It’s like having glass in your eye. It cuts, burns and distorts everything. That’s how Eddie sees the world now.
After the accident, after the coma everything changed. His family dead. His dog dead. His mind dying from the grief that threatened to drown him.
Shanna, his therapist, tried.
‘Eddie your life is not over. The accident wasn’t your fault.’ She leaned over taking his hands.
‘Do you hear me?’ But Eddie was elsewhere, blinking the glass from his eyes, he didn’t respond. Each session was the same. After almost a month, he was discharged, they could do no more. Eddie had to pick up his life and go on.
The taxi dropped him outside his house. Letters and wet, yellowed newspapers plugged the mailbox. His lawn overgrown and patchy. Stepping over the mail, he went inside. Rotten smells infiltrated his numb mind, trying to kickstart him into action. He went up to the bedroom hoping Donna would be there. She wasn’t of course. He nestled his face into the pajamas she had stuck under her pillow. They smelled like her. Tears flowed down his face, dripping onto the soft silk. He fell asleep still clutching them.
All around the buzz of people’s lives going on, upset him. No, infuriated him. How can the birds keep singing? Happy joggers waved as they passed and inside, he’s dying. He knew now that he could die from a broken heart. He welcomed it.
A week later and he started clearing out Becky’s room. He didn’t want strangers to have to do it when he died. His daughter, his angel was now one, in heaven. His tears mixed with her boxed stuff. Teddies, clothes, shoes. He kept her favorite teddy, soft pajamas and her “squeakers”, her favorites sneakers. They squeaked when she walked but she loved them so much she didn’t mind.
Afternoon shadows darkened the window and he noticed he was ravenous. His pants hung on him, it had been days since he had any form of a decent meal and his stomach hurt.
‘Love you Becks my angel.’ His voice echoed hollow in the empty room. He piled the boxes together and pulled the door closed.
Rooting around in the freezer he found a beef casserole.
‘God bless you Donna.’
It was delicious and he savored the last casserole his lovely wife would ever make. His eyelids dropped and still feeling the effects of the accident and leaden heart, he went to bed. His cheeks wet as he drifted off.
‘Our home is packed up my loves, I will join you soon’. He said to Donna and Becky. The quiet blanketed everything in his home, even muffling his footstep. His recliner felt familiar and comforting. He looked around at the home they made with sad eyes. Pictures, knickknacks, dust bunnies all touched by sun fingers streaming into the cozy room.
His broken heart hadn’t killed him yet, he needed to help it along. Eddie washed his few dishes, took out the trash and stopped in at the garage on his way back. A thick, coiled rope and work stool would do it. He wanted to die in his bedroom, close to Donna and Becky. Glass tears distorted his view again, but he knew the way.
Throwing the rope over the ceiling truss, he made a loop and set up the stool. His will was in place, his estranged brother would get the house and small insurance policy, if they paid out for suicide.
‘Forgive me.’ Fresh tears welcomed the relief he felt in his heart. He stood on the stool, putting the rope around his neck and tightened it. Taking a deep breath, he prepared to jump.
The doorbell rang.
‘What the hell..?’ He hadn’t seen anyone in weeks, barely had a phone call and NOW the doorbell rings? He decided to ignore it and wait until they went away. It rang again. And again.
‘I can’t bloody believe it.’ He took the rope off, stepped down from the stool and stomped into the entrance hall.
The door opened to the sweetest little girl, smiling broadly. Eddie noticed her glasses were so thick that she was bordering on being blind, but that didn’t stop her.
‘Hi I’m Ana. Would you like to buy some cookies?’ Eddie just stood there, still frazzled at having his suicide interrupted.
‘Hello?’ she peered at him, trying to focus.
‘I have coconut, chocolate…’ she babbled on while Eddie just stood there.
‘No thank you little one, I have no need for biscuits.’ She stopped suddenly.
‘Hey mister? Are you ok? You sound so sad.’ Nothing wrong with her hearing and intuition, Eddie perceived.
He went down onto one knee, she stared at him through her thick glasses. Suddenly she reached forward, throwing her arms around his neck, he breathed in her sweet, little girl smell.
‘Thank you sweetie, I…I’ the tears flooded down his face, the last hug he had was little Becky. It was what he needed to melt the ice in his heart and break the glass from his eyes.
He bought 4 boxes of biscuits and him and Ana became fast friends. He looked forward to her hugs and she knew she had a lifetime customer.