Deirdre recovered, and after a brief stay under suicide watch in a nearby hospital, she returned home to her beloved son. He was so precious to her now, more than ever; as life itself held more meaning—and more hope—than it had before her close brush with death. And she was profoundly grateful to the two teens who had saved her life, allowing her to return to her little boy (though not so little any longer). Who were they? They were a brother and sister she had been told; the girl had masterfully sailed them back to shore, while the boy had plucked her from the waves and somehow performed mouth to mouth resuscitation while she was still partially in the water, until she was back on land and could be treated by paramedics. Amazing!
Deirdre wanted to meet them, since she owed them both her life, but time passed, and the more time elapsed, the more embarrassed she became, having never thanked them. Eventually, the shame she felt about this, transformed in some strange way within her, so that she became angry with them instead. She blamed them for saving her life, believing that she would have been better off if she had died. At times she believed this with all her being, but then at other times she was still glad to be alive—for Ryan’s sake.
But it would have been so easy to just slip below the waves and disappear, she would think; in fact she had already become unconscious, so she wouldn’t have known anything, the hard part she had already overcome. Death had been within her grasp, and she was already half-way there, until the young man, Josh, had pulled her back. Was that fate? Or dumb luck? She believed in both. Life was so ugly, and death seemed so right—the perfect answer to the ugliness of her life, so why was she saved?
She even considered that Josh had saved her intentionally in order to torment her. These are the twisted maneuvers that her mind could make. And if there was a God, he surely had it out for her, somehow wanting to cause her as much pain as possible in this life, and using Josh to do it. She began to see Josh, not so much as a savior anymore, but as a tormentor and a messenger of evil. But then she’d stop herself, because these were crazy thoughts, and he’s just a kid after all, and he saved her life! Of course he didn’t want to hurt her, he didn’t even know her! So she’d stop with this painful, demented train of thought and come to her senses again, feeling gratitude for the second chance at life that resulted from Josh’s, and his sister’s, act of bravery and selflessness towards her.
But Deirdre was a restless sort of person, so she could never finally settle on one way of thinking, or the other. Until the café fire and the loss of her boy, proved once and for all that Josh was indeed a bad person who had come into her life to hurt her, and to make her life “a living hell,” as she often would say. She wanted nothing more to do with Josh Davidson, even hoping that he might die; but if that wasn’t possible, at the very least he should go to prison for a very long time. She hoped she’d never have to see him again. But as fate, or dumb-luck works, we often don’t get what we hope for in this life. Some would say that God has a better plan for us; but Deirdre didn’t know anything about God, and this didn’t cross her mind.
Josh did go away to prison for a while and this pleased Deirdre; though she felt it wasn’t nearly long enough. She was alone now and missed her boy tremendously. She often thought about his final moments in the fire, but she couldn’t bring herself to dwell on the horror of that for long; so she’d distract herself by reading through the journal that Ryan had left behind: filled with his thoughts, fears, and hopes for the future. She was surprised to see how much Ryan had begun to think about God; and also how much influence Josh Davidson had on her son. These two things bothered her and they made her feel very uncomfortable; to distract herself from this, she’d cleaned the house a little, but surprisingly she wouldn’t pour herself a drink. She had grown too weary for that, and she was tired of feeling hungover all the time. Most days she still needed a drink, but not so much as a distraction anymore, just for maintenance.
She’d gaze out the back window into the spacious backyard, imagining her little boy out there playing with Buddy the dog. She could spend hours daydreaming, going over all of his exploits in her mind, almost imagining that he was really out there, dancing along the top of the old stone wall, or picking flowers and bringing them into the house to give her.
Until one day, years later, suddenly and as if out of a dream—or out of a nightmare—that young man showed up again (now quite a bit older). It was Josh Davidson walking along the top of the wall, dancing and hopping, and twirling like a marionette, imitating her dear son Ryan! Deirdre stood at her back window watching him, in shock and disbelief and unable to move. A cascade of thoughts flooded her mind, and she was unable to keep up or focus on any one of them: “…how did he get there? where did he come from?…how did he know her little Ryan used to do that same dance on the wall?…and why is he imitating him?…and why is she enjoying watching him?…how could she enjoy it and why can’t she turn away, or close her eyes?…what are these tears falling now?…and why am I crying…and how does he know?!”
Deirdre wiped the tears from her face, and this broke the trance; she immediately jumped into action, running around to the back door, and out across the yard to where Josh was balancing on the wall, and she yelled up to him with all her strength: “What in hell are you doing up there?! Get off my wall!!!
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