A Life Gone By

The ice in her rocks glass clinked as she raised it steady in the air.  The friendly warning of the front wheels gave her just enough time to prepare for the bump and avoid spilling on her new black trench coat. She sipped solemnly from the glass, savoring the sting of the whisky on her lips. Her body wilted against the door, and she rested her cheek against the cold glass of the tinted window.

“What a lovely couple,” she thought as she peered out at the lovers floating down the street. Their passion radiated from their clenched hands far enough to be detected by the eyes of a woman rolling by in a limousine.

The sidewalks were alive on that sunny afternoon. She took notice of an overweight young woman standing a few feet away waiting to cross the street. Sweat dripped from her forehead as she panted, leaning slightly over the carriage she was pushing to check on her infant. Her workout gear clung to unflattering body flaws, and her running shoes gleamed, as if they had been purchased the same day.

Swiftly moving through traffic ridden streets, she approached a businesswoman tottering gracelessly down the walkway in her heels; child walking by her side, groceries in one hand, briefcase in the other. She exhaled heavily and took another tingling sip that bordered on a gulp. 

“I remember those days,” she mused silently.

Faces came and went in a blur as the car rolled down the road. At one point they came to a stop and she rolled down the privacy barrier to find out what the hold up was. Without ever asking, she saw the middle aged woman in the the crosswalk waving politely to the driver. She pushed what must have been her mother in a wheelchair to the opposite side of the road. Returning the partition to its original configuration, she inhaled deeply through her nose and blew intensely through pursed lips until she was void of oxygen.

Some time later the vehicle came to a gentle stop. She kicked back what remained of her drink. This was it. This was the end of the road.

“Come, Michael. It’s time.”

Her husband looked over to her from the other end of the leather seat, dazed and desperate for any alternative to his current reality.

“I can’t do this…” 

“Neither can I, but we don’t have a choice in the matter.”

She opened the door and stepped out into the sun in one fluid motion. The sun burned against her raw eyes, and she immediately retrieved her sunglasses for safe measure. Michael emerged, though not quite so gracefully, and kept his gaze on the ground. They walked silently for a time, with nothing but the echo of her heels to remind them that this wasn’t a dream.

They woefully approached the casket that held their only daughter. Her lip quivered as she recalled the living, breathing people on that sidewalk. All of the things her daughter could have done, the future they could have shared, the family that could have been. She had chosen heroin instead, and nothing could change that now.

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9 thoughts on “A Life Gone By

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  1. The descriptions of the people they pass, even the way she treats her husband, tell us a lot about the mother’s mental state – her bitterness and detached grief are evident.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That ending was unexpected! I could tell in the beginning that someone had passed, but I had no idea who it was. The pace that you revealed your protagonist’s emotions worked well.

    Thank you for shedding light on this subject.

    Liked by 1 person

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