Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Accident (CH05E02)

Jerome turned out to be an excellent craftsman and Merry was quite the cook Jerome had been bragging about. At least once a week she would bake a pie, mostly an apple pie. By the time it got winter and the first snow fell most of the jobs around the house were taken care of and all remaining repairs would have to wait until spring. Jerome had gotten a job in the local pawnshop and Merry had a job in the local meals-on-wheals kitchen. And although they did notice his quietness and the fact that he left the house at sunset to return just after sunrise, they never asked him any questions.

That Christmas they invited him for diner in one of the fancy restaurants in nearby city. He accepted the invitation and in return rented a limousine with driver. They had a lovely evening and after finishing deserts went home to have some more Irish coffee and specially baked Christmas cake Merry had baked. He asked them why they had decided to live of all places in this village and Jerome told him that his great grandfather had lived here and made a fortune, a fortune his father had lost in stock trading. Jerome told him that he hoped to find the same luck his great grandfather had found and make a fortune for him and his wife. Merry added to this that she didn’t require a fortune, but just wanted to live a normal life, without the constant worry that at the end of the week they wouldn’t have enough money to last the next week. They told him that they were together since they were in kinder garden, and both of them never had been in love with somebody else, never even kissed anybody else. After both of them had finished college, Jerome went to Harvard, only to find that he’d rather be with Merry than to attend class, and Merry had felt the same while studying at Cambridge, after the first semester they both came home for the Christmas holidays and never went back to school. Jerome had found a job at the local gas station and Merry had worked as a nurse. And although they both were very intelligent, they never had felt sorry for their decision not to get a degree other than their college degree. They were quite happy the way they lived.

They asked him about his life and he told them that his parents died in a car accident when he was 12, after which he had lived until he was 18 with his grandparents. When he turned 18 he moved away from his hometown and started a small business in gardening gear, which became a reasonable successful shop and after 6 years he’d sold the business and bought this house, which was now 2 years ago. He told that it was his dream to go back to his old store and buy the gear to fix his garden that would be the irony of his life.

It was getting late and Merry and Jerome had planned to visit their parents the next day, so they wished each other good night. He looked at them while they walked to their room and envied them for their joyous lives. That night he didn’t sleep.

The next morning he heard them leaving to celebrate Christmas with their loved ones. It was the first time he could remember that he felt a loss the first time he felt an uncontrollable desire to be with somebody. The same night Merry had called him, they had an accident, Jerome had lost all control over the car and they hit a tree. Jerome hadn’t suffered, he was dead before the car caught fire and exploded. She barely escaped the explosion, mainly because she hadn’t worn her seat belts. If he didn’t mind, she would send somebody after the New Year to pick up her belongings as she was going to live with her parents for a while. Without a single pause she told him this and when she was done, she hung up. He was too shocked to notice his feeling of incapacity. It was after he realized that she wasn’t on the phone anymore when he found the words of comfort he wanted to say to her, but he knew that nothing would ease her pain, or his for that matter. He picked up the phone and without dialing started to talk to her, imagining that she was crying at the other end, but his words of comfort, him saying that nobody deserved to find death on a Christmas day, but that they should all be grateful that Jerome hadn’t suffered, these words would ease her pain, and make her for the time being feel just a little better. That night he dreamed of Merry and Jerome driving home after spending Christmas with their families. Jerome lost control over the car, but before it would hit a tree, he was there to bring the car to a stop before anyone got hurt.