Oh dear, that was embarrassing. I certainly won’t be taking that particular mixture of medicines again.
I’m feeling much better, though a bit tired. It’s quite hard to sleep while convinced that there’s some unnatural, ill-defined abomination standing over you, waiting for you to close your eyes so it can fill your lungs with its shadowy limbs and make you choke on them. I’m sure you understand.
At any rate, I feel like making another confession. Let’s see, what delicious morsel can I pluck from my menu of mistakes today?
Ah yes, the day I met Laura. The day I put her on the long road to ruin.
Well, eight years ago, when I first returned to Vermont after being on the run from the Tree Walker for over a decade, I decided to take charge of my affairs and put my money to work, so I bought a publishing house. It really required no effort on my part; I simply kept the staff who were already working there and maintained its existing structure. With little input from me, my little business rattled away like a well-oiled money-making machine; in fact, I think it was the lack of my interfering that lead to its success.
However, as a literary man, whenever a manuscript got accepted and turned from pipe-dream to paperback, I would read the book and attend the launch. Afterwards, I would have dinner with the author and discuss the book’s literary merits. One such author was a young Laura Espinosa. I was already fascinated by her book, a tale of murderous intrigue painted on the canvas of a young Ancient Greek student’s college years in New England, but she was infinitely more fascinating in person.
Some people shrink in the face of winter winds, but she swelled in them. It was the warmth in her eyes, in her whole being. Some women of intellect are cold and formal and stiff, like crudely-hacked and rigid ice statues, all sharp lines and business suits. Not content merely to be equal with men, striving always to place themselves on pedestals as ice goddesses, cold and immune to weak human emotion. Not Laura. The intelligence in Laura’s eyes was warm, like a library with a roaring fireplace. It was emotional and human, young and idealistic.
I wasn’t instantly smitten with her. That would be ridiculous. But I liked her. We became friends after that dinner, arranged to meet again in the future. Little did I know that mere months later, I would be on my bended knee, asking her to marry me, asking her, in short, to throw away her life. Little did I know.