There once was a man.  A successful man. In public, he was loved and adored by many.

So well known and recognized everywhere he went. For sure, the accomplishments would be enough to satisfy any man.  But inside, he was living through a personal hell that no one knew about. And he wouldn’t dare expose it to anyone. And why should he?  It’s not like anyone would understand the way he felt anyways. So he did the only thing he knew best. He packed several weekend necessities into a burgundy suitcase, one he inherited from his late grandma Sue, swung it into his Land Rover and started his religious late afternoon weekend drive.  He always drove out to his estate every weekend. Just to check up on things. He passed many cars on the road until there were only a few speckled here and there. Yep, just like all the other weekends, so predictable. A chuckle of satisfaction was all he had the strength for.

Before pulling into the long winding driveway, he parked his car near the tall black mailbox.  Climbing out, he caught a glimpse of Sandra out on her evening jog. Instantly, the only thing that came to mind was to retreat back into the safety of his automobile.  Grabbing his mail, he slid into the car and shut the door quickly. With a quick, forced smile he waved at her as she disappeared down the road. Sudden relief coupled with sadness resurfaced the feelings of disappointment in him once again.  He couldn’t ever seem to do anything right these days. But he had to protect his comfortable prison.

The last of the sun’s rays left the day and skipped through the row of cypress trees enough to last until he reached the front door of his massive estate.   He slammed the car door with a loud thud, and took out the jingling keys from his pocket. Now, the quiet of the night illuminated the sounds of the chirping crickets.  Even their soulful songs seemed to have a purpose.

He plopped down the burgundy suitcase on the floor in the foyer and without hesitation poured himself a drink.  He knew it would bring nothing good and Pamela tried her best to get him to stop altogether. But after the long week he had in the city, he effortlessly relaxed the moment his lips hit the cold beverage.  He began reminiscing about life years ago, as the cool of the glass confirmed the guilty pleasures. It wasn’t long ago that Pamela’s cheerful humor lit up the whole house and the kids screamed at each other non-stop.  Now, the deafening silence was hauntingly cold.

The phone startled him back into reality.  It was Sandra. She wanted to come over to keep each other company.  She offered to have lunch on Sunday, right before he left for the city.   He told her he was busy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth was, being alone was the only familiar thing to him.  Everything else was unsteady. At least he could find solace in his misery and feelings of nothingness. Even the bright lights started to be too much for him.  He got up to shut them off. And there he stood, in front of the large window overlooking the dark vineyard. His pride and joy at one time now reduced to nothing.  All his problems would go away if he weren’t alive, he thought. All the times he reached out to his children, they were all too busy for him. It’s not like he had any important obligations or anyone really relying on him anyways.  In fact, he would be doing everyone a favor. Yes, that was the only solution.

Wait.  What about the tabby cat who faithfully came around each evening? Yes, he had to go check up on the loyal cat that lounged near the plants each night.  As predicted, there she was curled up snuggly on the bench.

He plopped himself down on the floral cushions Pamela designed years ago. Hugging the fluffy pink pillow closely, he let it all out and wept. She was his everything.  His wife, companion, his best friend. Why did she have to fly? If he knew he’d lose her that day, he would have forbidden her to go on that business trip.

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