What The ….

“I don’t know where he is,” I said to R’s mother on the phone late that evening.  “Have you heard from him?”

R had spent the first month or so of our separation living in the sleeper cabin of his boat the marina.  We’d gone to marriage counseling every week in order to help repair the damage, but it hadn’t been going very well.  My hurt and anger was slow to heal, and I just couldn’t find myself willing to allow R back in the house.  His hurt increased with every single day he was out of the house, and finally when we stopped seeing our expensive therapist, he started seeing a different one on his own.

I was finding a strange empowerment being on my own again; while the bills were tough to meet on my reduced salary and without R, I was loving my job.  Already plans were forming in my head for advancement; I was already working on my Master’s degree and was now sure I would try for a curriculum position in one of our local districts.  Work was going amazingly well; the days sped by, and I looked forward to each day of the students and fellow colleagues.  It was starting to become clear to me that I didn’t have to settle for mediocrity; it took me a while to find a job that fulfilled me but now I had it.  Was I willing to go back to a marriage that didn’t fill my needs?  I wasn’t sure any more.

R went to stay with his parents after the weather turned colder and the boat was no longer an option for his residence.  They called me on the phone several times to try and help matters along, but the efforts always ended in them agreeing on the points that I was upset about.  They knew their son could be difficult and they promised to try and work with him to help him see where I was coming from.

And so it was odd that they would call me on a weekday evening after 8pm; R was usually home by then.  “We haven’t seen him since this morning.  Something just doesn’t feel right,” said his mother.

“Have you called his cell phone?  What about his friends there in town?  Work?”  I went through the options for them, but no, they told me they’d called each one.

“If you hear from him, please have him call us,” they told me.  I promised I would, and then started the work of dialing all of the numbers that I had just instructed them to call.  No answer at work, no answer at his cell phone.  Maybe he was just out with a friend and forgot to charge his phone, I thought.  But something felt wrong.

I jumped when the phone rang five minutes later, the caller ID showing a local number that I didn’t recognize.  “Hello?” I said into the receiver.

A distant voice on the other end of the line responded.  “I called to tell you goodbye,” R said quietly.

“Hey, where are you?” I answered.  “Your parents have been calling here looking for you.  They are worried sick about you.   You really should call them.”

“I can’t talk to them right now,” he said, the voice thin and odd on the other end of the line.

“Why not?” I asked, my mind racing with annoyance mingled with questions.

“I took some pills,” he answered.  “I’m just waiting, now.  You won’t have to worry about me much longer.”

Oh, fuck.

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