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Dear Friend

Dear Friend

Estimated reading time — 7 minutes

Dear Friend,

This is not a confession. There is nothing to confess. I would have to feel guilty for that. Let me be clear; I do not feel the slightest bit of remorse for anything. What happened was not my doing. I just feel as though writing to you, getting this all down on paper, will help me clear my head a little.

Right now, I am in my bedroom. It’s 3 AM. My eyes are aching because they won’t stay shut. I was ruminating on this, wondering why exactly it was happening to me, when I had a thought. Maybe if I tell you about her eyes, I will be able to close mine. I certainly hope so, because if I do not get some rest soon, I think I will go mad.


It was those damned eyes.

They were brown. A deep, chocolate-y brown that glowed amber when the sun hit them just right. I never remember much, like birthdays, anniversaries, or what her favorite color or song was, but I do remember that. A long time ago, when things were good, she would tell me that brown eyes were boring. That her eyes were boring. I would tell her that I thought they were beautiful, and she would roll them in faux exasperation. She would always roll them when I complimented her. I think that’s the reason I eventually stopped. But, I digress; that’s not what I’m writing to tell you.

Her eyes weren’t beautiful because of the color. Or because her eyelashes were so long that they pressed against the lens of her glasses (when she remembered to wear them and didn’t leave them lying on the bedside table, as she often did). No; they were beautiful because they were honest. She couldn’t lie, at least not to me. They betrayed her every thought.

As beautiful things often are, however, this was a problem. I mean, it didn’t start out that way. I’m not saying that she was a compulsive liar. That was not the issue at all. I will be the first to admit that there are times in every relationship when you need to stretch the truth. Either to avoid an argument or unnecessary pain, or even just for time and convenience’s sake. I am of the opinion that every relationship is founded on a certain level of deception, or, at the very least, blissful obliviousness.

The issue was not her lying. Oh, no. Like I said, a little white lie here or there would not have bothered me. The issue was that, as our relationship went on, she got bolder. As she got bolder, it started happening more and more often. She started coming home later and later. Her breath started getting boozier and boozier. And each time, I would ask her where she had been. And each time, she would say, with Anne.
Just like that. Two syllables. Clip clop.

I would say, “are you sure?”


She would say, “I’m sure.”

Tick tock.

Then she would roll over and start snoring. The incessant, inescapable grumbling with each breath that can only be brought out by inebriation. Or obesity, I suppose. But, she wasn’t fat. She was just a lush.
A lush who was always with Anne.

This soon became a nightly ritual. I would retire around 10 PM after a glass of warm milk. I have an office job (I won’t tell you where, for reasons that will soon be obvious), and need to be awake at 6 in the morning. She, however, has never held down a job in her life. I was always the one taking care of her.

Around 3 AM, she would stumble in, inevitably waking me up by fumbling around in the dark. Once awoken, I would ask her where she had been. She would say, with Anne.

Clip clop.

I would say, “are you sure?”

She would say, “I’m sure.”

Tick tock.

And those damned eyes. Those damned, begging eyes. They begged me to believe her. They begged me not to pry. They begged me not to think. They begged me not to know. And I would lay there and look into them, glowing amber in the faint light of the moon through the bedroom window.
Believe me, friend, I knew. I just knew. I knew because I saw them.

I could see them. I could see them in her eyes. They were reflected back at me. His eyes were brown, just like hers.

In the beginning, I remember, I would feel a bubbling rage in the pit of my stomach like molten lava. Sputtering, gurgling. Slowly burning me from the inside out. Towards the end, however, it was simply too much effort to feel anything at all. No matter what I felt, though, I never called her out on her lies. I wasn’t a bad boyfriend.

Let me repeat that. I wasn’t a bad boyfriend. Sure, we had our issues. Every relationship does. But I wasn’t a bad boyfriend. I know you’ll believe me when I say that. If you knew me, you would know that for all my faults, I’m not bad.

I swear to you, it was those damned eyes.

It all happened two days ago. She came home late, as usual. It was exactly 3:34 AM. I remember that because I was awake, and staring at the clock when I heard her keys in the lock. I never remember much, like when my car’s oil needs changed, or to bring an umbrella when it’s supposed to rain, but I do remember that.

The clock is an antique, a family heirloom. It hangs on the wall directly across from my bed. The white paint is cracked and peeling around the face. Those fissures look like veins. In the moonlight, they pulse and throb, like maggots in carrion. The pendulum that dangles below the warped, ugly thing is shaped like a horse. It’s been broken for many years and doesn’t swing anymore. Even though the pendulum doesn’t work, the clock itself still makes the ticking sound.

Clip clop.

Her keys were in the lock. I sat in bed and watched the face of the clock. She struggled with the door for two minutes exactly.

3:36 AM.

Then, she realized I had left the door unlocked. She opened it and let it swing shut behind her.

Then, I heard her drop her keys and purse on the kitchen countertop.

Then, she was on the steps.

3:37 AM.

Her footsteps were muffled. She had taken her shoes off in the kitchen. There was a slight catch as she nearly tripped on the top step. She caught herself.

Tick tock.

Then, she was at the bedroom. I saw the shadow of her feet in the tiny crack of light under the door. She paused for a moment.

3:38 AM.

Then, she pushed the bedroom door, slowly. It let out a long, complaining groan as it creaked open.

I stared at her silhouette, small and fragile. The black, backlit figure swayed slightly, uncertainly, drunkenly in the door frame.

3:39 AM.

And so the nightly ritual was to begin.

“Where have you been?” I asked her. Calmly.


Clip clop.

The silhouette fell against the door frame. Her face was shrouded in shadows. I could not see her eyes.

She was silent.

Maybe she hadn’t heard me. Surely she hadn’t heard me. I had asked her the question.

“I said: ‘Where have you been?’”

I waited for her to look at me with those damned eyes. I waited for those two syllables.

Tick tock.

She was silent a moment longer.

3:40 AM.

Then, she started to laugh.

It started as a low rumble, deep in her chest. It was nearly inaudible. I had to strain myself to hear it. As I stared at the figure, propped up against the door frame, I heard it bubbling up through her throat, gaining momentum and volume. Then, under my disbelieving gaze, it burst out of her mouth. She threw her head back, howling.

I sat up in bed. This was all wrong.

“Where have you been?” I repeated for a third time, raising my voice to be heard over her laughter. This was not the ritual. This was not supposed to happen.

Through her laughter, she managed a single sentence. “I hate… that clock.”

Clip clop. Tick tock.

Then, she abruptly stopped laughing. She looked at me.

My dearest friend, I saw her eyes. I saw those damned eyes glinting in the moonlight streaming through the bedroom window. They were honest, truthful eyes. They couldn’t lie, not to me.

She hated my clock.

I don’t know why that night was different. I can’t say why I was awake when she got home, or why she chose that night to be honest, or why her choosing to be honest filled me with such an intense rage. All I can tell you is the truth.

This is not a confession.


I asked her, again. “Where have you been?”

She said, again, “I hate… that clock.”

Clip clop. Tick tock.

I don’t remember what happened next. Somehow, I was in the doorway with her. She was gasping and clawing at my hands. They had appeared around her throat.

Clip clop. Tick tock.

Her nails scratched the backs of my hands. They are still a bit sore, truth be told. The gashes that she left were pretty deep. It makes writing this harder than it should be.

I couldn’t tear my eyes away from hers. Those truthful, beautiful eyes were bulging out of her skull. I watched as the blood vessels burst and little rivers of red appeared in the milky white. In the moonlight, they pulsed and throbbed, like maggots in carrion.

Clip clop. Tick tock. Clip clop. Tick tock. Clip clop. Tick tock.

She was afraid. Those damned eyes told me so. The moment lasted for an eternity. And then, as suddenly as it had begun, it was over. I watched as the terror, the truth, and the life left her eyes.

She stopped struggling.

I dropped her. I hadn’t realized her feet had left the ground. She fell, lifelessly, to the floor with a muffled thud.

Then, somehow, I was on the ground beside her.

Friend, I don’t know how long I spent on the floor with her. I simply didn’t know what to do. Her eyes were still open, staring at me, red and white and brown, and no longer truthful.

Eventually, I decided to put her in bed with me. I laid down beside her. I decided I would wait with her until she woke up.

It’s been two days and she hasn’t gotten up yet. The life seems to be totally gone, but her eyes won’t stop staring at me. They are red and white and brown, and no longer truthful.

I don’t know how much longer she will last before she starts to stink.

I’m not sure what to do. All I know is that it wasn’t my fault.

It was those damned eyes.


CREDIT: R.G. Kinnard

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