Joan stirred. She had once again been woken by Mike's pathetic attempt at sneaking in. She waited half comatose for the next stage when Mike would try and sneak into the bed. She heard the rattle of drawers and the banging of a table accompanied by incoherent grunts. She looked at the digital alarm clock : 3:45 a.m.
'That pig bastard stuffing his face after a two day piss up' she thought.
She didn't bother trying to ignore it anymore. Not for a long time. Once he had scrambled up the stairs he'd do a few circles in the bedroom before she got out of bed and lay him on his side. Then she'd take off his shoes and pants which were not always dry. Surprisingly, his homing radar would always get him back to the house he just needed a bit of help directly hitting his desired target.
She waited and listened. After ten minutes of silence Joan went down to investigate. There was no sign of Mike. Just a note on the kitchen table:
' Dear Joan,
I'm sorry I fucked up. I'm sorry we din't have a happy end. I'm sorry it took so long to leave.
I did love you
Joan held her breath. It wasn't the apologies. They were frequent. Mike hadn't told her he loved her since 1997. her stomach turned. This was unusual. She found a block of half eaten cheese on the table and when she shut the fridge door and saw the bloody hand print she dashed for the phone.
The police arrived within twenty minutes asking questions. Joan drank boiling coffee and lit one cigarette after the other. The police told her there were a few cars around the town looking for him but the search could not begin thoroughly until the morning . Joan had a sick feeling. Even after all the trouble through the years, the entire soap opera, there was something about this that caused her stomach to turn. The note and the blood and the gut feeling told her this time wasn't the same as the others.
She knew they'd find him. They'd find him too late.
'Is it unusual for Michael to stay out drinking?' another officer asked. 'No' said Joan,again.
She didn't sleep. Early the next morning more police appeared asking more or less the same questions. Then they all left. It was just a matter of when. Joan knew that as she sat alone in the kitchen. She could not eat. She hadn't moved in hours. She should have told him she loved him. Stubbornness is a sin that they were both guilty of but that didn't matter now. She should have been the bigger person. She should have told him how much she loved him instead of calling him a pig bastard all the time. She wished she could take it back. She knew somehow that now she would never get the chance.
He was here the day before.She could have told him then but she never.She could have told him at any point during the cold years but she never. But if she could .If she had one chance she'd just tell him she loved him.If he wanted to hear it or not. If he said it back or not. It didn't matter.And now they were checking the canals and the alleys and the mountain for his body.
The back door opened behind her. Joan turned quickly and there he was.
Mike. Head down in shame as usual. Staring at his shoes.
'Sorry Joan. I was with Rob. We had a few jars.like'
Tears rolled from Joans eyes as she stood and stared at him. After a minute s he took a deep breath and spoke quietly.
'You came back last night. You ate half a block of cheese and left a note saying you were leaving. You wiped blood all over the fridge. The police are looking for you and so is everybody else. I thought you were dead '.
Mike looked at her. 'Oh fuck'.
'Do you remember writing a note?' asked Joan
She noticed the bandage on his right hand.
'What happened to your hand?'
'I tried to punch a hole in Rob's TV. We were arguing about football'
The feeling of dread left Joan. She looked at Mike and remembered what she'd promised herself she'd say if she could ever see him again.
'Fucking pig bastard!' she screamed and stormed up the stairs.
Based on a true story.