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Sue Cmileski
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Waterworks

 

by Sue Cmileski

 

 

Be careful what you wish for. But, that’s just a cliché, right? Now I’m not so sure.

When all this started, I felt pretty normal. I lived with my parents and sister. Nothing exciting was going on in my life, so I basically lived for the weekends. That seemed OK with my parents, as long as I worked and paid my share of the bills.

Sometimes I overdid it, partying a little too much, but not crazy. I was saving up to get my own place.

The brightest spot in my day was when I walked home from work, sometimes I’d see this hot guy who lived in the neighborhood. His name was Ken, and he was slightly older than me. Every time I saw him, I melted.

But he didn’t even know I existed.

One day, he was washing his car, bare-chested, and I was mesmerized. When he caught me staring, I thought I’d die. But he actually smiled!

“Hi!” he said. “Don’t you live around here?”

I still just stared at him. Say something, Stupid!, I told myself.

“Nice car,” I said.

He laughed. I couldn’t believe he was actually talking to me! “You want to go out, sometime?” he said, finally.

When we started seeing each other, I was thrilled.

My mother wasn’t. “He’s no good,” she kept saying. “You deserve so much better.”

I didn’t listen.

“Mom,” I said, “You don’t understand. He’s really nice. You don’t know him.”

 “Yeah,” she said. “Well, I know his type. Now, your sister’s guy . . . that’s a keeper. Looks aren’t everything.”

“Mom!”

 “OK, don’t listen. I’m only your mother.”

My sister didn’t like Ken either. “I can’t believe you’re dating that jerk. He’s only gonna hurt you.”

I didn’t listen to her, either. Besides, her boyfriend was a mutant.

My dad remained blissfully unaware through all of this. As long as he could sit and relax in front of the TV with a bowl of ice cream, he didn’t care what went on.   

I knew my mom and sister were wrong. Ken and I had been dating for quite a while, and I was so happy.

One night, we were at his house, watching movies and eating fun-sized candy. He gave me a funny look.

“What’s wrong?” I said.

“Oh nothing.” He looked away. “It’s just . . . maybe you should cut down on the sweets.”

I stopped unwrapping my third piece of candy.

“Don’t get me wrong,” he said. “You’re pretty, but maybe you could lose a few pounds.”

The candy felt like lead in my stomach. I was hurt, but you know what?

Next day, I started a diet.

Then, one night at dinner, I caught him staring at the top of my head. “Hey babe,” he said. “What’s up with your hair?”

I reached up to touch it.

Smiling, he said, “You should think about changing the color. Maybe a lighter brown, or . . . blonde.”

A few days later, I went blonde. ‘Cos they have more fun, right?

Yeah, right.

I know what you’re thinking: Your mom is right; this guy is a jerk. You deserve better.

But I’m happy. I got the guy I always wanted. And he’s hot.

That’s all that matters, right?

One night, we were driving home from a party, where he’d criticized everything about me, in front of everybody!

In the car, I just couldn’t stop crying.

“Stop it!” He slammed the steering wheel. “I hate it when you cry!”

I cried even harder, for so long, he said, “Listen, babe, I was just kidding.”

I kept sniffling, as he went on. “And what did I say that was so bad? Don’t you have a sense of humor? C’mon, turn off the waterworks. Please?”

I looked out the window, at nothing. Just the night speeding by.

Abruptly, his tone changed. “You know, maybe we should think about seeing other people.”

I couldn’t believe he just said that. I turned and looked at him.

“You’re getting clingy,” he said. “And I’m never getting married again, not after the last time. So, just get it out of your head.”

I started crying, all over again.

“And turn off the waterworks!” he yelled. “I’m starting to think you’re nuts.”

I was crying a lot, lately. And I wasn’t feeling so happy, anymore.

Mom noticed it, too. “Are you OK, hon?” she said, gently. “You want a piece of cake? You haven’t been eating much, lately.”

When I shook my head, she said, “You know, you can always talk to me.”

“Oh, well,” she said, getting up. “Life goes on.” She took her pressure pill and went to bed.

Maybe I should’ve said something. And I did feel like having some cake. But not hearing. . . I told you so!

A new bar had just opened in town. Everyone was talking about it: its great food, fruity margaritas, friendly atmosphere.

One night, I wanted to check it out. “Can’t. I have to work,” Ken told me. And all of my friends were busy, with their boyfriends.

I decided to go by myself. It might be good for me to chill, with a peach margarita, and think about things.

From outside, it looked like a great place. There was live music, inside. I can’t wait, I thought, to tell Ken. He’ll love it here.

When I walked in, it was dark, so my eyes took a while to adjust.

When they did, there was Ken…with some girl!

It felt like the wind was sucked out of me.

When he turned and saw me, he did a double-take. “What’re you doing here?”

I opened my mouth, but nothing came out.

“Are you following me?” he demanded.

I was staring at the girl . . . wondering who she was. A real “Barbie”-type, tall, and blonde, with a deep tan.

She glanced at me, then away. “Awkward,” she mumbled

Then we were outside, and Ken was screaming at me. “I can’t believe you followed me here! I don’t need this anymore! We’re done!”

I tried walking away, but he grabbed my arm, hurting me. “What did you think? We were gonna get married? I told you I’ll never get married again!”

He wouldn’t let go of me. “And why would I want to be stuck with you, when I can have any girl I want?”

I started to cry.

 “There you go,” he yelled. “Crying again! Turn off the damn waterworks!”

But I couldn’t.

“That’s it!” Roughly, he let go of me. “We’re done!”

And that was it. He left me standing outside . . . crying. With people coming and going, in and out of the bar, looking at me, curiously.

I don’t remember getting home, that night. I just knew everyone was sleeping. And I was glad. I didn’t feel like talking to anyone.

Feeling numb now, I crawled into bed.

It took some time, but I eventually moved on. I was hanging out with friends again, and starting to feel more like myself.

And I had Mom to think about. Lately, she wasn’t feeling so good, so I was busy taking care of her.

Slowly, I was getting over Ken.

One day, I went to a barbeque at my friend Jill’s. All my friends and I were drinking, hanging out in her yard.

I help up my empty. “Anybody want anything?”

Inside Jill’s kitchen, I was mixing my third rum and Coke, when I glanced at the fridge.

Magnets, Jill collected, from all over. She loved to travel. Atlantic City, Vegas, Cape Cod. There were souvenir magnets all over her fridge door.

Some new ones, I saw: Betty Boop, a lighthouse, and one of those corny ones announcing a wedding. . . .

I almost lost my drink.

There they were—Mr. “I’m never getting married again!” and . . . “Barbie”— on a magnet on Jill’s fridge!

She knew them! Ken and Barbie were getting married!

When Jill came in and said, “Thought you got lost,” I just smiled. 

A year went by, but I still kept thinking about Ken.

Not about being with him. Now I wanted revenge for his hurting me, so bad. I wanted him to pay.

I hardly slept. It felt like I was losing my grip.

If I still had Mom, things might’ve been different.

Sadly, I lost her soon after Ken and Barbie got married. It felt like part of me died with her.

Maybe if I had listened to Mom, I wouldn’t be hurting the way I was. I had fooled myself into thinking that I was finally over him. But I wasn’t. I really started to question my sanity.

Especially after I found out where they lived.

In a cute little house, downtown. That should’ve been mine. Mine and his.

More and more, I thought about this, when I stood across the street, watching their house. Every night.

I memorized their routines.

One night, as it was getting dark, I snuck in through an open window.

Barbie was in the kitchen, making dinner. And she didn’t even look like she could cook.

I wasn’t mad at her. How could I be? I didn’t even know her. I even felt a little sorry for her. It just sucked that she’d married the scumbag who ripped my heart out.

But in my mind, this had to happen.

I crept up behind her, and smacked her in the head with a hammer.

Just hard enough to knock her out, and tie her to a chair. Her pretty blonde hair was matted down with blood.

When she came to, she screamed. “What are you doing in my house?”

Your house? I thought. This should’ve been mine.

With the hammer, I hit her again.

She felt the blood on the side of her head. “Ken will be home soon,” she said.

I laughed. “Yes, I know. He should be strolling in here in about twenty minutes.”

“How do you know?” she screamed. “Have you been spying on us? Why are you doing this? Why don’t you just go on with your life?”

 So many damn questions.

 “What did I do to you, anyway?”

“You married him!” I screamed back. “He dumped me for you! This house…” Wildly, I looked around. “should’ve been mine.”

She ducked, like I was going to hit her again.

“He broke my heart,” I said, “and ruined my life! And now, he has to pay!”

In the driveway, I heard his car pull up.

“Ken, look out!” Barbie screamed “Your crazy ex is here, and she wants to kill . . . ”

That’s when I hit her, again. Blood sprayed the walls of their cute little kitchen.

I hid behind the door, and waited for Ken to come in.

“Hey, honey, I’m . . . what the . . . ?”

Smack.

Blood splattered from the back of his head.

I tied him to a chair, next to his not-so-lovely bride. Then waited for him to regain consciousness.

“Hey, what the fuck is this?” he said. “What’re you doing here?”

Dripping hammer in hand, I just smiled.

“You’ll never get away with this!” Barbie said.

“I’m glad I dumped your sorry ass,” Ken told me.

Normally, I would’ve cried after hearing that. Boo-hoo. Like he said, I would’ve turned on the waterworks.

Instead, I laughed, right in his face. I laughed my fucking ass off.

I laughed, all through the house, as I turned all the faucets on.

 

I went down to the basement. With my trusty hammer, I busted all the water lines.

Then, I climbed back up to the kitchen.

As the house began filling with water, they panicked. “Where are you going?” Ken said. “You can’t just leave us here, like this!”

“Watch me,” I said, and climbed out the same window I had come in. I shut it tight behind me.  

“No!” Barbie screamed.

“Come back here!” Ken begged. “Untie us!”

Through the window, I blew him a kiss, then waved.

I calmly walked down the driveway, and around the block, to the bay, where I threw the bloody hammer.

I really don’t remember getting home, that night. Just that everyone was sleeping, and I was glad. I didn’t feel like talking to anyone. I’ve had enough of questions, for one night.

Feeling numb, I crawled into bed.

Where had all the water come from? No one seemed to know. The whole house was flooded.

Funny, the other houses on that street were fine. All the neighbors stood outside in their pajamas, staring at the house, in disbelief.

Finally, someone said, “What a shame. And they were only married a year. How awful.”

You were right, mom. I should’ve listened.

Oh, well, life goes on.



Sue Cmileski was born and raised in New Jersey. She started writing in her teens, and gets most of her ideas from dreams. She loves classic movies, chocolate, and whiskey. When she’s not relaxing at home, you can find her sipping whiskey at her favorite bar.

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