Part II: Four Fingers - Story by Robin Murarka

Part II: Four Fingers

Melancholy. Banek clasped his burning eyes in his fingers and gritted his teeth. It was painful to breathe. He was tired of stretching his legs and re-arranging position in his plastic chair. Demonic thoughts kept jabbing at his psyche and he tried hard not to let them get comfortable enough to breed. The odorless people that scurried by hurriedly made him feel like a refugee in a foreign land. Home was by his Maya, but he could not be there right now.

Banek often found solace and distraction amidst moments of turmoil by analyzing the very feelings that were trying to take hold of him. He found that his physical body could scarcely resist a decision imposed by his emotions, and so it was necessary to avoid delving into them… especially when they exuded fears.

So he began to analyze the pain that kept rising from within his stomach. Was it the result of fear for his own investments? Or were they in genuine selfless concern for his soul mate? Could he pray enough to let go of the useless fears that were trying to rise within him? He had tried over and over, but perhaps this next time he would feel the strength surge into him… the confidence that everything will be fine, even if everything goes wrong. And briefly, he caught a glimpse of that peaceful mentality, but it quickly slipped away as the ravenous doubts devoured his idealism.

He sunk in his seat and felt tears trickle down his cheek. As they grazed his mouth, he grimaced and began to weep. Maya. I miss you already, baby.

Escape would be optimal. Let the time pass quicker, he thought. But sleep was the only acceptable method, and Banek had exhausted that possibility. He wanted to sleep all day. He wanted his brief moments of awakened consciousness to be only long enough to speak to his beloved. His own life, whatever that was now, meant absolutely nothing to him, and it disgusted him to try to invest a drop of energy into it. The only cure to the pain in his belly was Maya. Her voice, her tender arms, her chest that invited his cheek like a haven from this world.

Banek shut his eyes tightly and covered his face in his hands, taking in deep breaths, trying to find any sort of meaning to this confusing mess. Love should be a blessing.


He jolted to his feet and wiped his face. “How is she?”

The man in white stared at Banek for a moment. He could see the wetness of his face, the redness of his eyes and even the pain in his belly. Even he wanted to escape, for just that moment.

Mixed emotions arose within the numbed Banek as he walked slowly towards his Maya’s room. He was not crying. He stretched his arms out on both sides and ran his fingers along the cold wall on either side of him.

He could still taste the salt from his tears as he licked the side of his mouth. “So this is what it’s like to die…” he whispered to himself unemotionally.

He reached the closed door where his perishing gem laid. He looked down and began weeping. He pushed the door open slowly and peered in. She was staring directly at him, waiting for him, waiting for his tears.

He slowly walked in and turned to close the door, resting his head on the door, immersed in a pain that consumed every part of him. His muscles did not feel recognizable, and his motor functions were on auto-pilot.

Her voice became weak and jittery. “Come here, baby…” she said lovingly as she held her arms open to him.

He laid down on her, curling up like a child in her arms, hugging her. “I can’t live without you. I can’t even fathom it.”. He muttered “I can’t live without you” once more, just before breaking down again, his tears being absorbed by her gown.

“I know baby…” she responded, closing her eyes, tightening her hold of him. Overwhelmed by the news, they both lied there holding one another and quickly fell asleep without knowing it.

She awoke that night and was surprised not to feel his familiar weight on her body. She felt cold and looked about the room, but Banek was nowhere to be seen. She sighed and wondered where he might have gone. The reality of the situation was never as hard on her as it was him, and she genuinely did not know how horribly he would react to everything that had transpired. She knew he was unstable, especially when it came to events surrounding her.

She heard a knock on the door and said “Come in…”. As she saw Banek walk in holding something behind his back, she smiled. “I was just thinking about you.”

He smiled at her, genuinely, and looked happy for the first time that she could remember.

“What?” she asked.

“I figured it out.”

“What did you figure out?”

He approached her bed excitedly, like a child, and sat down beside her. “We’re not supposed to separate.”

She looked at him, and her smile slowly straightened out.

“No, wait… just listen to me.” he persisted.

“I’m listening, baby…”

He took a deep breath in and sighed out. “First of all… I brought you your favorite wine.” He reached in and pulled out a red wine that was very familiar to her. She looked at it and faked a smile, then looked back at him. “What do you mean we are not supposed to separate?”

His smile fell and he looked away from her and began to nervously tap his finger looking for the words. He looked down, focusing for a moment, then at her with a chilling seriousness that sent shivers down her spine. His tapping stopped.

“No.” she quickly said.

“I can’t live without you, baby. I’ve told you that a hundred times. Did you think I was lying?”

She pushed the bottle away from her and looked away from him. “Are you crazy? What made you think that I would in any way agree to this?”

He grabbed her face and turned her to face his eyes. She felt weakened and sad. Perhaps he was right, she thought. Tears filled his eyes as he looked down at her.

“My life… it began with you. I didn’t exist as a person before I met you. I will be tortured every single day for the rest of my life if you are not there with me. You can’t leave me, and I can’t leave you. That is the way it has always been.”

“Banek…” she muttered.

“I can’t look at anything and be interested. You know who I am baby. I won’t survive this. I will have a moment of weakness and then I will be gone. You are my stability. I am nothing, nor do I wish to be anything without you. There is no color, no desire, nothing anchoring me to this world without you.”

He began to cry suddenly.

“I can’t imagine… I can’t imagine a day when I can’t feel the warmth in your embrace. I don’t want to exist that day. The world is nothing to me without you. Don’t you understand that?”

She pulled him to her and embraced him again. “Pull your feet up baby…” she beckoned him.

He grew silent as time passed and eventually arose, looking down at her. He cocked his head to the side and stared at her lovingly, smiling. “I know you want what’s best for me, baby. What you fail to realize is that being with you, wherever you are, has always been what’s best for me. I’ve never been good alone. I’ve never been productive, stable, or happy alone. If I can’t co-exist with you, I don’t really exist at all. I wasn’t made for this world. You’re my only anchor.”

She breathed heavy and knew he meant every word. She began to cry quietly and held his hand tightly in hers. “You’re my baby, Banek. Lie down with me.”

He laid down once again on her chest and closed his eyes. He felt her hands let go of his as she rummaged through the bag. She pulled out a bottle and paused.

“What will this do to us?”

He kept his eyes closed and tightened his grasp of her, sighing with relief, almost smiling. “I researched it. The wine should help depress our nerves and put us to sleep just in time for it to kick in, making it almost painless. But we have to drink quite a bit of wine first.” He smiled. “You think you can handle that?”

She smiled. “You know I can. I don’t know if you can…”

He tightened his grasp of her as she poured two glasses. “Here…”.

He crawled, making himself upright and took a glass from her and looked at her, smiling. “I love you…”. She looked at him, and began to drink the wine. He watched her drink and then quickly gulped his glass down in one shot. He placed it down and grabbed the wine bottle.

She smiled suddenly and grabbed his hand. “I’m the wine person baby… keep off.”

He pulled his arm back and lied back down on her. She looked at the top of his head and frowned. She suddenly wanted to hit him.

After the fourth glass of wine Banek was feeling a little tipsy. Maya was also reacting stronger than she usually did due to the weakness of her condition. He was sitting on the side of the bed, looking at her, looking at the two glasses of wine, filled halfway, and the bottle next to them.

Maya looked nervous but Banek did not. He was drunk, but still determined. He looked at her with love and strength in his eyes even though his head slightly wavered from side to side. He had no fear of dying, as long as it was with her. She ran through memories with him. Times when he was weak and she was his pillar, and other times when he seemingly moved mountains to bring a smile to her face. Times when they were happy together, and experienced moments of ecstasy she was certain very few do. He was like an arrow, fast, sharp, and targeted, but only when aimed right. And right now, even though he was completely wrong, his strength overflowed, and he convinced even herself that perhaps this was the best and divine solution. She was amazed at how powerful he was, and it was this determination that constantly made her feel safe with him. She knew that she was his target, above all else, and would achieve anything and destroy any obstacle to see their mutual success. She adored him. She loved being protected by him. She loved caring for her protector.

Banek closed his eyes and ran his fingers along her face gently. He took a deep breath in and reached over for the bottle. As he pulled it to him, Maya held his hand and took it from him. He opened his eyes slowly and looked at her as she opened the bottle and poured a puddle onto her tongue. Banek’s eyebrows raised compassionately as if he was about to cry and quickly tried to grab the bottle from her. She held it away and shook her head, leaning forward, kissing him passionately, rubbing her tongue against his. He scraped the inside of her mouth as vigorously as he could, drinking her. They ended the kiss and quickly held each other. Maya began weeping very sadly, and Banek held her in his arms, kissing the top of her head. “Don’t be sad baby. We’re going to wake up together.” She started crying uncontrollably at his words, and he again tightened his hold of her.

After a few moments, she wiped her tears and held his head in front of hers, kissing him gently, then staring into his eyes. “I love you. I will always be yours.”

He smiled weakly at her and kissed her neck. “I know.” He lied down on her once again, resting his body besides her, hugging her. “I love you more than anything I have ever known.”

And at that, he closed his eyes, feeling the weight of the world, falling asleep. His last thoughts were of her, and hers were of him. He held onto her with as much might as he could, to the point where he lost consciousness. She ran her fingers through his hair and kissed the top of his head. “My beautiful Banek…” she whispered lovingly.

Hours later, in the cold of the morning, Banek was found on the ground besides the bed of his beloved, unmoving. She was also motionless.

Clasped in his hand was a piece of paper. It read:

My Dear Banek,

Of all the people you know in this world, I am the one bound to you in my spirit. You have always owned me. Even before we met I would stare out into the emptiness of the night sky and yearn for something I was not aware enough to understand. You answered all those un-asked questions for me. You are my soul mate, and I am yours. I will always exist in your heart. This is why I know you so well. You must lend me your blind trust in this instance as I so often did in the past.

I am sure awakening to a silent and cold chest under your ear must have terrified you. I hope I did not pass with a frown, my baby, because I was very happy to know that I passed with you in my arms. I genuinely mean that. I did not pass unhappy. My tears of sadness were mixed in with the overwhelmingly strong love I have for you, and I cried knowing that you would have to suffer as you are at this very moment. I am proud that you are reading this now, and are trusting my last judgment and wish.

I know, now, that you wish to be with me, wherever I am. But now is not that time. I felt that in my heart, and if you were to pass and meet me in heaven now, I would cry in sadness at your betrayal for the first time during the course of our bond. You are my love, and I know that now is not the time. We survived so many moments of hopelessness in our lives, you and me, by the belief in our faith that our hearts did not lie to us. If you search yours and look above the pain, you will know that you must survive without my presence in this world in order to meet me when you leave this world. I do not know why this burden is placed on you, but I know it is the way it is supposed to be.

Do you remember a conversation we had years ago? When we could only hear one another, and in our half sleep induced states we fell in love? I know you do. I know you remember holding up your hand and asking me to tell you how many fingers you held up. I did so without any questionable doubt in my voice, immediately, as if I could see you in the darkness. I can see you right now, my baby. I can see you as you read this. I can touch your soul and feel your pain. And there is no questionable doubt in my soul that you are to survive this, painful as it may be, and continue breathing.

You have always been able to achieve more than me, Banek. You are a mountain, and a river. You must use all your intelligence, all your strength, all your focus and understand that this is my wish. That you must survive my passing and continue breathing. It is a sacrifice you will make for me, because you love and respect me. I know you could never say no to me if you felt I was right, and in your gentle heart, you know I am right.

You know I am right, my love. And as you end reading this, I am certain you wish it would go on and on. But I am getting weak now. I am sorry I drank the liquid and wiped my tongue before touching yours, but in your drunken state, I had to take advantage of you, as I had so many times in the past.

You are my only love, Banek. I worship every hair on your head. Keep them growing for my eternal spirit, and you will see my in heaven.

Your property, your love,

As people rushed into the room, they found a wine bottle, two wine-stained glasses, and an open bottle of pentobarbital.

“She’s dead…” someone commented after checking her pulse. The words rang through the room, and a single tear fell from Banek’s eye as he clutched his love’s letter tightly, refusing to face the world.


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