“Alex? Alex, is that you?”
“Mom? I know it’s been forever since we talked but now is really not a good time, can I call you back in say…”
“Your father is dead.”
Her words caused mine to die in my throat. I sink slowly onto the couch needing to sit down.
“Yesterday.” My mother’s voice breaks and my heart breaks for her. No matter how I feel towards my parents I know how much she loves him therefore how this must be affecting her.
“They found him, in his office. They are trying to convince me he took his own life. I know he’s been depressed but Alex he would never…”
“Suicide?” I couldn’t wrap my head around what she is telling me. “Jesus, I…”
“I need to see you. Please, Alex? I… I can’t do this alone. I know I have no right to ask this of you, but please… please, come home?”
One part of me, and was a very big part wanted me to tell her, no in not so polite terms, but then Aiden sprung to mind. No matter how I feel about what they had done, I couldn’t do it to someone else. I couldn’t make her suffer as I had.
“I’ll help you, Mom. I need to wrap things up here, though. I need to make arrangements with school, and my teachers. Once I do that I’ll get on the road and meet you at the house.” I couldn’t bring myself to say home, it hadn’t been my home for a very long time.
My mother broke down crying, between sobs she got out, “Thank you, Alex. Thank you so much.”
“I’ll see you soon,” I tell her and before I hang up I hear a raspy say, “I love you.”
I hang up the phone. I don’t say it back. William shows up with movers. “I saw Cat leave, she was crying. I take it you didn’t sort things out with her?”
My brain is overloaded. Thinking is impossible. I can’t even focus on Cat right now. I’m just staring at my phone’s blank screen.
“Are these the boxes?” one of the movers asked, pointing to the obvious pile of cardboard.
“Yeah," he tells them. You still want them to take them right?” William asks of me and it’s hard to miss the hopeful hesitation in his voice that I may have changed my mind. I just nod my head yes which spurs the men into action.
William sits next to me. “What happened?” As I put my phone down on the table it must have drawn his eye to the other objects sitting there.
“Oh shit! Alex, I’m so sorry,” William said spying the ring and necklace sitting there.
I see what he sees and reach out to pick them up. I don’t even look at them. I just place them in my pocket.
“What did she say? I can’t believe Cat would just walk away? I really thought she would have tried to work things out. I know the threat but what court in their right mind would ever take a baby from its mother. Especially when it’s mother is Cat?”
I know William is talking to me but I feel detached. My world is distorted. I feel as if I’m viewing my life through a fish-eye lens. My father is dead. I’ll know I walked away. I know I was mad and rightfully so but now, now he’s gone and I can’t fix things between us. The last thing I said to him was that I hated him, and everything he stood for.
I look up at William. My brain is in a fog. I can’t think. I can’t process anything that he’s saying. He reaches out and touches my arm and I want to pull back. I don’t want to be comforted. I don’t want to talk. I just want to be alone. This must have been how William felt when he lost Aiden. Why he retreated from me, from everyone, from life.
“You’re scaring me,” William admitted. “What happened? Cat she’ll come around… she just needs…”
“My father is dead.” Saying the words out loud hurt so much more than letting them bounce around inside my head. My arms wrap around my middle and I lean over feeling ill.
“What?!” Stunned, William pulled his hand away.
“I have to go home,” I tell him, hoping he’d understand but knowing that he won’t.
“Home? You’re going back there? After what they did to you?! To Aiden?!”
“My mom is all alone.”
“Fuck her!” William shouted leaping up, his anger getting the better of him.
“Where the hell was she when Aiden needed her? When you needed her? You told them, that Aiden died. How he died! They had the money. The reputation to make a big deal out of it, to let the world know the pain Aiden suffered, to find his killers but they did NOTHING!”
I look over at the movers who just kept moving boxes. Not once did they look over or show an interest. I guess in their line of work, they must deal with a lot of dramatic situations and just put themselves on autopilot to get the job done. I could learn something from them. I had no idea how I was going to get through whatever was going to happen next.
The numbness I wished for when I left Cat was granted. It seeped into my veins with an icy chill. My brain had shut down my pain centers to self-preserve so I could think but not feel. I stood up and faced a now seething William.
“Where were you?” I put it to him. I understood his anger. I even now understood why he pulled away but he left me behind just like they did, leaving me alone, in pain, none of them gave a damn about me.
William looked at me as if I struck him across the face. The verbal blow left him speechless. “You know why I couldn’t…”
I cut him off. “Alone is alone, the 'why' doesn’t matter, it doesn’t change anything. I know what that feels like, and I won’t do that to her. I wouldn’t do that to my worst enemy. This is something no one should go through alone.”
The fight left William and he sat back down. “I’m sorry. I know I said it before, but I’m sorry I left you alone.”
“I get it. Or at least I do now.”
William glanced up at me. “How can I help?”
I shrug. “Not sure you can. He’s dead. They believe its suicide. My mother thinks differently, but either way it doesn’t matter. He’s gone and that’s the end of it.”