|And She Shall Now Slumber (standard:drama, 1023 words)|
|Author: Sare||Added: Sep 21 2001||Views/Reads: 2026/1222||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A lovely story that started life as a school assignment.|
She killed herself on a sunny afternoon in October, the weather unseasonably warm and pleasant, the leaves red and gold on the trees, but brittle and crunching beneath my feet. I remember sitting on my front steps and waiting for her to come; sitting there on the steps with my coat folded on my lap and my bag resting on the ground beside me; sitting there on the steps watching the children play, their shouts and laughter echoing wildly in the street. I sat there on the steps quietly, peacefully, patiently; as I sat I sang softly to myself, snippets of a song we often listened to together, a song we loved, “our” song. The time spent waiting there on the steps seemed to drag on interminably as I sat there and waited; when I looked at my watch at last I realized why: for over an hour I had sat there on the steps waiting, and she hadn’t come. Slowly I stood, retrieved my bag, hung my coat over one arm. As I went inside, took off my shoes, laid coat and bag on a chair just inside the door, I began to wonder, and, yes, to worry: Had something happened? Time seemed to stand still as I dialed, my finger trembling and slipping and making it difficult so that twice I had to stop and start over. And when at last it was dialed I was confronted by the stubborn, insolent beeping of a busy signal, and so I was immediately alarmed. There should be no busy signal. Ever. Even if she should happen to be using both lines, the answering machine should have picked up. But it didn’t. And so I stood there dumbly, holding the receiver in my hand and looking at it in blind disbelief, my mind working frantically as I tried in vain to process the dozens of possible explanations. But as I replaced the receiver in its cradle and turned away, there was a hard, heavy dread in the pit of my stomach: fear planted deep in my heart. And I knew. And all I could do was stand there and look at the telephone sitting there as though it knew my contempt for it, as though it knew I would destroy it for what it knew, for what it had told me, and for what it had yet to reveal. And I stood there, stood there with silent tears cascading down my burning cheeks, stood there with my shoulders shaking with heaving sobs, stood there loving her. And yet even as I stood there loving her, I was angry with her, in fact I could have throttled her, would have if it hadn’t been for the certainty that she was already dead. How could she do this to me? To this day I don’t know how I knew she’d done it. Maybe it was the dead, empty hollowness of the busy signal. Or maybe it was the way she had said good-bye the previous day, as though she were saying good-bye forever, saying good-bye for the last time. But then again, maybe it was the sad, empty feeling deep inside me, the tiny voice whispering, “She’s gone.” I knew. As I stood there wondering what I should do (Should I call the police? or an ambulance? or the woman who lived next door to her?) I remembered errantly something I read in a book once: “I love you too much for your own good and far too much for mine.” And I also remembered her saying to me, “I’m not good for you,” and my answering, “I know, but it’s too late.” “Yes,” she’d said, “It’s too late.” And then she hugged me and we cried, because it was too late. I loved her; she loved me. In the end I decided to call her next-door neighbour, reasoning that I couldn’t very well call an ambulance, since I had no way to explain my certainty. What if I was wrong? What was I supposed to say? “I think she’s killed herself, could you go and check?” So I called her next-door neighbour, intending to ask her to go and check. But when she answered the phone she was breathless and tearful, and she confirmed what I already knew: “Oh dear - she’s dead - oh dear - they’re saying it was suicide - oh dear - all that blood - oh dear - oh dear -” I hung up the phone gently, backed away across the room until my back was against the wall and I could go no further. And when I felt my back against the wall I slid down onto the floor there and I cried, Click here to read the rest of this story (25 more lines)
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