Lila's Last

Lila's Last

A Story by Xanthar

Part 12 of 23/ Emotional Wastelands series.



A woman on the TV is talking about the dangers of toasters. Lila is sitting in the kitchenette with her head tilted back, counting the nicotine stained lumps on the popcorn ceiling. Her right hand is grasping a bottle of Kettle One Vodka as if it’s the last hope she may have at maintaining her sanity. Her eyes glance around as violently as a slasher’s knife, cutting the room to slivers. I look up from my Sunday newspaper and notice how much she looks like the devil as cigarette smoke veils her being. A toxic aura can really bring out the ugly in anyone. My wife of thirty-seven…or thirty-eight years, and I still don’t quite know who she is. When Tommy, our youngest, left home, we stopped talking unless it was about dinner or bills. S**t, that’s been fifteen years ago. Who is this drunk in my home, and why can’t I seem to acquire the same ’screw it all’ Zen-like outlook on old age that she has? I wish I could shatter her liquid resolve and have a good old fashioned screaming war like we use to. I’m afraid she’d just look at me like I was a familiar picture in a magazine ad, and then smile and walk back to her room. Ha! Her room. There hasn’t been an ‘our room’ in a long long time. I wonder if everything always hurt this bad, and maybe I was just too damn busy to notice. I wish I could go back and…well, I wish a lot of things these days. Reality is always the angry dog at my throat.


Lila went to bed early mumbling about a headache or some damn thing. When I finished watching my shoot em up, I fell asleep masturbating to an infomercial about abdominal workouts. A brunette in a bikini who’s body drowned out her words was my angel of temporary salvation. I woke up at about eight o’clock Saturday morning, but Lila was not at her usual early-morning station at the kitchenette bar. Good thing, too! Here I am with my pecker in a choke lock trying to remember if I came before I fell asleep or not. Probably not, everything still seems untarnished. I put my pistol away, and try to find a decent show to watch on the television. The house seems to be quieter than usual. Almost reverent. I don’t like it. I feel all cold and clammy. I wonder if Lila would notice if I just left. I could head down to the bar and watch some college football, and maybe I could be the one getting drunk and disconnected for a change. I grab the keys to the Ford and shout my goodbye down the hall. No answer. Sleep on then dear, I’m off.


Damn it’s warm. My crooked walk makes the trip from truck to house seem longer. Strange, there’s no empty bottle on the kitchenette bar. No coffee either. Has she slept the whole day? Damn! Maybe she drank more than one bottle yesterday. I wasn’t really counting. I’m just going to lay down on the couch, and let the blur roll back from my eyes. The house seems a little smaller every minute until it all goes quiet and numb.


I woke up on the living room floor to a man trying to sell me a Greatest Country Songs Ever CD on television. There’s light pouring in through the separation in the old green curtains. Has another day passed? I light a cigarette and gather my wits. Damn, where’s Lila? I’m walking down the hall raising 32 flavors of hell, but I’m getting nothing back. I crack the door to here room, and there she is: here eyes are wide open, but all the color’s run out. Mouth ajar, and tongue swelled to the size of a pan sponge. Damn it. She’s gone. Why am I not falling apart? I feel like my body’s buzzing as I dial on my cell phone. “Nine-one-one, emergency response.” Do they have to sound so damn cheery about it? When I finish telling some moron the details of my dead wife’s appearance, I head to the bathroom to throw up. Not sure if my tears are from sadness or strain. I crawl to the door to greet the body snatchers that will cart her away.


Two women I do not know are speaking kind words in front of Lila’s open coffin. She looks like a mannequin with a painted face. I’m dressed in a navy blue suit that doesn’t quite fit. Nobody seems to notice except my testicles, as they are split at center. I speak about how I loved her and enjoyed her loving me. Of course, I was speaking of a woman I knew a years ago. No need to mention that the woman in the coffin was a drunken stranger that loitered around my home for the last fifteen…maybe sixteen years. No need to mention that we hadn’t made love in twenty years. No need to mention that she did this thing with a pen tapping on the counter that drove me nuts. Then, tears finally rolled over my cheeks at the realization of how meaningless it had all been. How cold. Everyone says they’re sorry as they leave, but none of them could be as sorry as I am. I guess I could use this as a catalyst to change my life and be a better guy, but what good is all that s**t at my age? No. I’m just going to tell the kids I love em, and head on home to waste away by myself. My lot. My burden. My empty ache. Only mine.


A man on TV is talking about the dangers of plastic straws. I sit in the kitchenette with my head tilted back, counting nicotine stained lumps on the popcorn ceiling. I’m holding onto a bottle of Jack Daniels Black as if it’s the last hope I may have at maintaining my sanity. I can’t stop thinking of Lila. Was she still here? Was she gone forever? Had she ever been here at all? If I die here alone, I wonder how long it will take people to realize that I’m dead. I see my reflection on the mirrored wall in the living room. I look like the devil in this toxic aura of cigarette smoke. Or maybe I just miss her. My feelings are too complicated to calculate. Lila’s too dead to ask. Nobody needs me anymore. That’s the strangest sensation of all. Goodbye purpose. Goodbye life. Goodbye Lila.

© 2009 Xanthar

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Added on January 3, 2009



Somewhere Dark

I write. It's a passion. I love communicating with the world. I want to improve my craft and continue that communication. I have been published in literary magazines. more..

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