Christ was my life a mess, there I was, forty years old, my wife had buggered off with my best friend and his wife blamed me for it, my Company had made me redundant and though the redundancy money was more than generous it did not make up for over twenty years of loyalty that I had given the Company. Just to add insult to injury every job I applied for turned me down seemingly in favour of younger men less qualified than myself and the labour exchange, sorry Job Centre, didn't seem hopeful of finding me a job in my field, about all I had going for me was my home, my redundancy money and my Eighteen year old daughter June. In fact about the only thing going for me was my daughter, there was a chance I could lose my home when my divorce went to court and an equal chance that my wife would try to get her hands on what money I had. All in all I was feeling very depressed and when June decided that she was going to abroad for a year I felt a wave of loneliness hit me like a solid blow only a week after she had gone.
I struggled along for a couple of months with solicitors and Job Centre staff as my only human contacts, by some miracle the courts bumped my case right to the top of the list and after a long and sordid ordeal I at least kept my house, though half my money was gone. I felt really depressed at the thought that I was having to pay for my wife to have her pleasure, but there it was and there was nothing that I could do about it no matter how much it galled me. The house seemed so empty and a few days after becoming a 'free' man again I was so depressed that I was seriously contemplating topping myself.
Sitting there alone in the dark one night I decided to do it, I had no gun so shooting myself was out, I never could manage tablets so taking an overdose was out, I thought about cutting my wrists in the bath, but the thought of the pain of cutting myself put me off that idea. In the end I decided that tossing myself off a tall building was the answer and I knew the very one not a mile away, writing out my farewell note I stuck it on the mantel, put my coat on and left the house, the building I wanted loomed on the skyline and I headed towards it with a weary tread. The next thing I knew was I was flying through the air and landing with one hell of a thump.
Waking I groaned as every inch of my body ached, warily opening my eyes I looked around me, I was in a hospital bed, one arm and both legs encased in plaster.
"What the hell?" I muttered, "What happened?"
Over the course of the next few days I found out what happened, some idiot, pissed out of his tiny mind, had driven up onto the curb and hit me and the lamppost I was standing by, ironically the lamppost saved my life. I'm afraid they had to sedate me when I learnt how I had survived. A little later, when I was more or less back to normal I was told that my ex-wife had been informed of the accident, the hospital seemed surprised that she hadn't bothered to even call, but they also told me that the consulate in Italy had finally contacted my daughter and she had called to see how I was. Well at least I had one person who cared about me, but she was hundreds of miles away in a foreign land and as soon as I was out of this place I was going to finish what I had started out to do.
"What the hell have you been up to dad?" my daughter's voice cut across my dark thoughts.
In surprise I looked up to see my luscious daughter settling herself in the visitor's chair by the bed.
"June," I gasped "but you're in Italy!"
"I was," she smiled "but you don't think I'm going to stay out there when you needed me do you."
"I'm all right." I sighed, "Just a bit banged up is all."
"All," she laughed sarcastically "two broken legs, a broken arm, cracked ribs, concussion and internal bleeding, all. Jesus dad you need a minder!"
"Have you been home yet?" I asked trying to calm her by changing the subject.
Then I remembered my suicide note sitting on the mantle, June was going to hit the roof when she read that and I prayed that she hadn't seen it yet.
"Not yet," she sighed, "I came straight here from the airport."
"They tell me I can get out of here in a few more days." I commented as I tried to figure out some way of getting at the note before she did.
"Hmm, I know." she responded "I've arranged to stay with a friend of mine who lives just round the corner from here, we can go home together."
I breathed a sigh of relief, there was still a chance that I'd get to the note before my daughter did. For the rest of the visit my daughter tried to perk me up, but I had to fake it and I think she sensed this.
Four days later I was packed off home with June hovering over me in the ambulance like a mother hen, she was a lovely girl, but she had two major faults, she tended to fuss a lot and she had a temper equal to the explosive force of an atomic bomb. I was wheeled indoors and parked in the living room while my daughter saw the ambulance men out, I looked at the mantelpiece and there was the envelope containing my suicide note, rubbing my mental hands I went to rise from the chair, could I get out of the damned thing, could I hell!
"Right then dad," June said striding back into the room "let's get you sorted out shall we. I'll make up the couch bed and you can slide straight into it."
For the moment she was too busy 'sorting' me out to notice the damned envelope, but eventually I was all tucked up and she was glancing round the room to see if it had changed since she'd gone away. Her eyes fell on the envelope and I cringed as she crossed the room to the mantle, took down the envelope, opened it and read the contents. All I had written was 'my life's so fucked up I can't take it any more', but it was damnation enough, June hit the roof.
"YOU STUPID BLOODY FOOL!" my daughter roared while I tried unsuccessfully to hide under the covers "Christ you can't be left alone for a moment can you. Just tell me why, come why?"
She was crying, big drops that trickled down her face onto her quivering chin; I couldn't bring myself to answer her.
"Was it something I did?" she asked in a voice so low I could barely hear her.
Well that was the last thing I wanted her to think, she was the one reason I would consider living and in one long burst I told her everything that had got me down and I mean everything, I held nothing back.
"So you see honey," I finished "it's nothing you've done at all. You're the only good thing left in my failure of a life."
Oddly I felt better for having got it all off my chest, perhaps suicide wasn't the way to go, it certainly didn't sound quite so appealing all of a sudden.
"Why the hell didn't you tell me all this before I left?" she asked as she sat on the edge of the bed.
"Because I knew you'd want to stay and look after me." I sighed "You've got your own life to lead and looking after an idiot like me wouldn't make that a very pleasant life now would it?"
"Oh dad," she laughed, "idiot is right. Well you're stuck with me now."
She stood up and went out to the kitchen to prepare lunch while I pondered on the new situation, I felt guilty at the price my daughter was willing to pay just for me, I was loath to let her make the sacrifice, but short of bodily throwing her out, which I was in no fit state to do, there wasn't a thing I could do about it. I could hear my daughter rattling around in the kitchen, sighing I looked around the room, with my legs and arm encased in plaster I felt so helpless, like a little babe and just like a little babe I suddenly wanted to go 'do-do'. One attempt told me that there was no way I would be able to get out of bed by myself and I was damned if I was going to use the bedpan the hospital had happily handed over to my daughter.
"June." I called out.
A few moments later she was standing at the living room door wiping her hands, I gave her a sickly grin and fought down my embarrassment.
"I need the bathroom." I said flatly.
"I'll get the bedpan." she replied turning.
"Don't you dare!" I bleated, "The thought of that thing makes me shudder. Just give me a hand to get out of bed."
She laughed and shook her head, but came over to the bed, threw back the covers and slid my legs around to the side, pushing the wheelchair over to the side of the bed my daughter helped me to get into the damned thing then pushed me towards the downstairs toilet with my legs sticking out in front of me like battering rams. The next problem came at the toilet, June managed to get me to my feet where I stood wincing and puffing, and with her help I turned around, backed towards the loo, and stopped hovering over the thing. My problem was that I had only one hand that I could use and I was using it to support myself against the wall, if I moved it to open my pyjamas I'd topple over, but I had to get the damn things open before I sat on the loo, I tried a quick grab and felt myself going so rushed my hand back to the loo.
My daughter laughed and came to my rescue yet again, blushing with embarrassment I let her open and push down my pyjama bottoms then plonked onto the loo with my legs stuck straight out in front of me, June stood in the open door and grinned down at me as I went. There was one point that hadn't occurred to me, how the hell was I supposed to clean myself up after I'd been, all too soon this problem was right at the head of the list, I was damned if I was going to let my daughter do it, but I was equally damned as to how I was going to manage the job.
"Poor daddy," June grinned at my dilemma "shall I do it for you?"
"NO!" I snapped feeling my face go red "I mean no, I'll find a way to manage."
.... There is more of this story ...