Loss

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Have you ever lost someone? What would you do if the person you lost was the most important person in your life?

Submitted: May 21, 2018

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Submitted: May 21, 2018

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I weave my way through the crowd next to the cliff. A car drove off the road a few hours ago. I saw it on the news. A pale blue convertible, just washed yesterday, with soft leather seats and a photo keychain hanging from the rearview mirror. I know this because it is my car. Now it’s all smoldering rubble.

But I wasn’t driving it. How I wish it was me instead.

I soon reach the barricade of police officers blocking the curious onlookers and reporters. Nothing much goes on in this small town, everyone is curious.

I explain that it’s my car on the riverbank. It’s my car. It’s my car…. It’s all I can say.

The officer asks if it was stolen. I shake my head. I choke on the truth. Tears begin to fall as something is pulled up from the ledge. A body.

I shove past the police and rush to the edge. The body is in a long, black bag, like in the movies.

I ask, beg, to see his face. I’m refused. The paramedics say it’s for my own good. Soon, I’m pulled away by an officer. I don’t fight it. I watch the paramedics take his body away. My chest feels cold, as if my heart was frozen. It’s painful, too painful.

Somehow I end up at the hospital. I don’t remember taking another taxi. An officer is speaking to me, asking so many questions.

Where were you?

What is your relation to the driver?

Did your car have brake trouble?

Would he have any reason to commit suicide?

My mouth answers.

At home.

We’re engaged.

No.

No. We were engaged….

The ring on my finger glistens under the fluorescent lights. My tears blur the gleam.

The officer leads me to a small room. My family, his family and our friends are gathered inside. Everyone is crying. I feel arms around me. I smell his cologne. No, his father’s. They wear the same brand. I see his bright blue eyes. No, his mother’s. They have the same gentle face, too.

Suddenly, the doors fly open. A part of me hopes to see my fiancée walk through the door, smiling and rushing to hold me against his chest.

All of me is disappointed.

Another friend joins the mourning, her cheeks already wet with tears. She comes straight towards me. I meet her eyes to see, not sadness, but rage.

She screams at me. She says it should have been me.

I silently agree. I’d gladly give my life to have his light back in this world.

She continues, unaware of my thoughts. She yells that I never deserved him, that he was a fool for choosing someone like me.

I never knew she felt this way. Were all her smiles fake? Or were they just meant for him?

Through angry sobs she repeats, It should have been you! He shouldn’t have been in that car!

She grabs my shoulders and screams, It was meant to be you.

Soon, someone pulls her away from me. I feel something bubbling inside my chest. It was meant to be me? Was my car tampered with? Through the shock and despair, a fire burns in my chest, melting one pain away to make room for another.

She killed him. She took him from me.

I want to lunge at her, to hit her, to hurt her. To kill her.

I want it to bring my beloved back to me.

I’d do anything….

But it’s too late. The police take her away, her screams echoing down the hall.

I’m left behind. There’s nothing I can do.

I return to an empty home. I refuse all offers for company.

I cling to the photo that adorns the table next to our bed. My bed. We took this photo right before he proposed. Right before tears of joy streaked my face. Right before he slipped on the ring he’d saved up for months to buy. Right before he made me happier than I’d ever been. So much can change in a matter of minutes.

Tears dot the glass in the frame. I don’t know when they started, and now it feels as though they’ll never stop. The sorrow and the anger churn in my chest as my sobs rack my body in violent spasms.

I can’t do this without you….

Somehow, I fall asleep. I wake before the sun in an empty bed. A shiver runs up my spine. Without him, the bed is so cold, even in the middle of summer. I wonder if it’s even worth leaving this bed at all.

My phone rings after some time. His mother’s voice sounds as tired as I feel. Maybe she didn’t sleep well either.

She asks me if I’m opposed to cremation. I lost him in fire once, and fire will take him again. I don’t want to think about it. I shrug, though she can’t see. In response to my silence she says she doesn’t want to bury him. I nod and hang up. I don’t want to think about it.

I bury my face in his pillow until I fall asleep again.

A rumble wakes me. My phone received a message. His mother sent me the information for a funeral.

Whose funeral?

Oh.

I dreamt of him. Of our wedding. It felt so real. Everything went perfectly, as I’ve always imagined it would.

Now, it will never happen.

A sob shakes my body and escapes my mouth in a painful gasp.

I look at the message again. It’ll be easier once you say goodbye, it says at the end.

Will it?

Goodbye is never easy.

I don’t want to say goodbye.

In the closet, I find his old uniform and pull it out of its box. Underneath is a small lockbox. His gun. He was always ready to protect me, to protect anyone. He was perfect. A saint. An angel. So why?

Why did he have to go?

I curl up on the love seat in the living room, cradling the uniform in my arms. Every thread, every button, smells like him. I sit for a long time. I don’t know how long. I only notice when the morning sunlight breaks through the blinds and reaches my eyes. It hurts.

My head throbs as I slowly rise from the chair. I move to the kitchen to make a salad. He always told me to eat healthy. He didn’t want to lose me to a heart attack.

He never thought about me losing him.

Blood smears across the cutting board. I seem to have cut my finger. The cut isn’t very deep. I watch the blood drip onto the cucumber I was chopping. The cut doesn’t hurt. I don’t even feel it.

Maybe I died with him….

The doorbell rings before I can wash the cut. I want to ignore it.

Ding dong. It rings again.

I hold a napkin over the cut and answer the door. His mother stands on the porch, concern in her tired eyes. When she notices the cut, she fusses over it for a good fifteen minutes. I just let her. It’s good for her to think of something else. I try to think about the cut as well, but it doesn’t hurt nearly enough to cover the pain in my chest.

If only it was deeper….

After my cut is cleaned and I’m fed, we move to the bedroom. She wants clothes to dress him in for the funeral. I ask if she’s seen him.

She says no, and that the funeral director said he will be in a closed casket.

I nod. I understand what that means. I’m grateful. I want to remember his face, glowing and alive. I don’t want to see what Death has done to him.

Pain burns in my chest again and I squeeze my finger to try and mask it.

Eventually, his mother leaves. I didn’t hear much of what she said. But, she took his uniform. He’ll be cremated in it.

I return to the closet. I always feel safe surrounded by his scent. My chest feels like it might crumble in on itself.

I can picture him in every outfit I see. My mind digs up memories long forgotten. I remember buying him the blue dress shirt and matching tie for his birthday five years ago. I remember the silly Hawaiian shirt I tried to throw away, but he secretly saved. I remember the shirt he wore on our first date. And our second, and our third.

My legs no longer have the strength to support my weight and the weight of the pain in my chest. I fall. I squeeze my finger until blood seeps through the bandage. It doesn’t help. All I can think about is him. My entire life revolved around him. What am I supposed to do now?

My eyes fall on the lockbox.

He always wanted me to be safe. But he’s not here now. He can’t protect me anymore. He can’t save me from the hole, the emptiness, that is consuming me.

1-2-0-8. I know the combination. It’s my birthday.

The gun, a revolver, and the bullets are separate. I know how to load it. He taught me how, just in case someone broke into the house. I told him I didn’t need to know because he’d always be here to protect me.

He was supposed to be with me forever.

A single bullet is loaded before I realize what my hands are doing. The hands that long to intertwine with his again.

I stare into the barrel of the gun, but all I can see is his face, smiling the way he always would when he saw me. I want to see him again.

I want to see you again.

 

I fire.

 


© Copyright 2018 H.Y. Motte. All rights reserved.

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