— the prologue of my book ‘Second Chances’. hope it reads well, I’ve revamped it a couple times – I think it flows now, though it still feels like it’s missing something at the end … I just can’t figure out what.
~ Prologue ~
Annie and I had been married twenty-seven years, three months, twelve days, and fifteen hours. Then, one cold, misty evening, just after sundown, a dead truck driver shattered my very reason for living.
Yes, dead truck driver, at least that’s what the coroner’s office reported. Driving down Central Avenue, the business loop through town, fifty-six year-old Jarl Kipelsky had a fatal heart attack. Without a driver, his semi crossed the meridian and collided head-on with a forest-green Saturn Astra, driven by the love of my life as she was headed home from the market.
They told me her death was instantaneous – that she didn’t suffer. As if that bit of useless information would lesson my pain and anguish. My best friend, my confidant – we had loved, and battled, and laughed, and cried, through homeless winters, angry and defiant children, and an affair. We knew there was nothing that could break the bond between us.
We hadn’t accounted for death.
That was only five short months ago, yet it feels like ages since her memorial. She wanted cremated and her ashes spread in the mountains. The urn was there between two of her pictures; one as a baby, the other taken last year. Diedre, our eldest, was there with her husband Jake and their children. Sara was, wonder of wonders, on parole and actually showed up to show respect for the woman she refused to call “Mom”. Bobby, excuse me, Robert was there with his girlfriend of the moment. They played guitars and he sang James Taylor’s “You’ve Got A Friend”. It was inspirational. How his mother loved to hear him sing.
I managed to spread her ashes into the wind over Seraphin Peak. I was ready to face down the law, but it was a rather cold and breezy day, the hike was basically myself and my good friend, Jared. We passed a few hikers that were on their way down – they warned us the top was pretty nasty – but I was on a mission. I was afraid I wouldn’t make it all the way up; this was Annie’s favorite place. I always met her back at the bottom with hot chocolate. But I climbed it, every inch of that stony path. Had to stop a few times to catch my breath. I think I even talked to Jared about … something or other.
He insisted he come along; would not let me take this alone. Probably smart. I do know of the two of us, Jared is the most stubborn. He and I have known each other since high school, been through a lot together. I stood beside him when he was married; drank with him when he got divorced. Our friendship seemed the one thing left from my past I could still count on.