Warning: Swearing, mentions of suicide.
Reggie on the highway (he often does that when he wants to feel the freedom, driving with the furious speed, windows opened with the wind stroking his hair). Getting distracted and abruptly stopping. Getting hit on the back by another car. His head hitting steering wheel. Severe spine injury. I can’t quite register the words that come out of the mouth of a platinum blond who leads me to the room where my husband is supposed to be resting after having experienced a serious accident. For a moment it even does the trick and makes me forget that I am the one that has just gotten diagnosed with cancer. Then it is sinking in with full force and I start hyperventilating. The nurse suddenly changes her mind and claims that I should not see Reggie in the state I am in. I protest, saying that it’s just temporary and I’ll be okay. She gives me a look that says she doesn’t believe me, but doesn’t comment on that. The rest of the way we spend it in silence. It feels as if I ran a marathon across a hot desert when we finally get to the right place. Doesn’t help that I’ve been suffering from a constant need to drink something, my throat constantly dried out and hurting.
When I walk in, the first thing I notice is that Reggie’s face is all red from the bruises. He lies on the bed and a grimace of pain is present on his face as he slowly exhales and inhales, gritting his teeth, as if it could help the pain go away. A shade of a smile and recognition crosses his features as he sees me walk in.
“Reggie,” I gasp and get to his bed in seconds. I gently place my head on his chest and bury my nose in the familiar scent of his perfume, his sweat and gasoline. Yes, the ever-present gasoline. It’s that thing that caused it! If only he had listened to me when I told him to give it up.
“Why, Reggie? Why are you doing this to me?” I pose a rhetorical question. He growls in response.
“Get off me, Hailey,” he barks, showing me away and I land at the far end of the singular bed, which is definitely too small to handle two people.
“What is that? I thought you…”
“Yes, I fucking got myself into an accident and I fucking will not be able to walk anymore! All true! They told you that, right? I’m like a cabbage or something. A disgrace to all the healthy people. A disgrace to humanity which should be shot right away!” He goes on and on. Tears are flowing down my cheeks as I struggle to say something. Anything to break this stream of thoughts. But then… “And you’re not any better! Look at you, Hailey. Look at you. Whatever the diagnosis was, doesn’t make it fucking better. You were a singer. I was a racer. Now we’re both shit, that’s what we are!” Pregnant silence falls after this sentence, his words still echoing in my ears. We’re both shit, aren’t we?
“You can’t do that, Reggie,” I finally manage to say. “You can’t dump all the years we’ve spent together and say it meant nothing. We’ll get through this together. Cancer or…” But he is ready for a retort, having heard my confession.
“Cancer, huh? See it, Hailey? You will have it easy. Easy to die. I will have to live like this for years with no one having enough mercy to just go and shoot me straight in the head! I am not of any use, now that I can’t drive.” He pulls me closer to him and grabs my hand and I lose my balance, stretching my leg to regain it and not fall off the bed.
“Do it. Do it for me, Hailey. Prove you love me as you claim you do. There’s no hope. Just shoot me so I can have my peace.” I stare at my husband wide-eyed, partly shocked and partly frightened. He is talking as if he was not right in the head. He is talking as if life meant nothing to him. Not his family, not anything. Only… only these freaking cars. I abruptly pull away.
“I will not do it. If you ever experienced love in your life, you would know you’d never shoot your beloved and let anyone harm them. But you never did… You never loved me, Reggie. I was just a poor human replacement for your sheet metal lovers. Now that it’s all gone, that they’re gone, who am I to you? Someone to get rid of? To be bombarded by your attempts to get me to kill you? That’s not right. You can’t ask of anyone to perform euthanasia on you. You can live, Reggie. And you will.” As I finish, he still doesn’t seem convinced, apparently very set on getting himself killed.
“I do love you, Hailey, you have no idea how much. I’ve been thinking about it. I wanted to tell you to get a husband your age, someone who would give you all that I can’t. You do not deserve to be forced to change my diapers for the rest of your life nor to listen to my complaints. But we both know that’s not gonna work out. You and I, Hailey. We used to be on the top of this world. Now it dawned on us that we’re both mortals. So, so mortal mortals. It’s better to die by your own choice than to be forced to suffer.” He says it all with so much determination and sincerity that it moves me, even if what he is saying are all just confessions of a man who lost what he most cherished in this world.
I will never be the thing he most cherishes in life. I will never mean more to him than cars have meant. All this time.
“That’s not true, Reggie. There are things worth living for. Look, we have a family. Our kids have just stepped up into adulthood. I don’t know how about you, but I want to see my grandchildren.” I am now sitting on the bed by his side, looking out the window, or rather the small parts of the outside world that are visible through the slits between the thick curtains, which barely let any natural lighting in
“It is wishful thinking on your part. There is a certain line. When crossed, optimism just stops working. There is not a way out of this situation. Life will never be the same and you know it. You are scared to admit that you do. But you so do.” He is right. I know it. I know exactly what he’s talking about. Maybe I’m just desperately trying to make it work, make work something that will never work? Putting together a thousand of pieces that once created a crystal vase, it symbolizing our life stability.
“I do, Reggie. And so what? You can’t do anything with such knowledge. It is useless and hurtful, and doesn’t do anybody any good.” He avoids my gaze as his eyes are fixated on the wall opposite the bed.
“The sound of your voice is moving in itself, Hailey. Just listening to you reminds me of the better times. Now all we have left is a downward spiral. You can get out of it once, you can – well, I could – pretend Amanda and April never existed. But this… This is just an obstacle that’s never going to be overcome by any of us. We are both destined to suffer for the rest of our lives.” I instinctively touch my throat as I listen to my husband and think of how truthful his words are. I wondered if I would ever be able to believe in any curse that’s been roaming around my family through generations. Now I know that’s just life. Life could be a blessing, but it could also be a curse. A curse that casts a spell whose wrongdoings could not be taken away by a single human or force.
“Listen, Reggie. I always thought you weren’t afraid of anything. Not driving fast, not of anything. You should never change that about you. You can’t be a coward, we can’t both be cowards. Taking our lives away is not a solution… There must be light at the end of the tunnel.” Still, deep down I know I’m trivializing. I think someone has just clicked an off button on my optimism. Reggie seems to agree.
“Except that the tunnel is all dark. Who are you trying to deceive Hailey? Me or maybe yourself?” He sighs heavily.
When we both get tired of the talk, I rest my head on Reggie’s arm, trying to fit in the single bed, just to feel the warmth of his body next to mine and the stable beating of his heart.
He is still alive. And as long as I am too, I’m not going to let him change that. When the death comes, then it will come. I close my eyes and dream of finding the corpse of my grandpa, like I did as a 13-year-old. Except that in this dream I also meet his ghost. We’ve all been there, comes out of his gray, effulgent mouth. When the sound of a nurse forcing me to leave Reggie’s room echoes in my dream, I wake up with a ready response. I gently raise from the bed not to wake up my sleeping husband.
This talk must have exhausted him, especially after having been forced to take part in it right after the accident. My lips open slightly as I whisper my answer, knowing he won’t hear it anyway.
Fate, Reggie. It’s fate that I’m trying to deceive.
Note: Hello! Wow, I don’t think I’ve written a decent note in a long time. In this chapter quite a lot of the poses I’ve been working on made a debut. It’s a huge bed couples dump that I hope to get published at the end of August on my pose site. Unfortunately, for most of them it was also the first time I got to test them in-game and boy, are they laggy. I’m also pretty sure that the patient’s gown that I downloaded from the Store was only enabled for adults (Reggie’s neck was cut, but I think I managed to edit it, so it’s not obvious), so I made changes in MC (more about it in my mods’ guide) and I also edited the bruises in s3pe (you can read about it in my recategorizing tutorial), so that I could use them on my elder male. Yeah, you guessed it, I totally stayed up until 2:30 am to get photos ready. Thankfully, this time I went over my post and hopefully it’s less silly (there were mistakes like “tears are flowing down my tears”). If it still has some dose of silliness in it, please feel free to point it out. And I do know that it’s heavy, but I don’t even think it’s very heavy compared to some other chapters 22nd that have been in my story. Anyway, to end this note – I hope to see you, guys, with a bonus post on Wednesday. Don’t think I forgot about the big parents’ reveal for Clinton. It’ll also be the first chance we get to get to know our future gen.6 heir a bit more. Essentially, I’m slowly wrapping things up for this generation. What else can you expect? My timeline looks somewhat like this:
- August 18th (today) – Chapter 5.22 Never-do-it-again pt.2
- August 22nd (Wednesday) – Bonus Post: From the life of Frank and Clinton Cavender
- August 25th – Epilogue + OC tags for generation 5’s characters.
So stay tuned! I hope to experience the end of my 5th generation along with you.