Chapter 10; Life goes on
Here I am all alone once more. Depression tried to grasp me with its talons of painful memories.
I had lots of friends, and the band got back together on weekends. My social life was just that, too social. I still came home to our home. I tried to sleep in our bed.
I was still opening our mail, pulling her weeds from the flowers, and hearing her voice.
I'd walk down the hall and turn thinking she called my name. When fixing a meal I had several times yelled out dinner was ready!
I placed the picture of her sitting in the boat, holding her fishing pole, on the counter. I kept the fancy curtains she placed throughout every room. I let the comforter remain on the seldom used loveseat.
Her coffee mug still sits by the toaster, and the three little teddy bears rest along the back of the bed. The house is just the way she left it, neat and tidy.
I went fishing. I loaded up the boat with all the gear I needed, and headed north to Canada. My brother called me every month to give me updates of life back home. He has fixed the roof and mowed the grass when it needed a trim. He wants me to sell it and move back home.
When you go fishing, a mind has a lot of time to talk to itself. Problems seem to get solved a lot easier, after you think on them for hours at a time. The buzzing of insects and the smell of fresh bait have a healing effect on mankind. It might even be the taste in your mouth from handling a live fish and wiping your chin. I'm not sure, but I know going fishing has its good points.
To make a long story short, I went out to find myself, and there I was sitting out on Duck Lake.
I guessed I caught about every fish known to the lakes up north, but it was not as much fun as before. The boat needs a fresh painting, and the seats have need of new covers. The engine has a rattle and smokes too much for its age. So, home seemed to be calling my name.
It was just like I remembered it, except the siding was a little gray. The windows had lost the shine and most of the flower beds were lost in weeds. The rooms had collected a little dust and the sweet smell of her perfume was gone. I no longer could hear her sweet voice telling me to fix her favorite breakfast. Home was just a house, four walls holding stale air.
I was no longer sweet and full of jokes and mischief. Now everything seemed to upset me, even trivial things like flies and spiders. They had invaded our once pretty home, and it appeared they now owned it. I felt like I was intruding in their space. Every day was another episode with a spray can and a broom, taking out my pain with pesticides.
I found a new friend to keep me company. This time I’d do all the talking. I would make the decisions, and fill the refrigerator with my goodies. Life would be on my terms, with out all of the rules and mixed personalities. She held her powers over me, but in ways I never thought possible.
I spent weeks just wining and dining her to make a comfort zone. Most nights were spent at home sitting in the darkened rooms listening to music. Listening to the quiet, and letting her overcome my emotions. Soon she was not enough to fill my emptiness, I searched for more.
I felt a pain deep in my gut, and doubled over unable to move. I knew I needed her again. I poured another tall glass and gulped it down, letting her burn her way into my being. Slowly the memories faded and my mind escaped to days of youth. The night passed quickly, and another sunrise had brought light into my darkness. Another day, but what shall I do with it?
I knew in my heart I had a task to do, and my mind would not let me finish the job.
Her memory was still fresh in my mind. I knew what needed to be done, it was settled many times sitting out on the lake. Today I would go and tell her I was sorry for leaving her the way I did.
I visited the cemetery to place fresh flowers on her grave. I set a little spray of roses by both stones, and sat there to cry. Tears seemed to be easy, but they had little effect on my weak spirit.
I was oblivious to the sounds around me, I never noticed the care keeper trimming along the path. Soon a shadow covered the grassy holes beneath my knees that remained from the sinking ground. I looked up to a smiling face and a voice saying, “Hello!”
I dried my eyes and stood up to take a hand waiting to shake mine in a greeting of friendship. I listened as I heard the story of these sad lives being brought back to life. I was told that we had met at the services, but I could not remember. She told me she sat alone by the window and was wearing a gray suit. And then she told me this was her all her fault, the car the boy was driving was hers. It was her son who stole away my life, her heart opened to pour out her pain. We cried together and sat there for several hours talking.
Life goes on, paths thought to be already set, are washed away.
I offered to leave and go somewhere we might talk, and I suggested a place I knew well. She knew of that same tavern, and had visited it often.
I followed her car and she definitely knew the way, and soon we were parking along the back entrance. Once inside I asked if she might like to sit at my favorite table, to which she responded, “Let’s sit at mine!”
She placed her purse on the very same one I had stopped beside. We sat down, and she began talking.
“You see, I have been coming here long before the accident, to wash away my son’s refusal to obey me. I was coming here to sit and cry again after the accident, but you were already here. I sat by the bar and wished I could walk over and say, I was sorry. But my feet were frozen to the stool, I could not move.”
I looked her in the eyes to start talking, but she held up her hand to stop me, and continued.
“Several days after the funeral, I kept coming, hoping to see you. One day I ask the bartender about you, and he told me you had gone fishing. The years passed, but I kept coming here and I soon met the same friend you have, since you returned home. My nights are still filled with pain, just like yours.
Two weeks after you left, my son was also killed, when he crashed into a tree. He was drunk again. Just like I was, the night he died.”
We drank several more sodas and cried again over our losses, and decided to go somewhere more alone. This time it was a restaurant near by, and we spent the rest of the evening sharing and letting out our pain.
You see, life does go on. Pain will go away into a private place we create, but we must let go. We must take that first step into the future. It is up to us, those who remain, to heal the wounds left by others.
Life goes on.