“Being There”

Author: Pia Pedersen


Note: This is a first person piece, a moment in time. It’s written from Deanna’s POV.


Disclaimers are in force.




I watch you from the distance, not sure of what I should do. I’m not even sure that I should be here. But I came, because there has never been anything I wouldn’t do for you, and when you call, I answer – just as you do for me. That’s the way it has always been.


You look at me now; I can feel your eyes search for mine, and I smile as I return your gaze.


I move closer and let a kiss fall on your cheek. The contact startles us both, and for a moment it is as if the Universe has come to a standstill. The moment seems frozen in time, and I remember every second I spent with you in the past. It has been a long time now, sometimes it feels like it was another life, and in many ways it was. We both moved on, as much as we will ever be able to. The bond between us will be ever present, we both know that, and now here we are. Seeking out each other again, for comfort and solace.


“Thank you.”


There is nothing to say, and I reach out for your hand instead. It’s cold. I look into your eyes again, wishing that there was something I could do to make all this undone. You loved her, and I see the defeat in the depths of your eyes. I have never felt as helpless as I do right now. There should be something I could do, something I could say to make it easier. But there isn’t, and so I just sit there, my eyes falling on the sleeping child in your arms. She’s beautiful, the picture of innocence, and when she stirs, I see you tighten your arms around her. The sight brings tears to my eyes, and I look away briefly. There’s a painful knot in my stomach, and I feel I’m trespassing again. This is your life, your daughter … not mine. Never mine. 


“What happened, Will?” I ask the question, knowing that you have no answer and that you have been losing your mind trying to find one.


“Nothing happened, Deanna.” Your voice is broken and flat, and I hold on to your hand, waiting. “She just … left.”


“But ---“ I begin but think better of it. You don’t need more unanswered questions. I know that you asked me to come, hoping that I could give you some answers, help you sort through it all. But how can I, when I don’t understand either?


“She hadn’t been feeling well,” you say suddenly. “Ever sense Melinda was born … I --- should have been able to help her, Deanna. I should have seen it. Why didn’t I see it?”


“You can’t blame yourself,” I try, but you give me a dark look. “Will, this isn’t your fault. You know it isn’t.”


“Then who’s is it?”


“Sometimes it isn’t anyone’s fault.” I can’t believe I said that, but it is the truth. Sometimes things just happen, even unimaginable things like this.


“She’s my wife, and I had no idea she was in so much pain. What the hell does that say about me?” The guilt radiates from you, rivaled only by the love for your daughter when your lips touch her hair.  


“I know how it must hurt.” I say. But I don’t, not really. When I lost you it was never like this. I knew the pain would lessen with time. I knew you would be out there, and that I would see you again. This isn’t like that at all. “But she might still …” I don’t finish the sentence, because I have no idea what to say. I don’t know what will happen, and I can’t pretend, not with you. You know me too well for that, even now.

“She won’t.” There’s a clarity in your voice that I wish wasn’t there. “She’s not coming back, Deanna.” You sigh, and I feel your eyes burning into mine. “I need you.” I gasp; you don’t often ask for help, and it has been a long, long time since you asked me. “I need your help.  I don’t know what to say to Melinda, how to explain to her that …”


“We will find a way,” I promise, not knowing how but certain that I will not let you down. We will work it out, and you will get through this.


“Thank you for being here.” you say, and I want to cry, but I don’t. I doubt that I even could. The power of your emotions overwhelms me, and for a moment I say nothing. What is there to say?


“Anytime,” I finally manage. It seems so insufficient, but I see a shadow of a smile on your lips. It is such a relief, and I return it.


“It will be all right, won’t it?” you ask. I don’t know how to answer that. But I want it to be all right. I want you to smile again. You’re holding on tighter to my hand now. “With time?”


“Yes,” I say. “I think it will.”


Once again time is suspended, and when you look at me all I want to do is soothe the pain edged in your features. I only hope that you will let me.