The angry warbling coming from the forgotten phone in her hand jarred Miranda from her daze. She had completely zoned out from the conversation she was having and stood
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|10||how do i live ..|
|8||Zachary Martin ..|
transfixed by the monocular glare of the pawn shop television that dominated one wall of her shoddy walk-up apartment living room.
“Sorry Mom. I zoned out didn’t I? It’s just been a really long day. I think I’ll have a sandwich and a shower then head to bed. Call you tomorrow?” she explained quickly excusing both her
lapse and herself to her unsuspecting mother.
She’d always been able to pull the wool over on her mother. Edna Garrity would never suspect her sweet Miranda Jane of keeping secrets from her. That was almost enough to make Miranda smile, but by then the damn commercial was on again.
Colin Delgado. She hadn’t thought of him in years. Yet, here he was on the flickering picture tube of her old Magnet-box in a suit that probably cost more money than a month of her rent here in Cedars Flats. Attorney at Law, she could hardly believe it. He’d probably forgotten about her, and she had every intention to make him regret it. Of making him pay. Dearly.
She turned off the TV, afraid she would go in a maniac fit, and made her way towards the kitchen. Despite what she had said to her mother, she had no intention of going to bed anytime soon. There were things that needed to be done first. She poured herself some coffee, and looked back at the dark TV screen. She dreaded it. She couldn’t decide if she was to turn it on again, or avoid it altogether. She walked up to it, and pushed the button.
Colin was gone, and now it only showed static. But he would be back. She knew he would be back.
“It always comes back” she said aloud, and then lowered her voice, not wanting to wake her brother sleeping in the other room. “And it won’t let me forget what must be done.”
She lied back at her favorite chair, and stared blankly at the screen. She was thinking about him, and what he has done, and what she was going to do. She sharpened her hate against her memories. Seven hours till morning.
She had fallen asleep some time after dawn break. Right when the anthem was playing on the screen. The sun penetrating her drapes brought her back from her dream world, and she hated him for it. Everything was better in dreams, but sooner or later, you had to wake up in the cold reality. This unwritten rule, had governed her life. It took away her happiness, and left desolation and hate. Hate fueled her life, made her go on each day. She didn’t like it, but she couldn’t let it go. She drank the remains of her cup, and prepared for the long day ahead. She felt like a nine-year old ready to leave on a school trip. Anticipation mixed with a pinch of dread was welling up in her stomach. She enjoyed the feeling. It made her feel alive again. When she was ready, she checked in on her brother. He was still sleeping. He had been sick these past days, and he looked horrible, but he looked better than yesterday. She gave him a kiss, ripped the phone cord so it wouldn’t wake him, and took off.
She went to work first. She hoped it wouldn’t ruin her mood. Her co-workers shunned her, and her boss was a dimwit. She hated her job. Avoiding the staring eyes of her colleagues, she went straight to her boss’s office.
She explained how her brother was sick and she needed the next few days off. He gave her a hard time, but agreed in the end. He even pretended he was worried about her. Bastard.
She left the office, and went on to do her shopping. Some food for home, a little present for her brother, and everything she would need in the days to come. Then, she started for home. Cedars Flats.
“Honey…You have to eat something! Otherwise you’ll never get better” She was trying to coax him. She could tell it was bad tonight. Her present lay discarded in the bed table. She was holding up a spoon, the soup on her other hand. Finally, she gave up. She took the bowl of soup back to the kitchen, and lied down on the couch. It had been a trying day. The TV was still on. And he was on again. She looked at his face. Trying to picture him in her nightmares. She remembered him. And how much he’d hurt her. All the pain she suffered because of him. He was responsible for everything. And now, he was on TV, he was a big shot lawyer, swimming in a sea of hundred dollar bills. But he has something coming. And not his money, his expensive suit, or his charming smile can save him.
She slipped into an uneasy sleep, haunted with nightmares distorted faces that resembled her father and Delgado at the same time. The sound from the TV-set brought her back to reality.
The news was on, and as usual, it was more like a gossip fest than anything else. Until he came on screen again. His work, his new girlfriend, their upcoming marriage, and his birthday. She couldn’t understand what place those things had in the news, but she would make the most of it. Feeling tired, but somewhat satisfied, she went to bed. She cuddled up to her brother, and fell asleep.
In the morning, she had to meet someone. It was raining outside. She went out. Hopefully she didn’t have to walk long. Just over to the next block. She stood in the rain and waited.A car pulled up. The window came down, just a notch.
“You have to kill him. And get his girlfriend as well.” An envelope protruded from the window crack. She took it, and ran off into the rain
She had been waiting in the alley for hours now. She was tired, and had started to doubt the information she was given. She walked out of the alley, and checked the address again. It matched the one written on the paper she was holding. He was supposed to pass this way after his fancy birthday party. Along with his girlfriend. She slipped back into the shadows, hoping her prey will arrive soon. She wasn’t disappointed.
They came walking around the corner. His arm over her shoulders, both laughing hard. She seemed to had a couple of drinks too many. He was holding up a little better. She prepared herself for their confrontation, and stepped out of the darkness. She was holding a baseball bat.
“Hello Colin” she said. “It’s been a while.” She tried to fix her lips into a smile.
He looked at her questioningly. He didn’t seem to recognize her. That made her all that madder. His girlfriend was giggling. “Who is this Colin? Your ex?” She giggled again.
“Look Miss, here have some money to get something to eat.” He held out some paper bills.
She couldn’t restrain her rage any longer. How dare he treat her like this? She didn’t want his money.
“You don’t remember me Colin? Well I do. I never forgot.” She swung the baseball bat, hitting his girlfriend squarely on the head. It made a wet dull sound. She slumped to her feet.
Colin stood looking at her girlfriend, then to Jane, then at his girlfriend again. The alcohol in his blood didn’t allow him to react in time. The baseball bat came down once again, plunging him into darkness.
She had drawn them both into the dark alley. She discarded the bat and Colin’s girlfriend. She wouldn’t need them anymore. He approached Colin where she had thrown him by a dumpster.
He seemed to be coming to. She held a big, razor-sharp kitchen knife on his throat.
“Hello Colin. It’s been a while” She said, and this time, she did smile. “It’s time for you to pay for what you’ve done to me. To Miranda Jane Garrity. You destroyed my family. My life. Now you pay”
Colin didn’t seem to be listening to her. He was trying to focus his eyes. “I don’t know you” he croaked. “Please”
“Don’t beg. Don’t you dare.” She pushed the knife downwards, slicing his chest. He screamed. ’’Don’t you fucking dare. I begged too. But he didn’t listen. I begged every single time.’’
“What? Who didn’t listen?”
“You know who. You paid him to hurt me. You made him hurt me. All these nights…” She was carving him up now. He was thrashing and screaming.
“No! No. I didn’t do anything. Please.” He started crying. The pain was excruciating.
She pushed the knife halfway in his stomach. “Don’t say that. You did it. You did so much. You made my father rape me. You made my mother lie to the jury about it. You made my brother sick. You made my father die. You did it all. But it ends here.” He pushed the knife all the way in, and twisted. She got up, looked at him grasping at the knife handle, and walked away satisfied.
The walk back to her apartment did her good. She felt better now. She walked up her stairs, and pushed the door to her apartment open. The smell had gotten bad again. She had to air the rooms. But she could do all that later. She washed the blood of her hands and clothes, checked in on her brother (soundly asleep) and picked up the phone. She dialed her mother’s number.
“Hi mom. Yes everything is all right. Your son hasn’t eaten for a few days, but I think he is doing better. I’m fine too.” She looked at the TV screen. He was on again. She stared at it blankly for a while. Then she noticed the phone on her hands.
“Sorry mom. Yeah I was thinking about something. I’m gonna fix something to eat and go to bed. He’s bad again tonight. Have to take care of him. Yeah I love you too. Bye.”
George Steiner. She hadn’t thought of him in years. He probably didn’t even remember her. But he was about to regret that.