One Lonely Night
Her eyes glistened with tears as her lips trembled. The face of a woman, so powerful and with undeniable strength, had become weak in the sight of what lay before her. The man she loved. The man she cherished. What made her cry? For love had to be the strongest of all emotions to induce even the smallest of tears
The time was 7:30 on a Monday morning. The smell of gasoline lingered in the air long enough for anyone to notice. Sunlight filtered through the brush. The cry of an animal in the distance startled some doves in the clearing, and they took off in marvellous flight. Metal lay strewn about the grass. A body lay on the ground, eyes closed. A large cut was spread on its leg. A bird flew into the clearing and landed on the body. A throaty cry escaped from its beak, as it drowned out the wail of sirens approaching in the distance.
She slammed the door behind her. Her face was hot as she grabbed her new perfume and flung it forcefully against the wall. That was the perfume that he had bought for her. She didn't want it anymore. His voice coaxed from the other side
of the door. She shouted at him to get away. Throwing herself on the bed and covering her face with one of his shirts, she cried. His voice coaxed constantly, saying Carol, let me in. Let me explain.' She shouted out no!' Then cried some more. Time passed with each sob she made. When she caught herself, there was no sound on the other side of the door. A long silence stood between her and the door. Maybe she had been too hard on him, she thought. Maybe he really had a good explanation. She hesitated before she walked toward the door and twisted the handle. Her heart was crying out to her at this moment. He wasn't there. She called out his name. "Thomas!" Her cries were interrupted by the revving of an engine in the garage
. She made it to the window in time to see his Volvo back out the yard. "Thomas! Thomas....wait!" Her cries vanished into thin air
as the Volvo disappeared around the bend. Carol grew really angry all of a sudden. How could he leave? He'll sleep on the couch when he gets back. Those were her thoughts.
Thomas was fuming. At the same time, however, he felt guilt in his heart. Stacy was very attractive, yes! Her blond hair and her blue eyes certainly melted hearts. Yet, it didn't melt his. She wore the tightest and shortest suits he had ever seen, and they showed off every curve in his body. However, none of these things mattered to Thomas. His wife at home was what he cherished. That was what he longed to get back to at the end of every day. Stacy was a good secretary, he must admit. Yet, she burdened him with flirts and suggestive questions. The men at his workplace figured it out a long time ago. They called him everything, from stupid to scared, because he wouldn't go with Stacy. As he drove along the Main Road at 8pm on that Sunday night, he thought about the things that took place that day. How Stacy had twisted her ankle in work. He thought of how he was the only one with a car to take her home. He remembered how when he dropped her off, she blackmailed him sorely, telling him that if he did not spend an hour with her, she would call his wife and tell her that he was cheating. Recalling the moment, he stayed at her home and learned that Stacy's husband and only child died in an accident a mere four years before. They talked for a long time, and Thomas did not leave that house until nearly three hours after. They said their goodbyes and Thomas had headed home. Now, as he turned into a street to head back home, he thought of the situation and wondered if nothing made sense anymore.
Carol checked the time. It was an hour later since Thomas had gone and her eyes were swollen, her cheeks were flustered and red, and his shirt was wet. She got up and went down into the kitchen and drank a glass of water. The telephone rang. She ran to it and answered. The dial tone mocked her. She wondered if it was Thomas's workplace. They had phoned earlier asking if he had come home yet. She had told them no' at the time. They told her how a lady at work got injured and he went to drop her home, but he should have been back a long time ago. She was as surprised as the person on the other end of the line. She had hung up and called Thomas, only to receive a dial tone. She called him about three times after that. Carol had then turned as mad as a mother hen. She had waited home with the phone next to her on the couch. She had heard the Volvo come into the yard, the doorknob turn, his briefcase drop, his keys hit the glass table.... She had seen the surprised, or was it guilty-as-charged, face when he saw her. His shirt was out of his pants, and that was what got to her. She had screamed in his face "Thomas, you lying, conniving....!" Carol grabbed a tissue as a tear threatened to escape from the brim of her eyelids. She checked the time again. It was 11 pm. Time had flown. She yawned, suddenly realizing how tired she was. Carol climbed the stairs to her room and entered, only to whimper as a piece of glass stuck to the sole of her right foot and induced bleeding there. It was glass from the perfume bottle. She pulled it out and wiped the cut with a mentholated tissue. Throwing herself on the bed, Carol sang herself to sleep in the silence of the night. She did not even get up when Thomas' hand stroked her beautiful long hair and kissed her on her cheek. She didn't even get up when he headed out again into the night.
Carol got up and smiled. The sunlight filtered through the window. As she stretched on the bed to embrace the morning, her fingers touched paper. She turned over. There was a pink envelope on the bed. She pushed the stray strands of hair behind her ear and opened the envelope. It read, "Carol, I know I've been a jerk. I know that you won't listen to me, and I understand. Tomorrow my love will be a new day. We can start over. You can start over. The days will be long and hard. The nights will be dark and lonely, but know that I will be by your side, even my soul. I love you!"
Carol smiled at the note, but some parts seemed gray to her. What did he mean by "You can start over" or "I will be by your side, even my soul"? Nevertheless, she felt happy. She got up and noticed no more glass lay strewn all over the carpet. Her breakfast lay beside her on the bedside table. It was strangely cold, as if made a few hours before. She didn't care for that at that moment. All she wanted to see was her husband. Carol went down the stairs and there was no Thomas in sight. She looked out into the yard. Still no sign of Thomas. His Volvo wasn't parked there either. Maybe he went to the grocery to come back, she thought. Pouring herself a cup of coffee, she switched on the television set to the news, as was habit.
"This is the 8:00 news. In the headlines, The Yorkshire funding institute has granted a sum of money to two poor girls in the area of Boston. A man has crashed along the Bypass in lower Selby early this morning while driving his 1998 Volvo. And in international news..." The announcer's voice was interrupted by the shattering of glass into a million pieces and the splash of hot coffee, but more so by the cry of Carol's voice. "THOMAS!!!!!" Carol grabbed her keys and headed out the door. She raced to the main road and stopped a taxi. She did not know what to expect as the taxi went down the road. She trembled in agony. Her voice quivered as she told the driver that she wanted to go to the Selby bypass. She placed her face in her hands as the driver responded by saying "Big accident down there miss, you sure you wanna go?" She did not respond. As they neared the site, a policeman stopped the vehicle and talked to the driver. Carol couldn't take it. She opened the door and ran breathlessly toward the police vehicles and ambulance, and not to mention the large crowd that surrounded them. A policeman stopped her. "Ma'am, where you going?" he asked. She pushed past him and ran to the ambulance. "That's my husband! That's Thomas you're taking away! Give me back my husband!"She shouted. The paramedic calmed her down. "Ma'am is this one of your relatives? Will you please come with me?" Carol looked into his eyes and nodded. She held her breath as the paramedic led her to a stretcher outside of the ambulance. Carol held her breath anxiously. There was Thomas, looking pale and far-away'. He struggled to speak. "Carol" escaped his cold gray lips. Carol swept to his side and caressed his head in her hands. "I'm sorry for everything. I have always loved you, and I always will." Carol sniffed and said "Thomas, I love you just the same, forever and ever I will. I will always love you, and I'm sorry for everything." She kissed him just in time to hear his last breath. A hoarse cry escaped Carol's lips. She felt sick. Thomas was dead, right in front of her. She passed out on the ground.
It was four days later and Carol was at Thomas' funeral. The choir sang around her and her mind drifted off to the last day she spoke to Thomas. The Eulogy was next. Carol rose to the podium. She looked at the full congregation in front of her. There were sad faces. She took a moment before she began. Carol talked about Thomas' life and their marriage. She talked of the good things. Then, during a brief pause, she remembered the note. She was clutching the note in her hand. Unfolding it, she stared at the note and smiled. Then she began.
"People who stand before me today, I lost a person who was very dear to my heart and whom I loved with all I have. He taught me the simplest things in life. Now, they matter so much to me. Now they make sense. Thomas taught me how to love, even when I didn't love myself. He taught me how to live for today and not tomorrow's satisfactions. You may wonder why I am not crying. I am sad, yes. But Thomas; presence is all around us. He taught me that the days will be long and hard, the nights will be dark and lonely, but he will still be by my side, even his soul. People, who are gathered here today, never resist a moment to tell your loved ones that you love them. I LOVE YOU ALL!!"