Mrs. Paul, we have given him all we can without killing him and we are prohibited from outright killing your father. He cannot hold on much longer, he should have died days ago. I've never seen anyone fight to stay alive through this much pain, never."
"So what do we do? Just watch him suffer. I can't stand it any longer, please..," "Doctor, let me take her for coffee" her husband said. "The whole family is suffering because this bastard refuses to die. He has always been a stubborn Son-of-a-Bitch, and he now won't even die right!"
"Michael, be quite.." "No, I've shut up long enough. He has always been a selfish, selfish man, and now he wants pity from everyone ? Fuck him. Come on, let's get some coffee."
The old man.., laying in shit and piss and hurting so bad the top of his head felt as if it were on fire, heard it all. His piss-ant of a son-in-law, who thought he going to be wealthy at any moment had a surprise coming . They all did. None of them were getting a dime of his money. He bit his tongue again and it was now cut almost in two. He couldn't speak if he wanted to, which he didn't. He wanted to die more than the waiting vultures who were there wanted him to, but he had to see someone before he died, and all the pain in the world wouldn't stop him.
Suddenly he was was falling off off a cliff and landing in a freezing river of water that numbed him and took away the pain. As he opened his eyes, he managed a slight smile as he was looking at the only love of his life.The only woman he had ever loved. His Delia. My God, she hadn't aged a day.
"Lewis, the water is freezing, let's get out and lay in the sun. I may let you you kiss me, or I may not." She swam for the shore, with Lewis quickly behind her. He had never wanted another woman in his life as much as he wanted Delia at that moment."Wait for me, you cheated with your head start," he shouted, laughing and swimming after her.
She lay on the blanket and grabbed the only towel and laughed as she refused to share it. He fell on top of her and kissed her and both of their lips, once a cold a purplish color suddenly turned as red as lovers lips do. He stared into her eyes and told her, "As long as I have air to breathe I will remember this moment and for as long as I have air to breathe I will love you more than life"
They made love with a passion that neither had ever known and would never would know again. With a passion of two lovers who were destined to never see the other again and this is exactly what happened, although both would never have imagined it like this. This was only the beginning the foolish young lovers thought and did not hear her father and brothers walk up. The last thing Lewis knew was that he survived a beating that would have killed an ordinary man and was thrown back into the river, where he would know nothing for days.
He awoke with a start, the pain so intense that he bent at the waist and threw-up the nothing he had in his stomach. The dry heaves hurt worse than the pain, he thought, until he stopped and found out different. The pain was a living hell. He screamed as nurses surrounded his bed and his family stood in the hallway and listened. Listened to a man they all hated, but were afraid to leave because the others might steal an advantage over the old man's wealth.
The doctor came in and reluctantly increased his morphine until he was sure it would kill the old man. But instead of killing Lewis, it brought him peace for a few moments or hours, he did not know. He only knew he awoke in a hobo camp with someone pouring rot-gut whiskey down his throat. He knocked the bottle from his lips and went for his knife, which, along with his cash, was long ago gone.
"Whoa there mister, I'm just trying to help. You been in and out of it all day. They were going to kill you, but I told them to take what they wanted and leave you be. I've been down and out before, hell, I am now, but I couldn't stand around and let someone kill a man for no reason. I got some nail soup down your belly and thought a bit of this here hard liquor might just wake you up. Seems to have done the trick. My name is Marshal sir, and yours?"
Lewis studied his surroundings, summed up the situation and gathered he had beaten the death Delia's father and brothers had planned for him. "Sir, I thank you for saving my life. I am a man who pays his bills and I will make it worth your while one day. My name is Lewis Jornogon. Tell me, what day is it?
"Mister, you don't owe me a dime and by your looks, or mine, neither of us would be be lucky enough to repay anyone anything right now. Today is Thursday my good man. How long have you been floating in that river?"
Lewis scratched his head and as his memory cleared, he remembered his adventure with the Potter family had been on Monday. "As near as I can figure, two days or so, but is that possible? To float down a river for two days, with no knowledge and live? Marshal, grinned and said, "I guess anything is possible now, ain't it?"
The old man's heart flat-lined and the crash car was wheeled in, as the family objected to the doctors trying to re-start his heart. But the old man was not stupid. He had written a Living Will that said all measures were to be tried and everything possible done to keep him alive. He did this for one reason and one reason only, to keep the vultures waiting and arguing among themselves. When he signed the Living Will, he knew how much he was hated. It was returned a hundred fold.
The electric shock lifted his body a foot off the bed, but his mind was elsewhere and his eyes were reading a letter he had received over a year before. It was from a law firm who represented a "Mrs. Charles R. Davis". It was a registered letter and before he signed for it, before he even opened it he knew it was from her. His Delia.
Dear Sir, we have been engaged by Mrs Charles R. Davis to deliver this letter to you. If you are reading this, we have performed our appointed duty and our law office is now relieved of any responsibility in the matter and our business is heretofore closed. Thank you.
A handwritten letter fell upon his desk and his hands shook as he stared down at the folded stationary. He slowly opened the pages and stared at a handwriting that was familiar to him. It was from his Delia and his heart was on fire as he read the words.
My Dearest Lewis,
I hope this letter finds you in good health and good spirits. For myself, I'm afraid the news is not as well. Lewis, I am dying. I promised myself I would never bother you or your family. You see, I have kept track of you and your beautiful family. You have done well for yourself. You should be very proud, but I always knew you would be successful, always.
After the unfortunate incident at the river, I was sent away to Europe for five very lonely years.
The only thing that kept me sane was my son, Henry. Such a beautiful boy, just like his father. I guess you have it figured out by now that you, Lewis, are his father. I have never told Henry. He thinks his father died in a traffic accident. I am a coward Louis and was afraid to tell him the truth.
As I lay here on my death bed, I can't help but remember how much I loved you. I think you felt it also and if events were different.., well., we cannot go back, can we?
Henry is now a grown man, He graduated from Yale. He is a lawyer Henry, much like you. You see, I have been following your progress through-out the years. I am going to leave it up to you to tell Henry, or not. It was selfish of me to keep this from you, or him, for so long but circumstances will sometimes take over our lives and before we know it, we are writing letters to former lovers on our death bed. His picture, address and a letter from myself to Henry is also in this envelope. Use it as you will Lewis. Please remember, even though I married a wonderful man who brought up Henry as his own, that I have never stopped loving you. I wish you only peace and love and understanding.
Mrs. Charles R. Davis (Delia)
Lewis was following a light, walking slowly, but walking none-the-less. Every step felt right somehow. The pain eased as he walked and he started to smile until he realized he was walking to his death. He stopped and the pain returned ten-fold as he screamed and opened his eyes and stared at a room full of people who had just saw a man who had flat-lined, again, come back from the dead on his own and scream,"NO, not yet, I will not die, not yet" and fall back into a coma.
He was sitting at a table of a very expensive restaurant watching a man walk toward his table. He stood up, shook his hand and stared at him eye to eye. The resemblance was not lost on either man. "Please" said Lewis, "Sit down. What will you have to drink?" The man, Henry Davis, shook his head and Lewis told the waiter to give them some time as both men sat down.
"As I told you on the phone, I knew your mother a very long time ago. A few weeks ago she sent me a wonderful letter, along with some pictures of you and a letter, also addressed to you." He handed Henry the letter and after reading it without a change of expression, handed it back to Lewis. "So, she thought I did not know. I'm glad she died thinking that. I have but one father, Charles Davis, she knew this. She, as usual, would rather hurt herself than someone else. You must have been very special to her Mr. Jornogon."
"She is the only woman I have ever loved. After years of looking and not finding her, I settled for a woman that loved what she could get and I gave her what she wanted. She gave me two children she spoiled rotten who aren't worth the air that they breathe and if they had to work for that air, they would die. I am sorry, I should not put my problems on you. I am the one at fault, for not scouring the earth to find your mother."
"What exactly do you want from me Mr. Jornogon? To jump up, hug you and call you Dad? I already have a father that I love dearly who raised me as his own son."
"No, not at all, Henry. May I call you Henry?" Louis said. "I only wanted to meet you, to become friends, perhaps. I expect nothing, I know you cannot love someone you have never met. But, I hope, I pray, that we can be friends. I have a bit of news myself, but do not want or need pity. I too, am dying. I have a year to live at most. I would like for us to be friends, that's all. To find out about your life and your mother's life. But, you have only to say the word and I will disappear as quickly as I appeared. I do not want to make trouble for you or your family."
Henry Davis looked at his father for a long time before answering. "You must be someone special Mr. Jornogon for my mother to have loved you. To have conceived me, with you. Perhaps we can meet from time to time. But you must meet my real father first, and then my wife and children. Come to dinner at my home. I'll call you to set it up. Now, I must be leaving, until then." Henry got up, shook Lewis's hand and walked out.
The previous year had been the happiest of Lewis's life. He and Charles Davis became close friends and computer chess buddies, but it was with his son that he bonded closely. They had so much in common. Both shared a passion for deep sea fishing and used Charles boat whenever they could get together. His grandchildren were totally opposite from his own children and grandchildren. They were polite, happy children who called him Uncle Lou and he enjoyed the many dinners he had there with Henry's lovely wife. He imagined that this was the life meant for Delia and himself.
Now, on his deathbed, he could not leave this earth without seeing his son again. His only son as far as he was concerned. Henry was in Europe and upon hearing of his fathers impending death, was moving heaven and hell to get to the hospital before the man he came to love as a father died. He was in a taxi cab only a few miles away when Lewis could stand the pain no longer. As he walked into the room he could see why his father disliked his own family so much. They were actually happy he was dead. He grabbed the hand of Louis, kissed his forehead and walked out before these vultures could see the mountain of tears that he was about to shed for his father. His real father.
Louis Jornogon left most of his fortune to his son and his grandchildren, Henry's children. His own children got only what they had, paid off and in full. They would now work or starve, it was not his problem anymore. Before he died, the air turned very cold and perhaps in a slip of a moment in a tear of time, the soul of Louis found the love of his life, Delia. This writer or no one else will ever know. I guess we will all find that out for ourselves. It is inevitable.