It was a special night. She had planned it for months, years maybe. On her way home from work, she bought herself a dozen roses. She made herself a delicious dinner – all of her favorites with a bottle of champagne to celebrate. After her meal, she sprinkled rose petals all over her bathroom and tub. She undressed slowly, taking care to savor every moment. 

She carefully filled her bath, eyes watering from the smell. A few cotton balls stuffed in her nose helped as she slid in and closed her eyes. She sighed, letting the memories and voices haunt her hoping this time she would finally wash them away. A deep breath and she plunged her head under, soaking every inch of her long blonde hair. Gagging and sputtering, she came back up. She exited the tub, eyes too irritated to see much. Stumbling and half-blind, she knocked the can next to the tub over. She chuckled in a raspy strained choke. Her throat felt like sandpaper from the fumes. 

Dizzily, she danced to her favorite chair in her living room. The cigarettes and lighter were waiting. She sat, naked, in her chair. The cigarette went between her stinging lips, and she gagged at the kerosene’s aftertaste. She brought the lighter to her face with a smile. She did it. She felt clean for the first time in her memory. The world was quiet for once. An inhale brought her choking fumes and coughing, an exhale brought the serenity of a decision long since made. 

With one flick, one spark, everything would finally be okay. Her thumb slid ⅛ of an inch and she whispered, “Next.”


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