This was the night he was going to propose to her. He opened the box containing the ring and stared at it for a while. A tear ran down the right side of his face. It splattered on the concrete next to his foot. He took out the ring and let the box fall. It wasn’t much, but it reminded him of her. That’s why he got it for her in the first place.
Her memory was still fresh in his mind. He saw her everywhere he went and in everything he looked at. All the places they visited, he couldn’t go back to again. All the movies he watched with her, were no longer the same.
She lost the battle to depression. No. They lost. The night he lost her, he lost everything. It felt now that the depression was now hovering over his head like a dark cloud. It loomed over him. His gaze shifted from the ring to the flowing traffic ten stories below. His instep hung over the edge of the roof. All he had to do was lean forward and it would be over. All the sadness and all the pain. It would all just go away.
He rolled the ring across the tips of his fingers from pinky to thumb and back again. He used to do it with a coin. It was the one thing that he would always do to make her smile. No matter how many times he showed her, the coin would barely make it to the middle finger before falling. Then she’d laugh and snort. Every time. He focused on her smile. Her smile. He smiled then. He could still do that. It had been a while since he actually felt ok.
He thought about the pain he felt when losing her. He remembered that taking his own life would only transfer all his pain onto someone else. He could not do that. He would hold on. He knew that she would want that. He would hold on to the good memories he had of her. He would remember her smile.
He stepped down from the edge. The ring traveled across his fingers one last time. He pocketed it and headed for the door that led to the stairs. He would not be completely better tomorrow, but maybe the day after that. If not then, then maybe the day after that. He would take it one day at a time.
They were in love. He and her. Each from different walks of life. It was fate that brought them together that day at the bakery. Their orders were exactly the same. He chased after her on the sidewalk. When he caught up to her, he started the conversation and she engaged. That was it. They were bound together from that day.
They were perfect together. Everything just fit. It was all just right. If you ever saw them, you could tell that they were in love. They didn’t have to do anything. It was in the way he looked at her. In the way her body automatically responded to him.
She never told him how she felt when he left her. She was empty without him. He gave her so much life. More than he could ever know. Whenever he left she would be attacked by all her demons. Memories of the past that stayed on her mind all day.
She had no one to talk to. No friends. The only friends that she had were the mutual ones that she shared with him. She used to see a psychologist for her episodes, but she stopped. She was antisocial by choice. She never tried to go out of her way to make friends or meet people. She kept to herself unless he was there.
He never knew she cut herself. She hid that secret from him. He had never seen her entire body before. Even when they were intimate it was when the lights were already off. She wore long pajamas to be to cover the scars on her thighs. Three to five lines in a set. It was the only way she could release the pain from her body. It helped her to get through the episodes.
She wanted to tell him but didn’t know how he would react. He was helping her to cut less. Something inside kept the blade to her flesh. He knew that she might have been depressed, but he didn’t know how deep it went. She thanked him daily for the help he was doing with his love.
A week and a half had passed since he found her at the foot of the bed. The image still crystal clear in his dreams. He remembers how it felt to have all the happiness drained out of him and then to be filled with extreme sadness.
He sits in the front of the service with her family. It was a small gathering at the cemetery. She didn’t have many friends, but there were people he knew that cared for her enough to want to be there. It was hell inviting them though. Each time he almost broke on the phone, being forced to remember she wasn’t here anymore.
He wanted to reach out and touch her face as she lay in the casket. He wanted her to wriggle from his touch the way she would when he used to wake her up to go to work. The pastor had finished talking for the body and invited friends and family to offer up their words. Her parents spoke together, then an old friend from college. It was his turn now.
He choked so much during his eulogy that most of it was barely audible. Everyone cried for and with him. His pain was so evident. It was the love of his life. Now gone. He finished and stood in place at his seat. He looked at his love. She was still beautiful.
The casket closed. He felt his heart breaking. They began to lower it into the ground. His heart broke some more. After some time it was buried under six feet of dirt. He felt cold. As if sharing the experience, he felt as though he too were buried. He gasped for air.
Her mother held his shoulder and sat him down. She kissed his forehead and told him that it was going to be alright. With time. She told him that he would always be welcomed at her home. Her husband nodded in agreement. The heartbroken lover smiled at them and thanked them.
“Suicide doesn’t end the pain, it just passes it on to someone else.” The James Kirkup quote resounded in his head over and over. The pain she must have felt was unbearable because he could barely take it. He just sat in his car, lost. Not knowing what to do next.
He walked giddily on the sidewalk on his way home. His smile bright as he greets passersby. The roses in his right hand smell sweet. The food in the other hand was still warm. They were from all her favorite places. Head to the sky, he thought about her smile. He stopped walking and looked at the moon. It was bright. It reminded him of her, the light of his life as he called her. He looked forward again and continued walking.
He rounded on their home, where he knew she was waiting on him to surprise her. One by one he took the stairs to the front door. He put the roses under his left arm and dug in his pocket for the keys. Finding them, he maneuvered the key into the lock and turned. It silently unlocked and he slipped in, careful to close the door behind him.
He crossed the hallway and headed for the bedroom. The keys were dropped onto a saucer next to hers. Good, she was home. He stood up straight and fixed his clothing. He walked slowly to the bedroom. He gently pushed open the door and was ready to see her face. The bright face that he was expecting was white. Devoid of life and the usual happiness.
She lay on the floor at the edge of the bed. Her hands limp at her side. The left was what caught his eye and held his gaze. She has cut herself. Too deeply this time. A pool of blood surrounded her. His worst fear had come through. The progress that he thought he’d made with her, was it all in his head? The Chinese food and roses hit the floor a moment before his knees did.
He couldn’t move. The love of his life sat there. Gone. Forever. Could he have helped? Could he have done better? He barely felt the tears that ran down his face, but he knew they were there, running. His mouth was wide open. Why? He realized he was screaming, but he couldn’t hear anything. The only thing he could focus on was the hole being torn into his chest.
He would never be the same again without her.