Time to Live

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The story of a man whos hopes were dashed but he made the best of the life he had

Submitted: September 05, 2007

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Submitted: September 05, 2007

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AS HE WALKED THROUGH THE REVOLVING DOORS HIS THOUGHTS WERE OF THE PEPOLE HE LOVED AND THE THINGS HE STILL HAD TO DO. AS THE COLD WINTER AIR STRUCK HIS FACE A TEAR CAME TO HIS EYE.HE WAS A NICE LOOKING MAN 60 YEARS OLD ,200 LB WITH BLOND HAIR AND BRIGHT BLUE EYES. HE LOOKED IN GREAT SHAPE FOR HIS AGE.

HE HAD JUST LEFT THE DOCTORS OFFICE .HE HAD BEEN TOLD OF THE CANCER AND HOW FAST IT HAD SPREAD. ONE OR TWO YEARS AT THE MOST AND IT WAS INOPERABLE. THE DOCTOR HAD SAID. WHY ME SCREAMED INSIDE HIS HEAD.

HE WAS BORN IN A SMALL TOWN IN NORTERN MICHIGAN. A POPULATION OF 500 PEOPLE . MOST PEOPLE THAT LIVED THERE JUST STAYED THERE AND WORKED AT THE MILL IN TOWN AFTER HIGH SCHOOL . RAY WAS A FOOTBALL AND BASEBALL STAR AND WHEN HE LEFT HIGH SCHOOL HE HAD SCOLARSHIP OFFERS FROM EVERYWERE IN THE COUNTRY. HE CHOSE TO STAY IN STATE AND GO TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN TO PLAY FOOTBALL. HIS HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEART MARIE WAS GOING THERE SO THEY DECIDED THEY WANTED TO BE TOGETHER.

IN COLLEGE HE WAS AN ALL AMERICAN AND SECOND IN THE VOTING FOR THE HIESMAN TROPHY. HE HAD BROKEN THE NCAA RECORD FOR THE MOST YARDS RUSHING IN COLLEGE HISTORY. IT LOOKED LIKE HIS LIFE WAS SAT HE WOULD BE A FIRST ROUND DRAFT CHOICE .THAT MEANT HE WOULD BE AN INSTANT MILLIONAIRE. HE DIDNT HAVE TO THINK ABOUT USING HIS ACCONTING DEGREE UNTIL HE RETIRED AND COULD FIGURE OUT HOW TO INVEST HIS MONEY. HIS LIFE WAS ON THE HIGH ROAD AND IT HAD NO PLACE TO GO BUT UP. HIM AND MARIE COULD GET MARRIED RIGHT AWAY.

.HE WAS DRAFTED IN THE FIRST ROUND BY THE DETROIT LIONS .HOW MUCH BETTER COULD LIFE GET IT HAD BEEN HIS DREAM TO PLAY FOR THE LIONS SINCE HE SAW THEM PLAY FOR THE FIRST TIME WHEN HE WAS FIVE YEARS OLD.

HE GOT AND AGENT THAT TOLD HIM HE SHOULD ASK FOR 5 MILLION A YEAR CONTRACT WITH A 10 MIILION DOLLAR SIGNING BONUS. THAT SHOULD BE NO PROBLEM. WHILE IT WASNT AS EASY AS ALL THAT. THE LIONS

REPORTED FOR EARLY PRACTICE IN AUGUST. BUT HE HADNT SIGNED YET. HIS AGENT SAID DONT REPORT ITS JUST A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THEY COME AROUND THERE NOT GOING TO TAKE A CHANCE OF LOSING THE GREATEST RUUNING BACK IN COLLEGE HISTORY. IT WENT THROUGH MOST OF AUGUST AND HE HADNT SIGNED AND HE HADNT REPORTED .HE WAS IN THE NEWSPAPERS EVERYDAY EVERYBODY WAS UPSET CAUSE HE HADNT SIGNED YET. THEY WERE ABOUT ONE MILLION OFF ON THE SIGNING BONUS . HE CALLED HIS AGENT AND SAID IVE MISSED THE FIRST THREE WEEKS OF PRACTICE I THINK ITS TIME TO SIGN SET SOMETHING UP ILL BE IN DETROIT TONIGHT. I WANT.TO SIGN IN THE MORNING. OK HE SAID IF YOU SAY SO.

IT WAS ABOUT 200 MILES TO DETROIT DOWN I 75. IT WAS RAINING OUT AND IN THE SUMMER WHEN IT RAINS AND THE ROADS ARE HOT THEY CAN GET PRETTY SLIPPERY AROUND FLINT A CAR IN FRONT OF HIM STEPPED ON HIS BRAKES SO RAY SLAMED HIS BRAKES ON TO KEEP FROM HITTING HIM AND THE CAR SLID SIDEWAYS AND FLIPPED OVER THREE TIMES AND END UP AGAINST A BRIDGE IMBUTMENT. HE HAD HIS SEAT BELT ON SO HE DIDNT GET THROWN FROM THE CAR BUT THE CAR WAS CRUSHED LIKE AN ACCORDIAN WRAPPED ALL AROUND HIM IT TOOK THE RESCUE PEOPLE ON HOUR TO CUT APART THE CAR TO GET HIM OUT AND RUSH HIM TO THE HOSPITAL. HE WAS UNCONSOUS WITH A RUPTURED SPLEEN TWO BROKEN LEGGS .A FRACTURED SCULL AND A MULTITUDE OF SMALLER INJURIES . WHEN HE GOT TO THE HOSPITAL THE DOCTORS SAID HE HAD A 50 50 CHANCE TO LIVE . IT WOULD TAKE A COUPLE OF DAYS BEFORE THEY COULD TELL WHAT CONDITION HE WOULD BE IN IF HE DID LIVE . HE HAD A BRAIN INJURY FROM THE CONCUSSION AND IF THEY COULD KEEP THE SWELLING DOWN HE HAD A GOOD CHANCE FOR SURVIVAL..THE NEXT DAY THE DETROIT NEWS READ LIONS TOP

DRAFT CHOICE IN CRITICAL CONDITON AFTER CAR ACCIDENT.FUTURE UNCERTAIN FOR LIONS NO1 PICK RAY JACKSON. THEN IT WENT ON TO SAY HE HADNT SIGNED HIS CONTRACT AND AT THIS TIME IT WAS UNCERTAIN IF HE COULD EVER PLAY AGAIN.

AFTER 3 DAYS IN THE HOSPITAL THE SWELLING WENT DOWN AND THEY HAD OPERATED TO SAT HIS LEGS AND AND REPAIR HIS SPLEEN HE HAD REGAINED CONSIOUSNESS. THE DOCTORS CAME IN TO HIS ROOM TO TELL HIM THE BAD NEWS WHEN HE BROKE HIS LEGS BOTH KNEE CAPPS WERE CRUSHED AND HE WOULD BE IN A WHEEL CHAIR AND ON CRUTCHEDS FOR ALONG TIME. REABILATATION WAS GOING TO BE A SLOW PROCESS AND THEY WERE PRETTY SURE HE WOULD NEVER BEABLE TO PLAY FOOTBALL AGAIN. MARIE WAS WITH HIM WHEN HE GOT THE NEWS AND THEY BOTH BROKE INTO TEARS. SHE SAID IM SO SORRY HONEY .BUT WE WILL MAKE IT FOOTBALL ISNT ARE WHOLE LIFE.HE SAID I KNOW WE WILL MAKE IT HONEY. SHE STAYED WITH HIM THAT NIGHT AND THEY SPENT MOST OF THE NIGHT CRYING.THE NEXT DAY HIS AGENT CAME IN AND SAID HOW SORRY HE WAS AND THE LIONS NEW WHAT HIS CONDITION WAS SO THEY STOPED ALL NEGOTIATIONS.RAY SAID TO BAD WE DIDNT SIGN WE COULD HAVE GOT THAT SIGNING BONUS ANYWAY.

REABILITATION TOOK ABOUT 6 MONTHS BEFORE RAY COULD GET AROUND ON HIS OWN WITHOUT CRUTCHES .HE TOOK A JOB WITH TOUCHE-- ROSS ONE OF THE BIGGET ACOUNTING COMPANIES IN THE COUNTRY. HIM AND MARIE GOT MARRIED WHEN SHE FOUND OUT SHE WAS GOING TO HAVE A BABY.EVEN THOUGH HIS LIFE LONG DREAM OF PLAYING IN THE NFL WAS SHATTERED HE NEW HE COULD STILL MAKE IT.HIS ATTITUDE HAD IMPROVED AND HE WASNT GOING TO LET THIS SETBACK BRING HIM DOWN. MARIE AND HIM MOVED INTO A DOUBLE WIDE TRAILER IN HIGHLAND ,MICH ABOUT 40 MILES OUT SIDE DETROIT AND HE WENT TO WORK...

HE HAD TO DRIVE TO DETROIT TO WORK AND MARIE WAS WORKING AT MILFIELD HIGH SCHOOL NEAR THERE HOUSE AS A ENGLISH TEACHER .WHEN THE BABY WAS BORN IT WAS 8LB 3OZ BABY BOY RAY JR . .RAY AND MARIE WERE AS HAPPY AS THEY COULD BE. RAY WORKED LONG HOURS AND WITH THE DRIVE INTO TOWN HE WOULD NT ARRIVE HOME UNTIL AFTER NINE OCLOCK SOME NIGHTS. HE WAS NT SURE HE EVEN LIKED ACCOUNTING. IT WAS NOTHING HE HAD LEARNED IN SCHOOL THEY PUT HIM IN FRONT OF A COMPUTER AND HE SAT THERE LOOKING AT A COMPUTER SCREEN ALL DAY.

ONE DAY HE WAS LOOKING THROUGH JOB SECTION OF THE NEWSPAPER. IT SAID TOOL AND DIE SHOP NEEDS ACCOUNTANT SEND RESUME TO 1610 GRAND RIVER. REDFORD MICHIGAN. HE HAD FILLED OUT HIS RESUME FOR THE TOUCHE ROSS JOB SO HE JUST UPDATED IT AND SENT IT IN TO SEE WHAT WOULD HAPPEN. ABOUT A WEEK LATER THEY CALLED HIM FOR AN INTERVIEW.WHEN HE GOT THERE HE FOUND THAT THE COMPANY WAS IN TROUBLE FINACIALY AND THEY NEEDED SOMEBODY THAT COULD GET THERE BOOKS STRAIGHTENED OUT AND HELP THEM GET BACK IN THE BLACK.THEY WERE WILLING TO PAY THE SAME MONEY AS TOCHE --ROSS BUT THE BENIFITS WERENT QUITE AS GOOD IF HE THOUGHT HE COULD DO THE JOB. RAY SAID LET ME LOOK OVER YOUR BOOKS AND ILL TELL YOU WHAT WE CAN DO.THEY SAID OK SO THAT WEEKEND RAY WENT OVER THERE BOOKS .ON MONDAY HE WENT TO THE OWNER JIM RUSSEL AND SAID I CAN DO IT. IT MIGHT TAKE 3 MONTHS BUT ILL HAVE YOU IN THE BLACK . JIM SAID WHEN CAN YOU START. TWO WEEKS RAY SAID I WANT TO GIVE TOCHE ROSS NOTICE JIM SAID YOUR HIRED ...

RAY WORKED HARD ABOUT 60 HOURS A WEEK SO HE HARDLY EVER SAW MARIE AND THE BABY . AFTER 3 MONTHS HE HAD THEM IN THE BLACK . MARIE WAS PREGNANT AGAIN.RAY WAS GLAD BUT IT SEENED LIKE MARIE AND HIM WERE SEEING LESS OF EACH OTHER ALL THE TIME.AFTER 6 MONTHS THE COMPANY WAS MAKING A BIG PROFIT AND RAY GOT A RAISE AND WAS MADE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COMPANY.IT LOOKED LIKE EVERYTHING WS GOING TO WORK OUT...IN NOVEMBER MARIE HAD A BABY GIRL 6LBS 5 OZS.THEY NAMED HER CINDY.

RAY WAS HARDLY EVER HOME AND DIDNT SEE MARIE OR THE KIDS MUCH HIS JOB TOOK UP MOST OF HIS TIME.BUT IT FELT GOOD HE WAS SUCCESSFUL.

AFTER THE SECOND BABY THE COMPANY OPENED ANOTHER TOOL AND DIE SHOP IN TOLEDO .NOW RAY HAD TO TRAVEL THERE TO MAKE SURE IT WAS RUNNING ALRIGHT. A YEAR LATER WITH RAY BEING GONE ALL THE TIME MARIE MEANT A GUY AT HER AROBICS CLASS AND HAD AN AFFAIR. WHEN RAY WOULD COME HOME HE COULD JUST TELL THINGS WERENT THE SAME BETWEEN THEM. RAY KEPT ASKING HER WHAT WAS THE MATTER SHE WOULD SAY NOTHING.AFTER AWHILE HE HIRED A PRIVATE DETECTIVE TO CHECK ON HER WHEN HE WAS OUT OF TOWN.

THE NEXT TIME HE CAME HOME THE DETECTIVE GAVE HIM THE BAD NEWS. HE CONFRONTED MARIE AND TOLD HER IF SHE DIDNT WANT HIM SHE SHOULD HAVE JUST SAID SO AND NOT CHEATED ON HIM HE WAS LEAVING AND FILING FOR DEVORCE.

SO HE MOVED OUT . HE MISSED HIS KIDS SO HE WENT TO SEE THEM WENEVER HE COULD . MARIES NEW BOYFRIEND WAS THERE ALOT OF THE TIME AND BECAUSE OF THE KIDS RAY WOULD NOT WANT TO START ANY TROUBLE SO HE JUST IGNORED HIM,.ONE DAY WHEN HE WENT OVER HE NOTICED MARIE HAD A BLACK EYE. HE SAID HOW DID THAT HAPPEN. SHE SAID DONT WORRY ABOUT IT RAY.RAY SAID DID HE DO THAT TO YOU . I ASK YOU A QUESTION MARIE DID HE DO THAT TO YOU IN FRONT OF MY KIDS .MARIE SAID YEAH BUT HE WAS SORRY.

RAY SAID HE IS GOING TO BE ALOT SORRIER AND WENT TO THE BEDROOM WERE HE WAS SLEEPING AND PICKED HIM UP AND THREW HIM INTO THE LIVINGROOM AND SAID I SEE YOU CAN HIT A WOMAN LETS SEE IF YOU CAN HIT A MAN.HE TOOK A SWING AT RAY AND RAY KNOCKED HIM OUT THE FRONT DOOR AND PROCEEDED TO BEAT HIM TIL HE WAS BEGGING FOR MERCY.IF SHE WANTS TO LIVE WITH A LOW LIFE LIKE YOU THATS UP TO HER BUT MY KIDS WONT BE AROUND THIS ,DO YOU UNDERSTAND. HE SAID YES AND LOOKED AT MARIE AND SAID ARE YOU COMING WITH ME MARIE AND MARIE JUST SHOOK HER HEAD NO . HE SAID THE HELL WITH YOU THEN YOU NEVER GOT OVER HIM ANYWAY SO I DONT WANT YOU BITCH. RAY HIT HIM ONE MORE TIME AND KNOCKED HIM DOWN THE SIDEWALK INTO THE STREET.. WHEN HE LEFT RAY TURNED TO MARIE AND SAID WHAT DID HE MEAN BY YOU NEVER GOT OVER ME IS THST TRUE.SHE SAID I STILL LOVE YOU RAY CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME.I CAN FORGIVE YOU IF YOU CAN FORGIVE ME FOR LEAVING YOU ALONE SO MUCH I NEVER QUIT LOVING YOU MARIE. THEY KISSED AND THEY KNEW THAT THEY BELONG TOGETHER FOREVER..

SIX MONTHS LATER A FRIEND BILLY WILLIAMS THAT RAY HAD PLAYED FOOTBALL WITH AT MICHIGAN CALLED .HE HAD BEEN DRAFTED BY THE CHICAGO BEARS BUT AFTER THE FIRST SEASON HE HURT HIS KNEE AND WAS CUT HE SAID HEY RAY IVE GOT SOME MONEY LEFT FROM MY SIGNING BONUS AND I WANT TO INVEST IT I HAVE FOUND A DEAL AND I THOUGHT WHO BETTER TO CHECK IT OUT BUT MY OLD BUDDY RAY. SO RAY SAID SURE ILL LOOK INTO IT FOR YOU LETS MEET AND YOU CAN GIVE ME THE LOWDOWN.

HE CAME OVER TO RAYS THE NEXT NIGHT AND SHOWED HIM THE DEAL HE FOUND. IT WAS A KITCHEN APPLIANCE COMPANY THAT WAS IN BAD SHAPE FINACIALLY BUT THEY WERE COMING OUT WITH A NEW PRODUCT THAT WOULD REVOLUTIONZE COOKING. I KNOW MICHEAL JORDAN AND I THINK I CAN GET HIM FOR ARE SPOKES PERSON WHAT DO YOU THINK RAY . LET ME LOOK THIS OVER AND ILL LET YOU KNOW.RAY SAID.

TWO DAYS LATER RAY CALLED HIM BACK AND SAD ITS A GAMBLE BILLY BUT I DONT THINK IT CAN LOSE IF YOUVE GOT MICHEAL JORDAN. ON BOARD. BILLY SAID THE ONLY PROBLEM RAY IS I DONT HAVE QUITE ENOUGH TO BUY IT IF YOU THINK IT WILL FLY DO YOU WANT TO BE A PARTNER. RAY SAID LET ME TALK IT OVER WITH MARIE AND ILL LET YOU KNOW WELL RAY TALKED IT OVER WITH MARIE AND THE NEXT DAY HE CALLED BILLY AND SAID WERE IN. WILL HAVE TO MORTGAGE ARE HOUSE FOR ARE HALF BUT WERE IN.SO NOW RAY WAS HALF OWNER OF SANTON KITCHEN PRODUCTS ..

AFTER THE NEW PRODUCT CAME OUT WITH MICHEAL JORDAN AS ITS SPOKESMAN THE COMPANY TOOK OFF AND THEY WERE MAKING BIG MONEY.THE PROBLEM WAS THEY HAD FACTORIES IN OTHER COUNTRIES SO RAY HAD TO TRAVEL ALOT SO FOR THE 35 YEARS EVEN THOUGH HIS FAMILY HAD EVERY THING THEY NEEDED MARIE AND THE KIDS SAW RAY VERY LITTLE . HE TRYED TO MAKE IT UP FOR THEM BY TAKING THEM ON GREAT VACATION WHENEVER HE COULD. AND MAKING SURE THEY HAD ONLY THE BEST OF EVERYTHING BUT HE MISSED ALL THOSE LITTLE THING LIKE THERE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION .THERE SCHOOL PLAYS, BEING THERE FOR HIS DAUGHTERS FIRST DATE AND MISSED WATCHING HIS SON PLAY FOOTBALL AND A MILLION OTHER THINGS THAT FATHERS SEE WHEN THERE KIDS ARE GROWING UP HE JUST SAID THATS THE PRICE OF SUCCESS. NOW THE KIDS WERE GROWN AND OUT OF COLLEGE. THEY WOULD BE MARRIED SOON AND HAVE CHILDREN AND IT LOOKS LIKE HE WOULDNT BE THERE FORE THAT EITHER.BY THIS TIME HE WAS A VERY WEALTHY MAN BUT HE LOOKED BACK AND THOUGHT WHAT DID IT COST ME.

HE WENT HOME AND TOLD MARIE WHAT THE DOCTOR HAD SAID AND THEY BOTH CRYED AND HE SAID I GOT TO START LIVING ITS TIME.MARIE SAID YES IT IS DARLING.HE WENT IN TO THE OFFICE THE NEXT DAY AND SAID BILLY IM DONE .THIS IS MY LAST DAY IM GOING TO ENJOY THE TIME I HAVE LEFT TRYING TO MAKE UP,TO MY FAMILY FOR ALL THE THINGS I HAVE MISSED . ITS BEEN A GREAT RIDE BILLY BUT IM GOING TO START TO LIVE.

FOR THE NEXT SIX MONTHS RAY, MARIE ,CINDY AND RAY JR DID EVERYTHING TOGETHER THEY TRAVELED ,THE WENT TO THE OLYMPICS, THEY WENT TO ENGLAND TO THE BRITISH OPEN AND TO WIMBLETON. RAY TRYED TO MAKE SURE THAT HE WOULD DO EVERTYTHING WIH HIS FAMILY THAT THE COULD IN THE TIME HE HAD LEFT.

AFTER THREE MONTHS CINDI CAME TO HIM AND SAID GUESS WHAT DAD IM GETTING MARRIED . RAY WAS VERY EXCITED THAT HE WOULD MAKE IT TO SEE HIS DAUGHTER GET MARRIED. HE GAVE HER AWAY IN JUNE AND RAY, JR GOT MARRIED IN OCTOBER . CINDI WAS PREGNANT AND EXPECTING IN MARCH.RAY HAD GONE THROUGH RADIATION AND KEMO THERAPY TRYING TO PROLONG HIS LIFE. WELL IN JAN THE DOCTOR GAVE HIM GOOD NEWS THE CANCER WAS IN REMISSION. THE FAMILY WAS ECSTATIC. MARCH CAME AND CINDI HAD HER BABYA LIITLE GIRL .RAY WAS A PROUD GRANDFATHER . IN APRIL RAY JR CAME UP WITH NEWS THAT HIS WIFE WAS PREGNANT AND WAS DO IN DEC. IN JULY THEY FOUND OUT THAT THE CANCER WASNT IN REMISION ANY LONGER AND RAYS TIME WAS SHORT. EACH MOTH RAY GOT SICKER AND SICKER DECEMBER CAME AND ON THE 20TH OF DECEMBER RAY JR WIFE HAD A BABY BOY THEY CALLED RAY THE 2ND.THEY WEELED RAY INTO THE ROOM WHERE HE COULD HOLD THE BABY HE LOOKED DOWN AT THE BABY AND THANKED THE LORD FOR THIS DAY

CHRISTMAS DAY RAY DIED AT HOME WITH HIS FAMILY AROUND HIM AT 62 YEARS OLD.

THE END

 

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