Grant Me Serenity



by Jesse Orr

My name is Jessica and I’m an addict.

That’s not so hard to say now, but it wasn’t always so. When I first started, I couldn’t even admit it to myself and I made a perfect fool of myself in group, fussing about how I wasn’t an addict and I just came along because Len had said he’d tell everyone if I didn’t. I’ve never been able to hide anything from that man, god bless him.

The night everything changed, I had been feeling hopeful. Foolishly so. I’d found out my husband was having an affair with his legal secretary several days ago, and it hurt. Of course it did. This night, however, I had just been to a meeting and finally felt equipped to deal with it, thanks to all of you. I was going to talk about it logically, calmly, and rationally. Like adults. I was prepared to forgive him and start over. We all have secrets; heavens knew I was keeping one from him. I was not going to get Mad.

That whole plan flew out the window when he told me in a voice he normally reserved for difficult clients that I had 24 hours to get everything out. Then, he told me with authority but still in that flat tone, that She would be moving in.

I started to get Mad, but fought it down.

“Let’s talk about what’s really wrong here, Harold.” I attempted reason. “Surely you don’t really want that. And think of the children. You don’t want to do this to them. To any of us.”

He informed me that he did and employed a number of four letter words along with several scatological references to explain my shortcomings as a woman as well as in general and rounded it off by naming me as an unflattering term for female genitalia. According to him, I was too timid, distracted, distant and wrapped up in my own little world or, smothering him(and the kids, he said) with unwanted attention. Not exactly an abusive household but enough transgressions for an impatient and eager man to move on.

I spent so much time acting weird because of my addiction. That’s not so hard to understand, is it? Distant and distracted, thinking about my next fix, skittish and timid while dreading a knock by police after a binge, alternating degrees of affection and attention based upon guilt as compensation and a coping mechanism? Is that so hard to understand?

No, but of course, you do understand. He just saw a silly, flighty, self-centered woman, and couldn’t wait to offload her.

I couldn’t blame him, which made me Madder.

I said “You don’t even want to talk?”

He didn’t, and called me something I didn’t recognize, but when I asked Len what it meant, his face turned red and he wouldn’t tell me. He still won’t, but there was no mistaking the tone in which it was delivered though, and that did it. I was Mad.

I still don’t know exactly what happened, and I’m thankful for that. No woman should remember killing her husband with a meat cleaver(how cliché) and taking the lives of her two children with their own pillows. I only wanted to kill him, but after a few strokes with the cleaver I couldn’t stop and dismembered him with savage glee, judging by the look of the hacked to pieces parts of him strewn about the kitchen in which he had made his last stand.

Unfortunately(and this is my deepest regret), the lust had only intensified. I needed more, and the children were asleep just down the hall. When I emerged from the fog that being Mad puts upon me, it was too late. Their blue faces were peaceful at least. They had died in their sleep rather than awakening to their mother smothering them.

I spent hours wandering around the house with a bottle of coffee liquor, slowly getting drunk while alternately crying and staring at the scattered bodies left in my wake. Certainly I thought of killing myself. Wouldn’t you? I was scared. I was ashamed. I was disgusted. But I was selfish. I was afraid of what awaited after death. I was ashamed of becoming yet another murder-suicide, just another fucking statistic.

Most shamefully of all, I knew that now they were dead, I could indulge my addiction all I wanted.

I just had to get away.

So that’s what I did. Falling to the ground and holding my husband’s bloody parts in grief covered any incriminating blood spatter on myself, and established why my bloody fingerprints were everywhere. I couldn’t control my grief. I rocked lifeless corpses of my two sons, leaving fingerprints and tears everywhere like any mother mad with suffering. Finally I grabbed the cleaver and dropped it screaming “Oh god no!” as a disbelieving wife might upon coming home to such evidence of the cleaver’s work, then ran to the phone and dialed 911. By the time the neighbors arrived, summoned by the screams, the sirens were nearby and I was in hysterics.

Everyone believed me, or just didn’t want to closely question a hysterical widow, and I was. Every time my family was brought up, I let out a bloodcurdling wail and began bawling. Soon enough I was living across town with a new life and the police were chasing an Edward Mcdermitt, from whom my husband had recently won over ten grand in a high stakes poker game. Poor bastard.

“So here I am,” I finish, wringing out my hankie and looking warmly around at the group. “I’d like to thank you for listening, and for your support.” I smile. The group applauds dutifully.

Later, as I approach Merlino’s to meet a blind date for pizza, I embrace the butterflies in my stomach. Anything could happen. I just hope he won’t make me Mad.




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