Finding the Place Where Hope Lives

Submitted into Contest #49 in response to: Write a story about a person waiting for an answer to a question.... view prompt

6 comments

General

She woke up early, before the alarm had even gone off. The sun was beginning to peak in through the cracks in the blinds, leaving thin golden trails of dawn across the dark of her room.

She stretched her arm out beside her, to give her husband a gentle pat on his back, but found that her hand fell flat against the empty sheets.

Her immediate thought was that he must be out for his morning jog, he was relentless at taking care of himself. Always eating healthy, making work outs and positive life choices a priority.

She smiled to herself, before the reality of the empty bed came rushing at her with light speed, washing away any remnants of sleep that were still with her, and jolting her up quickly to a sitting position.

She dropped her head to her chest, heavy sobs creating tremors through her shoulders.

Her husband was not out for jog.

2 months ago he had been struck by a speeding driver on one of those mornings when he climbed out of bed before the sun came up to hit the pavement with his headphones, listening to self help audio books or catching up his favorite daily news podcasts.

He had not seen or heard the car, it had come crashing into him from behind on the dangerous bend in the dark country road, sending his body flying 25 feet into the ditch, broken and bleeding.

The car had taken off, the driver, just a kid only 18, had been up all night parting with friends, drinking and getting high, young and reckless.

He had panicked and he had just kept going, leaving her husband to bleed out alone, until finally a passerby noticed him there, too many hours later, no life left inside of him.

If the boy had stopped, had called 911, he might have made it, but he chose to keep going, leaving the lives of two families utterly ruined forever by that quick, haste, choice.

She woke this way every morning, those precious, fleeting seconds, when she first opened her eyes, she would reach her hand over to touch the empty sheets, always thinking he was out for a run, then always remembering that he was not.

She cried until there were no tears left, and heavily rose from the bed. Their bed, their room, now just hers.

How can I do this, live, without you?

She asked herself this every single hour of every single day, getting only more lost in her grief and her misery.

She made her way out of the room and down the hall, past the empty room of her eldest daughter, and the empty room of her youngest. Maye was 20, and in her last year of university. Even after everything that had gone on, she had managed somehow to push through her classes, determined to get that piece of paper her father and mother so desperately wanted for her. Jaylen, however, was 17. And her fathers death had brought out every rebellious, anti establishment behaviour in her, somehow always buried there, but needing a good enough reason to come through. She hadnt been to school since the day the police had shown up at her door, and it was only a few days later that she decided staying at her lowlife boyfriends place was a better option than dealing with her. Her mother.

Every morning, like always, she would pause at the doorstep of each girls room. Remembering long gone moments of happy times, here or there, one vacation or another that they all took as a family. Long before fate robbed them all of the life they believed they were promised. Long before death came and took away what mattered to them all, most.

She moved her way to the bathroom, at the end of the long hall, and when she was finished, she found her reflection in the mirror above the sinks.

Her skin was pale, her cheekbones protruding slightly, thick, black halfmoons permanently stationed beneath her eyes.

There was a time when she cared. When she went to the gym regularly and had wine with her girlfriends every Wednesday afternoon, got her hair done, her nails done, and enjoyed the luxurious life she and him and worked so damn hard to make.

Now, she didnt bother even to shower most of the time. She was still wearing his university sweatshirt and the same underware for over a week, at least. Her hair was greasy and unkempt, the hair on her legs long and black.

What was the point now.

She walked down the long spiral staircase to the living room. The blinds were all drawn, had been that way for quite some time now, and she moved into the large kitchen.

She remembered when they renovated the kitchen. All the pointless, meaningless arguments about carrara marble counters or a more traditional granite. Slate tiles or ceramic. Apron country sink or traditional stainless. He had loved the more traditional aspect of things, but she had always gotten her way. Always. And in the end, he respected her decisions and her visions, and always loved her for it.

What she would give for one of those arguements now. How she would kill to hear his voice trying to justify granite over marble.

The thought of it made her smile, but when she caught herself doing so, she stopped.

How could she smile now? How selfish of her.

She retrieved the can of coffee from the freezer, and proceeded to put on a small pot. She lit a cigarette, and made her way to the couch in the living room.

She hadn't smoked in years. Never really had smoked, but something about losing her husband had made it seem suitable for the time. It gave her something, even small, to focus on besides his death, and she enjoyed the control she felt each time she inhaled on one.

She laid down on the expensive sectional, cigarette flopping in her mouth, and she turned on the tv. She forgot about the pot of coffee as she finished her cigarette and watched the Dr. Phill rerun that was on.

She closed her eyes, depression pulling her back into a deep restless sleep. It was only 7 14 am.

She woke up, and guessing by the light seeping in through the skylights high above her it had to be well into the afternoon.

The anxiety within her began to boil once again. That trepidation of something that was supposed to come, hanging over her like a black cloud.

How can I do this without you?

She shook her head, and looked at her phone.

4 missed calls.

2 were from Maye, one from Father Duncan, and another from her mother.

She sighed, not willing to listen to their voice messages right yet.

She instead decided that it was time for a drink. There was only so much sleep that depression could breed, she needed to rely on other sources to escape her from her dreadful waking state. Waking and waiting to sleep, and waking and then waiting to sleep again. It was a cycle she despised. Especially the waking part.

She went to the fridge, and noticed the pot of cold coffee next to it.

Always made but never drank, she thought.

The clock above the stove read 3:33 pm. It was later than she figured, and she was happy for that.

She pulled the half empty bottle from the fridge, and grabbed a glass and a few ice cubes.

Mostly vodka, and a splash of cran, for flavor. Her husband's voice rang in her head.

She smiled again, but feeling guilty stopped it, then chugged back one, then 2, then 3 glasses, before grabbing the vodka bottle and heading back up to their room.

No, her room.

That feeling irked her again, that feeling like she was waiting for something that would never come.

She was halfway up the stairs, when she stopped to take a long sip from the bottle.

She hated herself now, hated how her husband's death had changed everything so quickly, in a second. Hated how Jaylen had pulled away from her so fast, and how she had done nothing to keep her close. Hated how Maye was always trying to call her, to check up on her, and how she could only respond in one word answers, always hastily trying to end the conversation. She hated how much she never realized that it was her husband who had been the glue holding the family together, how rapidly she had become undone and her daughters and her life had so abruptly slipped away from her. She did not recognize the woman she was today, the miserable, loathed woman that lived inside of her skin.

Who am I without you?

She had grown up extremely impoverished. Her father, a violent alcoholic had left his marks on her and her mother too many times to count, then thankfully left before she turned 9. Her mother was a pill junkie who had died by the time she reached 14. From foster house to foster house she sailed, until turning 18. She had somehow managed to keep her grades and her head on straight enough to get accepted into the local community college.

She had met Gabriel when she was 18. Was married and a mother by 19. He had saved her, rescued her from her pain and her suffering and built a life on his law degree for all of them. Once the money started rolling in, he gave her the freedom to try her hand at entrepreneurship, which had surprised both of them at how well she was at it. And over the next 20 years they had built themselves a solid, little empire, together.

His death now, reminded her that she was really never anything without him. He was the life within her, the blood rushing through her. Life had always been easy for him, and he loved to be her savior, her support system, through and through.

She had gotten so used to living this way, that it became what was normal for her, and at the moment of his death it all came crashing down around her, scattered and broken, just as she always had been.

She cried for a moment, or maybe an hour, sitting on the stairs holding the nearly empty bottle of vodka in her hand.

That feeling came rushing forward again, that feeling of anxiety, of waiting for something. Maybe it was the vodka, maybe it was something else, but she ran to the bathroom at the top of the stairs and was sick to her stomach.

When she was done, she stumbled her way to her bedroom, fell into a heap on the bed and passed heavily out.

****

The sun was slipping in through the cracks in the blinds. She opened her eyes, and remembered instantly that her husband was gone.

It was the first time since his death that she had woken this way.

Her hand found her stomach, and a faint, yet familiar feeling came creeping into her.

She rose from the bed and ran down the hall to the bathroom. She bent over the toilet, and threw up.

She heaved as she cried, then sitting on the ceramic tile in front of the toilet, her hand unconsciously found her stomach once again.

Immediately, she rose from the floor, and looked at her face in the mirror.

This is what she had been feeling.

This was what had been hanging over her head since his death, trying to knock sence into her, causing her to feel even more overwhelmed and spiral continuously out of control, in denial.

How can I do this without him?

For the first time since his death, the one thing that she had been without came face to face with her in her reflection.

Hope.

A child, his child, another baby, was buried deeply within her womb.

She had been so consumed by grief that she hadn't even realized that she was late. They had tried years ago for a third child, but had given up as the years caught up with them, she didn't even think at 40 that she could still get pregnant.

But she was. She was certain of it now.

She smiled for the first time in a long time, and didn't do a thing to push it away.

Hope was not something she would wait for any longer, fate had made it this way.

Hope was living deep within her, it was time to move forward, it was time to open the blinds, throw the alcohol and cigarettes away, time to reach out and bring her daughters close, time to be a mother once again and pull her family back together.

He had left her with the one precious thing she could not ignore, and it was going to break her out of the limbo she was in and give her life again.

She undressed and hopped into the shower, letting the hot water run down her body.

She was done waiting for the world to change. This is what it was now, and she was going to do everything in her power to make it right. To live for him and for her daughters and for the baby in her belly, and for herself.

I will live for myself, I will live for all of us, that is the only way we will all be ok without you. I will live for our baby and our children, and we will be ok, somehow, we will be ok...

She smiled.

July 10, 2020 15:01

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6 comments

Brittany Gillen
17:38 Jul 14, 2020

Talia - Thank you for sharing your story. You can feel her deep depression, and the breaks where she keeps sleeping are brilliant. They truly capture what depression feels like - the moments between sleep. I was glad this story had a hopeful ending to balance out all the despair. Great job!

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Talia M
23:48 Jul 14, 2020

Thank you so much Brittany! I appreciate your feedback! I'm so glad you were able to feel what I was trying to convey! Glad you enjoyed it :-)

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Roshna Rusiniya
13:09 Jul 14, 2020

This is a very emotional story. Sad. Really enjoyed reading it.

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Talia M
15:03 Jul 14, 2020

Thank you so much for reading my story! I'm glad you enjoyed it :-)

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Carol Pascuzzi
20:52 Jul 10, 2020

I felt the heaviness of her grief. Well done. He kept her together in life and will continue to do so after death through the pregnancy. I love that idea. I felt so badly for her and am truly happy that it is going to work out!

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Talia M
15:22 Jul 12, 2020

Thank you! I'm happy that you were able to feel her pain and hope at the end! Glad you liked it!!🙂

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