A Short Story of True Origins
"Oh my God, what have I done?" John sat in his favourite chair, with his head lying in his hands. He pushed the palms of his hands deep into his eye sockets begging, pleading, for the pain to give him some sort of relief. The pounding in his temples, was just a reminder of what he had done, this is not what he had wished for. He hadn't made those choices so many years ago to face this hopeless future. Self pity stared him in the face, and he tried to make sense of what was to come. He realised in stark reality that fate had dealt him an appreciative blow.
John's family were always close at hand, forgiving, loving and nurturing him. They fully understood the situation, and although they did not agree with John's actions, they where willing to stand by him, albeit with closed eyes.
John sat and looked at Pat, and for a brief moment, he allowed himself to reminisce about the past. Pat was a striking looking woman, not beautiful or pretty, but handsome all the same. She had a very loving nature, and had proudly born him seven children, all now grown up into well adjusted men and woman. Many of the girls, just like their mother in looks and temperament, were kind and gentle and easy on the eye. The boys, John muse, were strong, handsome and dependable, just like their father used to be!
John's early years of marriage had been a delightful experience. Pat, always willing, submissive and nurturing was a pleasure to be with, and John thought himself a very fortunate man, he used to be the talk of the town.
John was a farmer and very comfortably well off. He was a regular church goer, a pillar of the community and very well liked and respected. To some extent, he was able to carry on his bachelor style of life, as Pat was a home bird, nesting, and nurturing her children. Pat was happy for John to take the limelight. She was reserved and didn't feel the need to have the villagers approve her lifestyle, Pat was happy to be a back seat driver, and never asked for anything more.
John could not recall when his life began to spiral out of control. He had savings in the bank, he was an extremely good looking man of seventy four. Smartly dressed, cleanly shaven and still considered to be a pillar of the community. John had principles, he didn't smoke or drink, and he was a gracious provider for his family. Of course he was a vain man. Who wouldn't be with such a reputation to uphold?
He briefly recalled arriving home from the market, his pockets full of cash, having sold his prize bull, to see many cars at the house; including that of his local doctor. With genuine concern, John approached the open door and passed in silence between his family members. Pat was lying on the ground, twisted, unrecognisable and foam trickling down her chin. John didn't know which struck him first, his wife had taken a fit or the knowledge that his dinner was not on the table, and it was past one. John looked around the sea of faces, all wanting him to explain what had happened, relying on him to bring them comfort; but he couldn't. Pat had always been so reliable, and now here she was, lying on the floor.
The Doctor explained to John that Pat had taken an epileptic fit, and he had arranged for a hospital bed, in which to carry out further tests. John looked about him with utter panic on his face. Pat and he had been married for forty two years, he could not as much as iron his own shirt, how would he cope?
As John stood and watched Pat being taken away in the ambulance, John's panic turned to revenge. How could Pat let him down like this, she knew he could not look after himself? He was still a man with needs, demands in fact, he still needed a woman to slip between the sheets with. How could Pat let this happen.
Following tests at the hospital, John was told that Pat had Motor Neurone Disease, and her life would now be in the lap of God. He was told that Pat's quality of life would be considerably compromised, and she would need a lot of care and attention to cope with this debilitating disease. But, most of all her emotional needs would have to be met to help her feel normal. "NORMAL, what the hell is that?" John spat at the doctor, his mind in utter turmoil.
Granny came to live with John and Pat, and the daughters took it in turn to help with the daily care. Eventually, Pat became confined to bed. Her speech and recognition of her surroundings became slow. Her reflexes almost non-existent. Pat became unrecognisable to John, gone forever, was his handsome, dependable wife.
Now, a man's needs have to be met, so before long John took a mistress. His family where aware of this, but dutifully stood by his side. They didn't like the arrangement, and they were all very hurt at John's decision, but they understood. The villager's soon became used to seeing John parked at the road side in the evenings, the windows of the car steamed up with the throws of passion inside. They too turned a blind eye.
The care givers attended Pat four times a day, and each and everyone of them loved her in their own way. The care givers where aware of John's absence from home. Or the fact, that when he was in the house he never approached Pat's bedroom. Her birthday's passed with not so much as a card from John. And, they watched every time she recognised his footsteps, her eyes lit up, and she turned her head to the doorway hoping to catch a glimpse of him. John's voice filled the house with laughter, whilst Pat's heart was breaking, and she was losing the will to live.
It was inevitable that Pat passed away, alone. She died as she had lived, making no fuss, no demands on anyone. God relieved her suffering and took her away in the depths of the night, whilst John still slept easy in his bed, and continued to live his bachelor life.
It was too late now for John to realise the depth of the pain and hurt that he had caused his wife. His nemesis, now only afforded him the self pity that he believed to be his salvation. As for his true love, she was gone forever. Gone to a better place to be appreciated and loved for all she was worth.
John received no pity, and his family realised the man they had called daddy, was no man at all.
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