~ Carole McLaughlin ~



She sat there on the front porch, fear encompassing her heart and sorrow taking over her soul. Fear that she would be alone for the rest of her life and sorrow that she had only memories left of the man she had so dearly loved.


"He’s been gone for two years now, Marci," she admonished herself. "Get on with your life! Sitting here night after night, feeling sorry for yourself, is just going to make things more difficult!"


She watched as the deepening shadows turned to darkness, peering through the night into the long distant past, remembering the happiness that had once surrounded her. This would be her last night on this porch. Tonight she would decide whether to continue on or to just give up and join the darkness of the night forever.


Pictures of the past flashed by her tear-drenched eyes. Ken with her little niece and nephew; Ken working in this very same yard; Ken coming toward her with a smile on his lips and a dandelion clutched in his over-sized hand – both the smile and the flower meant especially for her. Two years he had been gone from this life, but not from her heart. Marci clutched the ball cap in her lap and let the tears flow freely, one last time.


Morning found Marci somber, but entering her office at Redford’s Department Store at the appointed time. She had confronted her fears and loneliness the night before and had come to an all-important " life or death" decision. Only time would judge the choice she had made.


The morning passed with the usual frantic activities of a busy office. Telephones demanded attention, computers winked with every change of screen and voices were raised to be heard above the confusion and noise.


Marci paid no attention to what was going on around her. Head down and fingers flying over her computer keys, she prayed for the lunch break and freedom. She would have plenty of time to stop at the drug store to get what she needed for tonight. Tonight, when her ordeal would finally be over. Tonight, when at last she would be free from her miserable existence!


She arrived back at the office, her drugstore purchases clutched tightly in her hand. These items were the most important purchases of her lifetime and she would use them tonight.


Marci felt a tightness in the region of her heart; a chilling nervousness invaded her body. She was doing the right thing – she knew she was! She couldn’t be expected to continue on like this! No, even Ken would not want her to live in the void caused by his untimely death two years ago.

The first year after Ken’s death had found her struggling desperately to forgive him for leaving her. Her tears never seemed to dry and the pain in her heart only increased as the months passed by.


The second year was no better. Unable to help herself, Marci knew she was falling into a deep, dark depression. And at the end of that second year, sitting alone on the front porch last night, she had known what she must do.


She hurried home after work, brought her precious packages into the house and locked the front door. Flying feet carried her up the stairs and into the bedroom. There, Marci opened her shopping bags and neatly arranged on the dressing table the items she had purchased.


Taking a deep breath, the depressed young woman surveyed the display in front of her. There on the table was a large bottle of sleeping pills, a pint of whiskey and a complete make-up kit. Hands shaking, Marci touched each item, mentally reviewing the reason for each purchase.


"Let me see," she muttered. "Pills for poor Aunt Hilda. I sure hope they help her get a decent night’s rest." She continued on, as if talking to a friend, "I am going to need a nice stiff drink tonight just for a little courage." Smiling now, "And all this make-up will enable me to go through with my plan!"


The decision had been made! A steady hand reached for the phone. It was well past time she took Rob up on his offer for dinner and time for Marci to get on with her life. Ken would forgive her for moving forward, she was sure of it!




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