Author’s Note: I really hope this came out right, I don’t feel so well.
4 years later…
Noah’s Point of View
Not much has changed over the past four years. The kids have gotten bigger, but my life still feels the same. Every morning I still wake up to an empty bedside and my heart still aches. No matter how much time passes you by, you can never get over the death of someone you truly love. There will always be an empty spot in your heart that will never again be filled- Well, at least that’s how I feel. I of course still go through my life loving my children and giving them all the love they deserve.
Speaking of my children…
“GOT CHA!” Sam screamed out.
“Nu-uh, Sam! You can’t hit me in the head, that’s cheating!!” Ryder retaliated.
Of course the screams coming from Ryder’s room scared the crap out of me. Without even thinking I jumped out of my bed and ran into the next room.
“WHAT IN GOD’S NAME IS GOING ON?!” I raged, “Do you two realize that it’s 5:30 am?! Can’t you just let me sleep for another hour??”
“Uhhh… daddy?” Ryder giggled.
“You’re not wearing pants, daddy!” Ryder bust out laughing.
“Ewwww! Daddy put pants on!!” Sam cringed, averting her eyes.
“Oh… I uh, uhm … oops.” I stuttered, placing my hands in front of me.
What a perfect way to start the morning; to be embarrassed by your kids. It’s not fair; they were the ones making all the noise and scared me out of my sleep! How was I supposed to react to all of that? Ugh… why’d it have to be so hot last night? Then maybe I wouldn’t have had to sleep like this and have my kids see something they shouldn’t.
“J-just… get ready for school and go eat breakfast!” I shouted, my face burning bright.
They both ran past me; Ryder giggling and Sam making gagging noises. Sigh.
I took extra-long with getting ready this morning- I mean, what’s the point of rushing when your kids wake you up an HOUR early? Besides, today wasn’t going to be a happy one for me no matter how I looked at it. Ryder just turned six a few days ago, which marks today six years since Riley has been… gone. I planned on visiting her gravestone later in the evening, but God knows I can’t. Sam has been falling behind in her school work and I have been falling behind in my job. Mr. Hemming gave me a promotion two years ago and my work load has doubled since then.
“Okay good, you’re ready.” I sighed as I walked into the living room.
“Yeah daddy, we’re ready.” Ryder laughed, “It also looks like you found your pants.”
Sam shook her head, “Stop talking about daddy almost being naked! I’m eating!”
Great, I’m so glad my mistake is such a big joke to Ryder and such a tragedy to Samantha. I’m either going to get laughed at for this forever or gagged at; or both!
“Oh ha ha, very funny Ryder.” I growled, “Just hurry up and eat you two, the bus should be here any minute.”
Sam stood up as I turned around, “Daddy? Where are you going?”
I sighed, “Since I got up early today, I figured I’d head to work early to get some back-work started. You guys don’t need to worry; I’m having Rachel walk you guys over to the bus stop.”
Ryder asked, “The lady with that teenage girl who wears all those earrings?”
I rolled my eyes, “Yup. That’s the one. Now I’m heading off to work now, you two be good at school!”
They both sighed and agreed. I really hope I don’t get a call from either of their teachers… again.
Crap! Crap! CRAP!
Stupid freaking CAR! I want to get to work early today and my car just has to not work??
I kicked the hood and felt pain course through my entire leg.
“Mother fu- OWWW!”
You know what? I’ll just walk to the subway and take that to work. I’m not letting anything get me more pissed off than I already am. I never have it easy on this day every year; I don’t need a freaking car to make my day even worse!
I started walking quicker than I was even trying too. I was just so angry at everything and everyone. I didn’t tell the kids that I was angry though, because I feel that if they started asking questions I would take it out on them or they would blame themselves. It really has nothing to do with them waking me up or goofing about me not wearing pants- I’m used to that kind of stuff. It’s just… I really hurt more on this day than any other. I think about Riley all the time, but today is when it’s the worst. I just replay that moment in my head over and over again of when she died- My heart just wants to stop beating.
As I walked down the street I was caught up in my thoughts. It wasn’t until I was about 10 feet away that I realized that there was a man – probably wasted – holding a girl against her will! It’s jerks like that pig that give us men a bad name! You don’t treat women like they’re trash! You respect them and hold onto them forever… you never know when you’re going to lose them.
“C’mon sweetheart, I just want a little kiss. Is that too much to ask?” he slurred, tipping forward.
“GET OFF OF ME!!” she screeched, “Someone help!!”
He gripped her up and slammed her against the building. He forced his lips onto hers and started feeling her up and down. The woman struggled to be free; punching and kicking, but the man didn’t let up.
Alright that’s about enough of that! I don’t care if I have a bad hip or not, I have to at least try and stand up to this jerk!
I grabbed his shoulder and spun him around, “What the HECK do you think you’re doing to her?! She said to get off, you moron!”
He flinched, squinting at me, “What- W-who are you?!”
Yup. Just like I said; drunk!
“Like that matters.” I scoffed, “Just stay away from her. She doesn’t need some drunken idiot like you touching and grabbing at her. If she said to leave her alone, then leave her the heck alone!”
He chuckled, “Oh you think you’re so bad, Mr. Fancy dresser? You don’t tell me what tah DO! I can punch that skank in the face if I wanted. Who’s going to stop me?? YOU? That’s a laugh!”
Without even thinking I balled my fist and swung. The guy’s nose started to bleed on impact and he stumbled backwards. The woman gasped at what had happened but her reaction was only out of surprise. She probably didn’t think I’d actually hit the idiot.
Okay. So I did say I was really pissed off today; this guy just happened to make me go off my rocker. I don’t even know where I got the strength to freaking hit the guy! My hip was throbbing today and my foot was starting to swell up from my incident with the car! You’d think I’d have zero energy…
I shook my hand in pain, “You really messed with me on the wrong day, pal.” I growled.
He wiped the blood from his nose, “Idiot.” he spat, “You didn’t have to freaking punch me!”
“Well you were asking for it!” I spat back, “Now get the heck out of here before I call the cops. I’m sure they’d love to hear about how you were forcing yourself on a woman and hurting her.”
“Fine.” he smirked, “But before I go-“
He quickly grabbed the woman and forced his lips against hers once again. I kicked him in the leg and told him to get off of her. He spun around and just grinned at me before taking off down the block- Idiot.
After I was sure the guy was out of sight, I walked over to the woman.
“Hey.” I sighed, “Are you alright? Did he hurt you?”
She wiped her tears away, “I… I’m fine thanks to you.” she gleamed.
“That’s great then, I’m glad you’re alright.” I smiled, “I just have to ask though… how did you wind up with that jerk?”
She groaned, “Oh that was some stupid guy I met last week at a party. I was on my way to my friend’s house today when all of a sudden he spotted me and that was that. The first time I met him I told him to beat it, so I guess this was his way of getting back at me. Some luck I have right?”
I grinned, “Eh, it happens when you’re pretty- The crazy dudes hound after you like a slab of meat. Maybe you should ask a friend to pick you up next time, that way you can avoid drunken idiots like that.”
She grinned, “Ohhh so you’re saying I’m pretty?”
Is that the only thing she got out of that?
I chuckled, “Oh, you caught that, eh?”
“Yeah.” she smirked, “So, does my hero have a name?”
I laughed, “Of course he does; you can just call me the-hot-and-irresistible-Noah.”
She giggled, “Oh is that so? Well you can just call me-“
She stared down at my hand, “Is-is that a wedding ring?”
I quickly glanced at my hand and then at her, “No. I mean, yes it is, but I- It’s not what you think!”
She clenched her fist, “I can’t believe I actually fell for any of that! GOD, all you men are the SAME! You’re all a bunch of pigs. I feel so bad for your wife! I bet she doesn’t even know your hitting on girls behind her back!”
“N-no you don’t understand! My wife-“
She shook her head, “No, I don’t want to hear any of it. Thanks for helping me, have a nice day!!” She shouted, before storming off.
I got home from work a few hours later a complete wreck. I just can’t believe I acted that way today. What was I thinking, hitting on another woman? What is wrong with me? I just don’t understand what came over me! I’ve never once responded to a girls flirt before; I just brushed it off like it was nothing.
I stared down at Riley’s picture, “I’m so sorry Riley.”
I sat on the edge of my bed and threw my head down. All this over-whelming pain just came flooding over me and tears threatened to pour. I just don’t understand anymore. I don’t know why I can’t give Riley up. It’s been six years and I still feel like I need to love her and only her. I feel like I’m in the wrong if I even look at another woman, and yet today I broke down that barrier and gave into my temptations. I-I just feel like I betrayed her…
Everything was just too much. I just needed to stop thinking for one minute and sleep.
“Noah, I caught one! Look how beautiful it is.”
The butterfly fluttered away, it’s wings beating in a repetitive rhythm. The air was crisp and clear and my love stronger than a burning fire.
I kissed her.
“You’re much more beautiful.”
She laughed, but only for a moment.
“What are you doing?”
Her voice was filled with fear; my face with worry.
“I’m loving my beautiful wife. Is there something wrong with that?”
“Noah, don’t you see? I’m not your wife any longer. I once was, yes, but now I’m not. You’re free to be with whoever you want to be with. You don’t have to torture yourself each and every day. You’re still allowed to love me, but you’re also allowed to love someone else- Someone new. There is a beautiful girl waiting for you, Noah. Let me go.”
My heart sank.
“How could I ever love someone else, when you were the only one for me? You’re my true love, how can I ever let you go? It will hurt too much.”
She grabbed my hand and led me to the little hill.
I sat down and placed her upon my lap. She embraced me, my head against her shoulder. Tears slipped from my eyes as I held onto her.
“I don’t want to let you go.”
Tears fell from her eyes.
“I know you don’t, but you have to do it Noah. You have to stop hurting yourself by holding onto me. I promise if you just let me go all the pain will go away. You’ll learn to love again and stop blaming yourself for things you could have never prevented. I told you when I died to never once blame yourself.”
“Riley, I don’t try to. I promise. I just don’t know who else to blame. Why did you have to leave us? It’s so difficult without you here.”
“Shhh… enough questions. Look forward Noah.”
She pointed down the way.
“Look at our beautiful children. Do you want them to see you always hurting? Always crying? Always being alone? They’re old enough to know you’re not happy, even when you try to be. They’re scared for you but don’t know how to fix it. Noah, I’m asking this as your wife to PLEASE love someone else. Marry again; be free of all the hurt. Will you do that for me?”
“Riley I can’t. I-“
“Noah. Do you love me enough… to let me go?”
“Is it what you really want me to do?”
“Then yes. I love you enough… to finally let you go.”
And like that, a weight was lifted from my heavy heart.
I stirred in my sleep as I heard the familiar sounds of my two kids. I’m assuming they just got home from school and just couldn’t wait to bother good ol’ dad.
“Sam, he’s still not waking up! We tried everything!” Ryder groaned, “Is he dead?”
Sam shouted, “He’s not DEAD! Don’t say that! Just keep trying!”
I finally woke up out of my sleep and then got up out of my bed. Ryder and Sam just stared at me with wide eyes; as if they were worried about something. Okay, they can obviously see I’m not dead; they don’t need to worry.
“Daddy why are you crying?” Sam frowned, “Do you miss mommy again?”
I touched my cheeks and felt the tears. I didn’t even realize I was crying…
“Actually…I’m pretty sure these are happy tears, Sam. I honestly don’t feel sad anymore.”
“Well in that case…” Ryder smirked, “Can I ask you something??”
Sam rolled her eyes, “You’re stupid, he’s going to say no.”
“Shut up Sam!”
I glared at them, “Knock it off! Ryder, what do you want to tell me?”
“WELL! I was just wondering if we could get a puppy…” he sputtered out all at once!
“Whoa, what? I didn’t catch any of that, use full sentences Ry!” I sighed, “Now ask me again.”
“I wanted to know if we could get a puppy!” he said slower, “We could get a little one, like this big!” he stated, gesturing with his hands the size of said dog.
“A puppy?!” I exclaimed, “What about Snoopy??”
He rolled his eyes, “Snoopy is an old farty cat! I wanna get a baby doggy!”
I couldn’t contain my laughter when he said that! Dear God, that was funny! Poor Snoops, he gets no love from my kids! They just want to replace him in his old age.
“Yeah, well, we’ll have to see about that one.” I laughed, “You two have been goofing around too much in class, I don’t know if you deserve a puppy.”
“PLEASE daddy!” Sam whined, “I promise I’ll stop talking in school and Ryder will too!” she elbowed Ryder, “RIGHT?”
He narrowed his eyes at her; “Yeah…” he punched her, “I’ll behave.”
Why don’t I see them ever getting a dog?
Thanks for reading! So yes, finally after a dream with Riley in it, Noah has finally accepted that he needs to let go of her. It wasn’t an easy thing for him to accept, but once he did… it was like a weight was lifted from his heart.