I Need To Know
It was a dark and stormy night. I've always wanted to start a story off that way. This time it was dark and cloudy both outside the window, and also inside my heart.
My wife of five years was in the hospital in a coma. I would be headed back over there shortly. She was in a traffic accident two days ago and my three year old son was killed. The man she was with was killed also. I didn't have any particulars yet since it happened on a Friday night. I worked the afternoon turn at the factory and received a call from the hospital. The man's wife was also at the hospital. She was a pretty woman even in her old blouse and jeans. She was crying over her loss as was I.
We talked a little, really not knowing each other. We knew we would have to meet again and see what we could figure out. Right now everything was in limbo. Was it a meeting? Were they having an affair? I just didn't know, and why did Lydia take our son with her? So many question, and no answers. Hopefully, all the questions would come out in the next few days.
I was at home changing clothes when the phone rang; it was the hospital. Lydia was coming out of her coma but they didn't think she was going to make it. Too many internal injuries. I rushed to the hospital as fast as I could. They let me into the intensive care unit immediately. Her mom came out of the room crying as I went in. In the lobby were her two brothers and their wives, along with her younger sister and her father.
Lydia was in a drug induced state. Her voice was just a whisper. She looked at me through half-closed eyes and said, "Derek, I'm so sor..."
She passed on. Her final words were, "Derek, I'm so..." then maybe "sorry?" I don't know; I guess I never will. My problem is my name is Jerry.
I left the room in tears. Her family were all crying out in the lobby. What was happening to me? The loss of my son, and now my wife. It seemed so unreal. I wanted to wake up from this nightmare. Unfortunately, I wasn't dreaming. I went and hugged all my in-laws. What was I to say to them? I didn't know anything. Right now I had other problems to deal with. Tuesday I would be burying my three year old son and on Wednesday I would now be burying my wife of five years. I had no answers; everything would just have to wait till after the funerals.
When I got home, my answering machine was so full of messages that it had stop taking them. Friends and family all asking questions. The police and insurance companies were also calling. My head was a mess. I just sat down in my chair and cried. I eventually dozed off when I was awakened by the ringing of the phone.
The caller ID said it was a D. Cain. I decided to answer it.
"Hello, Johnson residence." I answered.
'Mr. Johnson? Jerry Johnson?"
"Yes, it is. Who is this?" I asked.
"It's Connie, Connie Cain. My husband was killed in the accident along with your son and now I heard your wife didn't make it. I just wanted to give you my condolences. I know how hard this is for you, since I'm going through a similar experience. I'm a mess right now." She started crying.
"Connie, I'm sorry for your loss too. I would very much like to get with you and we can compare notes or something. Right now I have the two funerals to contend with. I'll be burying my son on Tuesday, and Lydia, my wife, on Wednesday. Maybe we can get together sometime after that. I very much want to talk with you."
"Jerry... is it alright to call you Jerry?"
"Of course, Connie."
"My husband's funeral is on Tuesday also. So, anytime after that would be fine."
"Connie, can I ask you a couple of questions?"
"By all means, Jerry, I'm as overwhelmed as you. Anything I can do to help solve these unanswered questions, I'm willing to do."
"Did you know my wife? Her name is Lydia Johnson. It was Lydia Moore, before we were married. Also was your husband's name Derek? On a personal note, how long have you been married and do you have a family?"
"Jerry, I'm not sure but I think your wife might have sold us our house around four years ago. I can get you the exact date if you need. Since then, I have never seen or heard her named mentioned. Not even by Derek. We've been married nine years and have two kids. A boy, Dillon, who is seven, and a girl, Darla, who is five."
"Were you or maybe even your husband looking to buy property or buy another house?"
"We often talked about purchasing a cottage, but I have no idea if he was checking into it or not. As I mentioned, it was just talk."
"Did you know if he was with anyone last Friday? You know, did he have a scheduled appointment or work on Friday?
"Not that I was aware of, Jerry. He often came home late, so until I got the call from the hospital I didn't suspect anything."
"Thank you, Connie. I've bothered you enough for now and I am very sad for your loss. I just hope we can come up with some answers for closure. It was really nice talking to you and again, I'm very sorry." I hung up the phone.
One connection, so far. She might have sold them their house four years ago. At least I have somewhere to start. Poor Connie, two kids and now no father. I really felt sorry for her. My life wasn't the only one that was a mess.
Even though it was Sunday the insurance company left a message for me to call them. They asked for more information than I had so far. I would have to get the police report and get back to them.
At the moment I both loved and hated Lydia. She was my loving wife and the mother of my only child. Now they're both gone. The grief was so strong I couldn't even think straight. I tried to think back on our happier times together.
How does one deal with all these emotions at once? I needed a clear head just to deal with the losses and the funeral. God, I wish that damn phone would stop ringing. I listened to most of the messages and then turned the ringer off and let the answering machine take the calls again. I needed rest; I hadn't really slept since before the accident. I went over to the couch - I didn't want to be in my bed - and laid down and thought about my life until I fell asleep.
Lydia and I met while she was still in school... well, junior college. She was taking courses in real estate. I worked at the factory as a maintenance helper. I was in the apprentice program to become a maintenance man. We did the plumbing and electrical stuff as well as some machine repair. It was the highest paying hourly jobs at our plant. At least I had the brains to get into the program.
Lydia and I dated for about two years before I popped the question. We were married a few months later. She sold real estate and I worked maintenance on the afternoon turn. We didn't see each other a lot but we did get along pretty good. We spent all the time we could together. We made love at the drop of a hat. I'd get home from work about mid-night and wake her up and we'd make love. Sometimes we would just have raw sex. We seemed to be pretty good together. She never complained about being awakened for sex. After we finished, she'd just cuddle up to me and go back to sleep. What more could a guy ask for?
Lydia had made her biggest sale and we went out and celebrated. When we got home we had the best sex possible. We did it three times that night. The first time was for me, but Lydia wanted more. This was the first time we did it three times in about an eight hour period. Each time she wanted me to come deep in her vagina. Each time I held it as tight as I could against her till she could feel my juices shooting into her. She wanted a fourth time but I just didn't have it in me. I told her I could do her orally, but she said that was alright; she was tired too.
Nine months later little Mikey, our son, was born. He was our pride and joy. I watched him a lot during the day when she had to work and of course she had him when I went to work. Everyone argued who he looked like. It was evenly divided with half saying Mikey looked like me and the other half saying he looked more like Lydia. We didn't care who he looked like he was our pride and joy.
Lydia wanted to spend more time with Mikey and me so she started working part time. It was fine with me because I wanted her to be home too. Life was good. We argued like every married couple does. We didn't have a girl's or boy's night out. We preferred to go out as a family or we did visit our families a lot. As I mentioned, Lydia had two brothers and a sister. My mom was living and was remarried. Dad passed away when I was around five. I had one sister a couple of years younger who was also married and had one daughter.
We never had a problem getting a babysitter. We had lots of volunteers. I guess that's another reason I thought it was odd that Lydia had Mikey with her that night. Someone would have surely watched him. What I was hearing was that she never mentioned to anyone that she was going out.
On Monday I called my boss who was already aware of the death of my family members. I told him I needed a couple of weeks off to get everything in order. Of course he was sympathetic to me and told me to take all the time I needed. The first five days would count as family funeral leave, and then I could use whatever vacation I needed. If I needed more time, I just needed to give him a call.
Most of the next couple of days would be spent at the funeral home. It couldn't have been much worse. On Tuesday, when I saw the lifeless body of my son lying there; I cried and I cried. No parent should have to bury their kids! It's just not right. Of course all the family and friends were asking questions about Lydia and Derek. What could I say? I didn't know anything. Eventually they got the hint and didn't mention it to me anymore. I knew behind my back that there was a lot of gossiping going on.
After Mikey's funeral, which was first thing in the morning, I found myself going to another funeral home, where another funeral was going to be taking place. I was standing in the back of the parlor, still in my black suit and just watched the people. I didn't know anyone but I wanted to hear the gossiping.
"Who was that woman he was with?" "Was he having another affair?" "Poor, Connie, now has two small children to raise on her own."
I figured this is the kind of talk that was going on at Mikey's funeral and would be the same shit tomorrow at Lydia's.
"This wasn't his first time, you know. Connie caught him before."
"Connie said he was looking at property. That's a likely story."
"Connie sure looks good, even in black. Wonder if she played around like old Derek"
"Damn, if I had a woman like Connie waiting at home for me, I sure wouldn't be looking for any strange."
"Did you hear that there was a kid in the car too?
I had heard enough. I was getting ready to leave when Connie spotted me. She quickly came back to see me. I should have gone up front but didn't want all these people wondering who I was.
"Jerry, why are you here?" She hugged me.
"I don't know; I just buried my son and found myself driving here."
"I'm so sorry, Jerry. Nothing could be worse than burying your child. There are my two kids up front waiting for the service to start. Jerry, please call me Thursday; we must talk. I know you're hearing the rumors. Please come by. Just call me first," as she handed me a card with her address and phone number on it.
The service was about to start so I made a quick exit. I stopped by my sister's where there was a kind of wake going on for Mikey. All it amounted to is that we were feeding a lot of people before they went home. There was very little conversation going on about my son. In most of these peoples' mind he would be forgotten in the next couple of days. He would live in my heart forever.
After eating, I headed back for the evening hours for Lydia. The pain and the heartbreak all over again. It was more of the same. The whispers, the people who stopped talking when I walked by. I almost wish someone would run up to me and say, "Your wife was having an affair with Derek. Here's the proof." I knew that wasn't going to happen. I don't even know if there was an affair.
I sat through a horrible three hours at the funeral home and knew I had to do it again in the morning. I would be glad when this was over. I kept looking at a beautiful Lydia lying there. She looked so peaceful, I was waiting for her to just wake up.
"Why, Lydia Why? What did you do? Why did you do it?" I cried. I just couldn't help it.
Wednesday was more of the same. I was glad when the funeral was over. Lydia's mom had the wake at her house this time. As I was eating, I realized I wouldn't be spending much time with this family anymore. What would be the point? Their daughter and grandson were both dead now. All I would be was bad memories. I think we all knew it but nobody mentioned it.
I left after eating and went back to my house. We bought it when it came on the market. It was a small house that needed a lot of fixing up. It had a nice back yard that we fenced in for Mikey. I looked out the back door and saw his swing set. I couldn't count the times he asked me to push him on his swing. I knew I now had the horrible job of sorting through all the clothes and things. I decided to call Lydia's sister and sister-in-laws and let them have any of Lydia's clothes and personal items.
They said they would be over that evening. They came and rummaged through Lydia's closets and drawers. I had already gone through them looking for anything that would help my hunt for information. I let Lydia's sister have the wedding ring to pass on to her daughter. I didn't have any use for it. When the women were done rummaging through everything, they hugged and kissed me goodbye. I let them take any of little Mikey's clothes also. When they were finished, I took the rest of the clothes and put them in garbage bags. I would drop them off at the Salvation Army tomorrow.
About nine that night the phone rang.
"Hello, Jerry, Connie again. I didn't want to bother you but I needed to tell you I was there today."
"Connie, it isn't a bother to talk to you. In fact, you're the only person who understands what's going on. Where were you today? At the funeral - Lydia's funeral?"
"Yes, Jerry, I stood in the back and listened to the horrible talk. It looks like everyone has their minds made up, don't they?"
"Connie, don't worry what others think. They want the worst because it's better gossip. Why didn't you come up front? No one would have known who you were."
"I did go up and look at her, Jerry. She was a beautiful woman. She was also the woman who sold us our house four years ago."
"I didn't see you come up."
"I waited until you left the room. Then I went up and said a prayer for you. I left a minute or two later."
"Connie, you think they had an affair, don't you?"
"I don't know, Jerry. They might have, but I have absolutely no proof right now. Will I see you tomorrow?"
"Yes, I'll call you after I go by the police station. They have the accident report ready. They left a message on the answering machine. So, I'll see you tomorrow, Connie."
"Goodnight, Jerry." She hung up the phone.