Red

I loved my wife. She was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. Her eyes twinkled blue like the sky, her cheeks were rosy pink like a cherry blossom, and her hair glowed red like a roaring fire. Everything about her was perfect. And she was mine.

When we first met, we were immediately attracted. It started with our favourite colours—both red—and rapidly grew to encompass every facet of our personalities. You could call it “love at first sight”. We were absolutely head-over-heels for each other and it showed. Our romance was less of a whirlwind and more akin to a tornado. In a matter of weeks we had moved in together and were planning our family. Neither of us could imagine a life without the other. Neither of us could imagine a moment without the other. Every moment we spent together was perfect.

But not everyone saw it that way. Her family didn’t like that she’d moved out of home so young. Her friends didn’t like that I went with her to their gatherings. Her colleagues didn’t like that she no longer met with them after hours in favour of spending time with me. It was as if, for whatever reason, they thought I was taking her away from them. Stealing her from them.

I tried to convince everyone otherwise. I approached each of them in turn, and explained what I thought. Every argument they held was met with a counter-argument of my own. But still they argued that I was bad for her, that this wasn’t what she was really like or what she really wanted. They protested until they were red in the face. How presumptuous of them to speak for my wife! What did they know? The two of us were married, after all. Who better to know what my wife wanted than me?

Those times were hard. All the friction her friends and family created caused a lot of stress for me and my wife. She’d often come home crying, her eyes swollen red with tears. All we wanted was to be together and for them to accept our union. Why was that so hard for them to understand? But still they persisted, if not overtly then behind our backs; snide disapproval was laser-guided among her entire social circle like a weaponised game of Chinese Whispers. No matter how they tried, though, the attacks always made it back to me.

I got quite skilled at spotting the red flags they raised. Slowly, but surely, I managed to weed out those conspirators and sever their negative influences on our lives. It was incredibly hard on us emotionally, and from time to time there was the odd social relapse, but eventually we managed to work out exactly who we could trust. The number wasn’t many, but it was enough. We had our new social circle; one that accepted us for exactly who we were and nothing else. The glowing red aura of danger began to fade. Finally, our lives were perfect once again.

Then one day I found my wife with another man. He was her childhood friend, as I recalled; they went to school together. I found them in our bedroom after coming home early from work. She was crying, and he was comforting her. I shouted; they both started violently. The man stood from our bed and approached me with an angry look. He said some choice words to me, but I didn’t hear what. He gestured something to my wife with his hands and his expression, but I didn’t see what. All I heard and saw was red.

Burning, passionate, angry red.

The man noticed my souring demeanour and changed tactics. He stopped talking—stopped pleading—stopped arguing. It did him no favours. I was tall and muscular; he was not. For all his best efforts, his onslaught only landed him on the ground: disabled, immobile, and unresponsive. What a fool he was. Did he think he could conceal his treachery from me? Did he think he could justify his debauchery to me? Did he think he could pit his body against mine?

My wife shrieked. Understandably so; I would also have been shocked if I were in her position. Even more so if her assailant had ended up like this as a result. That much I was willing to forgive. I had faith in my wife. I respected her autonomy. So I let her scream. The shock would wear off momentarily and we could sort out the situation properly when it did.

But my wife didn’t settle down. She leapt off the bed and fell to her knees by the man’s side. She shouted his name, again and again. She felt his body all over, sobbing over his limp form. My hand reached for her shoulder, trying to pry her away from her captor, but she slapped my hand away and fixed me with an icy glare. I couldn’t understand; I had saved her from the unwelcome advances of this foolish red devil who had tried to take advantage of their shared history. But here she was, crying and shrinking away from me like I was the monster.

And then she took my heart, and tore it to ribbons. She put her lips to that man’s, and kissed him. Not a mere peck; both their mouths were wide, her hands fiercely groping his chest as if to reach inside and pluck out his still-beating heart. My ears began to ring. My eyes began to blur. My fists balled, and my teeth grinded together. This would not do! I would not allow this man to steal my wife from me!

I dove upon them. That man, still prone, accepted his fate with no resistance, his face as calm as the moment he hit the ground. My wife screamed bloody murder. Her legs kicked and her arms flailed and her fingers clawed at me. It was no use. I was too big, too strong. Nothing she could do could harm me any more than betraying my trust as she had just done. For every ineffective blow she inflicted upon me, I inflicted an equal punishment. I had to show her just how much she had hurt me.

When I was done, she lay perfectly still, in complete deference to my will. There was no resistance in body or in mind, and nor would there ever be again. This was the way that things had to be. She was foolish, and vulnerable, and I had to protect her. From the world, from others, and from herself. What unfortunate circumstance, for one to be born so weak and timid. She was lucky to have had me to save her. Despite her trial, she was crying tears of happiness. The sight of it likewise brought a tear to my eye.

I loved my wife. She was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. Her eyes were blackened and swollen, her cheeks were white like alabaster, and her hair was dyed red with blood. Everything about her was perfect. And she was mine.

THE END


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