A Wasted Rose

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A cheating wife. A bottle of whiskey. A beat-up old pickup truck.


Hilarity ensues.

Submitted: January 28, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 28, 2012




Thomas couldn’t hear himself think. Why didn’t someone stop that goddamn racket? And who was shining these goddamn lights in his face? To hell with it all. “Goddamn lights,” he coughed out as he stumbled a few steps away, attempting to escape the chaotic scene. He had lost a shoe at some point, and as he staggered on, Thomas sliced up the sole of his left foot on the shards of shattered windshield that formed a carpet over the intersection. He didn’t seem to notice. He fumbled a few more steps away until he was standing shin-deep in snow. The lights from the intersection were now reflected in the snow and he cast a towering and terrible shadow ahead of him.

What the hell happened, anyway? Thomas couldn’t make heads or tails of anything. He knew two things only: that he felt nauseas, and that it had happened, that inescapable, ruinous it. He had been betrayed. Blood was dripping from a tear-drop shaped gash under his left eye, forming scarlet patterns in the snow. A drop, a feather, a rose- he had given a rose that night, or tried to anyway. He had bought it on from a ramshackle stand on the side of the freeway on his way home, to give to his wife. Ha. He never would have bought it if he had known that she was whoring around on him, that she had committed that unspeakable it.


He wished he could forget, wished he could relieve the pain. How could she do it, how could she cheat on him? When he worked five days a week, when he was constantly picking up overtime hours to support her? “It isn’t how it used to be,” she had cried out at him. “We just don’t have it anymore.” What the hell did she mean, anyway? What was “it?”

And oh, how could Jude do that to him? Standing there, next to his wife, his Rose, with that sheepish, defiant look. They had been through thick and thin together, inseperable. They had survived the fucking war together, and now this. They had seen unspeakable things, they had done unspeakable things. Thomas had never had a friend like Jude, someone who he trusted and loved like a brother. And to walk in on him, on her, on them- but he didn’t need them, he didn’t need either of them. To hell with it. He didn’t need either goddamn one of them. All he needed was a drink.

The fog over Thomas’ memory slowly cleared away. He remembered short snippets of what had happened after he saw them, after he saw them. He remembered dropping the rose, stomping on the rose. He remembered leaving, and his wife’s pathetic pleas ‘not to go Thomas, to stay and talk things out.’

He remembered getting in his beat up old pickup truck and driving to the liquor store and the pungent punch of the first belt of whiskey.

God how his head hurt. His brain swelled and ached against his skull. He could hear police and ambulance sirens swiftly approaching The toes on his left foot were numb, frozen solid in fact, and he was beginning to perceive his other injuries. How had he lost his shoe anyway, and what had made this goddamn gash on his face? Violent bursts of memory came to him like waves crashing in a hurricane- drifting into the wrong lane, the blinding light and the goddamn pain, the concussive ringing in his ears.

What had become of the other driver? Was there a child in the car, maybe a kid the same age as his own son, his sweet, beautiful little Kevin? Oh goddammit. God have mercy. Here he was bleeding to death and all he could think about was how Kevin had come crying the other day because some kid had punched him in the face after school. He came home looking like a raccoon and sobbed into the crook of Thomas’ neck, soaked his shirt in tears. “Why didn’t you hit him back, son? Why didn’t you defend yourself, your honor as a man? A man should always defend his honor.”

Why hadn’t he defended his honor as a man when it happened? He remembered how when he saw them he didn’t feel violent. He just wanted to disappear, he just wanted to know, and to be, nothing, sweet nothingness. He guessed that that was how Kevin had felt too.

Thomas had lost his bottle of whiskey in the crash too. That was his biggest regret at the moment.

He supposed in a situation like this he ought to say a prayer. How did that one go again? “Oh father, how art thou in heaven… give us this day our daily debts…” To be honest Thomas had never put too much in stock by God. He just figured that religion was for nuts and for old people, people who would die soon. Ha. Goddamn it, to hell with praying anyway.

Tree limbs groped and scratched Thomas’s face. As if he didn’t have enough problems, now goddamn mother nature was his enemy, too. He could hear the sirens wailing. Were they getting closer?  Oh, wasn’t it just perfect, now the police were coming to arrest him. Thomas realized that he had at some point ended up back on the road. It would have been bad enough with all this goddamn ice, but with only one goddamn shoe he was slipping everywhere. His efforts to walk straight, with dignity, were almost darkly comical. He saw a host of lights suspended somewhere ahead of him, hovering a few feet above the road. The lights expanded and swelled, enveloping him.

 Thomas heard the most beautiful sounds he could imagine. He was moved to tears by their ethereal beauty. He kept walking towards the lights, whatever they were.

© Copyright 2019 Ivan Pilgrim. All rights reserved.

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