Susan’s husband committed suicide. The damning act came out of nowhere. A blow to the heart and soul of those he left behind. A new marriage, a promising career, a happy newlywed family with nothing but life ahead of them. But, like many happily ever afters, theirs carried a hidden, tragic flaw. And in the months following the suicide, the grieving woman searched deep within her soul to grasp that flaw and put to order the chaos in her heart and mind.
But nothing seemed to work. Every inch of the house brought to the fore memories of the happy life the couple shared.
Pictures from the wedding. The first time in her life she was able to look in the mirror and say to herself ‘You are lovely’. And Robbie – so handsome in the black and teal formal. He even wore the tiny silk flower her sister had made for him, pinning it on his lapel and kissing him on the cheek.
Her family loved Robbie. The adoration lofted his way was pure magic. Her sister was fond of joking that ‘Had Susan not caught him first…’ Everyone loved Robbie. But not like she. From deep within her heart, she knew no one had ever loved another like she loved her darling soul mate. And now he was gone. Forever stolen from her vision, but never from her heart.
She vowed on his coffin she would never love again.
Her mind made certain of that vow, slowly bending under the pain of loss until it silently snapped one night as she clutched Robbie’s picture tightly to her breast. She felt it go. Felt the numbing trickle down her arms, and her face go slack. The loss was too much. She couldn’t bear to face life without her darling husband.
Her numb legs allowed her to climb the stairs to the attic. If it was good enough for Robbie, it was good enough for her. The bare bulb swung from the large rafter in the sweltering room. Next to the bulb was the exact spot Robbie’s noose dripped from – his neck broken, his breath and life stolen. Susan’s resolve caved and understood, full well, that spot would hold her own death-necklace. The broken wife would call it a poetic ending and rejoin the love of her life in heaven.
Or would she? Would heaven admit the Suiciders? She wasn’t sure. Confusion wracked her brain and squeezed the very blood from her heart. Could it be her angel was rotting in hell? If that be the case then her quest would be to save him from an eternal struggle. Surely their love could battle the demons of Hades and carry them safely across the veil of sorrow.
The time for questioning was over. All that existed was a dark desire to rejoin Robbie and to Hell with all else.
Susan tossed the rope over the beam and formed the noose. She grabbed the lone chair that her darling dearest kicked out from his very feet and placed it directly under the rope. She climbed onto the chair, pulled the noose over her head, said a prayer, and kicked the chair away. The rope immediately dug deep into the flesh of her neck. The fall wasn’t forceful enough to snap bone and vein. The noose, however, was tight enough to end the passage of life-giving oxygen.
The attic scene faded in and out. A strange whisper tickled her hearing. The words weren’t clear, but the lilt and timbre of the tone was familiar. As she swayed side to side, back and forth, her hands and feet grew unfamiliar – as if they had been lost and reattached.
Again, the voice danced about the space around her head. Susan strained her neck in a vain attempt to discern the words and meaning. Each time she twisted her suffering neck, a thrumming hum overtook every sensation. She tried to cry out, but the serpentine cord prevented sound from escaping her throat.
As she silently swung her feet kicked madly. The heel of her shoe connected with a box. The box tilted and came to rest back in place. Again the foot bumped the aged cardboard, only this time the box upended and dumped its contents to the floor. Pictures spilled out in an array of colors and memories. Pictures of family, pictures of vacations, of love and laughter. Of the many moments spilled onto the wood of the attic floor, it was the pictures of her darling husband and her baby sister that caught her eye.
Kissing. Fondling. Loving.
As her vision began to tunnel, the last memory she would take into whatever afterlife was offered, was the image of her husband and her sister making the shape of a heart with their hands.
~ Jack Wallen
© Copyright 2012 Jack Wallen. All Rights Reserved.