"Good morning Susan, how are you feeling today?" I said with a smile, as I raised the cup to my lips. I walked over to the table and picked up the Tuesday paper. I was in a great mood.
"Good as ever!" she replied and went to get another cup of coffee. I always loved the way she was so cheerful in the morning. As I watched her pour the kettle, I thought about how much I loved her. But something was different. She seemed to act differently, but how? I sat down and began to read the business section. My joyous morning soon turned into dismay as I read one of the headlines.
"The stock market crashed 80 points!" I yelled as I read the horrible news. I couldn't believe the words on the page.
"That's nice dear."
Susan never was very interested in my job. I guess being a stock broker never was very interesting to her. But that was fine, because teaching never interested me. Still, I wouldn't mind if she occasionally asked me how I'm going to invest today, or even what I plan to do for lunch. No matter though, because I know she cares without showing it.
"William, can you run some errands, after work?" she asked with a hopeful expression smeared across her face. I guess that counted.
"I suppose, but I have a meeting with my associates. I will be busy most of the day, and will probably get home very late." I then remembered I had forgotten to bring my new figures from my desk. I had worked on them all night, and was quite impressed by the way they stood. It would be a shame to forget them. I looked up at the clock; 7:25. I had better get going, or I would be late for my presentation. I quickly wolfed down two slices of toast, and the rest of my coffee. I hate rushing.
I arrived at work. Everyone else had heard the news too. I wondered how my partner felt, so I decided to go see her. I went to my secretary and asked where she was.
"I'm sorry Mr. Bennington, she hasn't arrived at her office yet."
"Where could she be," I wondered. Karen was always early to arrive, and late to leave. All of the other brokers admired her. And there she was, late. We had an opening presentation in the morning, and she wasn't here yet. This worried me greatly. I quickly sorted my figures, and proceeded to the meeting room, alone.
"I am William Bennington, and I represent our company's division of stock. My partner is absent today, so I will be presenting my figures by myself."
The meeting was a snap. Still, it would have greatly soothed me if Karen was there to help me. I sat back at my desk, and proceeded to do what I do almost every single day. After what seemed like countless hours of paperwork and figuring, I got a message from my secretary.
"Mr. Bennington?" I heard over the fuzzy intercom. "I have just received a message that your partner was in a minor car accident, and was taken to a nearby hospital."
"My God!" I yelled. This was horrible news. I only hoped that she was all right. "Where is she? I have to go see her!"
"I don't know that yet sir, but I will tell you as soon as I get the information."
The rest of the day was a blur. I couldn't even remember what I ate for lunch. All I could think about was Karen. Then I remembered, we had a meeting later that day, and Karen had the rest of the figures. I quickly went to my secretary and said, "Send out a memo canceling my 5:45 meeting."
"Yes Mr. Bennington." I guess I had time for errands after all.
I felt really bad for Karen and decided to buy her flowers and a get well card. I figured I would be told where she was eventually, and would see her then. I went to the store and got the best card I could find. I bought some nice fresh flowers and drove home. I put the flowers in water and sat down at the table. Picking up a pen I wrote:
I drove to all the places on the list. The food store, the transfer station, and a couple of other boring places. It's not that I hate chores, it's that they never interested me. Then I thought of Susan. She wasn't at home the time she normally is. Then I remembered. She said she would come home later today, that's probably why she gave me the chores. I looked at the last thing on the list; Doctor's Appointment. No! I yelled in my head. That meant I had to drive all the way up to the doctor's office and make an appointment for her. For some reason, this doctor doesn't make appointments by phone. I think he's a quack anyway.
On my way back down the highway I noticed it was rather dark. I glanced at the clock; 7:12. "Wow!" I said, louder than I probably wanted to. "Where does the time go? Susan will definitely be home by now." I thought. Oh, how I loved Susan. She was always so nice. She was perfect, but lately she was acting differently. I couldn't quite figure it out, but she was not herself. She seemed to be a little suspicious of things. With what, I didn't know.
As I pulled into the driveway I heard a car running in the garage. "She must have just gotten home." I thought. "But it seems a little late."
When I opened the garage door exhaust poured out. "Honey, you should probably turn the car off." I went into her car and finding she wasn't there, I sat down in the driver's seat. I turned the key off and the engine settled. "Susan, you know you shouldn't leave the car on when it's in the garage." I was slightly worried. I knew she knew better than that. I got out of the car, and nearly died. Slightly below the right headlight I saw a lock of hair. I quickly rushed over and found Susan, just lying there.
"NO!!!" I yelled in anguish. I knelt down and lifted her head to my shoulder, cradling her lifeless body in my arms. "Please don't die on me, we don't deserve this!"
I stayed there for a long time. If only for eternity, we could remain there. I couldn't let her go. I wouldn't let her go. I dragged what was left of my emotionally torn carcass to the telephone. I called an ambulance. Shortly, I heard the sirens. The ambulance parked in the driveway, and all the men rushed out. They took her from my arms, and I watched in disbelief as they took her away.
I sat down at the table where we used to sit every morning. I looked across at the chair, empty. After a long time of gazing I noticed a letter on Susan's chair:
I was to blame for Susan's death. But in a way, she was too. She was never interested in what I did. She never knew who I worked with. But I never told her about Karen, and we made the worst mistake of our lives. I no longer have Susan.
The next couple weeks I was dead; mentally and psychologically dead. It was as if a part of me died along with Susan. My life was lacking of all emotion. Every day I looked over the table, expecting to see Susan sitting there. Waiting for her to sit there. But every day the seat was empty, and nothing remained but a memory.
My co-workers said I was strong, and took Susan's death very well. What they didn't know was that I was torn up inside. They did notice, however, that I was a little down, so they decided to hold a memorial service for Susan. That surprised me, because the only thing they knew of her, was what I had told them. But still, it made me feel a little better.
"Susan Carter Bennington, was loved and remembered by many..." the priest said, in such a soothing tone. I sat in the first pew as I listened to the priest retell my darkened past. I started to dream, about all the things Susan and I had done together. Picnics, movies, the honeymoon; there were so many memories, in such a short time. Five years was a nice number, but it could have been much longer.
I didn't really accept Susan's death. In my mind she was still living with me, not physically, but in my heart. I never realized how much I had loved her, until she was gone. Then I thought of her death. She died a quick, painless suicide, carbon monoxide poisoning! Still, she was dead, and for a mistaken reason. I missed her.
The memories I had of Susan weren't enough. I longed to be with her once again. I needed to be with her. My love for her was so strong, I had to find a way to be with her once again. After months of mourning at her grave, and remembering her death, I knew what I had to do.
And now I sit, on the floor of the cold, damp garage. My memories of Susan fading faster than ever. As the mist swirls around my head, I suddenly feel quite sleepy. I lay down, and close my eyes. Yes, sleep would feel very nice right now.
A brilliant light almost hurts my eyes. But then I see the face, the face I once loved. I lift my hand out to her, and let Susan take me away.