Monday, December 15, 2008

A Walk for Christmas

Just fifteen more days until Christmas Day. The house was cold and lonely this time of year. Sarah wished that Jake was home now. He said he would make it back to her before Christmas. He had driven to Aspens to finalize some paperwork for their business. She and Jake had started a self-help organization shortly after they were married. It had grown into so much more than either of them had anticipated. All was going well and they had watched their children grow to adults. Their life was good but the long weeks without Jake home were sometimes hard on her.
Oh, she got around alright when he was gone but she felt much more comfortable when it was Jake that helped her. She was only thankful that the accident happened after the kids were old enough to care for themselves. She sat down for a moment, her legs already tired, and thought back to the day it all happened. She had just taken Ellie and Mark to school and was going home. The High School was only six blocks but Denver and January were not a good mix unless you were a polar bear or you skied. She was of course neither and so Sarah preferred the warmth of her house when winter came. Her van had just turned on to the main road when out of no-where came a Semi. She never saw him coming nor does she remember the exact point of impact. Her memory was only as good as the stories that people told her when she woke six weeks later.
The fire department used everything they had at their disposal to "peel" the van from around her. Only the drivers side of the van was not fully crushed by the Semi's frame. Had the kids been in the van, neither of them would be alive today. Sarah felt her body shudder at that thought. Beautiful, energetic, kind to a fault and loved dearly by her husband and kids, in one instant her entire life had changed. Jake had been a darling through it all. He had not left her side for the entire time she was in the coma. He read to her and talked to her as if she were sitting there next to him, wide awake. The kids saw her as often as school allowed and on weekends, they would take Jake out to a nice place to eat. Months and months of therapy brought her only to the point of being able to walk a few feet at a time.
The Doctors were insistent that she had more in her but she was the one that knew her body. They had no right to make her feel guilty when she had done all she could do. She also had the right to be afraid to go out very often. Doctor appointments and absolutely needed trips were enough for her. Jake could handle the business abroad and she could take care of the paperwork and bills. It was perfect and she was still giving to the business. As for the kids, well, they too could understand where she was coming from. Their games could be recorded and she would sit with them as if she were right there and watch it at home. That wasn't such a hard thing to do. Their attitudes would improve after a while, she was sure.
Sarah then remembered her last words with Jake as he was leaving two days ago. The kids had wanted her to attend a Christmas play and sing-a-long at the school. She had tried to explain to them that it was just too much.
"Mom, the school has their lift and Ellie and I can take the wheelchair along so you have somewhere to sit. We worked it out with the school so you didn't have to miss this one."
"Mark, I told you I wasn't up to it! I simply am not alright with any of it with your father going to be gone! IS that so hard for you to understand!?!"
"Come on Mark, let's just go to school and forget about it. I told you she wouldn't go anyways, even if Dad were here!"
"Ellie, you apologize to your mother, right now! That was unkind to say to her!"
"No Dad, you tell her sorry if you want! I am not sorry!"
Ellie had stomped to the front door, opened it and slammed the door shut, without another word said. Mark had simply shook his head, leaned down to kiss his mom and left. When they were both gone, Jake sat down beside her.
"Would it really be so bad if you went, Sarah? The kids don't ask much of you anymore. They went to a lot of trouble to set this up for you. They just love you and want you to share in their lives."
"What, now you too!? Damn Jake, I thought you were on my side! I don't' like going anywhere without you."
Jake's next words stung her deep. Never had he spoken this way to her. The gentleness of his tone she was so used to had been replaced with disappointment and sarcasm. "You never want to go anywhere, with or without me! When was the last time you and I did Anything!? I guess it's like the Doctors say. When you decide it's important enough to walk, you will walk as far as you want."
"Just go Jake and have a safe trip! There is no reason for us to even go there."
Jake kissed her. He kissed her not like he had for the past two years... He Kissed her, deep and full. He held her to him so she could not pull away. He moved his lips to her ear and whispered in to it.
"I love you with all that I am, Ms. Ellie, and I believe in you. I will be home before Christmas and we will pick up where that kiss left off."
"Jake you know it is hard for..." She touched her lips now. She could still feel the warmth of his lips on hers. She remembered how her whole insides had responded and she remembered how she had pushed him away that day. He had touched her lips with her fingers so she could not finish her sentence. He kissed her again and then... he was gone.
Sarah was startled from her thoughts by a knock at the door. She wheeled herself to the door and peeked out. It was two officers standing outside. She opened the door and asked them inside.
"May we sit down for a moment Mrs. Lange?" Sarah looked at the two gentlemen sitting in front of her. She wondered what the kids had done now.
"I assure you officers, whatever the kids have done, it will be taken care of when their father gets home."
Ma'am, this isn't about your children. I am afraid we have some bad news for you."
Sarah adjusted herself in the chair. Jake's face ran through her mind and she began to cry. she sat up and listened.
"We got word from Aspen that your husbands car has been found in a ravine outside of the city. The car was pulled from the ravine but no body was found. The fire department and rescue center do not think he could have survived the crash. They will try looking after weather clears."
The officers left and Sarah sat alone, staring at nothing. She placed her hand on her heart and then her lips. The tears raced down her cheek. She closed her eyes and felt for Jake's presence. Surely she would know if he were dead. She didn't feel that at all. Jake was alive and she was going to make sure somebody knew. She would Not lose the only man she ever loved. She slowly rose from the chair and stood...


mrsbrian said...

wow Darrel you have yet again,started me on a story that I cant wait to read the next insert of. I love your storys be they short or long you bring out such feeling to all you write.

Anonymous said...

This is great! Don't leave us hanging too long...hugs, me

Lisa Di Clemente said...

ooooh man! This is GREAT!

Anonymous said...

Darrel, I can tell this is going to be another great story. I already can't wait for the next chapter. Hopefully we won;t have to wait to long for it.


Darrel said...

The comments here are fabulous. Every single word encourages me and energizes me. It is your comments and the knowledge that you are reading my short story that gives me the purpose for continueing foward with the story. Since I never look ahead nor think about what might come out, I am as anxious to see the next segement as you are.
Thank you sooooooo much, Charlie, Debbie,Lisa and Anonymous for your very wonderful words here. Hugsssssss to all, Always. Darrel

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