Why I Won't Write Love Notes to my Wife Anymore
This is definitely not a story I ever wished to tell. But I feel like it’s my duty to warn those who are in the same position as we were. So they could learn from our mistakes and possibly save their sanity. So they don’t have to question whether they will ever feel safe again.
When it happened, my wife and I had been together for almost ten years, married for five. The definition of high school sweethearts, we made our friends vomit from our cuteness. While I doubt any of them believed we would last, we turned out to be an exception to the rule. It might’ve been because we always knew what we wanted out of our relationship, and when. To get degrees, good jobs, a house, a dog, then maybe a kid – a quite mundane plan, I admit, but it seemed just fine for us. At that point, we were only at the house stage. Not that we would’ve had time for anything else considering our crazy office hours on different schedules.
When I first saw our new place, two things happened simultaneously. For once, I immediately thought there was no way we could’ve afforded it. More importantly, an uneasy feeling crept up on me, like something out of the beginning of a horror movie. I’ve never been a superstitious or an easily spooked person, but something about it just seemed off to me.
The look on my wife’s face, however, was a complete opposite – she wanted it, bad. The real estate agent conveniently telling us about the discount didn’t help the case. I should’ve known something was off right there and then – a three-bedroom house with an attic and a massive back garden with a price tag that’s affordable to people in their late twenties? Sounded too good to be true. And yet, our one-bedroom flat had become just too damn suffocating by that point. So, I compromised like any husband would and did exactly what she wanted.
Since work decided to put an inhuman number of hours on our shoulders, we barely had time to properly unpack. A bunch of cardboard boxes resided in the living room and the biggest bedroom, along with a mattress that would be substituting for a bed until we had time off to pick out a new one. My wife was adamant on setting up the kitchen so we wouldn’t have to get takeout every night, much to my disappointment. The rest of the house stayed untouched, and it almost seemed like to stay that way. Like there was too much of its previous life within every corner.
Most of my nights would consist of coming back home before my wife, as her shift pattern is two hours behind mine, and sitting by myself watching TV on the floor. Sometimes I would hear a creak in the distance and despite the hair standing up on my neck, I’d tell myself it was only the wind, or just the house making sounds cause it wasn’t new. And yet my hair would remain spiked as I could’ve sworn someone was standing behind me, trying to silently chase me out of here like an unwelcome guest. I’d scold myself, saying I was just imagining things, refusing to give it attention – which is another common mistake people in horror movies always make. I was too desperate to believe it was just the case of two people buying a house that was just too big for them.
I would tell myself the same thing when I could hear creaks, almost like footsteps in the hallway as I struggled to fall asleep with my wife cuddled up to me in a fetal position. I would also tell myself that when I saw things being misplaced, nothing ever too big to touch upon. I wasn’t sure if my wife also noticed all of it, but I never dared to ask. Now I wish I would have.
I did what no one should do and decided to distract myself from it. I remember a sort of tradition my wife and I had back in school. Whenever there would be times we were busy, like exams or SATs and whatnot, we would leave each other little notes in our lockers. With us barely getting to see each other, it seemed fitting to bring back the old habit and add some new touch to it. So I bought a blackboard with a marker and put it on the fridge.
Since I’d always leave the house before she was even awake, I would scribble down a quick note wishing her a good day with a tiny heart next to it – it was how we always ended our little messages. When I’d come back, sure enough, there would be a response underneath, usually something that could make me chuckle. Lucky me, marrying someone with a sense of humour. It was nice to know such a small thing could bring joy to our mundane lives.
Until one night.
It was one of the most exhausting shifts of my entire career and I wanted nothing more than to grab a cold beer from the fridge and turn my brain off. But as soon as I looked at the blackboard, I felt like throwing up the beer before I even had it. Underneath my note there were words ‘YOU’RE MINE’, written in all capitals. Not only was it not my wife’s handwriting, but there was also no heart at the end, for the first time ever. I knew something was wrong, but once again, I chose to brush it away and pretend everything was fine.
For the next few days, whenever I’d come home, there would be another note in the place of my wife’s, them getting more and more threatening. And every night, the creaking would seem to get louder and angrier.
And then everything exploded.
I got back home at the usual time, almost scared of what I would find, and my fears were justified. As soon as I stepped through the door, I was met with all our things scattered in the living room. Shaking, I rushed into the kitchen. The blackboard was thrown on the floor and on the fridge written with a marker there was a simple sentence: ‘WHY ARE YOU IGNORING ME’.
I didn’t know how long I’ve been standing there staring at it, until the door slammed and my wife walked into the kitchen, ready to pour questions on me until she saw my expression. It seemed like the gates flooded and I started rambling about everything that’s been happening since we moved in, registering her facial expressions, ranging from disbelief, to worry, and last, to fear. As much as she tried to assure me, I doubt she actually believed a word I was saying. She was an even bigger sceptic than me.
After some discussion, she agreed to my plan to set up and hide a cheap camera we happened to own. After we made sure the whole kitchen was visible, we managed to clean the fridge door, then tossed everything back into boxes. The whole time we acted like everything was normal, but our dialogue was empty, as if we were putting on a show, which I suppose was true.
I had never struggled to fall asleep more, and yet I managed to dose off since I woke up to my alarm clock, a dreadful anticipation setting in. The first thing I noticed was my wife wasn’t next to me like away. Confused, I rushed downstairs. I saw her, still in PJs. She was staring at the camera, eyes widened. As soon as she saw me, she put her finger on the lips, grabbed my hand and dragged me out of the house. Confused, I let her lead the way. Once we were out in a crowded street, confusing kids rushing off to school by our ruffled looks, she showed me the footage.
I stared at an empty kitchen, waiting for whatever scared my wife so badly. At around 2 am, I heard creaks from the distance, which got louder and closer. Before I could process what I was seeing, the kitchen door open to reveal a woman. She looked dirty and unkempt like she hasn’t seen a shower in months. She looked around the kitchen, spaced out and in her own thoughts. She then picked up a marker and wrote something on the blackboard I couldn’t read.
That was where my wife turned the recording off. My brain was generating a possible explanation for all of this, and then I realised.
We never went up to the attic.
I will finish the story by saying that we took off a few days off work and had a very heated discussion with the agency and the police. We had someone to pick our stuff up from the house as neither of us wanted to step foot in there again. We didn’t want to know who that woman was. Thinking about it only invited possibilities to what could’ve happened to us. To what almost did.
One thing is for sure.
I’ll never write notes to my wife anymore.