We humans always look for a way to escape our scarring or perhaps overwhelming reality and when we do find that suitable safe place, we decide to hide there if not forever, for a long period.
For some time until a month ago, Ashley’s safe place was her dream.
After a long day at work, she always looked forward to jumping into her conducive king-sized bed, all dressed in her comfortable nightwear.
It was on such days she felt grateful that her husband suggested they slept in separate rooms.
But, there came a time when her dreams became a burden.
After her divorce, all she saw whenever she closed her eyes and fell deep into slumber, was a pure nightmare.
Her recently modified reality crept into her dream and haunted it until it became a nightmare.
Frowning unconsciously, Ashley stirred. Her sleep position became uncomfortable, and so was seeing the predominant image of her naked husband on top of her mother.
She wanted to open her eyes and end her nightmare, but she couldn’t because her physical world was equally worse.
But she woke up anyway.
Her eyes darting across the breadth of the room, Ashley realised she had slept off on the couch while watching a comedy show that used to be her favourite. She sat up grudgingly and her sunken eyes stared at the TV screen which was showing another movie.
Then, a deep sigh escaped her lips.
Her life was an absolute mess. And Ashley was aware that she had to do something about it.
She could resume work, attend therapy sessions or perhaps get that gym membership she had been eyeing, but the strength to do something meaningful with her life was barely existent.
And finding that strength, at that moment, was like going on a quest that could kill her.
It was already terrible enough that, against her wish, her ex-husband’s sexcapade with her own mother affected her more than she needed it to. The same weight that dropped over her heart when she caught them on her bed was still there one month after the incident.
So, yes, Ashley’s life was an absolute mess. A mess she hated and wished she could clean up if only her soul wasn’t so dead.
’If only I had a close friend,’ Ashley thought as she got up to get herself a bottle of water from the kitchen that was located beyond the grand stairs in the house.
Having a friend or friends in such trying times would have been the best, especially if one considers the fact that she lived in a huge house all alone.
Ashley was grateful though, that Kevin did not get her out of the house. It would have been gusty of him to do so anyway, so thank God he was a little decent enough to not make such a hasty decision.
But then, with the extreme loneliness she was experiencing, Ashley felt that she could just sell the house and check herself into a nearby home for the elderly.
After another heavy sigh, Ashley caught her image on the steel covering of the refrigerator, and she realized that it was time to admit that enough was enough. It was time to get herself together.
She needed to do it…
She was going to do it…
She might have consciously and unconsciously told herself the same thing numerous times in the past, but she wanted that moment to be different.
She wanted to stop being so pitiful.
“You don’t look so good.”
Ashley froze on hearing that voice.
As her mind processed the fact that the voice indeed belonged to who she thought it belonged to, she wondered what he was doing in the house. And why on earth he came at the very time she was looking like trash.
Ashley always thought that she would look like she was on top of her world the moment she gets to meet her ex-husband again.
Knowing that it would be stupid to walk away without confronting the bastard, she slowly turned, her right hand running through her hair which felt more like sand.
“Kevin,” she greeted.
As she acknowledged his presence with a sneer on her face, she took some seconds to study him.
He looked okay, even better than he looked when he was with her.
But then, Ashley could not help but wonder what she saw in him that made her fall in love with him.
’He is not even that good-looking,’ she thought as she raked her hatred-filled eyes through the regular-looking figure of her ex-husband. He was a bit cute though, especially when he smiled.
Other than that, there was nothing good to look at.
If it was his personality she fell for, she had no idea. Ashley remembered nothing.
All she remembered was how he cheated on her.
So much for personality.
“You look like crap, Ashley.”
“I can look like whatever I want to look like, Kevin. What are you doing here?”
The side of his eyes smiled, causing Ashley’s disgust to stir faster.
“I came to get some things,” he replied.
“Hmm. How is your wife?”
“Girlfriend,” he corrected, and Ashley felt like slapping him. “We are getting married soon though.”
“Have fun getting married to my mother then,” she spat, her arms crossing to contain her anger, if they could.
“I don’t get why you are being so dramatic.” His hands went into the pockets of his pants. “I didn’t murder anyone and I’m sure there are things worse than murder.”
An unbelieving gasp escaped her and through her gnashed teeth, she replied to him, “You fucking slept with my mother, you prick.”
Kevin scoffed. “You think that was the first time? Do you think you caught us in your bed because you just did? Please, get a life, Ashley.”
“Get a life? You ruined mine by cheating on me! With my mother! How about you have some decency, you absolutely fucked up dick!”
“You are just causing a scene.” The calm in his low-pitched voice annoyed Ashley, it was taking every muscle in her to not charge at the bastard.
“I loved you, Kevin. I sacrificed a lot for you, yet what did I get in return? A cheating bastard.”
“Don’t you get it? I grew tired of you and your sorry self. I got tired of your presence and I found a woman I really wanted. What is the big deal?”
“Oh my God, oh my God.” Ashley could not believe it. She couldn’t just believe it. And she could not take it anymore. Hands flying in the direction of the front door, she said, “Just leave. Leave my house. What on earth are you even holding a wrench for?” With a frown, she eyed the object in his hand. “Are you planning on destroying the house?”
“I already told you I came to get some things.”
“Yeah, with a wrench. And, I am Beyonce’s sister.” Ashley rushed towards him and pushed him angrily. “Leave my house, you cheating bastard! Leave!”
Kevin gave a light chuckle, “You shouldn’t stress yourself so much Ash, it doesn’t fit you. But then, seeing you like this is amusing.”
“Leave!” She glared at him, her finger pointing out a direction for him. After he left, Ashley lost it. The anger that had built inside her exploded and she totally lost it. “Fuck!” She screamed into the room, her hands clutching the sides of her head. “Fuck, fuck, fuck. Fuck you! Fuck you, Kevin!”
She went on to grab the nearest item and she smashed it hard on the ground.
“I hope you fucking enjoy screwing my mother, you stupid dick! Fuck you!” A distant bark reacted to her outburst. Ashley knew she was being loud, but at that moment, what her neighbours thought was not her issue.
After grabbing another item to smash, Ashley allowed the tears that had been stinging her eyes before Kevin showed up to drop. As they came, she forgot her anger and sorrow set in, causing her to slowly fall onto the tiled kitchen floor in nothing but a robe.
“Fuck you, Kevin,” she whispered and the object slid out of her grasp.