Chapter One Hundred One: Lying In It

7-29-2006-01 I awoke to cold and darkness.

How long had I slept?

I shivered.

Unable to sleep the night before due to nerves, worrying over how the events at the cemetary would unfold, exhaustion had carried me away on sleep here. I had let down my guard.

I was hungry.

Placing a hand on his warm chest, I felt the rhythmic rise and fall. His breathing was regular, even though I could feel the deep rattle of wet lungs.

As I sat up, my hand landed in a puddle of wet soaked up by the bed sheets. A frantic search by my fingers found that he had urinated on himself and on me. 

Damn it!

Leaping up, cursing under my breath, I felt my skirt to discern the extent of it, then felt the bed and his pants. It was cold now and had soaked through the layers of skirt to my stockinged leg. 

I started to undress.

Tears stung my eyes again. Urine? On me? It was fine from an infant but from a grown man? 

Should I wake him? 

No. Not yet.

I stepped out of the black crepe dress and the black petticoat, leaving them in a pile. The stockings came off next. That left me in a chemise and corset. 

Somehow, in the light of day, I would have to figure out how to launder everything. I detested laundry.

I knew, even in the dark, that there was no where else to sleep save this bed and the hard floor. It was too cold. I could lie down on the other side of him perhaps, but just in case of further leakage, I took off the corset. I debated about the chemise, too, to minimize the risk of extra laundry. After all, I had dreamed of lying naked in his bed just this morning, hadn’t I?

But no. Not like this.

What time was it?

I crawled into the bed, feeling the way with my hands to make sure the area was truly dry and slipped under the coverlet. I hugged the wall, unable to sleep. He moaned and shifted, turning over, placing his hand on my breast. 

His face was next to mine. I turned away to avoid his breath but his hand remained in place.

I attempted to move closer to the wall but the plaster would not take me in. Hard and cold and unforgiving as it was. I tried to move his hand away but he stirred so I gave up. I was not yet prepared to interact with him. Would he even sober enough? 

You made your bed…

I tried to remember what his touch had been like before, when I had craved it with such hunger, but that did not help. I was still there with his sleeping shadow, acutely aware of where his hand lay, unable to relax enough for sleep to reclaim me. Instead, I passed the night lying awake for the hours before dawn arrived again.

Chapter One Hundred: Fluids

IMG_2141And so I went back.

I climbed each of those steps again, more slowly this time, filled with dread of a much different sort.

He was still lying in the floor, and had urinated on himself, but was coherent enough that he could assist me in getting him to bed. I helped him stand, leaving the bottle of spilled liquor in the floor.

Halfway across the room he began vomiting. 

Oh, God.

I stopped and waited for it to pass, the vomit splattering to the floor. Bits of it splashed up onto my skirt. I fought back my own urge to retch.

When the contents of his stomach had been completely evacuated, we resumed our halting progress.

His eyes held no recognition. I did not know if that was because of the alcohol, the head trauma, or something else. He groped my breast as he stumbled with me into the bedroom. I brushed his hand firmly away. 


He didn’t fight me.

His eyes closed as he fell onto the bed, dust rising up from the mattress. He appeared to be unconscious, though his brow remained furrowed. 

I undressed him anyway.

His abdomen was swollen, full of fluid that shifted with every breath, every touch. His legs were doughy, my fingers left a deep imprint that lingered wherever they touched up to his thighs. I could see that he had scratched his jaundiced skin bloody in several places with long fingernails, leaving deep excoriations. The dried blood was still visible under those nails. 

His personal hygiene had been neglected for some time.

It is difficult to watch someone you love, someone you have been so intimate with, so changed. I wrestled with revulsion as I bathed his body with the water I found in the pitcher on the worn dresser. How long had it been there? At least it was cleaner than him.

I realized, as I scooped the vomit into an old dirty towel, that I still cared for him, otherwise cleaning this vomit from the floor would not have been possible.

I walked back to the bedroom and lay down on the mattress next to him and wept. All of his secrets, his pain, his mortality were all on display here in this dimly lit room. We had both suffered. My heart ached.