Whisper to a Scream
When can I say enough is enough? I've watched my life drift away, slowly slipping from my grasp, taking me nowhere and screaming loser in my head. How do I take the reins back and regain control? And when?
These questions haunted me, ripping through my being with the force of Armageddon-like fury, unleashing its wake-up and smell the rose brutality. It came with clarity too crystal clear to ignore. What haven't I done?
I went through life with a skip, jump and glide attitude. Knowing and seeing only what I set forth as the end of the road, the result of what I've trudged through life. My indecisions, my follies and the life I led came into focus. Was it time for the Reaper to come with his scythe and let him do his thing?
They say, and I always hear this, Life is what you make it. Doesn't it occur to you that there are unforeseeable forces that may take the driver's seat, and steal the very control we fought hard to keep? Yes…I call it fate, but others branded it destiny.
Give me a moment and I will tell you what gives. What has turned me into a forlorn and grief stricken piece of meat that I am now will be told. I attracted the manacles of misfortune; the soulless monster of anguish breathes my name. I, for one, knew this and this is my story to tell.
Yes? In my mind, I answered and yet nothing comes out of my mouth. Not a sound, not even a hoarse response to my name- and yet, Edward knew he got my attention.
I flicked my shaking fingers over the hollow of my neck to cover the gaping hole, or so that is what it seemed like to me- the voice box to give my answer a semblance of sound, an answer. Edward held my hand, urging me to stop, his despair written all over. It was in his face, the sagging of his proud shoulders and the tenor of his voice. The vision of his face danced before me, vivid pictures of us together as well as reminders of what I had done, and what I shouldn't have. The vision crippled me with regrets- a lifetime of 'I told you so' flickered through my mind. If only I'd listened. If only I stubbed every piece of the cancer sticks out, killing them before giving them the chance to kill me.
But that's the moral of my story- you don't know what you've got until you lose it. In my case, I'm going to lose… there was no way in this God forsaken life would I get out of this alive. I dug my grave long before I had a chance to stop and stare at the dirt I piled up in front of me.
I smoked like there was no end, as if tomorrow never mattered. I inhaled, puffed, toked and dragged the good 'ol smoke and nicotine with an addiction fit for a junkie of some sort. It started when I was 16 years old, a dare gone haywire. Me and Rosalie snagged some sticks from her fathers' pants pockets and ran to my empty house to try them for the very first time.
It was love at first drag for me while Rosalie coughed and panted with unmistakable hatred for the damn thing. With tears in her eyes, she declared it her last, while my infatuation grew and blossomed to a full blown love affair.
I kept my secret hidden from the eyes of my unsuspecting parents, bribed my brother to keep his hole shut- it worked. Now the hole was mine to keep- the grave digging of my years of turning a blind eye to what that little innocent stick would eventually do to me.
"Bella, are you comfortable? Is there something you need?" My Edward's voice drifted around me, rousing me from the dark moments of my fear.
I shook my head no; there wasn't anything anyone could do for me now. If only I'd listened. On second thought, yeah- pull the goddamn oxygen and let me go. Take the plug out and let me go with my miserable fate- the destiny I carved for myself.
Angry and bitter tears rolled down my cheeks, a testament of the too late now. My sorry ass would be meeting the reaper very soon, a payback for all the years of self abuse I refused to acknowledge. If only I'd listened.
I felt the warmth of his body drifting closer to me, keeping me company through my forsaken misery. I was a naïve fool who thought life could be bargained with, reasoned with and ultimately, could be deceived into believing I was invincible.
If I only listened to Edwards pleas, imploring me to give it up- citing a good life was being thrown out into a mask of temporary enjoyment and pleasure. I thought I was lucky enough to cheat the fear out of me, deeming myself indestructible.
He accepted me for who I was, maybe hoping that somewhere down the road a realization would strike me into quitting, believing that I could live without it. No…he was sorely mistaken. Not only did I endorse my bad habit, but I also subjected him to the harsh reality of second hand smoke. I might as well hand him a knife now.
I closed my eyes to keep the damning thoughts from coming, yet they came to me with all the might of the possessed destroyer intent on doing one thing and one thing alone. To take me. I did this to myself- I'm the only one to blame.
A vision of Edward and I flitted through my murky memory- one of the many discussion we had, stemming from the one and only cause of our misunderstanding.
"Bella, how much do you love me?" Edward had asked, the lines in his face deepening, making him more vulnerable than ever. The weariness in his voice even more pronounced this time.
"What a silly question," I answered him, raising an eyebrow in his direction. I was sitting on the couch in the family room plagued by a hacking cough for over three weeks. The over-the-counter cough syrup that promised fast acting relief lied, not a sliver of comfort and respite came with the promise. I shook and quivered as each cough consumed me, rendering me restless and useless, almost.
"Answer me Bella, please…" he begged.
"I—I love you Edward, like a whole lot." I managed to blurt out before another series of hard and dry hacking cough rumbled through my body, disturbing the quiet in our home. "Why would you ask a question you know the answer to?"
At that point, Edward raked his fingers miserably through his hair, pulling the hair from its roots as if the damn act would alleviate the weight of emotions he kept bottled up inside him. He repeated the process several times. He was buying some time, hoping it could persuade the hand of time in dealing me an easier blow. Time had been slowly running out.
"Baby, I asked you a question?" I tried keeping my voice even, making sure the level and pitch didn't change.
"Because I want to ask you something…"
He left the words hanging in the air. I looked at him with questioning eyes- trying to read the expression in his face. Looking for a give-away that would give me an idea as to the nature of his statement. Nothing came to me. I had no idea what he asked of me.
"If you really mean what you say then maybe you might consider quitting now…before it's too late." He said the words quietly, but they rang loudly in my ears. It begged to be heard, yet…there I was, refusing to listen.
I stared at him…not knowing what to say. I couldn't deny the fact that I understood him completely. He wanted me to give up my love affair, my addiction. How could I not grant him his wish? I knew the answer to that; because I'm a selfish creature- a person who couldn't give up a terrible habit. My ghastly excuse for a stress reliever.
"I will try," was all I said as a series of nefarious coughs sent me hacking in discomfort-pushing me to tears. Edward ran the length of the room to come to my aid- rubbing my back to provide comfort. The miserable coughing didn't stop until my body felt raw and ready to unravel. His touch though undid me- as streams of tears came barreling out. Drenched with tears and unbelievable fear, I went to bed that night feeling as though an omen was unleashed in my midst.
Frightened more than ever, I dreamt a terrible dream that felt so real. I was dying- although the reason was unclear- I saw me in a maze of tortured complications, and Edward was all but helpless in giving me solutions. The cloudy expression in his tormented face told me he couldn't do a damn thing for me. I woke up screaming, soaked in thick sweat.
"Shhh…you had a bad dream baby, its okay." Edward's soothing voice caressed me in the darkness of our bedroom. He held me close to his heart and whispered calming words in my ear, willing me to stop crying. He held me all night until sleep took me back to the land of fear and almost-regretful state of mind. Before I finally succumbed to the call of restless slumber, a resolution forged by dread and terror came to me. I would do this before it was too late for me.
I woke up the next morning feeling the ill-effects of the restless night and a cough that wouldn't go away. I made the trip to the doctor's office still feeling the reluctance of giving up the little white cancer sticks. Somehow, the thought of never possessing the damn cigs scared me half to death. It wasn't easy giving up a decade long tradition, my destructive menace.
Tests were ordered and executed promptly, and as I waited in the doctor's office for the results, I surveyed the stark walls that surrounded me. Clean and boring- that is how my life would be after all this. Bella, you can do it. If not for you, do it for your husband. The insane voice of reason throbbed in my head, making me pull out an 'I can do this' attitude. Enter the verdict.
I glanced at the door when I heard the approaching footsteps. The doctor's grim face dressed the room up in a morbid light as he clutched the big, ugly film-my X-ray results in his hand. I pretended to not feel the invariable pull of fear and panic as he sat on his leather chair across from me.
"Mrs. Cullen…I don't believe in giving false hopes or beating around the bush. The initial test shows that you have throat cancer, and it has metastasized already. Your lungs are now affected, which explains the coughing."
His words echoed in my ears and bounced up and down jaggedly inside my head. I grimaced from the cruel judgment that was now my reality. I nodded bleakly not knowing what else to say. Nothing prepares you for the cruel turn-around of time and its betrayal. Surreal first came to mind, not to mention, severe gloom and horrible shock.
I went home feeling all but numb from the news that changed my life, its course and my direction. It was going to be all over soon. If only I'd listened to Edward and his pleas, maybe, fate would have been kinder to me.
I made my bed, now I had to lie in it. That phrase never sounded too real to me until now. Life as I knew it had changed in a matter of minutes. I stifled a sob that dismally made itself known. The façade I fought so hard to keep now crumbled like it was made of Jell-O. I ran straight to the bathroom to relieve myself of the wreaking hysteria that bubbled up in me, and the churning in my stomach alerting me that my morning meal was about to come right up.
I heaved and cried at the same time as I emptied everything I had into the toilet bowl. I stepped into the shower feeling horribly scared, feeling like the whole world came crashing down on me. I racked my brain for solutions. Second opinion? Radiation or chemotherapy? Deep down in my gut, I knew the answers I was considering were my feeble attempts at denial. None of those would change the course that I have chosen for myself. This was it for me, my dead-end.
"Oh Edward," I whispered his name, but the scream took over and seized me. I heard myself release an ear splitting howl that rivaled the gush of water coming from the shower head. Neither the warm water nor the spray eased the fear that gripped me as I cried and cried. Had I listened to him- maybe, just maybe…I would still be around with him for a long time. Stupid, selfish…and too late.
My heart ached like a son of a bitch as the water pounded on my head and back for an indefinite amount of time, hoping it would rid me of the fear inside. If I could only wash off the grime of my mistakes, and cleanse the dirt of my stubbornness, maybe I would still be around for Edward.
I took the hard left turn and made a beeline to my early grave. I had no other person to blame but me, and now I have to suffer while Edward was dragged unwillingly down the ill-fated course of my life. If I could only turn back the hands of time, I would, and none of this would have happened.