She drove away not looking back. Her heart shattered once again, she didn’t know where she was headed or why. “Life is Pain and that is all,” she thought.“There is nothing for me and no one who cares whether I am alive or dead. Well, that’s not true. I suppose there are many who would rather I be dead. Maybe, that is reason enough to live; just so I can piss them off. This life has been nothing but pain for me and I am so done.” Hurt, she just felt so incredibly hurt. Tired, weary to the bone and oh so sick of being alive, she wondered what the point was anyway.
Colorado provides many beautiful and peaceful spots for those seeking an end to their pain. Melanie sought out one of those places now. The pills rattled in their plastic home and called to her again. “Maybe this time I can do it; I can be brave enough to just **** it all and end this miserable existence.” She found her way onto the highway heading into the mountains. It was a beautiful day. The sky was clear and the sun warm and bright. It was a cruel contrast to the storm raging inside her mind. “The whole world should be shaking and tearing apart at its seams. Perhaps then, the earth would swallow me up and I would be gone.”
She found herself flying down the highway and was suddenly forced to throw on her brake to avoid colliding with the traffic that seemed to appear out of no where. “Damn these people all to hell….get out of my way; I need my peace, my end, my finish to this horrid nightmare. I need it now!” One more torment to face, she slowed her metal beast and let out a long sad sigh. Numbness enveloped her as the idea of suicide settled in her mind. “It is time. This can’t go on any longer.” She reached her hand over to the passenger seat and softly stroked the bottle of pills that would surely deliver her from her hellish prison. “Just a few more minutes and all will be well with me for once.”
The stream that ran along side the road mocked her. Its peaceful flow sparkled in the sun and smiled to all who cared to notice. “First the **** birds and trees and now the stream!” The moronic words of her therapist rang intolerably in her ears. “How can you be happy when you look at the floor all the time? No wonder you’re depressed! You just need to look up at the world around you. Just look at the birds in the tree outside my window, for crying out loud!” Just thinking about it sent her off on a mental rampage again. “Stupid bitch; what did she know about depression except what she read in her cold, uncaring text books? She’s never been depressed a day in her life. Anyone who thinks it’s that easy to just snap out of it is insane and has no inkling of what life is like when you live with the crushing, immobilizing force of depression working against your every hope and dream. Not anymore, not for me; there is simply no point to this endless pain. The world will smile, happy to be rid of me.”
Finally, a side road worth pursuing came into view. It led gradually up the mountainside onto a dirt road. Even with Melanie’s’ pathetic luck it should provide the haven she was looking for. The ’87 Buick labored up the ascent. She held the accelerator steady willing the car up into the wooded refuge. She quickly found a smaller road veering off to the right and turned down the path like road hoping with all of her being that it did not end at anyone’s home. Surprisingly it was a long road and appeared to go on forever. After several miles it finally came to an end.
There was no house at the end of her road, and no other cars or people. She didn’t even see any bugs, birds, or damned trees. “Good. Now I am alone. Now I can leave this pathetic place and dissolve into peaceful bliss forgetting this nightmare ever happened. There is no one here to stop me; no one to tell me I need to just be happy.” Her heart skipped a beat as she reached for the pills. The realization of her giving up all hope of happiness set in hard. She pushed the thought aside. “Happiness is an illusion. It’s just a trick, a carrot dangled on a string. Someone is watching us all and laughing their **** head off.”
Melanie stared at the bottle in her hand. Her eyes stopped on the warning not to mix the medication with alcohol. She chuckled thinking it too bad that she didn’t have any liquor here to help her to defy the warning. The humor was gone in an instant and she was washed with fear. So, this was it, the way it ended for her. “I’m not backing out this time! I have to get this over with! I need to escape this prison of pain!” Quickly she popped off the lid and poured the pills directly into her mouth. They were bitter on her tongue and she prepared to swallow them down in one swift gulp.
Her ears picked up a peculiar sound just as she readied herself to swallow. “Damn it! Don’t stop now, just swallow and let this be over!” Something from deep within her soul called softly. It was barely a whisper of a thought and yet it made all other thoughts cease. “Spit the pills back into the bottle. They will wait for you.” What? “Do it, Melanie. You can take the pills in a minute. For now, spit them out.” She felt like she must be loosing control of her mind but she obeyed anyway.
“Now, listen.” She did listen and then the noise was as clear as a church bell chiming its message in a small town. It was a cry, soft, yet piercing. At first she thought it must be a baby lamb or kitten. Then astonishment gripped her as recognition set in. It’s a baby; someone’s newborn. She opened the car door slowly and the sound rushed her ears like a stampede. She stumbled up and out of her car and moved quickly to the source of her disturbance.
There he was, as tiny and vulnerable as any creature could be. He was lying on a blanket that apparently had been used to wrap him but he had long since freed himself from his bundle and now lay naked and alone on the thin shroud. Melanie was horrified to see the umbilical cord still attached to both baby and placenta. “Oh, God, how awful; left here without even a diaper or proper clothing and with the afterbirth as his only companion!” She slowly walked over to him and knelt down. “Hey there, little guy. It’s okay now. I’m here.” She spoke softly and her speech was altered so that even she did not recognize it as her own.
She wondered at the after birth. What do I do with that? Nothing to do for now, she supposed. Reluctantly, she tucked him back into his wrap and lifted him into her arms cradling a baby for the first time in a long, long time. “We have to get you cleaned up, little man! You are an absolute mess, you know that?” As she carried him to the car, the thought occurred that she needed to find a hospital. Oh how she hated hospitals! Maybe she could just take him home with her first; just to clean him up and get him fed. Then she wouldn’t need to take him to a hospital at all. She could take him to a fire station, instead. She couldn’t bare the thought of a hospital right now. After all, he looked healthy enough. “All he needs is a little love and some nourishment and then he will be fine. I can provide that before I take him in.”
His cries lessened but did not stop. “Shhh, little one, shhh; It’ll be alright.” Melanie pushed the drivers’ seat back as she slipped into her car making room so that she could slip off her shoes and sit Indian style facing the passenger seat. Her legs then provided a crook for the baby to rest in while her hands were busy gathering tools for her mission of cleaning this small angel of the foulness that covered him.
She reached into the glove compartment and pulled out some fast food napkins and a straw. Then she grabbed the bottle of water sitting on the floor of the backseat opened it, placed it carefully in the passenger seat, and unwrapped the straw. “Here we go, Sweet Heart. It’s just water, but it’ll have to do for now.” She placed the straw in the bottle and then using a trick her mother had showed her so long ago, she placed her finger over the top of the straw sealing in the water. Gently she moved the straw into his mouth and allowed the water to trickle in. He gagged and spit at first but by the second try he was sucking at the straw hungrily and she could hardly refill it fast enough to satisfy him.
Soon his belly was full and he just let the water run out of his mouth. She took a napkin and wiped his face. The napkin began to fall apart immediately and she cursed it for being so cheaply made. After pouring a little water on the other napkins and washing him as best as the cheap towels would allow, she gave up, shook her head and spoke softly to her new charge. “Well, that won’t work. But I am going to take you home and treat you like the royal prince that you are, Love. Yes, I will; yes I will.” She cooed in the silly tones you hear from the lips of aunties and grandmas.
After readjusting her seat, she snuggled the little man in tight with her left arm, and using her right arm to drive, she turned the key in the ignition and slowly turned the car around. It was a long drive back home, but for the first time in a long time, she was okay, peaceful even.
The little man slept the entire way, even when she stopped at 7-eleven for diapers and formula. No one said a word to her about the little bundle and for that she was grateful. Once home, she prepared a warm bath in her kitchen sink and gathered her softest towel and wash cloth.