Bill nearly died. Stacy, fortunately, had only minor injuries.
The accident had dominated Bill’s life ever since. Surgery. Physical therapy. And the seemingly endless battle as they fought the SUV driver’s insurance company. At one point, the whole ordeal was so awful that Bill gave serious thought to killing himself. He resisted. I can’t do this to Stacy! he thought.
But all that was now over. At least as over as it ever would be. The doctors had done good work piecing him back together. He wasn’t 100% perfect, but he’d be able to have a fairly normal life. He still had nightmares at night, sometimes, but they weren’t as bad as they had been.
On the first Friday of spring, Bill decided he’d cook a special dinner. It would be a surprise for Stacy. It would celebrate the advent of spring, and also celebrate putting the accident behind them.
At six, Bill sat in the living room, waiting for Stacy to come home. A fire crackled in the fireplace. A small table near the fireplace was set with their best china. Dinner waited in the kitchen, along with a bottle of nice wine.
Stacy arrived home. “What on earth?” She stared at the table.
“I just decided it would be fun to do something special. Celebrate spring.”
“I see. I hate to tell you this, after you’ve put all this work in. But...well...I’m going back out for an appointment.” Stacy sighed. “I maybe shouldn’t tell you this now...but maybe it’s better that I tell you. I’ve been meaning to, but I keep putting it off. Our marriage is doomed. I’ve felt this way a long time. That night of the accident—right before that clown plowed into us—I was going to tell you that I thought maybe we’d better separate. Of course, after that accident, while I was still unhappy, I decided I’d better wait. You are better now, and so I think we need to start talking about divorce. Particularly since I met someone.”
“You met someone?” Bill said weakly.
“Yes. While I was waiting for you at the doctor’s office one day. I’m sorry...but that’s the way these things work. Anyway, I need to go out tonight. I’m looking at an apartment. I’ve just got to grab something, and I’ll go.”
Stacy left a couple of minutes later. Bill sat, staring at the fire. He felt dead inside. As dead as if he’d died in the accident.