The Death of a Sad Man

He was alone in the house that he had bought with her; she had said their children needed more space to live, and she was tired of the house on Megan Street. He had passed through the front door only a half hour ago. His daughter's boyfriend was there, watching something on his television in his chair, waiting for her to get out of class.

"Life is pain," the man explained. The other couldn't have said anything to change the man's thoughts. "Take care of her," he said, and then disappeared into his room. The room wasn't a real room; it had been built in the garage without a building permit so that their daughter and foreign exchange student from Japan could share the master bedroom. They were in highschool, after all.

Had he not held them many times before, he would have thought that the gun in his hand was heavier than expected. It rested cooly in his hand, ready to do what another willed it to. Guns cannot tell the difference between fathers and villains.

His decision had been made, and he only had to execute it. He shook his head sadly. How did this happen? Was all of his life supposed to lead up to this very moment? Did everyone realize that all living brought was pain? They were either ignorant of it so far, or they managed to deal with it. He could not though; all the pain hit him too fast or too hard or he just wasn't strong enough to deal with it.

He sat on the bed he had shared with his wife of 19 years, his shoulders slumped with the weight of the world. Now, at the end of things, he wished he could change the time he had so carelessly spent. His wife was done with him, had tossed him aside for her own interests. Where could he go from there? He was 42 years old. There wasn't time enough left to start a new life with another. And he didn't want another. He had three children with this woman, and he loved her. He gave everything he had to give to her. He couldn't count how many hours he had given up of his life to work so that her and their children could have the things he wanted them to have. If only he could go back, and show her how many ways he loved her. But he only knew of one way to love her, and that was to provide. But he could have been more affectionate, more caring. He could have tried at her silly, womanly requests. And now there was another man...Another man that had captured his wife's heart. And with what? Attention and affection. If only he could go back...

The phone rang, but he didn't answer it. It would be the police again. Or his friend. He couldn't talk to his friend because he couldn't be talked out of his plan. He had to do it. He couldn't give her up without losing his mind. He couldn't face his children. He couldn't face those men at work. His financial problems were too much for him to handle any longer. He would go to jail because he fired his gun once already out of anger. And, if he did turn away from the gun in his hand and he overcame all the troubles he had caused, life would only bring something else for him. Another slap to the face or punch to the gut or kick to the groin. He would have to suffer through the rest of his life, just as everyone else has to still do.

His mind was made up, and there was no point to continue thinking. Slowly he raised the gun to his right temple and held his breath. His mind wandered across the things he had done, the people he had known. The people who would not understand his death for many years, if ever, and would call him a coward. He planned to do it on the count of three, but he would do it when he said two. And then he would just do it, without worrying about the consequences because those worries stop people from doing things.

He took a steady breath, and then -


One of his daughter's favorite songs has the line in it:

It was a wedding ring / Destined to be found in a cheap hotel / Lost in a kitchen sink or thrown in a wishing well

Everytime she hears it, she thinks sadly of the sad man that was her father and that his band was found in such a place.