Maarynn (Mo-rin) Robson was her name. No one had a wife like mine.
She was a student nurse. She would bring me breakfast every morning, make my coffee after a luxuriant shower, and kiss me before I go to work. She would feed the kids; the twinkle in her eyes when she looked at them never ceased to amaze me. The memory still does. Her hair was dark and lustrous; always smelled like lavender and cinnamon. Her lips were full and red – juicy and tender like that of a rose petal. Her skin was fair and delicate, though enough so to bring me – a grown man – to my knees. Her eyes were like sapphire portals to my own soul; I have never been with a person so much like me, as if we were one. She was my bride and the love of my life. How a man could get this lucky, was a very good question, indeed.
Alistair, Claire, Johnny, Marvin and little Padama, our kids. No one had kid like ours.
Five little children each the annual predecessor of the next, starting with Marvin at the age of six; Claire, age five; Alistair, age four; Johnny, age three and little Padama, age two. In addition, little Adam still slumbered within the safe sanctuary that was his mother’s belly. Our sixth child, due within a month. The children were happy to receive another sibling, and they expressed it with badly yet kindly written notes glued to the refrigerator door, badly baked yet delicious cookies spelling Adam’s name, give or take a D. They even insisted on writing on their mother’s tummy for Adam to understand how life works as an infant. For the life of me, I could not picture a world without these seven living, (the seventh almost ready), loving human beings. They were everything. They were, yes.
Financial problems; everybody had them.
Maarynn never complained. We had food; we had shelter. We had each other. We did not need more than that. Although we could not afford the luxuries most of the people in our neighborhood seemed to acquire and express, we were happy in our own way – our circle, yet to be completed with the arrival of our sixth child. We were lively, happy, and above all, loved. However, without my wife’s knowledge, I invested in a life-insurance policy. Just to stay sure they were taken care of in the probable event of my untimely demise. Demise had been an understatement. I think she knew.
Illness. Every family had them, sure. Then again, not as bad.
All five of my little angels died suddenly. Intestinal disorder. Something in the water, my wife had said. I was stricken with grief. My wife locked herself in her room, and almost never came out. Nevertheless, she continued her daily rituals of bringing me coffee, breakfast, supper, feeding me, her face expressionless, although hardly strained. After that, she would lock herself away, never to be seen again until the next mealtime. She changed for the worse as consequence to the loss of our children, perhaps. She seemed different somehow. We were awaiting autopsy reports, and the prospect of knowing made my wife anxious and spurred her anger, impatience, enmity. She had changed. I became ill, as well, and missed most workdays. Yet, my wife stayed by my side. She made lovely soup, although her heart had changed and made supper cold. She became slovenly. We fought. I became weaker. The loss of my children probably gave that affect. Everything was falling apart.
Knowing. No one considered truth more horrendous than I did.
All our kids’ photo’s had gone. I went to look for it one day, thinking Maarynn had locked it away somewhere, unable to withstand its hurtful reminiscence. Instead, I found a box marked with black permanent: Private. I have never seen that box before. Weak with illness, I sat down and opened the lid, just to discover scores of clippings cut out of old newspapers; clippings yellowed with age. About Mary Ann Cotton, her serial killing spree, her victims, her trial, her hanging. The box must have belonged to Maarynn. Our house never had previous owners. Some fixation of hers? I wondered about it, about Maarynn, her sudden cold efficiency and lack of domicile social appearances. Her name tore at my mind, and something snapped inside of me. I reached for a clipping bearing Mary Ann’s history, and found that her maiden name had been – as had Maarynn’s – Robson. Secondly, I read about Mary Ann’s doings, and found her victims’ fate acutely reminiscent to that of my children. I thought some more. I scrambled the letters of my wife’s name to find nothing other than ‘Mary Ann’. I did not believe in coincidence anymore. I did not believe in my intelligence any more. Nor my judgment.
Conclusion. Every story has one. Yes, every story has one. The good ones, though. This one ended with a house burning down, neighbors reporting screaming and things breaking beforehand, a man limping hastily away with a baby in his arms, wrapped in bloody sheets while the house went up in smoke. No one knew what happened within the four walls that contained the peacefully happy Chapman family. No one knew anything except rumors about an unrecognizably burnt female corpse, five children dead of arsenic poisoning, and a father wanted for all six murders and possible kidnapping of his sixth child. At end, everyone knew everything.
Absolutely LOVE this song!! Enjoy . . .