I was pissed off to all hell when I wrote this. There will be a second part. So technically it's a ONE-shot, but it's so big I had to post it in two. It's just something to hold you over til' the other ones. So Review this one, especially all you lurkers out there. Yeah you! You need to hit that Review button cause guess what I'm not writing this for myself, okay? It's not gonna hurt you.
Any errors are mine. So Forgive a little.
It's funny. Your worst nightmare always seems so far away. Then, all of a sudden, there it is, like a monstrous tidal wave. You try to escape, but you can't. You struggle and you struggle and you struggle, your desperate cries unheard. Then, something strange happens, you stop struggling. Your cries take flight. You forget you're drowning.
It often feels like forever.
Then somehow it always turns out that there is never enough time.
Time has an irritable way of just suddenly stopping. Then we manage to conjure sentences like "Time is of the essence," or "I don't have all day!"
You can make room for time, but it doesn't always make room for you.
To Kirsten, it feels like time has stopped on one particular day, with one particular hour with that stupid one particular minute and one dumb second. She knows the exact time in which her world came to a screeching halt.
5:42pm with 22 seconds. Friday.
It simply feels like forever.
Her recollection of the event is vague. Maybe a foggy haze would be the best way to describe it.
She remembers she was running late at work and that she was supposed to leave at 3, but it was pushing 5:30, she just couldn't seem to get out of the office.
She remembers the phone ringing.
She remembers answering it like she always does.
She remembers that she had a smile on her face and laughter in her voice. It was Friday and she had all the reasons in the world to be happy.
Then time simply stopped.
And she hasn't smiled since.
The simple words of "I'm so sorry," haunt her continuously. She thinks they may haunt her forever. In fact she's almost positive of it.
Five forty two, p.m.
She thinks that the secretary had come in to bid her goodnight but she must have seen the look on her face, or maybe she said something to her, for some reason she thinks she did. She thinks she said the words, "I don't know what to do, I'm sorry." But she doesn't really remember if that's what she said or not. It's all a blur to her.
At 5:54 p.m., her father rushes into the room and looks at her, worry is upon his face and he doesn't understand why she is like this. He doesn't understand that she is in shock.
She thinks he called her name, but she doesn't really know for sure.
"Kiki? Kirsten? Cathy, call Sandy…" Despite the fact that her father hates her husband, he knows that Sandy is what she needs.
She remembers saying, "No. You can't Daddy, not anymore."
She hears the word "Sandy," it brings her back to the real world.
It's really the way that she says the words "You can't," instead of "Not anymore," that honestly get to her father and only then does he notice the phone is off the hook, and he hears muttered words coming from it. He reaches for the phone and puts it up to his ear, demanding answers and getting them, but they aren't the answers he wants to hear and now he knows what's wrong with his baby girl.
"Kirsten, honey. I'm so sorry," he pulls her against him but she doesn't cry. At least she thinks that she doesn't, she doesn't really remember.
At that point she is thoroughly convinced the -I'm so sorry's - will definitely haunt her to her own grave.
It's 6:15 p.m. when her father stops the car in front of her house and she just sits in the passenger's seat, staring out the window.
He knows she doesn't want to go inside. That will make it all too real and the huge house is now all too empty.
She now has the duty to tell her sons something that no mother should ever have to say or explain. She goes through the motions and gets out of the car and walks up the steps to a house in which she doesn't want to enter.
Seth and Ryan are playing the Playstation in the living room when she opens the door and she can hear his haunting words of, "Seth! What did we say!" Echoing down the desolate hallway.
She opens her mouth to speak but no words come out so her father does it for her.
"Seth. Ryan, in the kitchen."
They pause and look at each other before shutting off the game and hurrying into the kitchen. Both look questionable as to what was going to be said. "Mom if this is about the box of cookies I can-," but Caleb has a stern look and holds up a hand for Seth to shut up. He does and looks nervously at him. His grandfather always let him ramble.
She braces her hands on the counter and doesn't look at either of them as they enter. She bites her bottom lip until it hurts while her father places a reassuring hand upon her back.
Sandy used to do that, place his hand upon her back to let her know he was there.
She remembers that just this morning she was reading the paper and he came up behind her, his body warm and full of life, and he nuzzled her neck before resting his chin on her shoulder and read the paper with her. She could feel the heat radiating from his body and the smell of his Armani cologne.
Seth's "Mom?" shook her from her reverie and she looked at him and sees Sandy in his worried gaze.
"Mom? Is something wrong?"
'Time stopped, Seth.'
"Seth, Ryan. I don't…" she sighs, "I don't even know…" she moans, how can she do this, she can't even get the words out. Her white knuckled grasp on the counter manages to get even tighter, she doesn't know how.
She wants to yell the words, "How could you leave me all alone like this! How could you?" But she can't, she simply can't. She's an adult and she's not allowed that luxury.
She suddenly finds that she can't even remember how to speak proper sentences. She doesn't even want to know how she is going to function in the morning. Morning is another time, in her world where time has stopped.
Seth watches her body language and watches how she keeps looking at the counter, straining not to break down, her knuckles are white and there is a look he can't even describe.
Seth knows. There are only two things in the world that could make his mother lose her gifted talent for speaking. His father, or his Grandfather. But Grampa was right here with his stony face and his Dad was no where in sight.
Seth doesn't hear the tremble in his own voice but they do. His voice is high pitch like a kid going through puberty.
"It's Dad, isn't it? Something happened to Dad. Is he okay? He's okay isn't he Mom? Dad's all right isn't he Grampa? We have the best doctors at the hospital, you can make sure they get the best doctors can't you Grampa? You have lots of money and stuff and you can pay them right? Dad's okay isn't he Grampa? Mom?" But Seth's rambling voice is flat by the last "Mom," and he knows why his mother can't speak and say the words out loud.
Because that means forever and that's a long time. That's a long, long time. Forever is permanent. Forever is forever.
Seth's world came to a grinding pause at 6:26 p.m. To Seth, those few moments and seconds felt like forever. He can't help himself as he pulls his cellphone out of his pocket and presses 3 talk. Speed dial is bliss.
His Dad will answer, his Dad always answers.
Summer is 2.
Dad is 3,
Mom is 4 and
Ryan is 5.
Summer bitched about not being number 2. He would have made her number one but his Sprint phone already has that as voicemail. So he rearranged it and made her 2. His Mom used to be 2. Dad was always 3. So Mom became 4. And Ryan, well Ryan's always been 5.
A picture of his father with a Yamaclause on and a goofy grin on his face appears. He took it at Christmukkah, when they were helping Lindsay out.
The phone rings and rings and his voicemail picks up. "Hey! You've reached Sandy Cohen, sorry I missed your call, leave a message and I'll call you back."
Seth presses the End button on his phone. His Dad didn't answer. His father always answers when he calls. Always. Somewhere deep down he knows that his father won't be "calling him back," anytime soon. That thought hits him hard.
Ryan watches as Seth shuts his phone slowly and watches him pale considerably. It's 6:29 p.m. when Ryan realizes that his own world has turned upside down forever. He wants nothing more than to bolt to the safety of the pool house, take a quick nap and wake up, where everything will be fine again. Sandy will be home making a comment about Kirsten's cooking and she'll give him a stern look and Ryan will watch as he caves and walks over to her, kissing her on the cheek, all while winking at him.
They both know she can't cook.
Sandy always had a way with Kirsten, in fact he always had a way with everyone and Ryan knows that he can't handle Kirsten by himself. That thought alone makes him tremble.
Suddenly Seth scrambles from the table and runs into the bathroom, everyone can hear him retching and no one blames him. Seth's world really came to an end at 6:32 p.m.
Kirsten can't bring herself to move from her ash-white knuckled grip on the counter so Caleb goes and checks on Seth for her.
Kirsten's eyes meet Ryan's and she's surprised the young boys are slowly filling up with tears and she wants nothing more than to comfort him but she can't. She can't even comfort her own son, Sandy's son.
She looks away. Sandy's the reason Ryan is here.
It's 12:31 in the morning and the last time she was up this late was last week when Sandy came home and she waited up for him.
"I was worried."
"Sorry honey, the phone died, I told you earlier I was probably going to be stuck working late tonight."
She nods as he crosses over to her, work clothes and all, and she grabbed a hold of his tie and pulled him down for a kiss. He was surprised as he was expecting a scolding.
"You're here now, that's all that matters."
He grinned, and she loved his smile.
She looks at her nearly empty glass of amber liquid and frowns. She's pulled out all stops tonight and decided to wrestle with Jack Daniel's and his gang of whiskey friends. Sandy would occasionally enjoy a Jack –N- Coke when he wanted too.
It's raining forcefully outside and for once she's okay with it, it matches her mood. She's too buzzed to care right now, completely numb on the inside and numb on the outside.
If this were a normal night she would have cuddled closer to Sandy to keep warm and he would protect her from the thunderstorm that would surely follow the rain. She would always bury her face against him to shield her eyes from the lightning and somehow he murmured comforting words to lull her back to sleep. Sometimes they stayed up together and watched the storm and the rain pound against the windows.
He always liked the rain.
It's 4:48 in the morning and the storm woke Seth up from his disturbed sleep. Saturday. If it could be called that. He cried himself into exhaustion. He dozed. He couldn't sleep if his life depended on it. He was tempted to steal some liquor, but decided against it. Another night, he supposed. There would be an endless amount of them to do such.
He walked downstairs and saw his mother sleeping on the couch. He wondered if she wold ever sleep in her bedroom again. The bottle of Jack was nearly empty and he watched as she shivered unconsciously and moaned restlessly. He doesn't even have to think twice as to whom she's dreaming about.
He walked over to the closet and grabbed a blanket and placed it over his Mom, hoping that she might find just a little warmth, but he doubted it. He didn't think she would ever be warm again.
He looked and her and felt a twinge of sorrow course through him. The effects of losing his father were already appearing on his mother. Dark circles were underneath her eyes and when he looked at her today and when she had tried to tell him, she was a different person. She was now a walking zombie. His mother had twenty some years with his father. Whatever they went through, they went through together. This was the first time in those years that she would have to do something by herself.
Despite the chill he walked out to the pool house in shorts and a T-shirt, his feet were bare. It was still raining but Seth didn't care. If his mother noticed she might yell at him. His Dad surely would have had a comeback remark of, "You're going to get pneumonia." His Dad always thought that everything would give him pneumonia. He was always fussing over him.
Seth winced when he realizes now that maybe he should have let him fuss more. A lot more.
The pool house was quiet and Seth expected nothing else. He wanted that, he wanted solitude, as his own house now made him feel claustrophobic. Ryan watched him coming from the main house but didn't notion to him at all. He simply moved over on the bed and Seth sat down beside him.
Neither one made the notion to speak and Seth leaned his head back against the headboard. They watched as the rain streamed down the glass walls. They had a comfortable silence, they were brothers and it was something that only the two of them understood.
Right now there was no need for words and Seth didn't know if there ever would be again.
She heard a buzzing noise that roused her from her dark irritable slumber and glanced at her watch, 6:30 a.m. It was Sandy's alarm. Her alarm was Sandy and he would effectively manage to wake her at 7 every morning, in ways that she loved. He started every morning out with a kiss, whether she was mad at him or not. That was just Sandy.
She groaned. For a second when she first awoke, she thought it had all been a bad dream. The continuous beeping of the alarm confirmed that it was indeed nothing of the sort.
Opening the bedroom door she glanced at where the alarm was and reached over and grabbed the cord and yanked, pulling the plug from its socket and silencing it forever. There was no need to wake up at 6:30 anymore. She looked at her own alarm clock. She would have to set it when she felt like going back to work.
If, she ever went back to work.
If she didn't have the boys, there would be no need to wake up at all anymore.
Her stomach was queasy and she made it to the bathroom before collapsing to her knees and vomiting up the immense amount of liquor that she had consumed hours before. If Sandy were here, he would have held back her hair. But then again, if Sandy were here, she wouldn't have drank it at all.
Going through the motions of making herself presentable she walks absentmindedly downstairs, opens the door, grabs the paper and sets it on the counter. Before even reading the front page she grabs Seth his Arts & Leisure, Ryan the Sports section and Sandy the Entertainment section.
They always read the Business section together.
She stopped herself and put the Entertainment section in the trash. She stopped reading the front page when the first two words in the main headline were RED FRIDAY - SANDY COHEN…
She didn't need to read the paper today.
Instead she walks back up to her bedroom and slowly eases on Sandy's side. The room isn't warm or inviting. The room feels empty and bare. She can smell him on his pillow and she pulls it tightly to her body. Somehow his smell isn't as strong as it was the night before and she realizes the harsh truth. Even the simple things are slowly fading away.
Time stopped again.
She goes to check on the Ryan and finds Seth in his room, they're both asleep on opposite sides of the bed. At least Seth still has Ryan and Ryan has Seth. Together they would hold each other up when the other was foundering. They were best friends and brothers, and nothing else was needed to be said.
She smiles as they sleep, content in each other's presence. Ryan was Seth's drug and vice versa, they wouldn't need a crutch to fall asleep, not when they had each other. They weren't like her.
Sandy had helped her raise good boys, the best.
She went back inside to her own hell in time to hear the doorbell ring. Her father steps through the door and gives her a hug followed by Julie and Marissa.
"It was hell to get in here, Kiki."
She pauses as she shuts the door and looks up at him. "Why?" Her voice is hoarse and it startles her. She clears her throat.
"The press. They're everywhere like sardines in a can, outside by the gait. I told that gatekeeper Carl or whatever to let no one through unless they call the house here first. Julie can handle it."
She shakes her head and leads them into the kitchen. Julie fills her in on how its suddenly "Big News and everyone keeps calling it "RED Friday," because he was married to Kirsten and it was Caleb's son-in-law. She tunes out when Julie starts explaining the RED part, and Caleb cuts her off before she gets into the gory details. Julie truly is a Newpsie, she never really knows when to shut her mouth when it comes to gossip.
Kirsten can hear that Julie is disgusted and she gives her a tiny smile of thanks.
Maybe it's not even a smile. Just the very corner of her mouth turned up and a raise of her eyebrow. That's all that could be mustered at the moment.
So there was a Black Friday, for the day after thanksgiving and now a RED Friday specifically for her husband. RED Friday.
So sorry Mrs. Cohen.
"Marissa, the boys are in the pool house." She catches Marissa off guard and she jumps at the sound of her voice.
"Thanks Kirsten," she pauses. "I'm so sorry."
The phone rings and Kirsten looks at it blankly.
"May I speak to Mrs. Kirsten Cohen?"
She blinks. Ms. Kirsten Cohen. "This is her."
"Missus' Cohen, My name is Jake and I'm calling from the funeral home. Mrs. Cohen, I'm so sorry to hear about your husband…."
Kirsten pulls back and looks at it wearily. She can't deal with this right now. She wordlessly hands the phone over to her father. He takes it from her and asks "Whom I speaking to? Yes, yes go ahead."
He saw her expression, he can do the dirty work for once.
It was too soon. She couldn't handle it. That makes it all too real and she knows now that she is alone forever. And she can't go back in time.
So sorry for your loss.
It's 8:57 am.
Time has stopped once more for Kirsten.
She knows what the next step is and goes up to her bedroom with Julie hot on her heels, asking a question here and there, but Kirsten knows that her Dad probably sent her to make sure she didn't slice her wrists or something.
Caleb knows the family can't have two deaths in one week.
She walks into Sandy's closet and picks out one of his Armani black suits and her favorite royal blue shirt that always matched the color of his eyes. She loves this shirt. She grabbed a black silk tie and walked back down to where her father is. He's still on the phone.
"Tell them we will be there shortly," her voice is ice and her father looks at her with frightful eyes. He covers the mouthpiece of the phone. "Honey, you sure? We can do this later." That's something Sandy would have said.
"Honey! Come on, you can work on this later, the boys are gone…" His grin is infectious and pretty soon he has her grinning as he tells all the ways he can get her mind off of work.
She has to finish this one tiny section and he gives a sigh and retreats into the living room and flops on the couch.
She's disappointed him yet again and they haven't seen much of each other this week. She puts down the plans and walks into the room, before easing into his lap.
He smiles at her before kissing her deeply and somehow manages to pick her up and carry her out into their hot tub part of the pool. He silences her protests as he walks into the water fully clothed.
"Sandy, the boys…"
"I gave them both two hundred dollars each and told them they had to be home at 2:01 and not a second sooner or later or else they would be grounded. He looked at his watch before whispering against her mouth, "It's barely ten now…"
She nods her head, and her father speaks her requests into the phone. "I don't want to do this later."
Everything's a blur at the funeral home and for the most part it's her father making decisions. He's making decisions and she's nodding her head to the stupid words of "Mrs. Cohen, I'm so sorry for your loss….What church? Do you have something for him to wear? We try to make this as easy as possible…Coffins. We have several available…" He passed out a book, "Wooden, Titanium, Solid Oak, Aluminum…." He blah'd until Kirsten couldn't hear him. She didn't know if she would ever actually hear anyone again.
So sorry for your loss.
So sorry Mrs. Cohen.
But for some reason she glanced at the book as her father was flipping through them. It was black, and chrome, and there was a dark blue oak ring that went around and outlines the chrome.
"That one," she pointed and it was the first time she made a decision by herself without her father asking, "Kirsten? Is this okay?"
"Kirsten, you sure? It's only ten." Ten, meaning ten grand. Ten thousand fucking dollars for a coffin. Some people didn't make that in a year and that was the one that she was picking out for her husband. Ten G's. Ten Buckaroos. Ten Mina.
And all the money in the world couldn't bring him back with her.
She gave him a look that would make Satin flinch and nodded.
"That one," she said quietly and watched as the man wrote in his book.Mrs. Cohen, I'm so sorry…
It was 12:34 in the afternoon. She was tired, but she wouldn't sleep.
Today, time had a mind of its own.
Marissa sat in between Ryan and Seth and watched them sleep. She couldn't even imagine how they felt right now. It was if time simply stopped for them, and for Kirsten. So far she seemed to be fairing all right but it was just an act.
Everyone thought Marissa faired "all right." But she wasn't. She smiled when she needed too, she hid the black raccoon eyes with makeup, she drowned the memories in liquor, and when she hits rock bottom she always hides in the blankets and darkness of her bedroom. But she was never really "All right." She doesn't really know when the last time she's felt "All right."
Kirsten was now the same way. She was on her way down to a dark black path, one Marissa knew all too well. One that there was no light at the end of the tunnel. But this time Marissa didn't see a knight standing there. Marissa knew Kirsten didn't believe in fairy tales now.
Things were set, time never standing still.
Monday, first showing, 11-2. Second showing 5-7.
Tuesday. First showing, 11-2. Second showing 3-5.
Wednesday, Funeral 1:30 until?
Preacher and children's choir paid for.
Extra white lilies and roses paid for.
Closed casket, all showings. There would be lots of flowers. They were already showing up at the parlor from people around Newport. Some she knew and some whom she had no fucking idea who sent them.
Seth, Ryan, and Luke would help carry Sandy's black coffin.
Two black stretch limousines, for the family. One for Caleb, Julie, and Marissa. The other for Kirsten, Ryan and Seth.
Hers would lead in the percussion to the final resting-place of Sandy, at the cemetery.
Her father would be paying the limousine driver until he deemed Kirsten "All right to drive."
Until the chaos stopped from the press. Caleb knew they would hound her until they got their answers, the little bastards. He also knew the family couldn't suffer another loss.
She smirked. She would never be "All right," again.
Her limo driver's name was Tom. Sensible Tom. Sensible, young, handsome, Tom. Tom smiled and opened doors. Tom brought her a small white rose this late afternoon when he first met her. "Hi, my name is Tom, Tom Smith. I'm sorry about your husband, Mrs. Cohen…"
Her father didn't tell her that Tom was an ex-Navy Seal and Secret Service Agent for private hire. Tom was a man of many talents.
Kirsten looked up at him. "Thank you, Tom." She accepted his white rose.
Thank you, Tom.
I'm sorry for your loss Mrs. Cohen.
I'm sorry for your loss.
I'm so sorry.
Kirsten, I'm sorry for your loss.
It was 7:56 p.m. and she told Tom to take Seth, Ryan, Summer and Marissa out to get something to eat. She gave him money for the four of them and told Tom to get something to eat as well. And she told him to take care of her babies. She practically had to force them to go – but she couldn't take both of them watching her every move like she was going to get up and leave them too.
Summer squealed in spite of herself when the Tom had rolled up to her house in the shiny black limo. Seth had called to tell her that and despite of what was happening she gave a small smile. "That's great Seth." She feels better knowing that neither of her sons are driving and that someone else is looking out for them.
"I love you."
"Sweetie. I love you too. And Ryan, tell Ryan I love him."
But Seth passed his phone over to Ryan when he heard her say his name and she listened as his soft voice came over the phone.
"Kirsten? Everything okay?"
"Ryan," she smiled hearing his voice. "Everything fine honey. I just wanted Seth to tell you I love you."
It was quiet for a moment. "I love you too, Kirsten," his voice quivered and he passed the phone back to Seth.
"Mom? We'll be home by 1. Okay?"
"That's fine Seth. Be careful. Put Tom on the phone."
Seth passed the phone to young/older than him Tom. "Yes, Mrs. Cohen."
"Tom? Take care of my babies Tom, my sons, they're all I have left."
"Of course Mrs. Cohen."
Mrs. Sandy Cohen.
"Tom? One more thing. Please, call me Kirsten."
She hung up the phone.
Ms. Kirsten Cohen.
She went into the liquor closet and grabbed the tequila and pulled out the blender, throwing in ice, Margarita mix, lime, and nearly half the bottle of tequila.
The whirring of the blender ceased she took the pitcher and paused. She set it on the counter and went to go look through a junk drawer and found what she was looking for. A ridiculously long straw that was bent all around and everywhere but it was huge. Jimmy had gotten it for Sandy when they opened the restaurant as a gag gift because they couldn't get a liquor license.
She placed the straw in the pitcher and smiled inwardly. Miss Kirsten Cohen. Ms. Cohen.
Her silver wedding bands gleamed in the dark, yelling to her. Screaming, begging, yelling SANDY's name. Sandy, Sandy, Sandy.
She closed her eyes.
Yep. Fuck it.
Getting out of the house was nice, and it was what they needed. To chill with Marissa and Summer and listen to Marissa bitch about Julie. Even if it was only for a few hours. It was just easier to pretend the real world didn't exist and it was just the four friends like old times.
Sometimes Seth didn't think his Grandma was as bad as Marissa made her out to be.
It was nice to hear what kind of painkillers Summer's mother was on. It was always something new. For a second, Ryan was tempted to ask if she could get some for him, but decided against it.
Kirsten had enough to deal with.
They went to a Quaker Stake and ordered wings, it was all you could eat night and it was a huge buffet.
"Mom's treat," Seth grinned and tried to lighten the heavy mood.
They went to a movie and enjoyed the envious looks from the other kids as the black stretch pulled up to the curb and Tom opened the door for them.
It was nice to get out of the house and pretend that things were normal still and time hadn't stopped for them.
When they were standing in line Seth couldn't help but overhear someone whisper forcefully, "Jason, isn't that Seth?"
"You know, Sandy Cohen's son. Jason! The lawyer who's client turned psychotic and shot him in the courthouse in front of everyone! RED Friday? It's all over the news and in the papers! I can't believe he's out in public! Someone said they needed money and did it on purpose. Oh it was…."
Seth whirled around to face the two adults face to face.
"Hi, Yes, I'm Seth Cohen. Yes my father was killed this weekend and yes I'm out in public trying to deal with my four friends and take a couple hours break from everything. You know, to try to forget… That there?" He pointed to Ryan over by Marissa, "That's Ryan, my brother, he's also out trying to take a break. That's Summer, my girlfriend, and that's Marissa Cooper, yeah she's the infamous Jimmy Cooper's daughter. That's Tom right beside you, he's our limo driver, carting us around town and such. My mother's name is Kirsten Cohen, and my grandfather built Newport Beach." Seth took a breath.
He held up his cellphone and jiggled it in the woman's face. "This? This is my cell phone and if I hear anyone that mentions my father's name like that again I will sue faster than you can say Dirty Fucking Rich Kid and you will be lucky if you can find a job at a janitors office working the graveyard shift! I hope you enjoy your show, you fucking morons."
So Seth was a little bit angrier than he thought.
Summer was by the concession stand. None of them had heard. Tom patted his back as he walked in with him. Tom knows that it's like.
Fucking time. He wished he could go back when he was known as Seth Cohen, Caleb Nichol's grandson, Kirsten Cohen's son. Not Seth Cohen, son of murdered Sandy Cohen.
On RED Friday. Hell, they re-colored a Friday because of his father.
He sighed. Summer walked over and gave him a hug. He needed that hug.
Kirsten set a new record for drinking a whole pitcher by herself.
In fact drinking a whole bottle of tequila by herself was a new record. One she hadn't done in years. Not since Sandy. Not since meeting him at college.
Twenty years of having someone by her side, through thick and thin. Now it was an indefinite amount of years without him.
She missed him.
She missed his kiss, and his gentle touch, and the way he smiled at her.
God she missed him.
For the first time since Friday she allowed herself the luxury of crying. She was holding the Christmukkah card picture and crying.
Like a baby.
More like sobbing uncontrollably. The tears just rolled out and there was no stopping them.
She was leaning back against him, not a care in the world, Ryan and Seth beside her, all of them smiling and happy.
They were a family and a happy one at that. Now they were shattered pieces and Kirsten didn't know how she was going to get through Monday and Tuesday.
She didn't even want to think about Wednesday.
Why did he leave her all alone?
Did he know she couldn't do this by herself? He knew that.
The mail had come and even though she was shitfaced beyond help she decided to read it. Or go through it. When she was drunk she was still tactical and could play cards with the best of them. She could read her own mail if she wanted too. She leafed through it until she found a letter addressed to her in handwriting that she didn't recognize.
Dear Mrs. Kirsten Cohen,
You don't know me and I don't know you, other than your namesake. My name is David Harding. I was one of the jurors in courtroom at the time of the shooting. I'm so sorry about your loss. It was so frightening Mrs. Cohen and when the gunshots went off none of us had time to react. I am an EMT and I did everything I possibly could for him until an ambulance got to the courthouse and I'm so sorry that I failed you, and your sons. I tried, I tried so hard to help him and the best I could do was talk to him and make sure he wasn't alone.
He kept asking for you and your sons. We managed to talk for a little while maybe about fifteen minutes and he made me promise I would tell you these things. I had a notebook at the time and wrote them down word for word.
"Seth, you're not rag on your mothers cooking so much, to make sure you still take out the garbage on the night its due and to not give you mother any trouble. Be good son, be smart. You were always my pride and joy Seth. I love you. I'm sorry and I wish I could be there for all of you."
"Ryan, you're to stay out of trouble and no fighting allowed. None. Watch over my girl for me, you might have to watch sappy movies with her and let her cry. Be good son, be smart. Keep playing soccer, You make me so proud everyday Ryan, I love you."
"Kirsten, Baby, please, please take care of yourself. Please. Let the boy's help you and I'm so sorry that I can't be there with you anymore. I love you so much, so, so much and I'm sorry for breaking our agreement that we had made at Berkeley. You made my everyday worth it. Kirsten, I love you and I love our family. I'm watching over you, but I wish I was with you. It hurts me that I'm leaving you. I love you so."
Mrs. Cohen, I wrote this letter to you so that maybe in your time of need you might find just a little peace.
As an EMT I took off your husbands wedding band, the courtroom we were in – who knows what might have happened to it. I enclose it in this letter. I'm so sorry that I couldn't do more.
She reached into the envelope and found Sandy's wedding band. She pulled off her diamond ring and placed the overly large ring on her graceful finger before putting the diamond back on. It was big but the other ring wouldn't let it slip.
She was too drunk to go upstairs to her empty lonely bedroom to get a chain and place the ring on it, where she would wear it until the day she died.
Only Sandy would think of that stupid agreement that was made so long ago.
God she missed him.
She didn't know if she could do this without him.
Kirsten Cohen cried for her husband, early on a Sunday morning, when time has no meaning to her and for her, Time stopped on Friday.