of him. On good days – if he can call them good days – the intrusion is a fleeting one. The desire flits into the back of his mind as a flash that shows him how simple it would be to push his dear wife down the stairs as they pass each other in the hall in the morning, how quickly she’d fall and how easy her neck would snap. He’s grateful these thoughts don’t last long, but he’s never able to shake the image of his wife, crooked and lifeless at the bottom of the stairs.
Other days – the bad days – the thoughts are lingering. They’re persistent. They’re unrelenting. They’re the ones that turn a quiet dinner after a long day’s work into Albert eyeing the wood block at the kitchen counter. It’s thick, holds five knives that have been expertly sharpened. His wife is so soft, it’d be like sliding through butter, taking one of those to her. It’d be easy; he’s a whole head and a half taller than her, and stronger, too.
On the bad days, the scene plays out more vividly than the good days. It’s explicit in the way he sees how he’d end her life. She’d have done nothing to provoke him shy of just being there, but then again she never does anything that warrant such fantasies, anyway. On the bad days, he’ll imagine how she’d look – Will her eyes be wide with shock? Will she cry? Will she beg? Will her skin fade white in panic or will it boil red in betrayal? It’s never the same way twice. Sometimes she doesn’t say a thing, and other times she’s yelling and cursing him.
How could he do this to her?
Albert will think of all of it. Her face, her voice, her words, the warmth of her body before he kills her and the coldness that sets in after he does. Sometimes there’s blood, and on the good days he’ll only see how it spatters across a wall but on the bad days he’ll feel its viscosity on his skin as it wet his hands and clothes.
It sickens him.
He loves his wife more than anything, more than himself. He would never kill her. He’s not even a violent person, and the fact he’s never even raised his voice at his wife has him wondering constantly why of all things he’d think about killing her, why it happens so often, why it’s her of all people. Over and over, day after day. Drowned in the tub, smothered with a pillow, crushed by their dresser. Scenarios he’d never wish upon the vilest of criminals and yet he envisions his wife, lifeless, immobile, bloody, bruised.
When she tells him she loves him, he’s imagining his hands around her throat and can’t help but question what’s wrong with him.
Does he actually want to kill her?
Would he actually kill her?
The fear is almost worse than the fantasies, the imaginings that twist and ensnare around his mind. Sometimes he’s so involved in what’s happening in his mind, he wonders how long it will take before seeing becomes doing.
I’d never hurt her.
I’d never hurt her.
He thinks it as soon as he wakes up in the morning, while he’s brushing his teeth and dressing for the day. If he thinks that he won’t hurt her, then maybe he won’t think about hurting her, and the visions will go away. He won’t be sick anymore. He won’t have to worry anymore. The logic is sound, but no matter how much he recites the mantra, one way or another those thoughts push and push. Albert will be thinking about how he he’d never hurt her the same time he’s thinking about the rat poison beneath the sink, and how he could add it to her morning tea – he leaves in moments like that. To their room, for a walk, for a drive, all the way to town to the grocery store. Anything to get away, distance himself.
Albert thinks about killing his wife.
He doesn’t want to, but he does.