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Togetherness Again

Taylor began to wonder if somehow, he had come to his senses.

"I knew I'd find you here. Taylor, you've got to learn to let go. It doesn't matter how many times you visit, she's not coming back."

"Don't you know I know that, Kaley! God, you don't have to keep reminding me!" Taylor answered in an angered voice.

"Taylor, I am only trying to help."

"Kaley, the only way you can help me is by digging her up, putting me in the casket with her, and burying me alive with her until I join her the way I want to do."

"I know you really don't mean that, Taylor."

"Kaley, don't tell me what I don't really mean. You are not in this body," Taylor said, gesturing up and down with his hands, "You don't know what I really want. Only I know what I want. And I want to be in that casket with Brielle. I need to be in that casket with her."

"It wasn't your fault, Taylor. You need to quit blaming yourself."

"I was driving the car that killed her, Kaley. Me, not you, not anyone else. Me, just me. I was behind the wheel. I only have myself to blame."

"Oh so you were the intoxicated driver of the other car that struck yours? You were the one that didn't see your car cross through the intersection because you were too impaired to drive? Come now, Taylor, you are not making any sense."

"I'm making sense to me."

"But not the ones that love you and especially not to Brielle. What do you think she would be thinking right now if she was still here? You know that she would want you to go on with your life. You can't keep doing this, Taylor. You need help."

"Just leave me be, Kaley. Please. Just go and leave me alone."

"Fine. I'll go. I can't help you anymore. I've tried. I won't bother you again. Just know this, if you ever come to your senses, and you need someone, I'll be your friend. Until then, I'll continue to be your sister instead," Kaley answered and walked away.

Kaley left her brother standing over her sister-in-law's marker. For the past three months, she tried to help her brother heal the hole left in his heart, but the hole was big enough to drive a Mack truck through it. To a degree, Kaley knew that hole would never completely close, but she had hoped to make it smaller. However, she knew she never did.

Taylor leaned on his wife's marble stone and banged it with his fist until the skin of his knuckles chafed away and nothing but blood came to the surface. It dripped on the white stone and slid down the front and through Brielle's name engraved into it.

To say Taylor was angry, was an understatement. He was taking his frustrations out on the ones that loved him and not thinking about the feelings of those he was hurting. Brielle had been the love of his life and still was, so when she was killed, a part of him was killed with her. Taking it out on the ones that were trying to help him was the only way he knew how to cope. Taylor also knew it was wrong.

He started to walk away, but he saw his blood tarnishing his wife's name and could not leave it that way. Seeing that just angered him more and made that night three months ago flash in his eyes again when Brielle was covered in blood and died in his arms.

Taylor finally strolled away from the plot of ground that held his wife. He opened his car door and got inside. Before he started the engine, he slumped over the steering wheel and began to cry yet again. The dried marks of past tears stained the steering column and he was adding more to them. When the teardrops slowed, Taylor leaned back and spotted the purple bag that held the unopened bottle of his spirit of choice in the passenger seat. He could not wait to mix it with the ginger ale waiting in the refrigerator at home.

The drive home took longer than what would take Taylor to find the bottom of the glass. When he cracked the side door open to enter the house, the stale smell of empty bottles never phased him. Taylor just entered, walked to the fridge passed the counters strewn with empty bottles, and could not grab the ginger ale fast enough. He untied the purple bag that held the Crown Royal and poured a generous amount into the glass, topped it off with ginger ale, and walked to the living room to find the chair.

For the past three months, this was all Taylor did when he was not working or socializing. The slow burn that happened with each swallow took the pain away for a little while. The loss of Brielle quickly entered again though. He could not keep the drinks coming fast enough sometimes. At times, he just wanted to stay drunk and passed out until he slept the day away. The weekends were the only time he could do that. During the week, he had a job to maintain. He could not lose that too.

But, Taylor knew it was going to catch up with him if he did not get help.

And he knew he needed help. He knew that his sister Kaley was the one that could give it to him. Taylor just was not sure when he wanted to ask. He still kind of wanted to grieve in his own way.

Kaley turned into the drive of her brother's home. She felt bad about how she left him at the cemetery and what she said to him. Kaley wanted to be both his sister and friend. At the moment, she was only one. She meant to change that.

Kaley knocked on the door and waited. Taylor never answered. She tried again. Still nothing. Kaley walked to the side door and did not even bother knocking. She decided instead to try turning the knob. The door opened and before Kaley could enter, she had to take a step back because the scent of booze overpowered her nasal cavity.

"What the...?" Kaley blurted out as she stepped back.

Gathering herself, Kaley opened the door and entered her brother's home. She looked around as she closed the door. She could not believe what she saw. Discarded purple cloth bags were scattered amongst the empty crown shaped bottles. Empty ginger ale bottles lined the kitchen counter also. Kaley lost count trying to take in what she was observing.

She walked quietly through the kitchen and into the living room and saw her brother passed out in the chair, his arm dangling over the arm rest and the glass on the floor. The concoction had already soaked into the carpet and no doubt would leave a stain, even if cleaned. The last quarter inch of Crown Royal occupied the bottle on the table in front of him. Kaley thought, no wonder he was out like a light.

Kaley shook her head and said aloud, even though she knew Taylor could not hear her, "Oh sweet brother, turning to the disease that took your wife is not going to solve anything."

Kaley did not even try to bring Taylor out of the coma. She knew it would be of no use if she did. She sat on the couch across from him and looked at him. That is when she saw the wedding photo of him and Brielle clutched tightly in his other hand and held close to his chest.

If only she could bring Brielle back.

It helped that Kaley was a nurse. She had seen this so many times in the emergency room. It was best to have the alcohol wear off naturally. Meanwhile, she needed to make herself useful.

Kaley got up and went to the kitchen. She had no idea where to start cleaning first. There was so much to throw away. Kaley was sure there was three months worth of empty bottles of mind warping numbness scattered all around. She put the trash can in the middle of the floor and decided to start grabbing and tossing. She knew all the noise in the world would never phase Taylor.

The trash can was full before Kaley knew it. She emptied it and started grabbing again. When the kitchen was spotless, she moved to the living room and removed what was there. Before she knew it, she had rid the house of all the shame that Taylor had brought into it. But it was going to be even harder to break him of the habit that he had fallen into.

Kaley then picked up all of Taylor's clothes strung throughout the house and put them in the washer. As she looked around for anything else out of place, she glanced at her brother still oblivious to any surroundings. Finally, she picked up the glass by his hand and took it to the kitchen sink.

Kaley did not leave however. She went back to the living room and laid down on he couch. She stared at her out-of-it brother. She loved him dearly and would do anything for him. She was going to see him through this trying time.

Taylor finally stirred. He opened his eyes, slid up into the chair still clutching the picture of him and his wife, and stretched with it in his hand. He did not even see his sister laying on the couch as he got up to put the framed picture on the table.

He walked to the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and saw the lines across his face. In the three months that had gone by, he had aged double. Taylor splashed some cold water on his face to maybe wake up a bit. It did not help all that much. What he wanted was a drink.

When he entered the kitchen, he stopped. It was clean. There was no bottle to be found. No more purple bags strung along the table or counter. Taylor could actually see the color of each one again. But there was no Crown Royal.

Taylor began to wonder if somehow, he had come to his senses. He turned around and headed back to the living room hoping there was a bottle in there. He just wanted the spirits the quench the dry stale taste in his mouth. But it was more than that and he knew it.

Through the door of the living room he saw how everything got so clean. Taylor saw his sister asleep on the couch; her head resting under one arm.

He walked over and knocked Kaley on the shoulder. She opened her eyes and looked up at him.

"You know, I don't need a babysitter," Taylor said as he sat back down in the chair.

"No. No you don't. But Taylor, you do need some help."

"You've already said that earlier today, Kaley."

"And I am saying it again."

"Really, Kaley? I didn't notice."

"Don't get smart with me, Taylor. You couldn't even see your living conditions. How could you live like that?"

"Easy. Very easy. At this point, I don't care."

"Obviously," Kaley answered and leaned on her knees with her elbows and hung her head low.

"You think I am proud of turning to the very thing that took Brielle away from me, Kaley?"

"You don't want me to answer that, Taylor. Really, you don't."

"You just did, baby sister. You just did."

"Let me help you, Taylor. You not only lost a wife you know. I lost my best friend and sister-in-law. You are not the only one that hurts."

"I know, Kaley, okay? Don't you think I see you hurt too?"

"You sure have a funny way of showing it big brother. "

Taylor had no answer for his sister's statement. He just stood and headed out the back door into the backyard. He felt his pants pocket as he went.

Kaley watched him go and gave him time to himself. She got up and went to the door and just looked at him standing in the middle of the yard like a lost puppy.

Taylor was not even moving. Just like a statue, he was still with his thoughts.

Kaley walked out to him and put her arm around him. He was running his hand over the scraped up knuckles of the other when she did. She saw the fresh cuts on his knuckles and knew not to ask how they got there. She pretty much had an idea.

"Kaley, how do you do it?"

She knew what Taylor was asking. "By thinking of the good times I had with Brielle. Then I bawl like a child at night as I try to fall asleep. It actually feels good to let it all out."

"Thinking of the good times just make me want her more and I know I can't. The tears just make me more angry. Being drunk has been the only way I get relief."

"It's not a cure, Taylor."

"I know, Kaley. I know. I need help. I admit it," Taylor said and walked away from his sister for a moment and looked up to the bright blue sky. With a subtle turn of his head, he looked back at his sister and asked, "Will you help me?"

Kaley smiled and said, "That's what I've been trying to do. Come on big brother, we'll help each other get through this."

As he walked back to his sister, Taylor said, "There is one thing I have to do first. Will you come with me?"

Kaley grabbed her brother's hand and said, "You know I will."

Taylor pulled his sister behind him and back through the house and out the side door to her car. He opened the passenger side door and plopped inside.
Kaley did not have to ask where to go. She knew.

It was a very quiet drive to the cemetery. Along the way, Kaley glanced at her brother. She could tell that he was thinking. She parked the car along the curb and Taylor got out and headed to Brielle’s headstone. Kaley got out and stood by the front of her car. She could tell this was something Taylor had to do on his own.

The birds were singing as he knelt down in front of Brielle’s marker. Kaley thought it was so sweet how her brother was talking to his late wife. Kaley had an idea of what he was saying to her. Just as Taylor stood, Kaley heard a rustle in the tree above her. She looked up and there, landing on the bottom limb, was a white dove.

It was followed by the sound of a gun.

Kaley did not want to look because she knew from the direction of the sound what had happened. She could not help herself though. She glanced towards her sister-in-law's grave and on top of it laid Taylor’s lifeless body. Kaley crossed in front of her car, not in a hurry to get to her brother. She knew it would be no use to rush. It would bring neither Brielle nor Taylor back.

When she reached what would now be their marker, Kaley knelt and stroked her brother’s hair. She put her hand on the ground at the same time as if she could comfort Brielle in it. She knew that Brielle knew what was going to happen. The white dove was a sign that came too late.

As Kaley knelt there, comforting not only her two loved ones now joined, she comforted herself. Before she got up to make the necessary call she had to make, Kaley said, “I got the sign, Brielle. You knew didn’t you? Turns out I helped him the only way I could. By bringing him here so he could join you. Finally, you two are together again.”
Kaley got up, no tears in her eyes because she knew she had done what her brother had wanted. She had given him togetherness again.

Walking back to her car, she pulled out her cell phone and called the authorities. Kaley told them everything they needed to know. She could not wait for them to arrive.

She hung up the connection as she opened her car door and got inside. Kaley took one last look over to where her brother lay with his wife. She started her car as she said, “Rest in peace big brother. You’re all better now,” and slowly drove away.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2017 by Douglas Daleray

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