So the tears started to fall, and I could do nothing.
She asks me: When was the last time you cried?
He says: I don't think I have ever cried.
She: Then how do you know how?
He: It wasn't as if I didn't feel anything. The reality of the situation is clear to me. We lost everything. We have nothing. Just a few bricks, and nothing else. The fire that once lit up our eyes is gone. I saw the dirt scatter onto the box just like she did. I just can't make myself expressive. She has sat on that chair for years weeping. She cries all night long. She yells at me because all I can do is stare out the window. Go to the pier and sit. I feel everything, I can hardly even breathe. But what is sitting around wailing all day going to help me? I was in the park the other day looking up at planes as they began to land. It occurred to me that everyone is going somewhere. It brings me comfort, like this cigarette. I know my boy is going somewhere and I hope it is no where near here. I don't want to be anywhere near here..........
She: I wear his ring, but hate every inch of his miserable body. We used to laugh and now I feel nothing. Absolutely nothing. This is his fault. I tried. I gave this family everything I have and he never even blinked an eye at me. I wept for him and he covered his face. He hid himself from me. Disconnected when I needed someone...I needed him. He was long gone. He slept in my bed, but lived far away from here.
She: Where did you go? Where are you?
He: I'm in hell. It's like I am stuck in this endless repeating loop that never gets better, and I can never wake up.
She: Do you ever think about me?
He: I can't even see him anymore. I don't remember what he smelled like or what his laugh sounds like. I can only think of that.
She: Do you remember what my laugh sounds like? We used to laugh all the time. You would do that stupid Jerry Seinfeld impression and no one would laugh but me. It was horrible, the worst I had ever seen, but it made me laugh every time. Remember that dance you did when you put your arms out like an idiot and swayed your neck back and forth? I miss you. More than I miss him, I miss you.
The guy: What is you best memory of your son?
He: We used to punch each other in the face. Not hard, well at least mine weren't hard. We would fight. He was the only boy, so I felt I needed to make him tough. He was a sensitive kid like his mom. Every time, it ended with him crying and she would yell at me that I didn't know my own strength. Then one Sunday when he came out of Sunday school he gave me this picture and it was a kind of stick figure drawing of him on my shoulders. He made me so big and strong, and he was so little on top of me......
She: He used to sit and play with my hair...for as long as I would let him. He loved me so much. He was just like me. He had such a big heart. And a smart mind. He used to say he has smart stuff all over his brain. But every time he got hurt, which was all the time, he would scream for mom. I hated to see him cry, but loved that he called out to me............
The guy: When was the last time you two have spoken about him?
She: About 20 years ago. I mentioned that it would have been his 40th birthday. He just started staring out the window again. It has been 48 years since he started staring out that window and he has never stopped. I don't know what he sees out there, but he has missed everything in here...
The guy: What is the thing you most have in common?
The guy: Do you still love her?
He: I do. More than I could ever have the courage to tell her. She looks at me like it was all my fault, I feel like I can't give her anything that would repay for what I did.
The guy: Do you feel like it was your fault?
He: All he ever did was watch me. I was a wreck, nowhere near the man I was supposed to be. Nowhere near who she thought I was. I just couldn't be that man. I don't have it in me, inside I have only myself and every memory I ever made with him. I don't want to live, and I don't want to die. I just don't want to feel anything. I am afraid of living the rest of my life in my own flesh and I am afraid to face God knowing He has seen who I am; Knowing all that He has given me was wasted and lost on me.
The guy: Do you think he went to heaven?
She: Oh, I know he did.
He: If there is a heaven, and I believe there is. I have to. It was made for kids like him.............
The guy: What happened immediately following the loss of your son?
He: I sat in the grass with my suit on, pretending he was sitting on my lap. I was holding his head and swaying back and forth to the rhythm of the wind through the trees. I refused for years to believe he was gone, that he was actually not right here with me laying on my chest. I couldn't get the smell of his hair out of my nostrils, I couldn't stop feeling his hand running through my hair. I lost any resemblance of who I knew myself to be. I am not that guy anymore. I took so many chances with things that were too important to risk and I lost everything. I have nothing. Absolutely nothing.
The Guy: Do you feel you still have your wife?
He: I checked out years ago. We are separate. We coexist, but we have nothing but hatred for me.
She: I never hated you! Never once did I ever blame you for anything but leaving. Ever. All I ever wanted...needed, was for you to be there to lift me up and lead. But you left me all alone with this. You didn't shed one tear for me, you just left. You sat at the table, and paid all of the bills but were married to something else. You were married to your misery, like it was some kind of person or something. You refused to let it go, and fell deeply and madly in love with your own sadness. Do you see how awful that sounds?
The Guy: Why do you think you are here?
He: If there is even a little chance of saving whatever might be left, I have to take it. She wanted to come, so I came.
She: For 48 years, all I have ever wanted was you. I have been praying that you would change and wake up. But you never did. I have always loved you. I may hate you now, but have always desired nothing but you. I meant it when I said my vows, and you just left yours at the grave. Wake up. There is nothing going on outside that window of yours. Everyone is living the same life we are in here. Wake up.
The Guy: Who are you? Define yourself.
She: I am his wife forever. I am a mother and I am a widow as far as I can tell.
He: I don't know what I am. I am sorry, and that's all I really know. I am sorry I let you down. I am sorry I can't shake this. I am sorry I pissed on everything God has given me. I am sorry I have squandered everything. I am sorry I have wasted my life. I just don't want to be me. I cannot define who I am because I don't know what I am. There is no definition for a man who loves so deeply he can no longer feel it. There is no word for a guy like that.
The Guy: Why can't you tell that to her?
He: She doesn't get it. She will never understand because I don't. She is normal and I don't know what that feels like anymore. I will give her anything she asks, but I don't know how to give her what is inside of me. I just breathe in and out, then move to the next one. I have never been good with words or with gestures. I have never been emotionally forthcoming. It isn't me. Right now, I don't know what to say to her. Just because tears aren't pouring from my eyes every day, doesn't mean I m alive at all inside. I died the day we dropped dirt on that little box. I swear, if I knew how to, I would be everything she wants me to be.
She: I just want you to be the man I married. Nothing more, nothing less. I don't even expect progress, I just want this man back.
He: I never left.
She: But you do nothing but stare out that window.
He: You know why I stare out that window? I am looking for him. I look for him in every kid I see out there playing in the snow. I see him in all of the kids riding their bicycles. I look out there because I can't stand what is going on in here. Siege. Loss. Despair. The pain is so intense that sometimes I think I want to end everything right here. I have to look outside at the birds and the sway in the trees and remember that there is something out there worth living for.
She: I am not worth living for?
He: You aren't you either. You look at me different. We both know I am to blame. We both know that if I weren't so stubborn...
She: Never. For one moment, did I ever blame you for losing him. I blame you for for losing you too. What do you have left?
He: I don't know.
She: That won't do.
He: I feel empty.
The guy: How do you...
He: Shut up
She: shut up
She: You have to fight for us.
He: I am here. Right here. Right now. I remember everything. The way we met, the way we held each other. I can remember the first time we kiss and to you it seemed like forever and to me it was torture resisting. It was so hard to control myself. The feelings I had were so intense. I knew you were it. I knew you were the one. From the first time I met you, I knew it. I would have married you on our first date. I would marry you again right now.
She: Do you still feel the same way? Do you still love me?
He: I do. I am torn apart, but the one thing I have left is you. The most important part.
She: Than maybe we can start there. Do it all over again. Maybe we can make a family again, free from the guilt and shame. Just you and me.
He: I would love that.
5 Years later....
"He sleeps all day. He might get up at noon to pee, then right back to sleep until he wakes to patrol the night. He stares out the window until we go to bed, then God knows what. I get up and go into the living room and he is gone. I check the basement and the garage and he is gone. At some point, he makes it into the bed undetected, but is missing for all intents and purposes from my life. I have fought for him and he swears he is just walking." "Where to?" I ask. "No answer. Nothing from him. Then a couple weeks later, he gets arrested. He gets picked up for stopping traffic, on foot, with nothing abnormal in his blood. They told him to get help. So I did. I signed for him to be evaluated and committed. I was called the same day to come and get him. When I get there, the doctor tells me he sees nothing wrong with him at all, maybe just a panic attack or something. Said he was eloquent. Eloquent? Really? He spoke eloquently? He won't even look at me in the eyes."
The Guy: "Why are you here?"
"What? I am here to petition the court to commit my husband. He needs help. I love him very much, but he needs help. Our son died and he died with him. I just want to know if there is any hope left that he might still be the same person I married someday. Do you think he can come back?"
The Guy: "I think anything is possible. I have seen the worst cases come back with their families to see me happier than they have ever seen. If anything, I believe in hope. There is always that light at the end of the tunnel, even if it is distant and dim."
"That's what I told him last time I went to see him."
The Guy: "Where did you go to see him?"
"At the hospital. I forgot to tell you, the courts did put him away for good...they say. I don't know about the the permanence of his sentence, but he is safe from himself and is getting his mind stabilized."
The Guy: "Do you know what caused him to lose his mind?"
"It was definitely the loss of our son many years ago. He never recovered. It was his fault. He killed him on a four wheeler. He always took risks and I always yelled at him to stop and he never listened."
The Guy: "When did you last see your husband?"
"Seems like a hundred years ago. I think it might have been in 1988?" "I went to see him at the hospital. They said he was having a bad day...said they couldn't get a response from him, but I disagree. I spoke with him and tried to explain how sick he was and that he would get better soon. He just needed to hold my hand and close his eyes. He needed to remember that he still has me. He squeezed my hand."
The Guy: "Where are we right now?
"At his court hearing...trying to figure out if he can come home. Why do you ask?"
The Guy: "Do you blame yourself for your son's death?"
The Guy: "Where are we right now...this second...look around."
She scans the room. She sees a door with a window. She sees a table in front of her. She sees a pack of cigarettes in front of her. She sees a picture of a family drawn by a child in crayon on the wall. She sits confused.
The Guy: "Where are we?"
"I don't know. I don't know!"
The Guy: "Did you run over your son?"
"No! He did!"
The Guy: "Why are we here?"
"Because he killed him! He killed my baby!" He needs help right now! Right now!"
The Guy: "That's all for today. You have made some progress. I will be back next week to check on him."
She leaves the office as the lights dim from golden to pale yellow, leaving the Guy sitting alone in a chair. The lines on the wooden paneling shift to widen their territory. The wood thickens to plaster, then stone painted with a off white color. The light that squeezed through the openings of the closed blinds filled with a deafening roar of horrible screams and weeping. He looks down at his hands as they shake the black and white composition notebook with a coffee stain on the cover. He makes a fist with his off hand in an attempt to subdue the tremors. The lights are getting darker and his gaze fixes to the floor that was just carpeting moments ago. His face hits the cold cement floor and he falls asleep next to the medicine cup lying upside down next to his lunch tray that has been dumped with the lunch that it had served.
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