Until Death Do Us Part

My mom did want my dad dead, and she wasn’t shy about telling me her plan to kill him. She seemed pleased with herself that she had the restraint not to go through with it and only told me after they were divorced. I still remember sitting across from her, a cloud of cigarette smoke between us, and her sly, half grin as she recanted all the dirty details.

Her plan was to rent a small RV and go camping as they did once a year. She’d make sure he got good and plastered the night before and she’d get up, make coffee and head down to the lake to have a smoke while the percolator did its thing. Except she’d accidentally forget to light the pilot light.

She said she knew the first thing my dad did every single morning without fail was sit up, grope around for his pack of smokes and lighter and light one up. By then the gas would have built up and…

Yeah. Kaboom.

I was probably sixteen or seventeen at that point and was barely fazed by it because I was used to her talking like this. Hell she used to tell us kids she’d run us into a tree if we didn’t settle down and she never did that, either.

But something told me to believe her this time when she sat across from me in that half-lit living room that day, with her arms crossed defiantly across her chest, looking me dead in the eye, telling me that if she didn’t divorce him she was going to kill him and he wasn’t worth going to prison for.

No man was, she said.

She’s right, of course. No one is worth going to prison for. I guess there was a lesson there after all.

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