Flash Fiction #24 – Full of Grace
Content warning: suicide
Ellie sat in the darkened room watching the snow blow past the window. Through the swirling, gusting flakes, she caught glimpses of my neighbor’s glittering Christmas tree, the lights slowly blinking through their pre-programed cycle in the warmth of their living room. Glancing to where their–her, she supposed–tree usually stood and couldn’t muster the strength to feel anything beyond the acknowledgement that she hadn’t put it up and wasn’t likely to do so.
She’d gone so far as to get one from the tree farm down the road, but the tree was still leaning against the side of the house next to the front door where it had be for the past week. She’d thought the lights and the decorations might lift his spirits–at least a little. He’d always loved Christmas. But she’d been stupid. Naïve to even think it might have helped. Colored lights weren’t going to improve the emotional turmoil and downward spiral he’d been fighting for the last ten years. She never should have left him to get the stupid thing.
She pulled the blanket more snugly around herself and tightened her fingers around the envelope she’d found two days before. Unable to bring herself to open it, she’d been carrying it with her ever since. Reaching toward the end table, she tuned on the lamp and smoothed the crinkled paper across her thigh, staring at her name written in his careful, blocky penmanship.
She wasn’t sure why she hadn’t expected it to end this way. He’d always said that he’d never go through the kind of pain and suffering his father had–the same descent. But, he’d also promised he wouldn’t leave her. But he had. He’d slipped away as soon as her back was turned. Slipped into the vastness of death leaving her to explain to their friends–their family–their daughter who slept fitfully in the next room.
Anger she hadn’t allowed herself to feel surged through her–a hot spike of rage that burned quickly away leaving her with nothing but the envelope clutched tightly in her fist. Forcing her fingers to relax, she smoothed out the paper again and slid her fingertip beneath the flap, lifting it up.
With shaking hands and tears filling her eyes, she pulled out the folded note and opened it.
I’m sorry, Ellie. I should have loved you both much better than this. I tried, but I can’t do this anymore.
There was more, but this was all she could handle today. Maybe tomorrow she’d be able to answer her daughter’s questions. Maybe tomorrow she’d be able to answer her own.
Well…that was fucking depressing. But…you know. That’s what the song made me think of.
Kris has a story, too. Hopefully, hers is happier.