Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Walk for Christmas

Sarah stood beside the bed she and Jake had share for better than half of her life. She ran her hand over the pillow he layed his head on every night. Tears soaked her cheeks as she heard herself telling Jake time and time again "I can't Jake. I don't want to cause more damage than is already done." She realized now that the true damage being done was to her marriage and to the love of her life. Fear that had gripped her after the accident had turned into something far worse, It had become a crutch to lean against every time she thought about going out or trying to resume the life they had once shared. Her doctors and therapist had warned her about this happening. She had found every reason she could to not restart her life again.
"What is it you were so damn scared of!? What was it that took you so far away from your family that you lost all connection with them... with Life!?" Sarah spoke these words aloud and the sound of her own voice startled her. "Damn lady, you even scared your own self." She shook her head and then continued to pack her clothes. She was still a little wobbly on her feet. Too many years of not walking had made her legs weak. It would take some time for everything to come back.
Sarah had been an over-achiever all of her life. She excelled at everything she did and yet she pushed the limits, never believing she had reached the top of her abilities. To do less than her best was unacceptable. To be better than the rest was a way of life. Having a father that was a college football star and a mother that had skated with names like Hamilton and Flemming left her with little choice. How terribly disappointing when their daughter chose to marry a "commoner." When they "excelled" in their business and became very wealthy, she made certain her parents always knew her "status" socially. Sarah realized, that moment, while touching Jake's pillow, that she had settled into the wheelchair because from there... She could not fail nor disappoint her parents. "Damn them!" she said aloud and continued to pack.
The front door opened and she heard Mark and Ellie come inside. "Mommmmm! Mom, where are you!?" Sarah was certain the site of the empty wheelchair had frightened them both. Mom, are you alright!?"
"I am in my bedroom, kids. Come in here please."
Ellie came in first. The look on her face was sheer fright. She ran to her mom's side as if she were going to reach out and pick her up. She stopped at the bed and stared at Sarah as Mark came into the room, stopping, staring also.
"Mom, what are you doing!? Why are you standing in here!? And what's with the suitcase!?" Ellie's sarcasm had returned in her voice.
"We got called to the principals office. They just said we were needed at home, Mom." Mark was also so good with her and never took a tone with his mother. Sarah turned and fell into him crying. He lowered her slowly to them bed. "What's going on mom?"
Sarah explained what she had been told by the police. The kids both were crying as they listened. "So, why the suitcase? Why are you packing like you are going somewhere?"
"WE are going to find your father. We are going to that ravine and we are bringing him back home with us.I will Not believe for a moment that your father is gone from us. Neither of you will do that either! I have made a lot of mistakes since that damned accident, but I am not going to lose your father because of them! You can go with me or I will go alone. Either way, I am going to bring your father home for Christmas!"
"Is that even a question mom?" Ellie hugged her mother so tight. Tighter than she had felt a hug in too long. She held Ellie against her and whispered to her. Her eyes flowing with tears she whispered "Please baby, forgive me for everything. I love you so much and I will never get back all I let slip away. But I will never let another moment, another concert or play get away from me. I promise you this. Just help me bring your daddy home. God, I need him so badly in our lives."
Tears soaked both their shoulders as Ellie cried out loud. Her sobbing brought Mark into the Hug. They would bring their father home together. They went to their rooms and packed for the trip. Sarah would go by the bank and draw out enough cash to get them to Aspens. Mark would drive the Jeep as Ellie had only just learned to drive.

Back in Aspen, the police had been contacted by rescuers concerning Jake. "We searched the area again. If he is down there, we don't know where. His body should be within a few hundred feet of the where the car was. It makes no sense to me at all. There are no drag marks so no animal found him, so far. We will look again tomorrow."
In the falling darkness, a man dragged himself along the rock wall of the cliff. He had no idea where he was and less of an idea, Who he was. The only thing he knew was that whatever was following him through the trees was not friendly. The low growls he heard from time to time and the snap of jaws told him that. He needed to get out of here before he became someones dinner.

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