Short Story 8

The Note

Liquid splashed upon the keyboard, salty tears formed from the burdens of guilt. Meaningful words are written on the screen before himself, tempting the verge of meaningless. Hollowed feelings pushed to the forefront of existence; intense emotions draining the essence of life.
‘To my wife, I am sorry.’ It began.
‘There is a growing emptiness within me. It isn’t you. You have done everything right. You have raised our family courageously, and my struggles will just drag you on the kids down.’
He sighed, wiping tears from his eyes. A knock echoed through the study door.
“Cameron, dinner is ready.”
“Th.. thanks, Katie. I will be down in a minute.”
Cameron turned back towards the computer. Closing the saved writing and clearing the current saves selection, he placed the computer into sleep mode. Stepping out of the study, Cameron moved towards the bathroom down the hall. He washed his face, drying the moisture with his bath towel.
“Are you okay? Your eyes are quite red.” Katie asked,
“I’m just tired,” Cameron said, placing some peas on his plate. “This roast looks good.”
“Thank you.” Katie smiled.
“How was school today, boys?”
“It was good. I made it onto the football team, dad.” Tobyn said.
“Well done, son. How about you, Phillip?”
“I asked Chelsea out on a date.”
“Oh?” Cameron smiled, nudging his eldest boy.
“Yeah, We are going to Nat’s Burgers this Friday after school.”
“This is great news, but did you clear this over with your mother first?”
“He did. He is sixteen now, so as long as he does his homework, he can go. I figured that you could pick him up after work.”
“What is today? Tuesday?”
“I, uh, I will see where I am at with work, whether I can do it or not.”
“Is working getting busy again, Cam?”
“Something like that.” He said, finishing dinner. 

The washed dishes are now drying on the racks. Katie curled up on the sofa with a book. The stairs leading back up towards the bedrooms and study, feeling more like an Everest climb than a single story lead up. Each step a challenge against the world, a personal demon sent to destroy his very being. He opened the door to the study. The darkroom called him, like a wormhole in the outer galaxy beckons the stars surrounding it. The door closed behind him, the only light in the room emitting from the computer screen as it awoke from its temporary hiatus. Camerons’ fingers felt the buttons on the keyboard, stroking his fingers across the rigged lines and gaps between letters. Taking a deep breath, he focused back on the words that appeared before him.
‘I am a sinner; I was never the man you thought I was. The burdens of this guilt have weighed me down for the past few years. I tried to fight my demons. Alone. What good is a man if he cannot fix a problem? I cannot fix my mistake, and because I am unfixable, broken, I am unworthy of being by your side, an injustice to society.’
‘Katie, I never wanted to distance you from me. At times I have wanted to curl up in your arms and cry, unleashing my soul out into the world while you comfort me. But we both know that I could never drop my pride, ego, and strength to do such a thing. Because of this, I cannot continue with life, with the heartache, my inner voice screaming insanities at me day in and day out.’
The sound of a light switch pressed and a door gently shutting down the hall made Cameron turn around and check. A light shone from under the bathroom door, the staircase leading downstairs bathed in darkness. Turning back, he walked towards the study, where he shut and locked the door.
‘Katie, I need your forgiveness. The green grass tempted me. She was young, so, so young. I guess I was holding on to my youthfulness. I stumbled, and I couldn’t stop myself. I don’t think I would have if I could, I know it isn’t what you want to hear, but it is the truth. I did what I hear men say all the time, and I blamed you; I told her you wouldn’t provide for my needs. Oh, how I was wrong. I am sorry. I, I am sorry.’
Tears welled in his swollen eye pocket. Tissues lay over the desk, others on the ground. A gentle tap sounded as the doorknob tried to turn.
“Cameron? Are you working? Please come to bed soon.” The softness of Katie’s voice caressing the air.
“Go to bed, honey. I will be in soon.”
“Okay, goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” he paused. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”

The sounds of birds chirping didn’t wake the boys. Their mother’s devastated scream did. Racing down the stairs Tobyn and Phillip watched as Katie kneeled at the feet of a lifeless form. The old tree that once hung a tire swing now held their father.
“Phillip, Call nine-one-one.” Phillip stood still, his eyes dead ahead.
“NOW!!” Tobyn yelled at him.
Tobyn stepped over to his mother, holding her trying to lead her away from the scene.
“No, I have to stay.” Katie sobbed, tears saturating her face.  
“Mom, you need to. The police will be here soon.”
Katie looked at Cameron, hanging there, swinging from the morning breeze, a blueish tinge to his body, his eyes bubbling out from their sockets, foam formed at the mouth.
“Why?” she asked.
“Look, mom,” Tobyn pointed to the paper protruding from the left jean pocket.  
“The police are on the way,” Phillip yelled “They said don’t touch anything.”
Katie reached over and grabbed the paper.
“Oh, how I was wrong. I am sorry. I, I am so sorry.” 
The sirens echoed in the distance, flashing blue and red lights bounced off of the roadside trees. A sheriff’s car pulled up to the end of the driveway. Katie heard the door shut, the crunch of pebbles under footsteps. She read the final passage in the suicide letter.
‘Dearest Katie, your sister, never took off to Nebraska with a new man.’
‘She threatened to tell you when she fell pregnant. I couldn’t let her do that. You mean everything to me. So I took her to the old cabin we used to use. I kept her there. I was hoping after the birth of the child; she would change her mind about telling you. When Clarissa was born, she was beautiful. But Kasey kept pleading to let you know that we could run off afterward. I didn’t want to leave you. I am sorry, I couldn’t let her take you from me. Her spirit chases me every night. I can not sleep because she waits for me. I cannot go on having sleepless nights. Their bodies lay at the bottom of Cestral lake. Please forgive me.’

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