“Did you take your medication, Hon?
The neighbours complained again.
The walls are thin and
they can hear you laughing and
talking to the window.
And now you won’t talk to me
or look at me; you just continue to stare
at the damn television.
I’ve tried yelling and even shaking you and
I’ve never touched a woman like that in my life.
I’m not comfortable with it, but at the same time
I am tired, I am frustrated, and
I am angry
-but above all I’m scared, okay?
I am really scared because I don’t know what’s happening to you,
or what happened to us.
Why won’t you speak to me?
I don’t remember doing anything but my best for you.
I’m sorry that I have to work most of the time at the factory
and that I lost my job in the city and that
we had to move to this town
in the middle of nowhere and into
this destitute ground floor one-bedroom apartment
with just a torn couch and a cheap TV set.
Remember our wedding day?
You were so nervous standing with me at the front waiting for the priest;
so beautiful, vibrant and free.
If only we could go back
to that day –that moment,
and just start over somehow,
Now you never leave the couch anymore.
You won’t eat.
You won’t change your clothes.
I don’t even know if you go to the bathroom.
And when I hear you talking in the middle of the night,
it scares the Hell out of me.
Who are you talking to?
There is nothing in the window.
Nothing around it.
It’s just your voice.
That’s right, there is nobody
ever there at all
…or is there?
Who comes to you?
Why do you only talk to them?
What the Hell is going on? I’m falling apart and you have to talk to me…”
Depleted, Gary left the room and his unresponsive wife, went back into the bedroom where he had once lain with her, and pulled out a bottle of whiskey from the bedside drawer. It was the only way to sleep these days. He had nobody to go to –no family, no money for a doctor and no friends in this town. He had run out of options, so until Gary could think of something –Good Ol’ Jack was there to help numb the pain until sweet beddy-bye.
But sure enough in the middle of the night Gary was awakened by her voice talking loudly and laughing like everything was some sort of insane inside joke. Gary threw off the covers and stormed into the living room only to find his wife lying on the couch with her eyes wide open staring vacantly at a television that was turned off. Gary shouted in frustration and punched the wall until faceless neighbours shouted for him to stop with threats of calling the police. That wasn’t him a year ago; that wasn’t Gary at all. Things have spiraled out of control into a deep, dark pit.
Gary returned to the bedroom, looked at the clock and began to get dressed for work. It was going to be another hard day on the floor. Best start early.
That evening Gary returned to an empty apartment. There was no dormant wife lying on the couch anymore. He stood there staring at the empty space where she had once been as the last of the overcast sky fell into the room like a dead weight.
She didn’t take anything, not even any of her clothes. There was no note. There was nothing. Gary went through the motions of filing a police report. He had canvased the neighbourhood and reached out to any old friends or associates that he could locate with nothing to show for it. But all along he had known that there was nothing to find because deep down inside Gary knew that she had never really left the apartment at all.
Even during that time Gary would some nights be woken up by his wife’s voice on the other side of the wall talking to nobody –her laughter laughing at nothing– and would dash into the living room only to find it empty.
Also during that time, Gary had attempted to logically reconstruct what could have happened to her and arrived only at further frustration. So, it was time for some crazy thinking because crazy was the only thing left.
Gary was forced to come up with a different approach altogether because no matter how far he could get away from this terrible place, if Gary couldn’t find out where his wife went, he would never truly leave here, and Gary could not bear the thought of living the rest of his life like that.
The next night Gary laid on the couch, turned on the television set, and started flipping through channels. Perhaps he wasn’t even aware of what he was doing at first. It wasn’t until he turned the volume down a little lower just like his wife had as not to disturb Gary after he went to bed. That’s when he began to hear it; to feel it. It was so faint at first, but soon it became clear to Gary that whatever the window was, this was its first handshake.
Gary reasoned in the end that if it came for her then it might come for him too. Maybe it couldn’t help itself.
“That’s right, here I am, so come on. Time for me to join the party.” Gary looked up at the insidious window. He could hear voices now along with awfully strange laughter and began to see colours and slight silhouettes dancing around the window frame. It was all gradually becoming louder and more real.
“Alright,” Gary whispered to the darkening room, “let’s do this.”