Tombstone By D.I. Jolly
It was cold that night, Jeremy believed he would always think about it when a cold wind blew and a shiver ran down his back. It was cold now, and as he and Emily stood silently side by side he could feel them drift even further apart. His mind knew it wasn’t her fault, he knew she had done everything right. But she was the closest one to the crisis and his heart needed something to project onto. When it wasn’t her, he only had himself to blame.
Four days earlier while he sat at his desk he smiled when her name popped up on his phone. He loved when his wife called, too excited to wait until he got home to share her story.
“Hello my love.”
When a man’s voice replied Jeremy’s world shattered around him. His heart broke and everything he’d spent his life working towards feeling meaningless. As the man continued to speak, he imagined a hard shell forming around him, to keep the pain and the growing sense of helplessness. He could hide in there for as long as it took to get things back on track and then he would deal with emotions.
He spent that night sitting in a waiting room, waiting for the worst day of his life to end, but every time someone came to talk to him they only seemed to tell him to wait longer. It began to feel like years had passed that way. Shitty coffee, stale bread and a constant flow of,
“We’re sorry Mr. Stones, you’re just going to have to be patient.”
Finally, a sombre looking older man with dark rings under his eyes stepped out to speak to him, and bring the final needle for his heart. But he didn’t let it affect him; it stuck in the hard shell with all the others and would stay there until he was ready for it. He thanked the doctor, thanked his staff and left to finally go home and spend eight hours lying on his bed blaming himself, but not crying.
Emily, on the other hand, didn’t have a shell to hide behind, and cried constantly; feeling like her tears were filling her soul pulling her down deeper and deeper into the dark cold water. Wanting desperately for Jeremy to reach a hand in and pull her up, or at least join her, anything so she didn’t feel so alone.
They lay back to back in bed, not sleeping, not touching, not speaking just lying there, lost, alone and afraid in an empty quiet house.
In the morning friends arrived to join them in their dark quiet. Emily continued to cry and Jeremy continued to actively not care. Friends left, as more friends arrived and nothing anyone said or did made the slightest difference. Until it seemed that the only thing they had left in common was their stubborn determination to stay stubborn.
Finally, on the fourth day, standing out in the cold with nothing left to hide from, watching his newly bought wooden box slowly going into the ground, cracks started to form in his hard shell and it hit him, she was never coming back and the only thing left of her was a cold grey stone which read:
‘Here rests a beloved daughter taken too soon.’
Tears welled up in his eyes and a tiny voice in the back of his mind told him to take his wife’s hand, and that, together they could carry each other through. But he couldn’t hear it over the voice that constantly reminded him that she was driving the car, she was uninjured, she had taken away the most precious and beautiful thing that had ever lived.
The wind picked up again sending another shiver down his back and he remembered how it had felt on that day, and thought again that he would always think of it when a cold wind blew.