If Only You Had Done Something…

If you had happened to look out of your high apartment window in one of the thousands of stone and brick apartment buildings that day, you would have seen him standing there. In the middle of the grass and dirt and bare trees like bones, he shook his head slowly and looked around to see what there was, but it wasn't much, only myriads of stone tablets marking the ground as proof that someone had once existed, nothing more.
There was no breeze to disturb the somberness of the plot of land surrounded by unmerciful black steel bars, nothing to rustle the threadbare coat settled on the drooping shoulders of the man. He kept his hands in his pockets and his thinly mangled cigarette pressed firmly between his narrow lips as he wandered slowly from stone to stone. Strangely, perhaps ordained by the fates for that sole day, there was no sounds to break the crystal autumn air and the leaves were mercifully limp and damp, making no crunch when trod upon by those shiny black loafers.
He was a lone man, nothing special about him aside from the sorrow so painful to see in his eyes, and he kept to himself, almost becoming a part of that piece of earth. Just another tall thin bone, rooted in the ground. As he waded deeper into the mass of trees and scattered gravestones, he finally saw it, sheltered by some overgrown shrubs, pulsating with some kind of peace.
A mangled sob squeezed out of his throat as he fell to his knees in that dewy emerald grass. His arms flung out and around the cold grey stone, and his tangled and matted henna brown hair swept the top of the marker as he bent himself around it with his head down, and wept. From a distance, you might have seen him kneeling there, his jacket wide and around the stone as his arms were stretched out, almost making the man and the grave appear as one. His shoulders shook with the effort of staying alive in such agony as he reached deep into his coat pocket.
If you would have been looking out your window that morning, you would have seen a lone, solitary man in the midst of the city graveyard, pulling something out of his pocket, partially hidden by the too-long sleeves of the coat. After a moment, when the man raised the arm to his head, you would have seen he was holding a gun in his wavering hand, small yet effective enough to serve what purpose it was there for. You would have seen the man pull the trigger, but there wouldn't have been anything you could have done about it.
A sharp harsh sound echoed through the air, shattering the stillness like a mirror breaking into thousands of shards. He pitched forward, he didn't have far to go, his body slumping over the tomb stone, his hair still matted, falling into tangled rivers of mud down the back of the stone. His arms hanging limp and lifeless at his sides, the gun fallen to the ground below onto the mercifully silent leaves.
And yet…no one would have known the man was a father. Was…a father…when he was still alive, when his child was still alive. He had gotten a phone call that mornning from the city hospital stating matter-of-factly that his son had died that morning in a tragic accident. His son had been on the school bus with all the other rowdy children awaiting the new wonders of the day…
Who would have known he wouldn't make it out alive after he pitched forward through the windshield of the bus as the driver braked hard to avoid hitting the new mother and baby that had just appeared in the middle of the road? Who would have known that a proud and loving, though emotionally unstable, father would take his life after loosing that of his son? And yet you saw it happen, didn't you?

Samantha Conner ©2005