Place: The edge of a cliff
Actor: A homeless person
Object: An entire cheesecake
Frank sat on the edge of a cliff, holding tightly to the box of cheesecake in his lap. It was the last box he was going to buy. It was all he could do to find enough change and pop bottles to get enough cash to buy it. Chloe’s Chocolate Cheesecake had been Kate’s favorite though, and it was worth every last penny to buy it for this moment.
He tore open the box, and pulled a fork from his coat pocket. He was glad the clerk at the store had asked him if he needed one. He wouldn’t have thought of it otherwise. He had come here today, hoping to end the pain he felt. Frank had lost everything, his home, job, pets, almost all of the material belongings he had except for the clothes on his back and one small pack. He lost his newborn daughter, when her aunt convinced him she’d be better off with her. But the most difficult lost was Kate.
Kate and Frank had been so excited when they first found out they were expecting a child. Her pregnancy was a “normal” one, as far as pregnancies go. Everything seemed perfectly fine right up until the day she delivered. They had discovered she was expecting a girl a few months before her due date, and she picked a pink princess theme for the nursery. It surprised Frank because Kate wasn’t exactly a girly girl, but she wanted their daughter to have all of the girly things she wanted.
On the day before their daughter was born, and Kate’s life was taken, Kate had awaken Frank very early in the morning to say her labor had started. He dressed quickly, grabbed her overnight bag that she had packed weeks ago, and helped her into his truck. The ride to the hospital was quite as Kate tried to focus on the upcoming delivery, and Frank tried to ease his mind about becoming a father.
His childhood had not been an easy one, his own father absent and his mother struggled with raising nine children by herself. Frank was thrilled to become a father and terrified all at the same time. He was afraid he would not make a good father despite Kate’s reassurance that he would.
When they reached the hospital, they were taken into a room where Kate was hooked up to an IV and monitored. Her labor went on for more than twenty four hours. When she had still not progressed enough, the doctor began to talk about doing a c-section. Before they could make arrangements for the surgery, however, their daughter finally made up her mind to come into the world.
It was the happiest moment of Franks life, as he stood looking down at his exhausted but beautiful wife, and his tiny gorgeous baby girl. Kate’s face lite up as they placed the smile child in her arms. She was so pale, but happy and for a moment that is all that mattered. Kate had smiled at him, muttered the words “Name her Edith,” and then handed the child to him. He had looked at Kate strangely, then watched in horror as her body grew limp. He no longer saw breath in her and screamed for a nurse. Two nurses had come running into the room, and shooed him out with the baby. He watched from the doorway as they worked on his wife, before they closed the door and another nurse escorted him to the waiting room. Kate’s sister Victoria was waiting for him there.
“She’s here! Can I hold her?” She held out her arms, before noticing Franks solemn face. “What is it, Frank? What’s wrong? Tell me now!”
Victoria had always been the bossy older sister to Kate, and disapproved of her marriage to Frank. From the moment she found out Kate was expecting, she tried to control every aspect of the pregnancy, right down to the child’s name and nursery theme. She had gotten her way about the nursery theme, Frank was sure of it, even though Kate denied it. Vicky may have even gotten her way about the name, he wasn’t sure. He despised her demanding nature.
“Frank! I said tell me!” Numbly, he handed her the child and told her the doctors were working on Kate. “What do you mean working on her?” Frank starred blankly into space.
“Frank! Tell me!” For the first time, Vicky looked as though she might burst into tears.
“It’s not good.” He walked away from her, leaving the waiting room quickly as she tried to come after him. He didn’t need to talk to her right now. He wandered down the hallway and starred out the window. Snow had started falling, early since it was only September, and could make for a long winter. He didn’t care. In that moment, it felt as if his whole world was falling apart. It was more yelling from the nurses that had brought him back to the hospital hallway and closer to the waiting room. They were now running into Kate’s room with two doctors besides them. Frank had grabbed the wall and fought back tears. He wanted to be in that room with Kate, but he knew they wouldn’t let him.
The whole world seemed to stop as he watched nurses run in and out of the room, heard the machines beeping and the doctors yelling out instructions to the nurses. In a moment, there was no movement of anyone in or out of the room. He wasn’t sure how long it had been, years it seemed like, but after a time, one of the doctors came out into the hallway and stepped over to him. “Mr. Hamilton,”
Frank had turned to look at the doctor. “Yes?”
“I’m sorry sir, we’ve done all we can, but I’m afraid there is nothing else to be done.”
“What do you mean?” Frank felt his whole body beginning to shake as he pushed both hands against his head.
“Your wife is gone, sir. I”m so sorry.” The doctor began to place a hand on his shoulder, but Frank pulled away.
“Gone, gone where?” Frank knew the answer even before he asked it. He didn’t hear the doctors response. His knees hit the floor, and he felt the doctors hand on his back as he began to sob.
The next few months had been a blur. Frank didn’t remember leaving the hospital and driving home. He vaguely remembered Vicky showing up at his doorstep with papers for him to sign. She had taken Edith home with her and was going to raise her, the papers were just a legality. Frank was too weak and tired to argue, he had signed the papers without hesitation.
The sound of a red-tailed hawk drew Frank back from those memories to the present day. He took another bite of the cheesecake and let his legs dangle over the edge of the cliff as he tried to decide when he would jump. He wondered how he had ended up here, but yet deep down he knew. With Kate gone, he had nothing to live for. He had quite his job after signing the papers to give up his daughter. With no job, he lost his house and found himself wandering the streets. No job, no house, no wife, no child. Very few belongings. Yes, nothing mattered now. Another bite of cheesecake, and he tried to get the courage to move a little further forward on the cliff.
He could see the bottom of it now, it was a long ways down to the river in the valley. The river was where he had met Kate on a canoe trip. The forest along the river was where he had proposed and the bank along the river was where they were married. It only seemed fitting to him that he would die here as well.
The sound of a red-tailed hawk startled him again and he moved back away from the edge and took another bite of cheesecake. He wasn’t quite ready yet.
(To Be continued)