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He was always told “time heals all things”, but now he was beginning to doubt that. “Honey would you like to go to the store with me?” Marie asked her husband. “Not today.” he replied. Able had been acting strange for a while now. He never wanted to go anywhere anymore, and Marie was beginning to miss her fun, loving partner. But instead of pushing the subject she replied, “Okay. I love you.” and gently kissed him on the forehead. Able responded, “I love you, too.” as she began to walk out the door she turned and looked at Able. She smiled genuinely and said, “You promise?” This used to be an ordinary question they asked each other every time they said they loved each other, since they were teenagers. Yet recently, it seems they have forgotten. Able hesitated, then looked up from the newspaper in his hand, at his wife. He had never seen anything so beautiful. Her pure white hair, soft, beautiful skin, cute cleft chin, and her outstanding blue eyes. He smiled while reminiscing the old days in his mind. He remembered how much he loved his wife, and how grateful he was to have married the best woman in the world, and his best friend. “I promise.” he finally replied. She smiled, satisfied and walked out of the door.
He never thought he would get that phone call. The one that would change the rest of his life. The one that would tear his heart into pieces. The one that would leave him hating himself and his life for what seemed like forever. “There’s been an accident Mr. Shellington.” said the man on the other end of the telephone. “What kind of accident?” Able replied quietly. “Your wife, Marie, was in a car accident. She was hit by a reckless driver that ran a red light. We were unable to save her. She was lost at the scene of the
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crash. I am terribly sorry sir.” There was no response on the other end. Able was unable to speak. There were no words to describe what was going through his mind. He was speechless. “Sir, are you there?” said the officer. “Yes, I am here.” Able said “Thank you for informing me Officer.” “Your welcome Mr. Shellington. I am sorry for your loss.” then the officer hung up. Able sat there with the phone in his hand, still sitting in the same place he was when Marie left him. When she left him forever. Tears began to fill his eyes and soon it was an uncontrollable cry. He wondered why he had to tell her no. Why couldn’t he have just gone with her to the store like she had asked him to do so innocently? He blamed himself and wished it would have been him in the car instead of her. He remember the last words they spoke to each other and that made the tears stream down his cheeks.
After the war he was never the same. He was emotionless. When he was fighting in Vietnam, it was all about survival. He couldn’t be held back by his feelings. He had to stay alive and fight. The war left a permanent mark on him forever. He could never forget what happened there. The long, terrible days of fighting would be a recurring memory for the rest of his life. Much like the war, he could never forget his daughter. How she would never forgive him for what he did. How he hurt her. The first time his daughter Rebecca’s husband hit her she went to Able. She told him it wasn’t his fault. He had been drinking and she upset him. It was her fault. Then he hit her a second time. This time though, she didn’t go to Able. Able found out from Marie. Able decided that he would take care of it. Able thought this was unacceptable and that Rebecca deserved better then that. So he had
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a guy take care of it. He didn’t know what the man said or did, but he knows that he didn’t kill him. Rebecca was furious with Able. She called him terrible names, told him she hated him, and that she wanted nothing to do with him. So they have not spoken since. It kills him every single day to know that his daughter hates him, for trying to protect her.
And now this. His best friend is gone, he is permanently scarred by the terrors of the war, and him and his daughter do not speak. He wanted to kill himself. He fells like there is no point in living his life.
His daughter sends him a letter. She tells him how sorry she is and sad about the passing of her mother. She knows how much he cared about her. And she will miss her. At the funeral they didn’t speak. The service was sweet, and exactly the way Marie would have wanted it. All of their family and close friends attended. It was a tough hour and a half for Able. Sitting in the church alone, no one to hold his hand through the ceremony, no one to tell him to fix his tie, or to look over at him and give him a comforting smile. Seeing his daughter Rebecca didn’t help. She still wanted nothing to do with her father. She gave him a quick goodbye hug at the end of the service and left. It was no use. Even in time of need she would never forgive him.
The days turned into weeks, and Able still would not leave his house. He felt like there was no point in life. He couldn’t find the good in anything anymore. His partner was gone. When he slept it was cold. He would find himself reaching over in the middle of the night, only to find that no one was beside him. It was the worst feeling in the world.
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Knowing that you were alone. He couldn’t do it anymore.
One day he was sitting in his living room looking out the window. He saw the neighborhood children playing, and noticed how carefree they were. They had no worries in the world. He noticed a child sad, sitting alone on the curb. He watched as one of the other children stopped playing with the rest of the kids and went and sat with him. He comforted him, and got him to play with everyone else. And when he did, he was happy and carefree like the rest of them. For some reason, he felt something telling him to turn on the television, so he did. He was flipping through the channels and came across this middle-aged Russian man singing but without words. He watched for a minute and every time, just as he would think the man was done with the song, it would continue on even longer. This finally began to make him laugh. He was happy and filled with laughter. He hadn’t felt that feeling in a very long time. After the program was over he sat in his chair. He began to think about Marie. He looked at the door and could imagine her standing there so well, that he felt as if he could get up and hug her. How badly he wished he could hold her again. Just for a second.
He continued thinking about his daughter. Why must he lose her too? Why couldn’t she be a part of his life when he needed her the most? After seeing that video, he remembered that he could laugh again. He remembered what it felt like to be happy. He knew Marie would want him to be happy. She wouldn’t want him trapped inside their home for the rest of his life, unhappy with himself and everything around him. So he got up. He put a jacket on and grabbed his car keys and headed for the door. He jumped in the
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car but stopped. What will she say? Will she hate me more for trying to make this right? For trying to be a father again? Something told him to do it. To take the chance. So he did. He turned the car on and began to drive. Drive to the place he feels unwanted. To the place of memories.
After driving for two hours, and truly debating turning around about twenty times, he arrived. He pulled up to a two story house with a white picket fence, freshly trimmed grass, and a new stone walkway leading to the big red door.
“This is it.” Able said to himself, trying to be calm. He took a deep breath and opened his car door. He began walking up the steps and finally made it to the door. He hesitated, then rang the doorbell. Rebecca answered. “Dad?” she said surprised, “Is everything okay?” Able hesitated, and then he said “Hi. Yes, everything is fine. I just, I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t have come. I should go.” he began to walk away when she grabbed his arm. “No, Dad, please come in.” and together, they walked inside.