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And She Shall Now Slumber (standard:drama, 1023 words)
Author: SareAdded: Sep 21 2001Views/Reads: 2055/1244Story 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, 


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