The Final Last Words Ever
I knew my kidnappers had arrived at a decision when I heard their few words between the grunts and the slurping at their coffees. ‘She knows too much.’ ‘We’ll have to bury the body deep.’ ‘That son is a piece of trash.’ ‘A mistake to wait longer.’
The rich smell of coffee had roused me from another fitful half-sleep on the thin mattress which barely covered the metal cot. I stared at the bare concrete walls and sincerely hoped this would not be the last view of the world. I remembered the small details of a mostly contented life: like the splay of the hydrangea bush at the corner of the porch. I felt again my wonder that the hydrangea flowers would change colour at each transplant. I no longer felt annoyed that the branches of the bush crept to trespass onto the wooden porch, where a family of nicked and aged rockers held their own talking circle. I brushed my hand against the cool dampness of the wall, grateful I could still feel a solid part of the world. I always meant to write a post describing my frustrated irritation with a plant that outgrew its site and my affection, forcing me to consider uprooting the bush so that sunlight would again touch the boards of the wooden porch.
So many ideas that I was too timid, too proud or too lazy to post. I recall William. He was not more than 5’2″, somewhat chunky, with a disturbing lack of facial hair. His lips always in movement, lips full and red discussing, describing, explaining, ejaculating, exclaiming. I accused him once of a need for a talking diet. We were seated beside each other on the Greyhound Bus, both travelling to different locations of home after surviving our first term at art school. We had adopted each other, an unlikely brother and sister. I was too shy. His talkativeness was my shelter and my shield against the inquisitive world. When William spoke, no one bothered with me. When I proposed a ‘word diet’, he grew silent, hazel eyes studying me. When I went to turn away, he leaned forwards and placed his lips upon mine. Even at my age I can recall the softness, the gentleness, the moistness. The kiss did not repel. Instead I felt within a stirring of my teenaged self as a desire to return that kiss, a desire to reciprocate. Time floated as lips met lips. Yet I pulled away, shrank against the window of the bus. I meant to write a post to commemorate the loveliness of that first kiss but the memory seemed too personal to share. When William departed, I knew we would not see each other again for he left without a word. Not even his hand moved to say good-bye. I wanted that post to be an apology for my squeamishness.
At least I know I will not languish in this chamber, tiled in an oddly uneven pattern of green and grey tiles; in one row, two green, then three grey, then one green, then one grey. I have recounted these tiles hundreds of times and there is no sequence of logic. At least I will not languish for chapter upon chapter like Little Nell, who ‘seemed a creature from the hand of God’ and in repose of death ‘peace and perfect happiness born.’ Yet she did take an awfully long time to die. In undergraduate class some of us – crassly – quipped that a good thrust of the pillow might have hastened her demise and spared us some homework. Yet, our teacher reminded, that a good serial writer, like Dickens, knows how to wring the last breath out of an idea.
The sound of a chair scraping distracts me and I consider what might be my last post? I try to distract myself from a simultaneous tingling of amusement and fear of how this might end? What weapon? I run through the list Jason Voorhees used: axes, hack saws, machetes, pitchforks, spears, hockey sticks and who knows what else? But Mr. Voorhees’ morality allowed the murder of promiscuous teens. I am shamed to think my final post might be a stuffy analysis of the Friday the 13th franchise.
I cannot stifle my laughter. This entire escapade is poor, sad replay of that story by Harry James? Henry? Mr. Henry? I cannot think of the author’s name but his plot is a clever contrivance where the hapless kidnappers find the kidnapped child’s grandfather unwilling to pay. My kidnappers met a similar situation. Little did they know my son, born a selfish spoilt brat, simply responded – via text – that his mother was a ‘a B- of a biddy who did not merit the sum requested.’ I heard the trio of kidnappers denounce him in every phrase possible. I was not surprised. How often I have wanted to post about my son and his forgetfulness about my birthday or repost his e-mails explaining the reason(s) he would be unable to visit at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, summer. However, such posts would be shameless cry for sympathy.
I feel saddened that I can think of no final post more worthy of the designation final post. I think of how words might capture the crawl of sunlight across the wall at the foot of the bed. I think I might finally share my recipe for chocolate sour cream frosting. I think of how words might describe my peace at this moment, for as Susan Cheevers quipped, death is not so terrifying, it happens all the time. Or I think she said it? Perhaps not?
© S. Calliou. 21 November, 2012
This short story written as response to Word Press Daily Prompt to compose our final blog post.