The first thing Nick noticed about her was the hair. Sleek, sophisticated. The chin-length cut ending in slightly longer points near her mouth. She had pulled one side back against an ear, while the other appeared to tickle the underside of her jaw. If she noticed its stroking, she paid no attention, her focus ensnared in whatever book she was reading. She was dressed in a crisp dress, a white so stark, it gleamed like a beacon next to the cream color tablecloth. Her smooth tan legs crossed one on top of the other, in an enticing angle, like lovers spooning in a bed.
During the meal, he snuck furtive glances in her direction hoping for a brief glimmer of response, but none came. It was as if she didn’t feel the same undercurrent. Even when the waiter arrived to take away her still full plate, she looked up, smiled and then went back to reading. During dinner, as Nick’s date prattled on, he tried catching the mystery woman’s eye, even dropping a knife onto his plate. But the clattering only succeeded in startling a nearby couple and earned him a withering glare from his date. As Lila continued to babble, Nick motioned for the waiter to bring the check. He tried to pay attention to what she was saying, but every minute or so, his eyes would wander back to the table burrowed in the far corner.
“Nick, I’m ready to go.” Nick’s attention jerked back to the woman sitting across from him, her small perky face was puckered with distaste. Contrition slithered through him, but didn’t stay for long.
“Go get your coat and I’ll meet you up front,” he said. She huffed and stomped away, but her exaggerated gestures barely registered. All his attention was in the corner of the room. He pushed back his chair, gauging it would only take a minute to reach her table. But then what? He wasn’t particularly used to approaching women. They were usually the ones to make the first move.
Nick forced his feet to move. A moment later he stood at her table, unsure what words were going to come out of his mouth.
“I have to know what you were reading.”
She looked up, her perfectly shaped eyebrows lifting in earnest surprise. His breath caught as he waited for some kind of reaction. After what seemed like a millennium, she smiled, showcasing an even row of gleaming white teeth. He let out a pent up puff of air. She was breathtaking. Close up, he noted the angular jut of her jaw, clearly defined cheekbones and a set of evenly shaped lips. Her eyes were an indeterminate concoction of hazel green. The angularity of her face was perfect. A few pounds less and she’d be too thin. As is, she was flawless.
“You have to know what I’m reading? If I don’t tell you, will you expire on the spot?”
He smiled, a surge of relief easing his anxiety. “Let me rephrase. Please tell me what you are reading?”
He’d never heard of it. “Is it good?”
“Nick, can we go now?” He turned around. Lila was standing behind him, an angry fist resting on her hip.
“In a second Lila,” he said and turned back to the woman in white. “It was nice to meet you. I didn’t catch your name.”
She smiled. “I didn’t give it. Good night Nick.” She peered around him. “Good night Lila.”
Lila scrunched her face, as if she didn’t know whether to respond or ignore the proffered pleasantry. She mumbled something, her kohl-rimmed eyes narrowing and darting between her date and the seated woman. Nick stood for a few more seconds, not wanting to go, but realizing he’d been dismissed when the woman dropped her head and continued reading. Turning on his heel, he walked past Lila out of the restaurant.
At the end of the lengthy cafeteria table, Nick hovered over his tray, a large sandwich dangling from his hand. Stan, one of his buddies groused about work. As a new arrival at BCG International, Nick didn’t share Stan’s resentment of their environment. He enjoyed his network administrator position, a good gig for a guy a few years out of college. As Stan bemoaned his new manager, his hands flying with gusto as he spoke of a millionth infraction she committed before lunch, Nick prepared to chomp on another bite when Stan’s eyes grew round and he stopped speaking. Nick turned his head and almost dropped his sandwich. It was her, his restaurant lady. She was at the far end of the room, yanking napkins out of the large plastic dispenser.
“Wow, look at that.” Stan’s voice croaked like a teenager on the verge of maturation.
Nick could only gulp in response. She was once again dressed in a stark white, her beautiful hair, sleek and straight. Not a strand was out of place. As she gathered her utensils, Nick noted how she expertly pirouetted on a shiny mile high heel and went to sit at a table by the window.
“I think she’s new,” Stan said.
“Do you know where she works?” Nick asked, his mouth still gaping.
Stan shook his head.
“I saw her at a restaurant a few weeks ago,” Nick confessed, watching as she crossed her legs again, whipped out a book and began to read. Every few minutes, she would slowly take a small French fry off her plate and very deliberately put it in her mouth without ever breaking contacting from the pages.
“I’m going to talk to her,” Nick said, wiping his hands on his jeans as if it would somehow erase the nervousness coating his entire body.
“Aren’t you dating those two chicks?”
“We’re not serious,” he replied without peeling his eyes away from the far corner of the room.
He forced his body from the table and wove through the maze of chairs and tables until he stood in front of her.
“Are you reading the same book?” he asked, his mouth curling in what he knew was a devastating grin.
She looked up at him, her hands still spread across the pages of the book, a blank look in the moss green eyes.
“I beg your pardon?”
“Um.. you know. I wanted to know what you were reading,” he stuttered, realizing she hadn’t picked up on his reference to their earlier meeting.
She continued to look at him, a slight frown materializing between her flawlessly plucked eyebrows. And then suddenly, a glint of realization. Her eyes widened and she smiled. “Of course, from the restaurant.” She peered down at the book. “It’s a different one.”
His male courage refilled. “Can I sit down?”
Her brows furrowed again. “Why?”
“Um.. well.. I don’t know.”
She shook her head. “I’m sorry. That was rude of me. Yes, please sit down.”
He forced himself to move across from her, pulling out a chair and sitting.
“I’m sorry, I don’t remember your name,” she said.
“Oh, yes. That’s right. Nick.”
“Um.. So.. How long have you worked for the company?” he stumbled.
“I just started a few weeks ago.”
He nodded. There weren’t many departments he could see her working. Not finance or strategy. And definitely not IT with him and the rest of the geeks.
“Are you the new director?”
She shook her head, “Marketing assistant.”
Her answer caught him off guard. He would have thought she’d be a VP or higher.
“That’s cool,” he said, unable to find anything more of value to interject. “Where were you before?”
She folded down the left corner of her book, closed it and then looked up at him again, “Traveling the road of life.” She glanced at her watch and began to gather her belonging. “I didn’t realize how late it is. I have to get back. It was nice to see you again.”
“Wait, I don’t even know your name.”
She paused a moment. “Mary Rogers.”
“Can I call you sometime?” he asked as she began to walk toward the trash cans.
“I don’t think so.”
“Why?” he asked.
“It’s a complicated time in my life right now.”
“There is someone else?”
She looked at him with absolutely no expression in her eyes, “Something like that.”
“Can’t we at least be friends? Are you on Facebook?”
They arrived at the conveyer belt. She placed her tray on the rubber wheels and turned to him. It was a few moments before she spoke. “Yes.”
“Can I friend you?” he asked, proffering a hopeful smile that he knew showcased his dimples.
“I really have to go. It was nice to see you again.” She tucked her book under her arm walked out the double doors. Nick watched her disappear around the corner, every movement graceful and fluid. She was even better looking than he remembered.
Later that night, as Nick filtered through all the Mary Rogers’ in Facebook, he realized this was the first time in his life a woman hadn’t been readily available to him. It was hard to figure out why he was so fixated on her. Maybe it was her friendly aloofness or that she was a few years older, but something about her had ingratiated itself into his brain and wouldn’t let go.
His phone rang. He looked at the number and rolled his eyes. Was it too much to ask for her to stop calling all the time? He continued surfing. The phone rang again.
Nick grabbed it, opening it with gusto. “What is it Ma? I’m busy,” he snapped. The voice on the other end faltered and Nick he felt like a jackass. “I’m sorry Ma. Just busy. What’s up?”
As his mother began to jabber, Nick tuned her out and continued to Google his mysterious woman.
“What? Oh, yeah.. um. The job is fine. Listen, I gotta go. Sure, I’ll be there for dinner on Sunday. See ‘ya.”
She said something and without thinking, Nick replied. “Yeah, sure. Love you too. Bye.”
An hour later, Nick turned off the computer and went to sleep. He was nowhere closer to finding Mary Rogers. As he lay in the darkness, her name rhythmically lapped in his ear, as if a ghost silently drilled the two words into his head. Nick sighed and turned over. Tomorrow was always another day.
“We have to stop meeting like this.”
She looked up from her book and smiled. “C’mon Nick. I expect a better line than that from you.”
“May I?” he asked, gesturing to the chair. She waited for a split second, as if weighing her options, but then her face relaxed and she nodded. He pulled out the chair and sat. They were making progress. Sure, he didn’t have her number or even a Facebook page, but at least he was allowed to sit in her presence.
“You didn’t like my line? It usually works well.”
She tilted her head and arched an eyebrow. “On whom?”
He shrugged and she answered for him, “Anything in a skirt?”
“I think you have the wrong idea about me,” he said. As if emboldened by their exchange, he countered, “So what type of men do you date?”
If his counter-attack surprised her, she made no show of it. Not even a flicker of emotion. A lengthy pause stretched between them. “I don’t date.”
A bubble of laughter burst out. “Yeah, right.”
She didn’t respond. Instead, she took her book and rose from the table.
His gut dropped as she began to walk away. He jumped up after her. “Oh God, Mary, I’m sorry. Don’t go.”
She stopped and turned around, looking him squarely in the eye. For a moment, her face was stony and silent but then a smile appeared. It was luminous, radiant. Small laugh lines framed her almond eyes, somehow that imperfection enhancing her features. He couldn’t remember seeing any lines on the faces of the women that filtered in and out of his life, other than his mother. It puzzled him why he would think of her at this moment. Mary and his mother were nothing alike. His mother was plump and haggard, a wide smile at the ready and sad eyes that starred with worship at her son when she couldn’t get him to stay longer or eat more food.
Mary placed a hand on his arm. “Don’t worry. You didn’t say anything wrong. I need to go anyway.”
“Wait, don’t go. Can’t we at least hang out? Just once. If you hate it, you’ll never have to see me again.” The words stopped coming out of his mouth, even though he wanted to continue to plead his case. Hell, if they weren’t in public, he would have gotten on his knees and begged.
She studied him with an intensity, as if trying to decide whether to send a nation into war. A long stretch of uncomfortable silence continued until she tilted her chin and said, “Alright.”
Nick almost jumped up and hugged her. “Can I pick you up at your place?”
She hesitated again but then breathed out a deep sigh, “Fine.”
The elevator ride up to the 10th floor was super quick. The building she lived in was fancy. Everything about it was sleek and smooth, like her. Perfectly polished. Gleaming.
The doors parted and he ambled down the hallway, his descent illuminated by extravagant sconces peppering the walls. Perfect light reflected on the polished brass along the upper edge of the ceiling. He arrived at her door, the dark mahogany thick, sturdy, impenetrable. He rang the dimly lit doorbell. A moment later, faint footsteps clicked and she swung open the door.
“Nick. Glad to see you.” A shot of adrenaline strummed through him. As usual, she was perfect. “Come in.”
She stepped to the side so he could pass. An invisible force propelled him forward even though for a split second, he was tempted to stop in front of her. She closed the door and walked into the living room.
“Would you like something to drink?” she asked.
“Sure, a soda will be great.”
When she disappeared into the kitchen, Nick allowed himself the luxury of looking around. A large snow-white leather sofa stood beneath a wall of floor to ceiling windows. The strange contrast of the white with the foreboding inky blackness on the other side of the glass, sent a shiver scurrying up his spine. A white rug spread across the room and a cream colored dining room set, the only splash of bland color, stood at perfect attention under a monochromatic chandelier. The walls, the same bleak white as the rest of the furniture were devoid of any art. He glanced at the glass end-tables. Nothing on them either. No family pictures, no books, not even a coaster. Two lamps perched on either end-table, standing at attention to some unforeseen force of rigor.
“Here you go.” He swung around, not realizing she had materialized and took the tall glass from her hand.
“Your place is nice,” he said, hoping she didn’t detect a hint of unease in his voice even though he wasn’t even sure why it was there. Her apartment was perfect. She was perfect.
Her eyes detoured from his face as she skirted a glance around the room, as if she’d never taken note of the place before. “You like it?”
“Um.. yeah. It’s great. Perfect.”
He rose from the couch and went to stand by the window. “Wow, you’re really high up.”
She nodded. “It’s nice. I feel I can reach heaven from here.” The shiver in his spine darted again, leaving behind a trail of goose bumps, as if he had just felt a ghost. He wiped his right hand on his jeans. “Our dinner reservations are at seven. We should probably get going.”
She smiled vacantly. “Yes, let’s go.”
Dinner was a strange affair. For once, Nick talked about himself, incessantly. He tried to steer the conversation Mary’s way, but at every turn, she somehow managed to flip his questions on him so he was the one talking. By the end of the evening, the only additional information he scraped about her was she wasn’t fond of shrimp and liked cappuccinos.
As the night progressed, the only soothing constant to the unease meal was Nick’s cell phone vibrating every fifteen minutes. At one point, Mary raised her brows as he checked the offensive scrap of technology. “That’s some eager woman,” she said.
Nick smiled. “My mother.”
“Why don’t you answer it?” she asked. “She’s obviously eager to speak with you.”
Nick waved his hand with a gently dismissive intent. “She calls non-stop.”
Mary didn’t respond, but something told him the comment registered with her.
After the coffee had been served, the waiter brought the check. Nick figured it was now or never. “I tried to find you on Facebook, but couldn’t.”
She lifted an eyebrow but remained silent.
“Can’t we at least be friends? What’s wrong with that?” he asked.
“Facebook is a strange beast,” she said finally. “It’s a great way to stay in touch but it also gives others a window into another person’s life. And some people put so much of themselves on display.”
This was the most she had said at once during the entire night, even though her words made no sense. It was Facebook, simple as that. A few pictures, a few messages, what was the big deal?
“Will you friend me?” he asked and shifted in his seat.
“It’s not a good idea,” she replied.
A ripple of annoyance reverberated in his gut. What was wrong with her that she was so standoffish? And what was wrong with him that he was trying to grab a piece of her any way possible? Nick Malone didn’t need to beg for scraps of attention from some woman. But as much as he knew that in his mind, a greater need would not allow him to simply end this date and never see her again. It’s as if a specter hovered over him, urging him to push against her boundaries.
“What’s the worst that can happen?”
She sighed and bit her lip again. Anticipation fizzed in his chest.
The ringing of the cell phone broke their silence. Nick’s patience splintered. “What Ma!? I’m busy. Stop calling! I’ll call you when I can.” Without waiting for a reply, he stabbed the off button. “God, is too much to ask for her to give me some space?” he muttered under his breath.
When he stuffed the phone back into his pocket, his eyes immediately found hers. If she had any reaction to his outburst, she didn’t show it. Not even a flicker of emotion. The two of them remained silent as he signed the check. When the waiter disappeared, Mary picked up her purse, indicating she was ready to leave. “I’ll think about it,” was all she said.
Nick let out a deep breath. The heaviness in his chest abated. At least she’d think about it.
On the way home, after he dropped Mary off, he called his mother. She didn’t pick up. Nick rolled his eyes. She was probably sulking. A smidgeon of regret tugged at him, but he dismissed it. She needed to understand he was an adult and didn’t need his mommy anymore. Opening the door to his apartment, he turned on the lights and instinctively switched on TV. The 52 inch flat screen was his pride and joy. He liked background noise as he puttered around, except lately, the sound had begun to sputter on and off, reminding him he needed someone to look at it.
The screen came into view as Nick went into the kitchen. In the background the monotonous droning of the 11pm news filtered in an out. “In the news today, a woman – “ The sound stopped and Nick huffed. The in and out of the sound was creepy, as if a ghost was playing with the buttons. Pushing the crazy thoughts from his mind, Nick went to fix himself a tall turkey sandwich. He smiled as he lathered the bread with mayo. That was one thing he missed about living at home, his mother’s cooking. At every hour of the day or night, she was ready to make him something to eat. That nagging feeling of guilt began to prick at him again. He’d call her tomorrow morning and make some time to go over there.
He grabbed the sandwich and flicked on his computer. The sound of the TV kept tuning in and out. He logged into his email to check messages. Advertising, spam, an email from Matthew agreeing to the softball game. As he scrolled through the gray screen, his eyes snagged on a Facebook friend invite from Mari Anne Williams. Nick frowned. He didn’t know a Mari Anne Williams unless it was some drunken hookup from last weekend. Accepting the invite, he clicked into the account.
The first thing he noticed about the picture was the hair. It was dark and frizzy, hanging below her shoulders in messy waves, as if she hadn’t had time to run a brush through it in a few days. She was sitting in a grassy field, a wide smile across her face. Her cheeks were round and there was a slight hint of a double chin. She wore a black blouse that appeared to have a stain on it, and high waist jeans he knew only his mother wore. Nick leaned into the computer screen and squinted. The face wasn’t familiar, but there was something about that smile. Wide and luminous, with an even set of perfectly white teeth. His heart stilled and then thumped. It was her. Mary Rogers.
His breath quickened but his eyes dropped to the birthdate. She was 37. The number didn’t aptly register in his mind. The Mary Rogers he knew couldn’t be so much older than his 25 years.
Nick glanced at the left navigation scrollbar. Judging from the length, there were lots of posts. Scrolling to the very bottom, he began to read.
Mari Anne Rogers is looking forward to a girl’s night out. Maybe today I’ll meet my future husband.
Mari Anne Rogers had a fantastic time with her girls at O’Shay’s Pub. Can’t say much, but I may have met someone.
Mari Anne Rogers REALLY doesn’t want to go to work tomorrow.
Mari Anne Rogers has another date with the mystery man.
Mari Anne Rogers changed her profile status to dating Tom Williams.
Mari Anne Rogers is wondering why her mother can’t just butt out of her life!
Mari Anne Rogers can’t understand why it’s too much to ask for a guy to be on time. To all you guys out there, it’s a really annoying habit. When you are late, we girls are wondering if you’ve been in an accident. Granted, it’s not like you’re ever in an accident, but still, don’t be late!
Mari Anne Rogers has decided to go back to school. That’s right folks, I’m getting my Master’s in Marketing.
Mari Anne Rogers is excited about the first day of school. Oh, and I hate my job.
Mari Anne Rogers likes Duran Duran.
Mari Anne Rogers is in a relationship with Tom Williams.
Mari Anne Rogers hates having her five-year-old nephew beat her checkers. And I didn’t even let him win.
Mari Anne Rogers lost her grandmother today. Rest in peace Nana.
Mari Anne Rogers loves Tom Williams. He took me on an amazing weekend away. I love you Tom. And yes, I forgive you for being late.
Mari Anne Rogers wonders how other people go to work and school. This marketing class is kicking my behind.
Mari Anne Rogers wants to know if Jill Berry, Chris Blass, Morgan Friedman, Cassie Hunt and Hailey Glass will be her bridesmaids because Mari Anne Williams is ENGAGED!
Mari Anne Rogers thinks wedding planning sucks!
Mari Anne Rogers is moving. Tom and I bought a house. I’ll send out our new address as soon as we move in a few weeks.
Mari Anne Rogers can’t believe the damn movers stole half of our stuff! I could kill someone.
Mari Anne Rogers hasn’t talked to her parents in six months.
Mari Anne Rogers got an A in her Communications class! Hey everyone, Tom and I are going to celebrate at O’Shay’s. Come join us.
Mari Anne Rogers can’t believe her wedding is one week away!
Mari Anne Rogers is married!
Mari Anne Williams is now Mari Anne Williams.
Mari Anne Williams is wondering if it is too much to ask for her husband to put away his socks? Public service announcement to all you men out there: the floor is not a hamper.
Mari Anne Williams is wondering if someone can babysit our cat? Tom and I are going to St. Thomas.
Mari Anne Williams is pregnant!
Mari Anne Williams hasn’t taken her head out of the toilet for over a week. Why do they call it morning sickness when it’s all day, every day sickness?
Mari Anne Williams and Tom Williams proudly announce the arrival of Margaret Faith, born on August 25, weighing in at 6 pounds, 4 ounces. Mom, Dad and baby are doing great. Thanks for everyone’s love and support.
Mari Anne Williams is going to write a letter to Hollywood for false advertising! The days and weeks after a baby is born is not the beautiful glowing experience showing the serene mother in a white linen nightgown staring down in love at her new baby who is nursing at her chest. It’s the hardest time of a woman’s life and it sucks that everyone has to pretend it’s so magical. Yes, a baby is amazing, but it’s also awful. I want to cry, scream and never get out of body. Everything hurts and breastfeeding should be replaced as the world’s most effective form of torture. But through it all, I love my baby and I know there will come a day when I feel like myself again.
Mari Anne Williams wants to apologize to everyone. After the baby was born, I went through horrible postpartum depression. I’m sorry if you contacted me and I did not respond. I’m much better now, thanks to doctors and a very patient husband. I love you Tom.
Mari Anne Williams is feeling great. Thanks to my gals for taking me for a night out and thanks to Tom for watching Mags.
Mari Anne Williams is wishing a huge happy birthday to Margaret Faith. I can’t believe my little girl is one today. Sorry kiddo, but mom will be maudlin. I love you so much it hurts. I can’t imagine my life without you. Can’t wait to see all the future years in your life, love, mom.
Mari Anne Williams is pregnant again!
Mari Anne Williams dropped out of school. I know, I know, but it’s just too much. One day, I’ll start it back up again.
Mari Anne Williams wonders if it too much to ask for a husband to clean up after himself? Seriously!
Mari Anne Williams and Tom Williams welcomed a baby boy. Thomas Finn Williams weighed 7 pounds on the dot. Mom, dad and baby sister Margaret are doing great.
Mari Anne Williams didn’t realize two kids is triple the work, not double the work.
Mari Anne Williams would like to announce that marriage is hard!
Mari Anne Williams takes her hat off to all the stay at home moms. I think back on all the times I complained about work, now I wish I was there.
Mari Anne Williams is thrilled Thomas took his first steps. Congratulations to my amazing boy. And what a great big sister he has, she helped him out. I have great kids and a great life.
Mari Anne Williams is driving around at 9pm at night, trying to get Thomas to sleep. To all my mama friends, how do you get your kid to sleep at night if you don’t let him cry it out?
Mari Anne Williams wonders if it’s too much to ask to wear white again. All my clothes have stains of some sorts on them. Do I need to wait 20 years before I can wear a white outfit? Very annoying.
Mari Anne Williams still can’t lose the last 15 pounds. At least Tom is sweet and still tells me I’m beautiful. Wish I felt that way too. What I wouldn’t give to be my college weight again.
Mari Anne Williams is at Francois’s with Tom Williams, celebrating our five year anniversary. I love you sweetheart.
Mari Anne Williams at Children’s hospital with Mags . She has 104 fever. Pray for my little girl.
Mari Anne Williams is back home. Mags is doing much better. Thanks to all the amazing docs at Children’s.
Mari Anne Williams is ecstatic to announce Tom got a promotion. He’ll make partner soon! Congrats to my amazing husband. Does this mean you’ll learn to pick up your socks?
Mari Anne Williams realized she’s wearing mom jeans. Oh my God, I need a new wardrobe. Maybe something in white? Yeah, right!
Mari Anne Williams is driving Thomas around the city, hoping he will go to sleep soon. I’m stopped at a red light and I see a dance studio. Pairs are dancing to a tango that I hear coming through the open windows. I wonder if there will be a time soon in my future when I will have the time to do my hair, wear white outfits, finally lose the weight, finish my degree and generally have a moment to myself?
Mari Anne Williams is it too much to ask that my children not spill everything that comes across their hands? So frustrating! Is it too much to ask for white to remain white?
Mari Anne Williams loves her life. It’s amazing how much the delight across my son and daughter’s face can brighten my day. I love these little monsters.
Mari Anne Williams would like to announce that her house is a cluttered mess. Is it too much to ask for my husband to pick up after himself? I need to get rid of the mounds of junk that is all over the place.
Mari Anne Williams is furious. Tom is late again. I’ve been waiting for over an hour. He took the kids to the mall. It’s probably loud and he doesn’t hear the phone. Will this man ever learn to tell time??
Mari Anne Williams posted a link. On September 1, prominent local attorney Thomas Williams was returning home from a trip with his two children when a drunk driver struck their car head on. Mr. Williams was pronounced dead on the scene. Four-year-old Margaret Faith died of trauma at the hospital. Two-year-old Thomas Finn is on life support. Private memorial services will be held on Thursday.
Everything in Nick’s body froze. The only sound he heard in the room was his own uneven breathing. He took a deep breath, as he scanned the words over and over again, as if somehow that was going to erase their presence. He glanced at the navigation bar. It had reached the top. There were only two posts left. He swallowed a lump that he hadn’t realized been building in his throat. His mouth was dry and rough. He forced himself to read.
Mari Anne Williams allowed the doctors to turn off her son’s life support. Even though I knew my baby was dead, I still couldn’t let him go alone into the darkness. But like a coward, I couldn’t watch him leave this earth. So I nestled my head beside his little chest and wrapped my arms around him, just like I used to do when he couldn’t fall asleep. And as I held him, the forced breathing from the machines began to slow until the noise stopped all together. And that’s when I felt the last breaths seep out of his already listless body. Sleep tight my sweet angel. At least you’ll be in heaven with your daddy and sister.
There was one last post on her page. Nick glanced at the date stamp. It was a few minutes before he had arrived to pick her up for their date. He looked down at the floor as if afraid to lift his eyes. But as he stared at the dark brown carpet, a silent ghostly force, greater than all the strength in his body, forced him to screen. He collided with the final words.
Mari Anne Williams can’t wait to see her babies. I’m coming, my darlings. Mama will be there soon. I love you Tom.
At that moment, the TV began to blare, the jarring noise reverberating loudly through the apartment. “What a senseless tragedy, do we know why she jumped?”
The blood in Nick’s veins turned slow and gooey. Inch by inch, he turned toward the TV.
“It was horrible. I looked up and saw her falling. It was like an angel in white. At first, I thought it was a joke, but when I saw her lying in the ground, I knew it wasn’t. I just can’t believe it.” The man being interviewed looked like he had seen a ghost.
“As we reported earlier, it appears the woman took her own life. Police say no note was found in her apartment. She has been identified as Mari Anne Williams, wife of prominent attorney Tom Williams who was killed exactly a year ago today when the car he was driving with his children collided with a drunk driver. The accident – ”
Nick leapt from his chair, tripping on his way to the TV. He pounded on the heavy plastic until the ghastly chatter evaporated from the room. His head darted side to side, blood rushing to his ears. Now what? He paced up and down the worn carpet, his hands shaking as if he’d been lifting thousand pound weights. Jumbled thoughts sprinted in wild abandon through his mind.
He picked up his phone and began to dial the numbers. Tears stung his eyes as a sleepy voice on the other end answered. “Please, can I come over?”
A momentary response and he breathed a small sigh of relief.
“Thanks Ma,” he choked out before hanging up.