Friday, December 23, 2011

Roof by Amanda

My wife killed herself on Christmas Eve. My daughter died a few weeks before that.

A year later, I'm cowering against the back of the closet in the master bedroom. I can't remember the last time I slept in our bed. Even being in this room, where we stayed up late, sticky with sweat; well, it makes me sick to look at the bed.

My daughter's room casts an equal feeling of panic over my heart. She was four. The nurse said we didn't need to bring her into the emergency room if she wasn't wheezing or gasping for breath. We should give her Tylenol for her sore throat and fever. She advised us not to use one of the vaporizers that emit hot steam. Too dangerous.

The cool mist humidifier is still sitting next to her bed. The sheets, sour with the scent of fever, are still fastened to the mattress.

My wife finished shopping early last year. Neatly wrapped presents are piled in our closet with the summer clothes covering them. All of the name tags say "Callie."

I'm looking at them, but I can't bring myself to touch them.

They whisper to me in little crinkling voices. I want to open them and press myself against their blinking lights and plastic eyes. I want to eat them, to take them inside of me and digest them, feel them against the roof of my mouth. They hold ghosts and I want to be one, too.

I'm going to shoot myself here in the light of a bare bulb surrounded by hundreds of darling little bows and the name "Callie." The only thing my wife wrote after these tags was her suicide letter. It was addressed to me.

"I hate everything," it said. "I hate God and I hate you for being alive when she's not. I hate God." At the the bottom of the page she scribbled, "I love you."

It's Christmas Eve again. I've bitten down on the barrel.


  1. Thank you for joining us this week, Amanda. This is difficult stuff to read, but you've made it compelling and engaging. Heart-wrenching. I love the structure of this. I read the original, on your blog, and commend you for the edits you made for Trifecta. I really think this is really well done. I hope you'll come back again next week.

  2. Well done Amanda! Very harrowing. I really liked the spooky description of the christmas presents and the p.s. on the suicide note.