Last Regrets | By: Shane Waldo | | Category: Short Story - Introspective Bookmark and Share

Last Regrets

Last Regrets

Today I broke all my mirrors. I canít exactly explain why, or well I guess I can. I couldnít stand to look any more. I hate myself, hate what I have become, a monster of sorts. So I broke them, every one of them. Like I said, I couldnít handle it, seeing me, the way they must see me. No I am not insane. Why, I believe Dalií said it best- I am not a mad man because I am not mad. But I couldnít stand it. I would be washing up, after eating, before eating, after outside, after opening the mail and see my ghastly apparition of a face staring back at me with accusing eyes. I have to use that womanly Ivory soap crap or my hands crack and bleed from over washing. Oh, God how I hate blood. There wasnít any blood when I broke them, not yet at least. But I no longer have to see that face, the face of a man whom fell in the mud while he screamed for help as if his ass was on fire and his head was catching. All the while the surrounding people laughing and pointing with their fingers, condemning with their eyes. There are a hundred other reasons why I donít want to see myself, most of them make me want to cry in big childish waves but no, I wont cry, not for them. Not ever again.

The Choice.

Have I told you yet? Ha, I guess not. I should know. I am not stupid. Stupid is not knowing that the outside air has millions of germs, billions of viruses, all waiting to infest me; invade me like an alien race with their pointy prodding microscopic bodies. Bursting my cells, multiplying, seeding. No that is not mad, therefore I am not a mad man. But I have to quit ranting and go back to what this calamity I write now mainly deals. The Choice.

Yesterday I was walking to work. My handkerchief over my mouth inhaling the pungent odor of the disinfectants I regularly swab it with. Just making my way to my job. I am the curator at the downtown gallery. It is a wonderful job; working with old, stagnate things behind glass and in sterile white rooms. Clean as a whistle. So I was walking to work as I began before I so rudely interrupted myself. I usually take the deserted ally ways, as to try and stop the accidental bumpings and so on. One time a lovely lady blew snot on the sleeve of my overcoat. I screamed in terror as I threw it to the ground. Shedding the things, which no doubt crawled around there now. Why donít I take the cab you might be thinking, no sir? People sweat and sneeze and even have sex in the back seats of cabs. Not thank you. As I was walking through the alley I heard an odd thing. A dumpster, one of the big smelly green ones with graphite all over it, was crying. What an odd thing I thought as I dared to step a reluctant step closer, cautiously approaching. I recognized the crying, a small child, no an infant. What kind of person would leave an infant in a dumpster with the temperature below freezing no less, what kind indeed. I wanted to go to it you see, to rescue the little one but every step I took closer to the dumpster just brought it back along with sudden pains like steel cables tightening around my chest. I stood there trying to grasp my breath with the cold wind whipping through my hair, invading into my coat. I thought about it.

When I was five my parents both worked; I went to day-care during the day. It was a lot of fun in general, in those days I was able to sit next to my fellow man without shaking and convulsing or share my Kool-Aid and gram crackers without fits of vomiting. It happened with the speed and suddenness that all life-changing events do. Rarely do people expect things such as losing a close realities or that cute girl in class saying she would go with you to the dance as you just stood there like she slapped you. Some of the other kids and me were in back of the church in which the preschool resided. We were playing kick the ball. Well, it was sunny, hot and invigorating, and I was up to bat a cute girl eying me all the way. I had seen her before looking at me that way and thought if things went well by the time school came around next year maybe I could be her boyfriend, maybe even kiss. I wanted to impress her a great deal you see, kick the stuffing from the ball. I stood back awaiting my chance to astound her nearing. The pitcher gave me a bouncer and I kicked it as hard as I could. I felt the hot summer sun on my face and had to squint my eyes to see where the ball went. It sailed over the outfielders, a red flying globe but my shoe. My shoe flew from my foot and hit Jimmy, the playground bully, right in the back of the head. Oh, he was pissed.

Jimmy, large for his age with dark hair and squinty slits for eyes, and his two friends that were more adequately sized for five to ten year olds, grabbed me throwing me to the ground. The Aid Lady must have been away because she didnít come until I started screaming, later that was. Jimmy and his two lackeys took turns kicking me. My ribs caved in, the wind escaping me in big negated breaths. I would try my best to gulp it back in, only to be hit again. Not a single kid tried to help me. They just looked at me with the sun glinting off their dead silver dollar eyes, watching. After their feet got sore from kicking me Jimmy wanted to finish me off in a suiting manner. While his two friends held me down Jimmy grabbed a nearby dog turd and crammed it in my mouth. It was still slightly damp, recently released if you will. Jimmy punched me and I swallowed a good deal of it. It was grainy, smelly and I, for the first time I can clearly recall, vomited. I threw it up all over him and his friends. Now he was pissed royally. They proceeded to use their fists on my face, back and neck as I retreated into a fetal positing, smelling how horrid my own breath was in the small safe place between my knees. So there I was, kicked at, forced to eat shit and being pummeled by three larger, older boys yet not a single one of them, those on-looking children, lifted a finger. No one called for the Aid Lady. No one helped. They just watched and watched and watched. That is when I began to scream.

The Aid Lady came releasing me from my tormenters. The three kids were kicked out of the day care. My parents tried with no success to sue them and their parents. I never went back to that place again. Not in actuality but my mind kept returning. To the beating that hurt for weeks and that dog crap, ho God, it gave me worms. They came out of me in oily stringy clumps but I, I, I donít want to think about that any more, back to yesterday.

There I was standing by this abandoned baby in a dumpster, about to vomit at the smell, the buzzing flies, the look of all that spattered food. I dropped to my knees and started to cry in big sobbing baby blubbering gasps. Am I so screwed up that I cant save an infant? An innocent child; I stood up determined to overcome my fears and save the child. I looked in and saw the baby, wrapped in a blanket from the hospital. It was turning and giggling and spitting. Then it would cry out again for a mother that would never come. That is when a fly landed on my cheek. I doubled over and vomited on the cold blacktop. As I did it I thought of maggots and flies and eggs and bacteria. Then I ran like a coward back to the safe haven of my medically sterile apartment. When I got home I threw my wretched clothing down the incinerator shoot and called the police to report what I had seen.

I sat down later that night to watch the news at nine. Then I saw the repercussions my choice made. The fucking choice! The baby abandoned in a dumpster was the first story. The baby had frozen to death; the police didnít make it in time. Some one had called in and told the police where to find the infant and they had asked the obvious question. Why? Why hadnít the person done something else? Picked up the baby and taken it to the nearest hospital. I cried again and slept a thin and dreamless sleep until a few hours ago.

At least I donít have to look at myself. No, I broke all my mirrors. Now I donít have to see, that I am a coward. So here I sit thinking about those children behind the day-care and how they just watched. Watched with their pallid expressions of awe. Not one of them helped me, how I hated them. How I still hate them. Now I must hate myself.

I am looking across the room into my bathroom. I think I am going to draw myself a hot bath. I think I am going to have a look at myself one last time, in a small shard of that broken mirror. In my tub, the scalding steaming water drawn with this put nicely in a perpendicular fashion on my dresser. Oh, God how I hate blood.
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