It’s Fiction Friday; every week the members of the Friday Fiction Femmes Fatales write different stories based on the same prompt. This is episode eleven of a continuing series. If you missed the first ten episodes, here are the links:
1. Lesson Learned
3. The Aftermath
4. The Gun
5. Eyes Are the Windows to the Soul
6. Facebook Envy
8. Home = Our Beliefs about Love
9. One Day at a Time
10. A Stronger Woman
With the weather warming up outside, Amanda and Richard heated up their backyard swimming pool over spring break. Richard took the day off work to spend at home with his family since it was the last day of his sons’, Robert and Brad, holiday from school. Their oldest son, Steven, lived in his own place with his girlfriend and daughter, and they were too busy to come over, but Amanda talked to them after breakfast and everything sounded great. It was a sunny day outside, and she chopped vegetables in the kitchen while the guys swam outside. She planned to join them after she finished getting some lunch ready. Lying in the sun and floating in the cool water were two of her favorite pastimes.
Suddenly, Brad came running in the house through the patio door. “Dad’s dead. Mom, come quick!” Water dripped from his suit on the wood floor. He panted, out of breath, furrowed his brow, and Amanda could tell he wasn’t kidding. She could hear Robert crying.
“What? What happened?” she dropped the knife and ran outside, almost slipping on the floor. Adrenaline pumped through her veins, and she couldn’t believe what was happening. “Call 911 Brad!”
Richard floated face down in the pool. Robert cried and screamed in the pool next to him trying to turn him over. Amanda jumped in the water, shoes still on. “Richard, oh my god!” Blood was in the water, but she couldn’t see where it was coming from. “What happened?
“He jumped in and came up like this. I don’t know what happened! We were doing cannonballs. He said to watch him do a watermelon cannonball.”
She grabbed him under his armpits and tried to get to the side of the pool. He was so heavy. Amanda was only 5″3′, and Richard was 6 feet tall. She struggled to flip him over and hold his head out of the water, but he wasn’t breathing. His skin was turning blue as she cried his name.
EMS arrived on the scene and the minutes that ensued were a blur of medical equipment and questions. They were able to resuscitate him briefly, but couldn’t sustain it. He kept crashing. Amanda and the boys rushed to the hospital in the police car not far behind the ambulance. She called Richard’s family and told them what happened and to meet them at the hospital.
The doctors said he had a cervical fracture and was not breathing on his own. He had a large cut on the top of his head, toward the back. They didn’t know if he had brain activity, so they needed to care-flight him to another hospital and run several tests. Amanda knew it was bad news when the hospital chaplains introduced themselves while she, the boys, and his parents waited. The tests showed he had no brain activity and was in a vegetative state. Amanda would have to decide whether to take him off life-support and donate his organs. It was agonizing. Of course he would have wanted to donate his organs so other people could live, and she knew he wouldn’t want to be kept alive artificially. Those parts of the decisions made sense, but it would be so very hard to say goodbye to the man she married and created a family with, the man she hoped to grow old with. She sat with him in the hospital bed that night, speechless, crying, hugging him gently and lightly touching his face.
She sent the boys home with Richard’s parents and said she would stop at home and pick up some things then meet them at their house. It was too painful to think of sleeping in her bed without him. Just going back into the house was going to be hard. She made it quick, grabbing some clothes, shoes, and toiletries. She saw Richard’s phone on the table next to their bed, and she picked it up then headed over to her in-laws’ house for some sleep and a shower. What a day.
Amanda crawled under the sheets and started looking at pictures of them together on his phone. She noticed he had text and email notifications, so she opened them up, wondering what his last messages were about and to whom. She would be in charge of notifying everyone of his passing. At the top of his text screen were three messages from Amy, Amanda’s friend who also worked at the hospital with Richard. “Missed you today; How’s your day at home going? You there?”
My friend Amy? What the fuck?
There were emails from her too. As she scrolled through his pictures, she couldn’t believe her eyes. There were pictures of her husband with another woman, a beautiful, blonde woman in lingerie. And this woman was her friend, a single mom who was widowed when her husband died of cancer. Amanda supported Amy through the whole experience and helped with the care of her two boys, essentially letting the fox into the henhouse. She went into his ‘sent’ folder on his emails and sure enough, there was a long list of emails from Richard to Amy. One by one, she read them. He blamed Amanda for the deaths of their children and wanted to start a new life with her. He told her it wouldn’t be long until he was going to leave Amanda.
Her heart sank. Her stomach felt sick. How much worse could this day get? Amanda put the phone down and cried herself to sleep.
In the morning, she peeled herself out of bed and held herself together enough to go back to the hospital with her family and Richard’s parents. Richard’s phone kept vibrating with new messages, so Amanda turned it off. Today, she needed to focus on saying goodbye to her husband.
The hospital arranged the organ recipients, and informed the family they would take him off life support at 3:00 pm. Everybody said their goodbyes separately in privacy. During Amanda’s alone time with him, a few tears fell from his eyes as she lay in bed next to him, and she wanted him to answer her but knew he couldn’t. So, she just hugged him and kissed him and told him she loved him. Only Amanda and his mom were with him during his final breath. A piece of Amanda went with him that day.
Here is the prompt:
The Ides of March — that fateful day when Caesar was assassinated by coup by a team of Roman senators on the steps of the Curia in Pompey (http://news.discovery.com/history/art-history/julius-ceasar-stabbing-121012.htm). (Can you tell I love history?) Our character is betrayed, hardcore, by a friend. The relationship is forever altered, “killing” a little piece inside, of our protagonist, yet empowering her/him despite the damage.
Imagery, dialogue, movement…
Visit the other blogs to see what they wrote with the same prompts:
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Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!
- Friday Fiction #8: Home = Our Beliefs about Love (susannenelson.wordpress.com)
- Friday Fiction #6: Facebook Envy (susannenelson.wordpress.com)
- January Fiction Challenge #3: The Aftermath (susannenelson.wordpress.com)
- Fiction Friday #9: One Day at a Time (susannenelson.wordpress.com)
- Fiction Friday #4: The Gun (susannenelson.wordpress.com)
- Friday Fiction #10: A Stronger Woman (susannenelson.wordpress.com)
- Friday Fiction #7: Love (susannenelson.wordpress.com)