I picked steak and baked potatoes for dinner. It's his favorite dinner and tonight is special. I'm bursting with so much excitement that the check out lady looks at me weird when I can't seem to look at her with a straight face. I know she's wondering why I'm acting so funny. But for any woman with the news I have to tell, it's hard to not shout it to the world the very moment you find out. I figure it's OK to tell her.
“I just found out I'm pregnant. Sorry if my huge smile frightened you.” I said.
“Oh, I knew something must be good. Having a celebratory dinner with your man are you? I remember when I told my husband we were having our first. I had five babies, three living. It was always a happy time and we always celebrated with a special dinner too. Eat lots of red meat and you'll grow nice healthy boys. Does your man hunt? Have him hunt a deer for you. Better if the meat came from wild game. It's healthier.” The cashier said.
I smiled, knowing with the elderly it really was impossible to avoid receiving their advice. It is always given, whether asked or not.
“He doesn't hunt, but I'll tell him anyway. Thanks so much.” And with that, I grabbed my bags, fumbled with my keys and was off to tell my man the good news.
I jiggled my key in the lock. It always stuck and if you didn't have it just right it wouldn't open. Keys that have been copied are always slightly wrong in my experience. I opened the door and picked my grocery bags up. I started to say I'm home, when I looked up.
Before my eyes I see my husband laying on the floor in our living room next to his favorite chair with a hand gun laying just beside him. I drop the bags and scream. My feet are stuck to the spot. I know by the amount of blood he's dead, but I refuse to accept it. It was some time, I don't know how long. I vaguely register that a neighbor is beside me with a cell phone. She's telling me to come away, but I can't. He's right there. There's so much blood and other chunky things I don't even want to know what it is. My beautiful husband of just one year is dead.
Some time later I am sitting in the back of a police car with the door open. An older officer approaches.
Kneeling to my level the officer said, “Ma'am, I'm officer Springate. I know you've gone through a horrible shock. But we have to ask you some questions. Does your husband have a history of mental illness? Has he ever tried to commit suicide before?”
“I – I don't think so. He's never told me he was depressed or anything. His mother is bi-polar but she takes medication.” I said, wiping away a tear. Even with the shock, I hate to let anyone see me cry.
“He left a note. When your ready we have a grief counselor you can talk to. Here's her number. Just call and she'll get you in for an appointment ASAP. I'm very sorry for your loss.” The officer stood and began to walk away but I grabbed his sleeve.
“Officer, can I see the note now please? I want to know what he said.”
“I'm not sure that's such a good idea right now.” The officer hesitated, unsure whether I could handle it or not.
I nodded, “I'm sure, I need to know what he said.”
The officer walked toward other officers and returned moments later with a letter. I recognized it as our letterhead. When we first married we played around with our computer and made a letterhead that said Mr. and Mrs. Davis. He was so proud. My contribution had been two little doves perched on a pair of wedding rings beside our name.
That's always what he called me. It's short for Juniper.
I'm so sorry. I love you but I just can't handle this anymore. I know I am going to hurt you. But everyday feels like I have to pretend to be normal. I'm not normal. Inside I know I'm worthless. I'm not good enough for you, for anyone. Please forgive me. I love you.
Officer Springate is still there watching me. My best friend's car is just pulling up. I don't know who called her; probably the neighbor whose been standing to the side watching me the whole time. She's a good lady, though I feel sorry I haven't talked to her much. I don't even know her name.
The officer nods to my friend as Kelly walks up and hugs me.
“Oh Juni I am so sorry. I'm going to ask the officer if I can go pack a bag for you and your going to come home with me OK.”
I nod, knowing if I argued she'd just call her big brute of a boyfriend to come bodily remove me to her home. I cried on her shoulder for a few minutes and then pushed her away. The faster I got out of here the better.
Chapter Two: 2 Months Later
“Are you sure you won't stay? I don't mind you being here.” Kelly asked, holding my hands in a plea for me not to leave.
“No Kelly. You've been great. You helped me through the funeral and the in-laws visiting. The hard parts done. Now I just need to move on.” I said. I never told anyone I'm pregnant. Staying here much longer would be hard to keep it a secret. For some reason I just didn't want anyone to know. I guess I just don't want their pity.
“My auntie Clair has a ranch in Wyoming. I'm going there. I think a change of scenery will be good for me. I'll write of course.” I said pulling my hands away and picking up my two suitcases which is the only possessions I kept. They contained a weeks worth of cloths and one picture; my favorite picture of Jon on our wedding day.