He Had So Much Going For Him
Mark stood in his living room, looking down at the dead body lying at his feet. His stiffly starched shirt was ripped and bloody. The blood dripped from his fingers onto the expensive carpet that he hated so much. Something in him enjoyed seeing the bright red life stain the ugly cream fibers of the plush carpet.
“What have I done?? Oh my god, what have I done? I didn’t mean to do it. I didn’t!”
The front door opened and a dark haired woman stepped in, dropping her keys at the sight in the living room. For a brief moment, she stood speechless. She took three steps toward her husband, her eyes wide in shock and flashing in anger.
“Oh, Mark! Mark, no… my god you bastard! How could you do this to me?” She grabbed a nearby lamp and threw it, nearly hitting Mark. “The children will be home soon and you go and do this!” She seemed to snap, kneeling on the floor, a foot from the lifeless body still turning the cream carpet crimson. She touched the warm puddle, thinking how much money they had paid for such pretty carpet.
“Janet, I’m sorry! I…I didn’t mean to do it! I just wanted to be free! I couldn’t stand it! I’m always doing what everyone else tells me to do! I just had to strike back!”
Janet whispered, “What are we supposed to do now, Mark? Tell me that, you damned idiot! What now?”
“I… I don’t know. I’m sorry, I just… Damn it! Why do you even ask me? I’m never asked anything! I don’t get asked! I get told! Mark, do this! Mark, we need that! Mark, why did you do that? NOW you want to ask me what to do?! He ranted around the room and body. You didn’t ask me what to do when we bought the house. You didn’t ask me what I wanted when we moved for your career. It didn’t matter what I thought about the children’s upbringing or how to discipline them or when. It was all you then! My parents didn’t ask me what I wanted when I went to college, or had to quit the ball team in high school.
“I never wanted to be a salesman, you know that? I didn’t want to be in business at all, but that’s how Dad wanted it! I couldn’t disappoint him or Mom, could I? NO, it was always about everyone else! I hate this house, Janet! I hate it, and I hate the car I drive! Because none of it is mine! (pulls down a picture and throws it on the floor) This picture wasn’t my choice! I think it’s nonsense! I wanted the one of the wild animals, but no the sailboat is more pleasant, isn’t it? The wild animals were too volatile, too “rough.”
Mark gestured wildly at the dead man. “Well, is this pleasant? Is this too “rough” for you Janet? Answer me damn you! I demand an answer!”
“I’m calling the police.” Without another word, Janet left the room.
“Janet, no wait! Please!” Mark followed her out of the room, leaving the body alone with the thick carpet, the rich furnishings, the pastel pictures, and the hot, pooling blood.
* * *
Janet sat with tear stained cheeks at the kitchen table, whispering a thank you as the detective offered her a hand kerchief, dabbing at her eyes.
“Mrs. Johnson, we’ll be taking Mark downtown in a few minutes. I understand this is a difficult time for you, but I’d like to ask you a few questions if I may. Do you know any reason why your husband might have done this?”
“Not really, no. It doesn’t make any sense. Things were going well, he was pretty successful. I know he was having some minor problems with certain people, but I never expected… this.”
“I understand, Ma’am. It’s hard to get inside other people’s heads, but that’s part of our job to try and figure out what people’s motives are. Did you know anything about his plan before this afternoon when you came home?”
“No, nothing. He didn’t give any signs at all. It just happened. I don’t understand it at all. What could drive a man that had everything going for him to do something like that?”
The Detective stood up to leave. “I don’t know, Ma’am. I wish I did. It would make my job a little easier and a lot more pleasant. We’ll take care of things from here on, ma’am. Try to get some rest, I know it’s been a long day for you.” He leaves with a sad look back at her.
“Damn you, Mark. You never think of anyone but yourself. How dare you put me and our family through this!”
* * *
Janet stepped gingerly around the graves, a light breeze tossing her hair across the dark shoulders of her black dress. The minister stepped up to her quickly, the mourners beginning to gather around the casket, holding flowers and quiet thoughts. The minister pulled her gently to the side, speaking softly.
“I didn’t think you’d come here today, Janet. “
“I…I just felt I should. For their sakes, Father. I’d rather not be here myself, but for their sakes I felt I should.” Janet touched tears from her eyes, looking towards the children beside the gravesite. They were too young to deserve such a loss.
“I understand. I need to get started. Feel free to come see me if you need to talk ok?” He pulled her chin up to look at him. “I mean that Janet. Come see me.”
Janet nodded, offering him a weak smile.
The minister stepped to the head of the grave and laid one hand on the casket, lifting his gaze to the dark group as a light rain started to drizzle down.
“We come here today to both mourn this passing and celebrate a life. He was successful, and a wonderful father and husband, until his life was cut short. He will be well missed by all. His happy smiles and quick jokes were always the life of the party and kept us all laughing.
“We do not know why Mark chose to end his life. It doesn’t make any sense to us here. But perhaps, when our lives are done, we will understand. We can only hope to learn from him and try to be the cheerful face in life’s difficult times.
“May God have mercy on his soul and hold a place for him in His kingdom for ever and ever.”
Gradually each person passed by and left flowers, pictures, and tears on the grave. Slowly walking away, some hand in hand, some alone with their heartaches until only Janet and the minister knelt beside the damp loose earth. Her dark hair wasn’t lifting on the breeze, but dripping with rain.
“Father, that was very touching. I hope one day I will understand it all.”
“If you do Janet, come tell me, ok?” Janet nodded and stood up, her tears mixing with the uncaring rain on her cheeks.
The minister watched her walk away and then looked down at the loose mounded grave. “I’ll never understand the suicides. He had so much going for him.”