He was a man of his words, he tried to care for his children, he even tried to take days off work so he could be with them and have some family fun. Ever since his wife –their mother- died, people would think he was ridden with guilt of not being able to care for his children, people would suggest that he drove his wife to suicide, that his long hours of absence from their household drove her to put a cold, pitch-black, loaded gun in her mouth. But he wasn’t talking; he wasn’t sharing his pain with anyone else. He could be seen mumbling things while at work, worrying his supervisor, but he always was a man of his words. He completed the job he had been appointed with any further discussion or objection. But this was until one cold September night. He was driving home from work, exhausted but eager to hug his children and make some food for himself as he was starving. The children were already in bed, he used a part of his wage to pay for a nanny. After all it was the only way he could ensure that his children would have someone except him to care about them. Even if it wasn’t their mother’s touch, a female presence was always welcome. He’d always hear about those psychologists who mark the importance of having a motherly figure in the family and he surely didn’t want to become another percentage in the statistics of broken families. While driving he was thinking of how his life could have been different if his wife hadn’t lodged that damned bullet in her head, if she hadn’t given up, if she hadn’t left him alone to fight a humongous beast. Family life. He drove past the many turns that led to his house, passing by empty sidewalks and strange cars with no lights that disappeared into the distance. It was risky, but it was the only way he could feel that he was alive. Working long hours and being a father in addition could drive a man to madness. He knew that if something happened to him, his children would be sent of to an orphanage. A dreaded place, he himself grew up in one of these. He didn’t have any parents. He was always dragged from one institution to another. He didn’t want this life for his children but he had to find a way to feel alive, to feel that he did something out of pure choice rather because he had to. No one gave a damn after all. No one tried to talk to him about his behavior. He arrived home just before 3’o clock and made his way to the door trying to walk as steady as he could because he was extremely tired and at the same time make no noise in case he woke up his kids. It was difficult. The same procedure every night, driving the car for hours, arriving home, hugging the kids, eating and sleeping for a few hours before heading out to work again.
But something was out of place this particular night. Something didn’t seem right. And he felt it. He felt it on his very own skin as he entered his house. As he opened his door he encountered a sight that he didn’t think that he would ever encounter in his whole life.
His house totally ravaged and run-down.
The house had a very eerie feeling, as if someone had stolen the warmth he had given birth to all these years after his wife’s death. He went further into the house, trying to figure out what was happening.
‘’Kids! Kids!’’ he yelled in agony.
There was no answer.
‘’Kids! Kids!’’ he yelled again.
And again there was no answer.
He immediately ran to their rooms, almost falling down, and opened the door with fear. What he saw was about to make even the most brave men tremble and the most outspoken people not have anything to say. The rooms were covered with pitch-black darkness and there wasn’t a sign of his children anywhere.
He fell down on the floor. He was trying to figure out what was happening.
He touched the floor, the beds, everything in the room, but everything had a feeling of old embedded in them.
‘’KIDS!’’ he whispered and then yelled with full force. The echo of his trembling voice hit the walls and climbed back into this dying heart.
He started crying. All this seemed strangely familiar. It was shocking and very familiar to him. He suddenly remembered everything.
It was not suicide that had taken his wife away. It was he.
The old demons crept back into his head. He remembered looking at his wife while she was sleeping. He remembered waking her up to the taste of steel in her mouth. A fully loaded gun that pointed straight up her throat. He remembered watching her eyes fill with agony.
‘’Are you afraid?’’ he asked her.
She was looking at him. She was empty. Trying to scream, but everything that could come out ends up being silenced by a bullet. Her brains were splattered all over the bed. He didn’t feel any remorse or sadness. He didn’t feel anything at all.
‘’The kids.’’ He said. ‘’The kids must eat, live, and be happy’’
That was all he cared about. He didn’t even blink while leaving his wife’s lifeless body behind.
He cared for his children everyday. People would offer him gifts for his children, stuff that would make them feel better, that would make them forget about their economic difficulties. But they would always find them across the street in the garbage can. They thought that maybe he wanted to do everything by himself. That he was so full of guilt of being unable to care for his children fully that he refused any help offered to him because of that. That he merely wanted to come home and do it his own way.
But there were no children this time.
‘’Am I afraid?’’ he asked himself as he was lying down on the floor.
There was no answer. Where were the kids?
It had hit him. There were NO kids. They had NO kids.
He brought back the image of his wife’s dead body into his mind. He remembered everything. He could identify everything. It wasn’t what he wanted. He remembered her final words.
‘’The kids, the kids, what will they say!?’’
But what did she mean? He stood there trembling. He stood there crying.
What kids? What was up with the kids?
He stood up.
He took a gun from the cupboard. Put it into his mouth. And asked himself.
‘’Are you afraid?’’
And then he pulled the trigger.
He was dead.
The kids had a good hug that day.