(*Note: This is a continuation of a piece I wrote during any earlier task, a part 2 I guess. Read part 1, titled a thousand words, give or take, to find out what has been told of the tale so far.)
as Tom unfolds the purple pages that had been tucked gently into the purple envelope so many years ago, memories of her begin to fill his head. it wasn’t as if he could ever forget her, but slowly he had chosen to push thoughts of her aside just so he would have the strength to breath.
the time she took a shower with him with her clothes still on because she was nervous about him seeing her. the time they went for a walk thru the city and she was wearing the yellow sweater with the butterflies, the one that hung off her shoulders, exposing her upper back, he told her he liked that top on her because he could see and touch her skin as they walked. when she used to walk him to his car as he left for work every morning. the four am mornings when he’d leave coffee in the machine for her as he headed off to work, she’d offer him a sleepy goodbye, he’d call later on his lunch break at eight, to check on her and just to hear her voice. the time they took Christmas card photos and laughed so hard that almost all of the photos turned out blurry, she was happy then.
as he falls back into reality, it hits him hard. he realizes she stopped laughing long before she left, he can’t think of the last smile he saw on her face, it had to have been weeks or maybe even months before. he looks down at the note, he realizes he had been clutching it tightly and had created wrinkles in the crisp purple pages, he smooths the papers and begins to read.
“my dearest Tom, when you think of me please do not be sad. if i had known how to stay, i would have. some people aren’t meant for this world though. most people go on and on about how selfish suicide is and you know what? i agree, suicide is damn selfish. but as a human being i was given the right to be selfish. i was not selfish in every choice i made, but in most i was. i don’t think i was meant to stay any longer than i did. everything happens exactly as it is supposed to. in the end everything is perfect. we all play are parts exactly as were meant to. when people talk of suicide, they say things like ‘why didn’t she tell us something was wrong?’ or ‘if only we had known, we could have helped him’. it’s as if the person was supposed to stick around just for the sake of other people, i don’t agree with this. to me, living simply because others want you to live doesn’t make much sense. i didn’t have it in me to be happy, something was flawed in my heart, something i didn’t know how to recover from. the only was for me to live was to die. as you read this i know i am with Jesus and that He has made my heart perfect. i don’t cry anymore. i am no longer empty. and i hope that you don’t cry for me, because i am perfect now, without sorrow and without darkness…”
Tom sets the note down for minute. he doesn’t feel any better, if anything he feels worse. he hates her more now, after he has read these words. how could she have been so damn selfish? how could she know that there was no chance of happiness for her on earth?
he picks the paper back up to finish reading. “the church you are sitting in, it is the closest thing to happiness that i found on earth. here i forgot to feel empty, here i forgot to mourn the life i would never live. i wanted to love you, but i was incapable of loving while i was down there. no matter how hard i tried. i am grateful for the moments you gave me that came close to joy. thank you for trying. love, Rachelle” Tom has tear-streaked cheeks now and his face is flushed red hot with anger. he wants to scream. he still doesn’t understand any of it. he gave her everything he had and it was never enough. he wonders if even tried to love him or if that was just a lie.
he walks over to the door that the priest closed some time earlier. he knocks. the priests invites him into his office.
“Tom, would you like to sit?” the priest motions to a chair opposite his own. Tom takes the seat.
“i don’t get it, Father.” Tom hesitates, “is that what i should call you?”
the priest seems to think before answering, “if you want to, but my given name is Robert, which ever you are comfortable with.”
“okay, Robert. i don’t understand why she came to this church, she wasn’t even Catholic.”
“she came for the windows. every wall of the sanctuary has windows, so no matter the time, during daylight hours sunlight pours in. she said it was the most sunshine she had every seen inside a building and it made her feel close to God, she said in this church full of sunlight she thought maybe she could learn to feel good things, learn to love. i thought she was getting somewhere with all that, but then she came one morning, tear-stained and empty. she left the note with me and said she knew you’d be here someday and to give it to you.”
“in the note Rachelle said she was incapable of loving, do you believe that is true?”
“no, i don’t. but Rachelle did believe it, and sometimes we hold onto our beliefs so tightly that they drown us and consume us and the thought of believing anything less is unbearable. Rachelle was lost, she found the only answers she knew how to while she was here. forgive her, she was not perfect, but tragically broken.”