January 2014


WANDA RICKERBY
was born in Danbury CT. She graduated from Boston University and was a life-long writer.  She authored two books: One For The Earth and Family Fire.  “Death By Bread Knife” was first published in The Writers’ Circle 2008 Anthology.  We thank her son David Rickerby for giving us permission to publish her work.  It is respectfully reprinted here in memory of her talent for telling a great story.

DEATH BY BREAD KNIFE

Dear Ed,

       I’m told you called yesterday.  I’d call you back, but I get agitated, so Geneva said:  “Write a letter.”

       I have a computer now.  They took away my pens and pencils, everything pointed, after I went for Hal.  I explain to them that Hal is the only person I ever wanted to kill, and I am not annoyed with him any more.  Nobody listens.  Why should they?  I am worthless.   You know that; you realized it first.

       I am far healthier than people think – home from the hospital, sleeping in my own bed, showering my own body, all by myself.
      
       I don’t leave the house.  Who would I go see?  “Nobody” is the answer, because nobody sees me.  Being of no account, I am unseen.  Geneva cooks; she lets me wash up afterwards.   First, of course, she puts away all the knives, skewers, and cooking forks.

       I used a bread knife.  It had a serrated edge, a rounded point.  What was I thinking?  That I’d slice Hal to death?

       The docs say it was meant for you.  I was very angry but I tried to see your side.  What did all our years together matter, when you had the chance of a lifetime?   A new career, a new woman willing to make her body your bridge to a glamorous future!  Who would stay with a nudge like me under those circumstances?

       Hal came the day after you left.  He rented the empty room on my third floor.  He must have been uncomfortable, living with a woman who wept copiously, continuously.  But not as “uncomfortable” as when I raised that bread knife.
           
       I asked him to put the stemmed glasses up on the high shelf like you always did.  He said yes, but he didn’t.  So the next time he came into the kitchen and my eyes went to these glasses, I just couldn’t forgive anymore.  They say I was trying to make him into you.  As if Hal could fill your shoes for one nanosecond!

       He had the knife out of my hands almost instantly.  There wasn’t much blood.   He ran out of the house; I sat on the kitchen floor crying.  Eventually I gathered all the pills in the house and went back to the kitchen floor – this time with a glass of rum.  I put different colored pills in different rows and began to swallow them, one by one.  The police arrived when I was on the green ones.

       Sometimes people come to see me.  The kind that pay calls on invalids.  They never stay long or say much.  What can you say to a nonentity?

       Geneva says when I am better, you can come see me.  That would be nice.  I’ll make a list of all the things I haven’t been able to find since you walked out, and we’ll hunt for them together. 

       For your sake, I hope we don’t find the screwdriver.

                                                                                      Love,
                                                                                                Bonnie