The Daily Post – Weekly Writing Challenge: Object
The Pain of Love and Loss
by D. B. Mauldin
Margaret grabbed a coke from the refrigerator, her cigarettes and lighter from the kitchen table, and went outside to sit on the front porch steps. She welcomed the warmth of the sun; she felt chilled to the bone; chilled to the bone for thirty-years now. Margaret opened the can of coke and took a sip. She lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply. Once again, she let the pain and shock wash over her.
He was gone; gone without a trace. He was there one day and gone the next. Their relationship was doomed from the beginning, yet it lasted, on and off, for nearly fifteen years. They were true soul mates, from the moment they looked into each other’s eyes. There was such pain and heartache, from the beginning.
Hank was a truck driver. Margaret was a factory worker. Hank was as free as the wind. Margaret was rooted, trying to make a living for herself, and her two daughters from a previous marriage. He begged her to let her mom watch the girls and go on the truck with him, he wanted to show her the world. Margaret could not leave her daughters.
Sometimes, they wouldn’t see each other for months. Once, they didn’t see each other for a couple of years. There was always the pain of longing for someone she could never fully have. The pain that ripped her apart. The pain that made her mentally and physically sick.
The last time Margaret saw Hank, he made her watch him shoot heroin into his veins. “How long has this been going on?” “About a year,” he says. Margaret was at a loss. The man she loved was dying before her eyes. There was no way that she would allow her daughters to be exposed to his drug use.
“Go,” he said. “There is nothing left here for you.” Margaret left. She cried all the way home. “I will go and check on him tomorrow,” she told herself. The next morning he was gone; all of his belongings, everything was gone.
The horrible pain rocked Margaret to her core. She tried to reason it out, make excuses for him, but after months of not hearing a word from him, Margaret began to accept that it was over. The pain was tremendous.
Margaret thought that Lord Tennyson must have been a fool for saying, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Yet, there were some happy moments in the relationship. Margaret had a diamond stud earring that Hank had given her, so they would each have a piece of a matching pair. She wore her earring constantly, even though she had not heard from him in years.
Margaret, also, had a red bandana of Hank’s. He had given it to her to use as a headband, one day when they were riding on his motorcycle. She cherished it. It smelled like Hank; diesel fuel, his body odor, and motor oil. Margaret slept with it several nights, just to smell him. Eventually, she put the earring in the bandana and stored them both away in the deep chambers of her cedar chest. Out of sight, but not forgotten.
After sixteen years, the pain was still there. Margaret needed closure. She needed to know if he was dead or alive. She needed a word from him, just to know if he was all right, to know if he was happy. The pain of not knowing was what Margaret lived with daily.
Image courtesy of http://www.tattooartgallery.com via Yahoo Images
There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to out-carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain…Or so says the legend.
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough