You did this. You bastard. Things would have been fine if you could have acted decent once in a while. Why did you insist on drinking all the time? Why did you insist on beating me? I hate you. I always will. It didn’t start that way. I used to love you with everything I had. You used to love me too. At least I think you did.
Back in high school, you were so gentle. At least I thought you were. You didn’t hit me until later. I knew you had a mean streak in you though. I remember when you kicked your dog. What was his name? Jack. That’s it. When you kicked Jack for shitting on the carpet. He couldn’t help it, and you broke his ribs. I remember thinking maybe that was too harsh. I had no idea you would be breaking my ribs too, just a few years later. You fucker.
You were such a sweet talker. So full of promises. You told me you’d buy me that cabin in the mountains. Why did we end up in a duplex in the valley? Because of you. Your goddamn temper made sure you couldn’t hold down a job. And you decided I needed to be constantly pregnant. How did you think I could hold a job when I was constantly preggers? Six children, you gave me. You fool. We couldn’t afford one child, let alone six. You cursed us to poverty. You cursed us to mediocrity.
If I didn’t love books, you would have undone me. I’d probably be dead right now because of you. You beat me within an inch of my life so many times I can’t count. But I’m resilient. I always came back from the beatings. You scarred me, but you never broke me. You worked me over good, but you never won. The six kids did more lasting physical damage than you did.
You. I’m not sure where it started to go wrong with you. Long before you broke Jack’s ribs and punched out a few of my teeth when I questioned you not paying the rent. I suspect you were broken when you came out of the womb. Your mom used to tell me that you were special. I think she was willfully ignorant when she said that. You were just mean. I’m guessing you used to get your jollies torturing small animals before we met and you whispered all those sweet lies to me. You deserve to rot in hell.
Why am I even talking to you anymore. You’ve given me everything I needed. I should just walk away. I don’t know why I’m standing her explaining anything to you. I should walk away. But for some reason I feel the need to stand here. You have to listen now. It is my turn. Shut up. You just shut up.
When you started hitting Shelly, I knew I had to do something. She is only seven years old, for God’s sake. I let you sucker me, and that’s my fault. But Shelly didn’t have a choice. You had no right to beat our child like that. She had no control. The doctors told you. I told you. She has nocturnal enuresis. It would have resolved but I think you were the main cause of it. You scared her. You shouted at her. You lurched around the house drunk and mean. They all hate you. I didn’t do that. You did that.
In the summer, I started researching. Hemlock seemed the easiest. I considered dimethylmercury, but it is too hard to get. Arsenic is too easy to test for. There were other choices, but hemlock seeds were easy to order. If you have taught me anything, you’ve taught me patience. I grew the plants in our backyard. It took four days to ship from Ohio. It took a year to get the plants big enough. You made fun of the plants, like you made fun of all the things in my garden. And you kept on being your rotten self. Treating me like dirt, and treating our children like a curse. You were foul that whole summer while the hemlocks sprouted.
When I started to mix the flowers into your meals, I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing. You got sick that night. Threw up a lot and complained that it was my fault. You weren’t serious, but you were certainly correct about that much. I did make you sick. I made you very sick. That whole month, I experimented with dosages. I got things just right so that you were too weak to be yourself anymore. But not so weak that you couldn’t suffer through it.
Remember that time you raped me? The first time? The one you apologized for? That was the last time you apologized for anything you did to me, to our children. You blamed your actions on the alcohol, but that was just a cover story. You always take whatever you can, whenever you think you can. I never forgave you for that. The insurance policy was my idea. Do you remember? No, of course not. You took the blood tests and I paid the premiums. So you wouldn’t think about it. I can’t believe I used to love you. You beat the love right out of me.
Tomorrow, they are going to pay out on the policy. George, John, Jr., Susan, Shelly, Michael and Tom are never going to have to cringe from you again. I’m glad I killed you. Now we have a chance at a real life. All the good you are ever going to do started the moment I decided you had been punished enough. I’ll never forgive you. I take no comfort from the fact that you are lying in the ground rotting. Your ugly face still haunts me. Your fists still pound me awake in the night. You voice still rattles around in my head. Sometimes, I wish I could kill you all over again, just to make sure you cannot come back.
Goodbye John. May you rot in hell. The children and I are going to the pound after we get the check. We’re going to get a dog no one wants. We’re going to name him Jack. He’s going to have a good life John. I’ll never come back here to visit your grave again. I hope it’s lonely where you are.