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A Breaking Heart

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posted on Jun, 5 2016 @ 07:57 PM
It was Laura's birthday and she was sitting quietly in her chair with tears flowing down her cheeks. She wasn't sobbing but the tears came in a non-stop torrent, dripping on to her chest, her arms, her lap - she didn't care where.

She knew that if she was crying like this then she was in very deep distress. This was far worse than the great gulping sobs she might emit if she was grieving. These tears came from the depth of her being. From a depth so great that her everyday persona could barely access it.

In her hand she held the one birthday card she had received. Included with the card there was a note which she kept reading and re-reading, as she tried to make sense of it.

Then she let her mind wander back to late last summer when she'd had so much going on in her life. For one thing, well the 'thing' of most significance, she'd been ill and thought she was dying.

Too ill to travel into town, she'd phoned up the local undertaker to make arrangements for when she dropped off the perch. After that she'd written her Last Will and Testament and found two witnesses for it. Then she'd left a list of instructions for whoever had to clear up her mortal remains, deciding whilst she was at it that perhaps there were rather too many 'remains' to expect some other poor person to clear up.

So she set about having a clear out, starting with the garage where stuff had tended to accumulate. She'd need help with getting everything to whomever could get the most use out of it so had asked for advice from an elderly professor for whom she had done some work – typing, proof-reading, that sort of thing.

He'd insisted on coming over to take away the large items she wanted to be rid of and she was grateful to know that good homes would be found for some of her bulkier, and mostly expensive, treasures.

After loading up his car he'd asked if he might come in for tea and Laura had agreed. They hadn't seen each other for a while because her health had prevented her from doing any more work for him.

Anticipating a cosy chat over a nice cup of tea she'd led the way into the house but, as soon as she'd entered, she started to have severe breathing difficulties and needed to sit down.

As she'd sat in her office chair struggling to breathe and fearing she might die the professor took his opportunity to confess his finer feelings for her. This, despite the fact that he was considerably older and married to an ailing wife.

Horrified, Laura could hardly speak or defend herself as he put his arm round her. Then suddenly he'd dropped to his knees beside her and started to run his hands up either side of her body. 'What was going on?' she'd wondered. Surely this couldn't be sexual assault, he must be trying to help her breathe. His hands slid to her knees, up her thighs and back to massaging either side of her body.

'It's alright if he touches nowhere private' she'd thought wondering what she could possibly do if he did.

He'd asked her if she wanted to lie down but she said 'no'. She was still struggling with her breathing when he'd asked if he could kiss her. She'd said 'no' to that, too. 'Why not?' he'd asked, rather indignantly.

'I don't like that sort of thing' she'd managed to gasp out and the matter was dropped. Rather guiltily, she thought, he'd got up and sneaked away saying that he could see himself out.

Poor Laura wanted to laugh and cry. She'd been so vulnerable, so confused as to his intentions and yet somehow, as she'd been for all intents and purposes literally dying on the spot, she'd attracted the ardent attentions of an admirer. 'Who the bloody Hell else would that happen to?' she'd asked herself.

Men! Even when they were old and should-have-been-past it they couldn't resist that one last go at enticing a female. Even a sick bag of bones such as she'd become.

What could she have done? It was worrying to think that she'd become virtually helpless. In the past she wouldn't have thought twice about belting someone who got on the wrong side of her. Now, she was reduced to this pathetic mess who couldn't even work out if she'd been assaulted or not and still felt she had to be grateful that he was distributing her expensive stuff to Charity. Probably just as well not to have upset him...

She looked down at the note again and her mind went back to the big garage clear out. Now that the Professor had blotted his copybook she'd enlisted the help of the handyman and her neighbour and, between them, they'd carted off her smaller treasures to the local charity shops. There were a lot of these smaller treasures, many of them gifts from people she would never see again. They were reminders of her time in the City, when she'd known people, before she'd become so isolated out in the country. It was sad to see the stuff go, but she was dying and how long did people expect her to hang on to their holiday souvenirs or Christmas presents anyway?

She'd found a lot of old documents and letters whilst rooting about and thought she'd better destroy all of that. Most of it wouldn't do her any good anyway so she'd spent several days devoting an hour or so to shredding.

Among the items shredded were many letters from her sister-in-law together with photos of her nephew. She'd really forgotten how much effort her sister-in-law had put into keeping her updated with her nephew's progress, there were even small things he'd made at school. But now all those beautifully written letters together with the photos were gone for good.

Laura had a sense of estrangement from her family. Her brother hated writing letters and made little or no effort to keep in touch. He could just about rouse himself to send Christmas and rather insulting birthday cards every year. After his wife left him there was no more news of his little family.

Besides clearing the garage so as to leave the World with everything in good order what else had Laura done earlier that year that weighed so heavily on her now?

Well, there was the matter of her best friend. They'd made a life together for about a decade, just a couple of life's pieces of flotsam and jetsam who'd found each other and realised that they could create a better life together than struggling on alone.

It had been a very successful partnership but with one huge fly in the ointment. The person who Laura had decided to throw in her lot with – and he'd had just about the lot – was drink, drug and disease raddled.

He was labouring with two addictions, three if you counted fags, and three life-threatening conditions. One of which he could have passed onto Laura if they weren't careful or had become too intimate. Not that he would have been capable of much intimacy, either physical or emotional.

Laura had soon found out that addicts regard friends as family as prey. She'd learnt never to leave any money unattended and that her handbag was not regarded as her personal and private domain.

Still, she'd persevered. She'd made it her mission to see him through until he got the help he needed. She was the one who'd call the ambulance when he had one of his largely spectacular accidents or that awful time when he'd insisted he was dying from drug complications.

posted on Jun, 5 2016 @ 07:57 PM
Shortly after she'd moved them out to the country and got him away from the street-drinkers he'd fallen in with, his heart started troubling him. He had it monitored and it was discovered that his heart was stopping whilst he slept, for several seconds at a time.

The doctors decided to fit him with a pace-maker but he'd have to wait a month before it could be done.

That month was agonising for Laura. Now that she knew his heart was stopping for up to eleven seconds at a time she was worried about letting him sleep unattended. They were over six miles from the nearest town and hard to find in the depths of the country. She didn't know what the chances would be of getting an ambulance out there at all, let alone in time to save him.

Every night she'd listen outside his bedroom to make sure he was still breathing, thankful that he always made such a racket. But sometimes, all was quiet. Should she go in? She'd felt she couldn't disturb him when he was breathing peacefully and worried if she might precipitate a heart attack should he wake up to find her looming over him.

Every morning she'd go in, carefully touching him to see if he was warm or cold if she couldn't hear him breathing.

It had been a long month and even later on she never took it for granted that she'd wake up each day to find him still alive.

She really didn't know why she made such a big deal of it. In the City before he'd given up injecting, due to just about buggering the only vein he'd had left to inject into, she'd come down to the kitchen every morning with the same sense of trepidation. She never knew if she'd find him dead on the floor from his first fix of the day.

But, last year the cavalry finally arrived and he'd been persuaded to go into de-tox. He'd nearly died once or twice during the week it took, but managed to survive and got sent on to re-hab. Sadly, that didn't suit him and he'd absconded.

She'd received a call from a care-worker to inform her of events. A care-worker who just wouldn't comply with her requests to tie the bastard to a desk so he couldn't get away.

Then she'd spoken to her friend who was adamant that if she wouldn't take him in he was going back to the City. She'd had no choice, she knew that if he went back to the City now he'd be sunk. He'd be either straight back to using or just plain dead.

She'd asked how he'd manage to get to her, after all she was seventy-five miles away. 'Don't worry' he'd said 'I'm resourceful'.

She'd soon found out his idea of 'resourceful'. He'd managed to get a train most of the way using the little money he had, but then had to resort to asking a taxi-driver to phone Laura to see if she was prepared to pay an arm an a leg for her friend to be driven the rest of the way home in a cab.

Using all her powers of persuasion Laura had finally got the driver to trust that she would stump up and he delivered her friend to her door.

Her friend had assured her that the money was a loan, as was all the rest of the money he'd cost her during the week he'd stayed. The money amounted to quite a bit before a place could be arranged for him in a new, more user-friendly, re-hab. And a bit more on top of that as she paid for him to go all the way in another taxi, not trusting him to get there by himself.

After he'd gone Laura had a carefree six months to herself. Knowing that her friend had an army of people to help him she could relax for the first time since they'd met.

She'd needed some time to recover, too, from some of the dreadful things her friend had confessed to during his short stay. Part of his recovery plan included being very honest about the past and he had a lot to be very honest about.

Principally that, as soon as he could after they'd moved to the country, he'd sought out the local low-lives in town. All those times she'd trusted him to do the shopping on his own he'd taken the opportunity to take extra drugs. And that once, when very fortunately he was at a friend's place rather than the public lavatories, he'd taken an overdose.

His friend was ex-military and had known how to resuscitate him but had panicked during the procedure. He'd been a bit rough and left Laura's friend with a permanent pain or ache just near his heart.

Laura could put two and two together and realised the source of the 'hereditary' heart problem that had required him to have a pace-maker fitted. She remembered how many times he'd lamented that the doctors never gave him a proper diagnosis so he didn't know what the problem with his heart actually was.

She remembered, too, all the pains in her own heart. She was very empathetic and could feel the ills of those close to her. She sighed as she remembered a number of times when she'd asked him if his chest pains were bad that day. He'd always agreed that, indeed, they were. And so she'd been relieved that there was only one of them to worry about rather than two, just assuming that her pains were really his.

It had been difficult for her to take in the information that her friend had tossed at her so casually. She didn't believe in things 'nearly' happening or 'could have happened'. The fact was he didn't die of an overdose so there was no point in fretting about the 'might have beens'.

The fact that was hard to take was the fact that he'd been prepared to risk it. To put her and the new life she'd built and financed in jeopardy just for the sake of a fix on top of his legal daily allowance.

She was starting to realise that her friend was far more selfish and callous than even she had suspected. And she'd suspected a lot.

She thought back to earlier that year, long before the garage clear-out and the suspicion that she was dying. He'd finally come out of re-hab and was able to visit before going into a halfway house. Just a brief stopover, but enough for him to see that she wasn't too well. Her health had been deteriorating for about a month and she must have shown some weakness or chink in her armour. She remembered how grateful she'd been when he rammed a particularly stubborn plug into a socket for her.

He'd left her with promises of a return visit as soon as he was able, just a few weeks he thought.

After that they'd kept in touch via email or a quick phone call. All the time her health was getting worse and the persistent cough made phone calls a bit of an ordeal.

Eventually she got an email saying that he'd better not give her a definite date for a visit as he didn't want to disappoint her if it fell through. After that, visits were never mentioned again.

He didn't mention the new place he'd been planning to rent either – the place that would have had room for her. During his week-long stay last summer they'd discussed having two places. Hers in the country and his beside the sea so he could still be near to his support network. They'd discussed getting a small dog, too.

Now the subject just never came up. All he seemed to write about was how busy he was, his AA meetings, how difficult it was to send emails from a mobile phone or how hard it was to get a signal. At one point he described how he'd helped to clean and re-decorate the re-hab place even though he'd moved out.

Laura looked around her own place and wished that he'd been there to help her clean up a bit. She was finding it harder and harder to cope now but was trying not to emotionally blackmail him into coming to help her.

edit on 5-6-2016 by berenike because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 5 2016 @ 07:57 PM
Of course later she realised that nothing she could have said or done would have persuaded him to come and help her. Wild horses wouldn't have dragged him out to her.

She'd spent a decade holding his head above water until the rescue services came for him but she'd been left to make her own way back to shore. With her energies gone and scant resources left, she doubted that she'd make it.

Over the course of a couple more months she watched as he distanced himself from her and would sit at her computer with the tears sliding down her cheeks. No matter how she dressed things up one stark fact was impossible to ignore: he wasn't there.

She'd become a liability rather than the asset she'd always been and he wasn't prepared to spend any time at all isolated in the country, looking after a sick woman who wasn't quite so rich as she had been. She couldn't blame him really, of course he was more interested in his bright, shiny new life. Except... well... she'd done it for him. Been there for him for a decade with no thought of doing anything else, and she was only hoping for his company for a few days here and there anyway.

Now here he was learning to give inspirational speeches to others like himself. She wondered how inspired they'd be if they saw the way he was treating her. And it occurred to her how comfortable he'd be with his new life.

He'd be hanging around with exactly the same sort of people he always liked to hang around with, except they were all now 'straight'. Drink and drugs still loomed large in their lives but they only talked about them rather than 'did' them.

And as he seemed to blossom so she deteriorated and found herself fearful of an early demise. So she'd just scraped enough money together to pay for her funeral and hadn't had to touch her sorely depleted Capital to do it. Never mind, she'd be dead by next month, the one after that at the latest. She certainly hadn't expected to see her next birthday.

She didn't die though. That money she wasn't expecting to need due to being dead suddenly became rather important. And so she'd emailed her friend to ask if he could pay her some of the money he'd borrowed during his visit last year. She got a curt reply to the effect that he was struggling himself and then she'd never heard from him again. Ever.

Laura wasn't one to chase people and she was stubborn. She'd waited to hear from him but it soon became obvious that he had no intention of getting in touch.

She'd nearly killed herself bagging up all the things he'd left in the house and dumping them in the garage, all the while feeling guilty. She'd prided herself that whenever he came home everything would be just as he'd left it and he could settle in just as comfortably as if he was putting on an old pair of slippers.

She'd wondered how he could leave all his things behind like that. But then she realised that she'd probably paid for most of them. The rest was more likely some old tat he'd rescued from a skip. He'd already made sure to take the stuff of real value with him when he'd gone to re-hab, including the two expensive guitars she'd given him.

She started to wonder how long he'd been planning his get-away.

So, these were the people who were or had been important in Laura's life. In the run up to her birthday she'd wondered if her friend would send her a card as a sort of olive branch. As much as she'd brutally disentangled herself from the dreams of the new life she'd been hoping to share with him, she still hoped that, perhaps, he'd take the opportunity to offer a fresh start.

Not entirely in a benign way either. When she'd written up her new Will she'd left him out of it entirely. He was no longer the beneficiary, everything was willed to the dogs' home. If he wasn't back in communication by the time she snuffed it he'd never find out what she'd done.

A few more tears dripped off her face as she thought of that. She smiled sadly because today, finally, it was her birthday.

In her hand she held a card which she'd instinctively known she had to open right away because there'd be a letter inside. The 'letter' took the form of a very short note written on a very small piece of paper torn from a notebook.

It was from her brother who had chosen her birthday to tell her that her beautiful and sweet sister-in-law had become ill and died. In January. Laura's birthday was in December. Her brother had waited nearly a whole year to tell her, such was his hatred of writing letters.

So Laura had to spend her birthday processing the information that someone she was rather fond of had died and that her nephew was having to cope without his mother.

She thought, too, of all the letters and photographs from her sister-in-law that she'd shredded, thinking she was being helpful to the beneficiaries of her Will. How much less stuff for them to have to deal with.

That was just a few short months ago, too. If only she'd known about the death she could have bundled everything up and posted it to her nephew. How much might it have meant to him to have read his mother's lovely letters detailing small incidents from his childhood. Now, they were gone forever.

Laura sat and wept some more. She had to keep re-reading the note because in it her brother said he had some 'sad' news. He'd really hated his wife for leaving him so Laura couldn't fathom if he actually meant 'sad' or was being sarcastic. After all, his friends had congratulated him when their mother died because he'd hated her so much.

Laura wondered if the news was supposed to cheer her up and he'd planned it as some sort of birthday surprise. He always prided himself on being a bastard so she wouldn't have put it past him.

She cried a little more but eventually she'd pull herself together. The loneliness, sadness and disappointment of her birthday would be got over, the way she got over everything. What she really should be doing was cursing herself for a fool for breaking tradition and opening the bloody card on the day itself instead of the day after so as not to spoil what should be her 'special day'.

edit on 5-6-2016 by berenike because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 5 2016 @ 08:17 PM
a reply to: berenike

Wow, that was a long powerful story S&F

posted on Jun, 5 2016 @ 08:58 PM
a reply to: Quantum12

Thank you very much
There was a lot to get in there.

posted on Jun, 5 2016 @ 09:09 PM
I really enjoyed the story too

posted on Jun, 5 2016 @ 09:21 PM
a reply to: berenike

Oh my gosh!

Just fantastic!

Thank you !

So much time

posted on Jun, 6 2016 @ 05:38 AM
a reply to: TNMockingbird

a reply to: visitedbythem

Thank you both very much. I'm glad you enjoyed my story

posted on Jun, 7 2016 @ 10:34 AM
Somebody needs to kick his butt. Selfish ingrate.

posted on Jun, 7 2016 @ 02:15 PM
a reply to: ladyinwaiting

To be honest I was going more for lying, thieving, callous, selfish, skanky, lowlife scumbag.

But I'm quite new to writing characters of this ilk, so I'll have to polish up my skills a bit

edit on 7-6-2016 by berenike because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 7 2016 @ 09:09 PM
a reply to: berenike

Well I don't know about polishing up your skills, I think you got your thoughts across very clearly!

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