the dying leaves; last breath

I was in the dining room as I shouted “Dinner was great ma” to her.
She was in the kitchen and I was still finishing up dessert in the dining room. I had a large piece of the dessert I had always asked for:
vanilla cake with no frosting.

I overheard mom yell back, “Happy Birthday, Thomas! Clean up your plate when you are finished, I’m heading to bed.”

The lights turned out in the house and the only source of light were the candles that melted into puddles of modern art on top of the walnut dining room table. I sat there staring at my cake, wondering why I could never find true happiness. I thought I had done everything right for a 25 year old man.
I wore a suit to work everyday. Worked 60 hours a week, Got paid well. Owned my own vehicle and home with a big backyard, watched my diet, had a large savings, and had money stashed away in a brokerage account payable to my siblings for when I passed.

What went wrong with my cushy life?

Was it that time I decided to not go out to dinner with the most beautiful woman I had ever laid eyes on?
Was it when I turned down a position over seas?
Was it when I left Sarah after our seven year relationship had lost its luster?
Was it when I decided not to call her back after she left all those voice messages on my phone, asking what went wrong?

The candles began to flicker as the flames touched the hot wax that created the puddles.

Maybe it was because I couldn’t bear to tell her that all I had known was depression.
I had never known what happiness was until I met her, and yet, all that happiness seemed to slowly melt away after we began to settle in to our relationship. I was never the kind of man to be so critical of who people were, and I was never the kind of man who craved control, but as soon as we started becoming more comfortable, I needed to know that she would never stray from me.
I wish I could go back and tell her how sorry I am for everything I did to her. I managed everything from our dates to her friendships to how long she could browse the internet.

I saw everything too.
I hate to think of this but I tapped her phone and received an email detailing her keystrokes, her pages visited, and her time spent on every app possible. I completely lost my mind after, leading me to lose who I was and plan an unthinkable attack on her; so unthinkable, I can’t even remember why I would have ever made her feel so belittled. It was truly all my fault.
Depression.
I knew I never wanted to lose her, but I did everything that a man shouldn’t have done and now, I’m sitting at this table alone, in my mothers home, baffled at the fact that this is another birthday that I have no one else around except the people who feel obligated to me.

I crushed the cake in my hands. Feeling the warmth between my fingertips, creating a tightly packed ball of dough and swallowing it, hoping that I would choke and collapse on the floor.

I didn’t.
The flames went out on all candles, and I was swaddled in the darkness. Emptiness. Everything that I had ever felt my entire existence.

I began to walk towards the desk in the hall, but paused, contemplating my decision and how much it would hurt those around me… but three seconds later, I continued on.
As soon as I got to the table, I ran my fingers across the top and felt the smooth wax glaze that was freshly sprayed. The scent of lemon lingered on my hands.
I opened the drawer, and retrieved a pen, card and envelope.

Pausing to listen if anyone was awake, I exited to the backyard of the home, and headed towards the lake just 30 feet to the east.
With the soft glowing light from my cell phone, I was able to write out a letter.

sarah.
pause not when you think of me,
For I see the skies and seas below.
Remember us in the truest form;
Smiles, laughter, sorrows.
call out when you feel weak and I will carry you away from pain,
be strong and hold your tears, for they are formed from vain.
Breathe the air and feel the leaves, remember I am forever here,
look to the clouds and you will see that my love is forever near.”

 

Placing the card in the envelope, I walked to the tall oak tree, sealing the envelope shut. I picked a deep crevice, making sure that the rain would not wash my love letter away.

‘Sarah I’m sorry,’ I thought, as I walked towards the calm waters.
As I entered the chilling waters, I let go of my breath, and drifted away on the sound of her heartbeat.

 

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