The Smell of Burning

Simon pushed himself. He pushed himself down the stairs. He didn’t know it yet but he subconsciously tried to kill himself.

He awoke to the beeping of the oven timer. He had tried to make a pizza from scratch. Peppers, Onions, and Olive oil base covered in a bed of Provolone cheese.

He felt his head. He moaned. He tried to lift himself. He failed.

He laid there thinking. What happened before this?

He thought of his pet goldfish; how silly it is. He thought of how his pizza will probably burn now. He thought of his job; how he never imagined being a public accountant. He thought of his wife.

His wife.

He thought of her brown hair, her green eyes, curvy shape. He thought of their history. First date at that restaurant he can’t ever remember the name of with great cajun fries, the first time they kissed by the lake late one night, their wedding day and how awful the cake was. Their cramped first apartment. He thought of her laugh, her eyes, tears in her eyes, they stream. Why was she crying?

He kept thinking.

He mustered air in and out of his raspy lungs.

He thought of the tears she shed when they had their first child.

“I have a child.” he thought.

He thought of how she cried when this child went to school for the first time. How she cried when this child gave her a surprise birthday macaroni necklace with flowers from the garden. He thought of the days she cried when this child said “I don’t love you.” He thought of how she cried when this child left their home for good. He thought of her eyes.

The oven stopped beeping.

Knives stabbed his nervous system as he tried to push with his legs.

He thought of the vacations they took. How the child smiled when they got ice cream and made jokes. He thought of how the child felt alone when they moved. He thought of his wife’s eyes. How they cried when he refused. He thought of how he always made excuses about money, time, and energy. He thought of how she never listened to him. One was enough.

“Idiot.” He thought.

One of his eyes was blurry when he opened it. His face felt numb.

He thought of his wife’s eyes, looking downward, arms crossed. He thought of her sitting on a sofa, not saying a word. He thought of how he berrated and yelled because she would not.

He thought of his wife’s eyes, full of tears, in a courtroom. He thought of how odd it is that someone else had to speak for her in front of a judge. He thought of how much it hurt his child.

He could smell smoke.

He thought of how he can’t move. How the pizza could burn, and perhaps catch fire. How no one could help him.

He thought of his ex-wife’s eyes. How they don’t cry anymore. He thought of how he never sees his child anymore. He thought of how he never has conversations anymore. He thought of how he never feels warm in his bed anymore. He thought of how he doesn’t dance anymore. He thought of how he he misses the clothes she would strew about. He won’t see that anymore.

He thought of how he wishes he didn’t have an ex-wife. He thought of how he never wanted an ex-wife. He thought of his wife’s eyes, bright and beautifully green, smiling.

He feels a sharp pain in his left arm. His breathing strained.

“Where is she?”

He thought of how he hurt her. How he always used his words to stab her heart. He thought of how she never pleased him sexually. He thought how he would think of ways to cut her with as little words as possible. He thought of how terrible he was to do that. He thought of how he so desperately wants to go back in time.

The smoke alarm sounds.

He grasps his shoulder. He strains his eyes. He thinks he sees something.

He can’t quite make it out. It’s a figure moving towards him. He thinks they’re clothed in black. He thinks of how strange it is. He thinks of how he didn’t imagine death looking like this. He thinks of how he certainly never thought an angel, or demon would escort him either.

“Simon?”
“Yes?”
“Are you okay?”
“No.”

He blinks a few times. His vision returns. This figure has a bulge on their abdomen.

He blinks a few more times.

“Did you burn the pizza?”
“Yes.”

His vision becomes clear. He looks at the figure, clearly a woman. A pregnant woman.

“Did you hit your head?”
“I don’t know.”

He blinks, and looks into the eyes of this pregnant woman. The beautifully deep concerned green eyes of the woman.

“Do you know what happened?”

The ease of breathing returns, and feeling in his legs return.
He props himself up with the help of the woman, he looks up at her and says,

“I thought… you were gone.”

But she wasn’t. Neither was he.

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