|Miss Havisham by Christine Derry|
Every single morning I wake up and feel the same. Every single morning I open my eyes and -- whether there is sun streaming through the crack in the blind or rain pounding outside or thunder or howling wind -- I still feel it. Joy. That pure, untarnished excitement. Love, unrequited and all consuming. An overwhelming desire to leap out of bed and embrace the day. My day. Our day. That day.
Then, every day, just as my fingers twitch to throw away the covers, I feel the same. But 'feel' doesn't even begin to encompass the horror: the torrents of sorrow, the walls of blackness that slam into me. They launch me backwards and leave me trembling, crying, and old beneath the covers, cowering with the pain.
Every day he begins again. Strides up the steps - I saw him - with a grin lighting up his face. I laughed out loud when I saw that smile. I know it so well. Even now I can recall it: starting slowly, with a twitch of the nose, then the corner of the mouth is gently coaxed towards his eyes and finally the perfect teeth are revealed as his lips slide back in a rush of delight. I laughed because the smile was for me. It wasn’t, though. It wasn’t for me and I hate it. I hate it and I cry.
He smiled all morning, they said. He even smiled as he left, they said, not caring that behind him there is still a crumpled wreck; distant now, and faded, but there – still there, always there.
Every day I get up. I take my place and I always feel sure that if I wait long enough, if I keep it the same – if I keep it all just the same – and don’t let anything change, he might come back. He hurried out to pick a rose for his button hole. He needed to escape his mother. He was looking out for a late guest. He’ll be back in time for the start at quarter to nine. That grin will still be there as I stand, ready to walk down the aisle.
Every day I wait. All day. I don’t read. I don’t dance. I don’t request music. I try so hard to stay the same, not to remember… but there is no love like this. It shall not be distracted from such gleeful torture. Because I know. I know that the food next door is rotten. I know that mice live in my cake. I know I wear yellow, not white, and that my veil is for mourning. I know that I cannot keep things the same. I stopped time but I could not stop age.
I never knew there was love like this. The love I felt, I thought it was beautiful. I thought it was kind and gentle and 'conquered all'. But no. No. That was just the pretty face disguising the corpse underneath. This love is cruel. It burns you up and feeds on your sorrow. It is so strong that it breaks me into tiny shards of myself that glitter with hatred on the floor. Hatred and love and hope and bitter disappointment. They are so mixed together now that I can’t tell which is which. I no longer want to tell. I just want him to return. Or hurt, or die or love me. I just want him to know. Every day I have to slowly pick up those fragile pieces and balance them, teetering, ready and so willing to fall.
He would never want me now. He didn’t want me then.