Ever since my wife fell ill I have kept a journal. I wanted to
catalog our journey as I supported her and helped her recover.
Instead I ended up recording a laundry list of sins and regrets. I
don’t know if God exists, and after all that’s happened I
honestly doubt it, but, if he does, I hope that by posting these
journal entries and sharing them with the world, he will accept my
confession, and grant me mercy.
The emptiness of the country roads at night is my greatest comfort
these days. Ever since Beth had gotten sick I found that the best way
to clear my mind is to cruise down the lonely roads. I had heard of
men who abandoned their wives when they fell ill, and I always
thought I would never be like that. But… its hard, so hard
sometimes. I’ve had to learn how to cook, how to clean, thank god
we don’t have any kids… I never realized how useless a husband
can be in a marriage until Beth became bedridden, and though I’m
trying so hard, the temptation is there, and I hate myself for it.
I guess the reason I was on the road was because of this woman at
work: Sue. Me and her have gotten along great, we just seem to click,
I don’t know why, but I haven’t bothered bringing up Beth much,
let alone her condition. I know when Beth first started losing her
mobility me and her had talked about my… needs, and yet the idea of
getting a lover is so much more nauseating when it becomes real. No
matter how many blessings Beth gives I can’t help but feel like I’m
betraying her, but at the same time, if I don’t find an outlet I
feel like I’ll be betraying myself.
These thoughts played around in my mind and I suppose that’s why I
didn’t notice what was laying in the road until I heard a loud
thump. I stopped my truck and walked out to see what it was. A
person. By the looks of it they had been strung out on something for
some time before I showed up.
I looked at them in shock for some time, slowly forcing myself to
accept that they were dead. My heart raced and I tried to force deep
breaths to calm it. It didn’t help. I knew I had to phone the
police, confess, do the right thing. At the same time a disquieting
thought crept into my head. What about Beth? Who would take care of
her if I was in jail?
I shook my head and pulled out my phone. I opened up the keypad and
paused, a text popped up from Beth, asking when I would be home.
Almost without thought I closed the app and turned on my flashlight
instead. No damage to the truck. No one around for miles. I motioned
towards the side of the road and saw a thick, overgrown woods. A body
in there could rot away for years without being noticed. I should’ve
at least been more ashamed of what I did, but I dragged the corpse
into the woods and sped off.
A lot has happened since my last entry. A lot. That night I came
home, my brain mired in fog, barely remembering what happened and
desperately trying to deny it. Beth was fast asleep. I sat down on
the couch and watched TV until my mind was so distracted that it
would allow me to doze off as well.
The next day was incredible, I woke up to the sound of singing. I
walked into Beth’s room and she was upright and smiling, the first
time I’d seen her sit upright without my help in months. As she
looked at me I could feel tears roll down my eyes. She was still weak
and fragile but I could finally see some of her old self come back.
She stayed that way for a couple days and when we brought her to the
doctor she was just as shocked as we were. As she examined Beth she
couldn’t help but well with tears too. She told us not to get our
hopes up, but at the same time she admitted she had never seen a
patient that far gone recover to this point.
Seeing Beth recover filled me with joy, and took so much stress off
my chest. Though I immediately replaced it with some from somewhere
else. At the same time all this was happening I was still going to
work, and one day Sue invited me over to her place for drinks. On the
one hand, Beth’s recovery made me feel a lot of guilt for saying
yes, but at the same time, I needed some sort of release, and if Beth
were to recover further it would still take months. So I lied to Beth
about having to work late and found myself in bed with Sue less then
an hour later. On the drive home I told myself it had to be a one
time thing, I had gotten what I needed out of my system and now I had
to stay loyal to Beth. It didn’t matter. Soon I was working late
once or twice a week, taking Sue out to all the places I had wanted
to take Beth and spending all my pent up energy and then some.
However, that is not the guilt that motivates me to write today. That
guilt comes from last night. It was just me and Beth, I cuddled with
her as we watched TV. Even that was a level of intimacy that we
hadn’t had in a long time. As we watched TV though, I could smell
something in the air. Smoke. I got up and checked the room. Then I
opened the curtains to see if it was coming from outside. To my shock
smoke and flames were billowing out of my neighbors house. I rushed
to my phone as I told Beth what was happening. As I unlocked my phone
Beth put her hand on my arm and squeezed, “Don’t phone the fire
“What?” I replied in shock,
“Don’t phone them, please, I’m sure someone else has and I
don’t want you to be play hero, okay? I just want to spend more
time with you,” her voice cracked a little, “just like we used
I stared deep into Beth’s eyes, shocked and disturbed at what she
was saying. At the same time, her grip on my arm had become iron
tight, and I knew that she wasn’t going to make my life easy if I
didn’t go along with her. I swallowed. I sighed. I sat back down
We laid beside each other in silence for an hour. My heart racing
until the sound of sirens finally reached my ears. For a second I
felt a bit of ease, until, drowning out the sirens, the firemen, and
the TV show we were watching, a woman wailed. It was a sound I had
never heard before, and one I couldn’t describe. The sheer
intensity and weight of my neighbor’s cry was soul crushing. It
tore deep into me. The next day I learned that her two kids were
asleep inside when the fire broke out. By the time the firemen came
there was next to nothing left of them.
Another miracle occurred, Beth is up and moving again! The doc is as
shocked as I am, and its just been overwhelming. She’s still weak,
and at first she could barely get up at all, but slowly we’ve been
working on it. For the past month me and her have been going on
walks. At first just down the block, but lately we’ve been going
further and further. I haven’t seen Beth this happy in such a long
time, maybe ever. She loves that she finally has a bit of
independence. At first I was just as thrilled as her, but this week
has changed things a bit. I feel like I’m making some insane jumps,
but here’s the deal:
I’ve still been seeing Sue. I keep telling myself that I need to
break it off, especially now that Beth is recovering, but… there
are some days I think about Sue more then Beth, and as much as I
despise the thoughts, the fantasy of making my thing with Sue more
serious keep popping up.
The other day, Sue texted me. She wanted me over, badly. I don’t
know that Eve was tempted as much as Sue was tempting me. I had to
go. I started throwing some presentable clothes on when Beth
approached me and asked me if we could go for a walk. I told her that
work had asked me to come in, that it was urgent, we would have to do
it a different time. Beth pouted, and, after a pause, asked if she
could go alone. I always accompanied Beth just in case she fell or
got in trouble, but that day, with Sue pulling me from across town
towards her, I told her it was okay. I helped Beth out the door and
told her to call me if anything happened. As soon as she cleared the
driveway I sped off towards Sue’s longing embrace.
I came back a few hours later, Beth was back, singing to herself in
her room. Everything seemed good. That feeling continued for a couple
days, magnifying further as Beth seemed to recover even more. She was
more energetic, lifting and moving things on her own. Instead of
staying in her room she started moving all around the house. It
seemed like we were turning another corner, and something about that
bothered me. I didn’t know why until we were watching the news one
night, and the reporter brought up a missing child, who was last seen
the night of Beth’s solo walk.
It sounds absurd, I know. But the pattern was starting to form in my
mind. Why did Beth’s recovery always seem to coincide with tragedy?
It must’ve been a coincidence. I must be a bad husband, Beth was
alone and vulnerable, and whoever abducted that child could have
harmed her. But…
It’s all gone to shit. I’ve fucked it all up. Everything.
Sue called me a few weeks ago, told me to come see her. She’s
pregnant. It broke my heart to see the joy in her eyes and know that
I couldn’t match it. I faked the best I could and tried to figure
out a way out of my mess.
Me and her kept texting about it the coming weeks, it was clear she
was keeping it. I started thinking things. Thoughts I never thought I
would have. Beth was starting to get healthy, she still had a long
way to go but maybe she didn’t need me anymore. I could go and be
happy with Sue and maybe I would be so happy the guilt would go away.
I just wanted the guilt to go away. Maybe that’s why I started
being careless, leaving my phone open. Maybe I wanted to be caught,
to purge the guilt. Two days ago I walked back from the bathroom and
saw Beth quickly place my phone down out of the corner of my eye. She
didn’t say anything, and neither did I, but the anger in her eyes…
it broke me.
Fast forward to earlier tonight. I needed to lift the weight off my
shoulders, I needed comfort, I needed Sue. I didn’t even bother
texting Beth and coming up with some half-assed excuse. I just sped
over to Sue’s place.
The two of us cuddled up and watched a movie together. I placed my
hand on her stomach and for a moment felt like I had done something
right in the world. Just as I started to feel at ease I heard the
sound of breaking glass. Me and Sue both froze until the sound of the
front door being unlocked sprang us to action. I rushed over to find
Beth stumbling through the door. She was carrying a knife. My heart
pounded. I told her to put the knife down, that we could talk about
it. She looked at me with sadness in her eyes. Sue found me and as
soon as she saw Beth screamed. Beth lunged at her with the knife and
caught Sue in the arm, Sue screamed and ran as fast as she could,
leaving a trail of blood behind her. Beth chased after her, and I
could hear Sue cry in pain. I could hear her cry for me. I was
paralyzed from shock and fear. Sue continued to cry my name, the
cries getting weaker and weaker until they finally stopped… I could
hear Beth start coughing, which finally triggered my legs to move. I
could hear the sound of someone falling to the ground. The coughing
turned to sobbing. I walked in to Beth on the floor, Sue beside her,
her lifeless eyes gazing into my soul. Her hands resting on her
stomach. Beth looked to me, tears welling in her eyes:
“I’m so sorry… I had to do this… for me… for us… for
you…” Beth’s hands started to shake, “One… more… only one
more… then I’ll be better… all better… that’s what she
said, that’s what she said.
My body trembled with fear. What had Beth done? What mess had she
gotten herself into? And all over a man who just an hour ago was
thinking of leaving her. The words… “one more life” echoed in
my head. I told Beth to leave, to run home and shower and throw out
her blood-stained clothes.
As soon as she left I walked to my car and grabbed my laptop. When I
returned I stared at Sue, and started writing this, my confession. I
just want Beth to be happy. Something I failed to provide. As I wrap
this up I look at the other thing I brought from my car. A long piece
of rope. I’m so sorry Beth, Sue, everyone.
One more life.