The Strange Shape of Anne's Grief Part 5
by Shane Migliavacca
The Strange Shape Of Anne's Grief chapter 5 Anne (III)
It was Halloween night. Anne sat in the pickup. She’d left work a few minutes ago. The pickup was parked near a large red maple. It’s shadow partially concealed her. Kids in their costumes walked up and down the street. They paid no mind to her sitting there. For all they knew, she was just another parent. Waiting for her trick or treating child. Anne watched the man get out of his expensive car and go into the house. He lived in the nicest part of Frostwood. Secluded. A nice big house, down a long winding gravel driveway. And why not? He was a doctor. Dr. Herman Cobb. He had a nice office at Green Haven Medical. An office Anne and her mother had sat in plenty of times during her dad’s illness. He’d looked across his large hardwood desk at them. Mock concern etched on his face. Telling them how he was doing everything in his power to save her dad. Which was nothing. When Dr. Enzi proposed a radical experimental procedure to try on her dad. Cobb blocked him. Not only that, when Anne begged him to try it on her father, he refused. She even went so far as to come here, banging on his front door. Pleading with him to do the procedure. He turned her away. Threatening to call the police. It was his negligence, his cowardice. Instead of taking a risk, trying to help her dad, he stuck with what was safe. As her father got worse and worse. He did little to nothing. Her father fading away before her eyes. Till finally dying.
She watched him from time to time. Part of her wished beyond all reason Cobb could bring her father back. Foolish as that was. That he could somehow make him alive again. Like a modern Dr. Frankenstein. Another part of her wanted to make him confess himself to her. That in his arrogance he’d made a mistake. One that cost her father’s life. Anne wanted to make him beg her forgiveness on his knees. She visualized herself walking up to his door. Screaming at him. Accusing him. Asking him how he’d feel if it was his daughter. His wife. But she never does. Once she’d got out of the truck, she walked across the street and stood there on the sidewalk staring at the house for some time. Then she saw his family in there with him. And she couldn’t go to his door. Couldn’t confront him. Not in front of his family. Anne wouldn’t do that to them. Instead she got back into the pickup and broke down in tears. That was the farthest she’d ever got to going through with it.
Make him feel your pain. Your loss. Make him pay.
No! I won’t. I can’t.
A few weeks after the funeral, Anne sat in her bedroom. She thought about buying a gun. Not to shoot Cobb. When he answered the door bell, she’d blow her brains out on his doorstep. Right in front of him. She’d make him live the rest of his hopefully long life with that. It never got farther then a daydream though. Anne couldn’t leave her mom, Luke or Sam like that. How would they feel? No one should have to feel the pain she was going through. Her mom already lost dad. Losing her too, what would that do?
His time would come. But not tonight.
Tonight, was the night. Anne looked at the costume laid out on her bed. Sam had convinced her to go to the party. After the incident with Miss Beal, Anne had changed her mind about going to the Halloween party. She was supposed to meet Sam there at nine. Well’s Farm wasn’t that far from her house. Still, she should start getting dressed and leave. Yet, something about the costume didn’t feel right to Anne.
She let her eyes wander over the wolf mask, the dress and the cloak. It was the long red cloak. It just wasn’t that comfortable when Anne tried it on. The hood blocked her vision too much. She could ditch it, although then the costume just wouldn’t be right without it.
Anne went over to her closet. There had to be something in there. Trouble was it was so packed full of clothes she had a hard time sorting through it. She pushed shirt after shirt, jacket after jacket out of the way. The hangers scrapping over the metal rod. Till finally she found it. This would work! A red hooded sweatshirt. Perfect! This would much more comfortable. And the hood wouldn’t obscure her vision. It would be a lot warmer too.
Anne bit her lip. Time for a quick shower and then get dressed. She wasn’t looking forward to what came after that. She’d have to get past her mom. Anne hadn’t told her about the party. Knowing her mother wouldn't want her going out to some party.
Anne descended the stairs in costume. She wasn’t sure where her mom was. It sounded like the TV was on in the living room. Anne forced a fake, nonchalant smile. The wolf mask hung from her hand. She’d left Luke asleep on the rug in her bedroom. At least he didn’t care she was going out. Anne had contemplated sneaking out. Like she was sixteen again. Sure she might save herself some trouble doing that for the time being. Enjoying the party and hanging out. But there would be hell to pay when she got home. Best just to get it over with.
“Mom?” Anne called out. A hint of hopefulness in her voice. “I’m going out.”
“What’s this?” Her mom appeared in the living room door. A laugh track in the background. Coming from the TV. “Going out?” She looks at Anne’s costume. “You’re a little old for trick or treating.”
Anne took a deep breath. “It’s a Halloween party. Sam invited me.”
Her mom scoffed. “Samantha. Never understood what you see in that girl.”
“Well, I’m going.” Anne reached the bottom of the stairs. She moved towards the front door. Walking past her mother. “Don’t wait up for me. Okay?”
Anne starts to turn the doorknob, pulling it open, when her mother puts her hand on the door. Pushing it shut again, with a loud thud.
“Anne, you have work in the morning.” Her voice took a pleading tone.
Anne brushes her mom’s arm away from the door. “I’ll be fine with just a few hours of sleep. Or maybe I’ll just call in sick.”
Anne opens the door again. She starts to leave, when her mom grabs her arm. Holding it tight in her hand.
“No!” She digs her nails into Anne’s arm. “I won’t allow it!”
“Ow! Mom… Please.” Anne pulls away from her mother. “You’re hurting me.”
Anne steps through the door, into the cool night air. Her mother stands on the threshold, staring out at her.
“You know I don’t like being here alone. At night!”
Anne rubs her left temple. She could feel another headache coming.
“That’s what Luke is here for. I won’t be gone long, just a couple of hours.”
Her mother starts forward, standing in the door frame, hesitating, unsure of stepping out of the house. Before finally retreating back into the house. Anne turns and walks towards the pickup.
“I said stay!” Her mother hollers. “Anne!”
Anne stops in her tracks, spinning around. Warm tears roll down her cheeks.
“You never want me to do anything but work and come home! I’m sick of it! I do everything for you! And all you do is treat me like a criminal!”
The tears burn in her eyes as Anne reaches the truck. She could still hear her mother as she slammed the pickup shut. Calling after her, begging her to stay home. In a rage Anne slammed her hand into the dash. Screaming at the top of her lungs.
Anne drove, lost in a haze. Waiting for her heart to stop beating so fast. Waiting for the tears to stop falling. She’d never had an argument like that with her mother before. She was a little scared by her own outburst. Her knuckles were bleeding from the impact with the dash. Both her temples were throbbing with pain now. So bad, Anne felt as if her head would burst open.
Pulling the truck over to the side of the road, Anne sat for a few moments. She was in not state to drive like this. It was better to let it all pass first. Popping open the glove compartment, a flood of junk tumbled out. Mostly store receipts and work schedules. Underneath it all was a small bottle of aspirin. Anne popped it open. Downing five of the white pills in one gulp. A shiver went through her body as the pills went down. Her body had become so accustomed to the painkillers, Anne had to take a few at a time for any effect whatsoever.
How could her mom be like that? Didn’t mom see what Anne was going through? She needed her mom more now than ever. And yet she left Anne alone to deal with it. Just adding to the stress.
Anne sat for a bit. Eyes closed. Till the pills started to take effect. Feeling a little better, the tears drying on her face. The blood drying on her hand. The street light outside reflected off the crack in windshield. It looked larger now. Had it grown?
Anne laughed bitterly. Of course, it had. She needed a distraction. Anne started the truck. It was time to get to the party.
The truck turned down the dirt road towards the old Well’s Farm house. Anne could see it from quite a ways away. Lit up by green, purple and orange lights strung up all over the barn and house. They were certainly advertising the party. Cars dotted the property. Parked haphazardly here and there. A large group of party-goers in costume milled about outside the barn. She wasn’t sure who owned this place. Perhaps nobody owned it.
She managed to find a spot near the farmhouse. As she got out of the truck, she could hear the music coming out of the barn. Something suitable for the holiday. She’d managed to find a pair of black leather gloves under the seat. Putting them on to cover her bloody hand. Next, Anne adjusted the mask. Finally pulling the hood up. Here she could hide. Not be known. Here she didn’t have to be Anne.
The synthetic beat of the music filled her. She strode towards the barn. A new-found confidence fueling her being.
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