As I stared down at them from the window, I couldn’t help but think about the humor of it all. Here I am, looking down upon those who regard me as some sort of silver idol who mustn’t be disturbed. Some sort of gaudy trinket from another time, tacky, but revered nonetheless, and I know. Because I have heard it. Not in their actions, but rather in their inactions. They put me on display, in my glass box, separated from the rest of them, and they gossip to their heart’s content with the musings and the happenings of “Poor Emily”. Well, good. Let them wonder.
I regret nothing. It had to be done, and so it was so. Somebody needed to pay, to feel what I’ve felt for so long now. He had to die. But that doesn’t mean I stopped loving him, or stopped longing for him, which is why I still padded up the stairs each night, and resumed my position. I’d done it for years now, like some sort of ritual to a shrine. I went up to lie next to my lifeless lover at night and thought about how I’d ever gotten to this point. I would go and stare about the room, at the sort of shrine I had created in the attic, a shrine of what our lives could’ve beentogether. I was longing for a kind word, a touch, even just companionship. I was longing for him. But maybe I wasn’t longing for him… Maybe it was just the idea of what he could’ve been. He could’ve been the end of the loneliness, of the shame, that my father placed on me. Everyone else was driven away. I had to do it. You see, I refuse to be shamed again. “Poor Emily” they’d all say. “Poor Emily. Her father drove all of her suitors away and that Yankee man her heart beats for refuses to marry her.” So I played coy. I ignored them and rode high in carriages and laughed gaily with my love. That’s what a woman must do when her life is falling apart. It’s what I did to keep from raising suspicion. Like I said, I regret nothing, It had to be done. I would not be made into a fool again.
And so I smiled as I looked down from my window, my exalted place, my holy mount, with the satisfaction that they had no idea. You see, I may be separated from them all, but at what consequence to me? He merely went away, that’s all they assume. They’re not wrong. He went away, and went to sleep. And I continue to watch his deterioration, his decay, with some sort of wicked pride, because it mirrors exactly what my life has come to. Someday I’ll ask him, in another life, how arsenic tastes, and if it was sweeter than the life he could’ve has with me. “Poor Emily” indeed.