Monday, June 5, 2017

"A Cautionary Tale"

You fail only if you stop writing. --Ray Bradbury

Blogging Friends.... The big 3-0. I remember as though it were just yesterday when I reached that milestone age over three years ago. I was reluctant about turning thirty. Not because it sounded 'old', but because this Life--this wonderful Life--had/has not turned out quite the way I hoped or planned it would. I mean.... I possess a broken, shattered, unobtainable dream of being an author and having my fictional stories published in bookstores which has not come true. I thought that surely by the time I turned thirty, my aspiration would have become Reality. So.... I was feeling like a cosmic failure whose Life will never--ever--amount to anything. Which, of course, I am not!! But sometimes thoughts, feelings and emotions are thoughts, feelings and emotions!! Right? Several years ago, during a particularly low season in my Life emotionally and mentally, I thought that if I wasn't going to become published in bookstores, then why am I creating fictional stories.... For naught? So, as resulted, I temporarily lost interest in creating fictional stories.... I was just not in the mood anymore. But I fought myself tooth and nail!! Yes, I battled hard emotionally for that Lifelong love of creating fictional stories!! And I'm so glad I did!! Because--other than a LONG break from creating fictional stories during The River Challenge--I never stopped writing!! I just kept creating fictional stories!! And, when I keep writing prolifically, {if you're me and you possess a crazy, never-shuts-down brain} then I am going to create seemingly countless fictional stories along the way!! It is simply inevitable!! In almost four year's time, I have gone from writing children's stories, to throwing 'genre' out the door, and meanwhile becoming a tragedian who frequently killed off her characters as I dealt with death, dying, loss, grief because of Grampa's LONG cancer journey. I am still exploring these issues.... But not as obsessively or intensely!! 'A Cautionary Tale' is my 30th posted fictional story.... Not my thirtieth WRITTEN fictional story.... But my 30th POSTED fictional story!! 'A Cautionary Tale' is an 'outtake', if you will. It was written sometime two years ago, before I started writing my fictional stories in first person. 'Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive', Raelyn

Note.... I ran out of ways to creatively kill off my characters twain years ago. So I had one commit suicide. Because, why not? Suicide is real and it seemingly happens far too frequently....

"A Cautionary Tale"

Fears. Everybody possesses them. Whether they are seemingly irrational phobias. Such as a fear of the pitch black darkness. Or nonpoisonous, creepy, crawly, eight-legged spiders. Whether they are seemingly understandable phobias. Such as a fear of falling from someplace high. Or being diagnosed with an ongoing, terminal illness. There is literally a laundry list of phobias {in alphabetical order} which not only match these above fears, but that everybody can relate to. And when you are afraid of something? The fear feels very pathological. When you are afraid of something? You're mentally paralyzed by these fears. Nothing--and nobody--can reason or talk you out of them. Whether your fears are somewhat minuscule. Such as flying in mechanically-safe airplanes. Or your fears are somewhat cosmic. Such as being bitten by a poisonous snake. When you are afraid of something? Your fears do not feel--in any way shape or form--irrational. Because they are very, very, very real.

Eighteen-year old Lucia possessed twain fears. She was afraid of death and dying. Which, by the way, is called necrophobia. And--because Lucia could not swim--she was also afraid of drowning. Which--lest anybody wonder--is not the same thing as aquaphobia. For Lucia could take warm, relaxing, cleansing, soothing showers. Or hydrate her body with water. Lucia could dance outside in freezing, cold rainstorms. And that is because she did not possess a persistent and abnormal fear of water!! Just drowning. Which obviously leads Lucia straight back to her necrophobia issues. Because, after all, what if she died?

One morning, Lucia's cell phone rang. It was Ellington, her adventure-seeking, adrenaline-loving boyfriend.

"Hey, baby!!" said Ellington, "I have a good idea!! Let's go swimming in the ocean!! Or even better.... We can tackle the entire sea!! It will be fun!!"

Swim in the deep, deep, deep ocean?! thought Lucia, fear brewing up within her, No way!! I cannot swim!! I will drown in that saltwater!!

"Uh, no...." Lucia pridefully began, "Ell.... I.... I cannot swim the entire ocean.... I.... I just cannot....!!"

Ellington immediately sensed his lover's fears. But because Lucia had not shared the very fact with him that she couldn't swim, he was absolutely clueless.

"What is the matter?" he asked sweetly, "Are you afraid of shark attacks? They are very rare occurrences!! Luci, you do not need to be scared of any shark attacks!! The ocean is completely safe!! And besides, I will protect you from them, darling!!"

Aw, that is such a sweet thing to say.... Ell will protect me from a shark attack!! thought Lucia, But.... Forget the potential danger of being attacked by a shark!! I cannot swim!! And if I drown, I'll.... I'll.... I'll.... I'll die!!

"No...." said Lucia, "I am not afraid of shark attacks.... I wasn't even thinking about that until you brought it up, Ell!! Sharks are beautiful, incredible, fascinating creatures.... I just.... No. I cannot go....!!"

"Alright...." Ellington said softly, "We do not have to swim the entire ocean!!"

Then he let it go and hung up his cell phone.

But several weeks later, Ellington drove to Lucia's house with yet another suggestion.

"Whew!!" said Ellington, as he used a red-colored bandana to wipe away his own dripping, wet, greasy, oily sweat, "It is, like, one-hundred-plus degrees outside!! What a heat wave!!"

"Oh, I know!!" agreed Lucia, "Close the door, Ell!! I have my air conditioner going!! You are letting in the heat!!"

"Well, turn your air conditioner off!!" said Ellington, "Let's go to an indoor water park!! They should have air conditioning!! Not that we will even care about that!! Why? Because we will be soaking wet!!"

A water park?! thought Lucia, fear once again brewing up within her, No way!! You mean those places with darkened tube slides that always end in deep, deep, deep chlorine water-filled pools? No way!! You mean those places with long, winding slides that always end in deep, deep, deep chlorine water-filled pools? I cannot swim!!

"No!!" Lucia adamantly protested.

Ellington's brow furrowed. For he was taken aback from Lucia's reaction!! She then made some lame excuses in an effort to talk herself out of going.

"Uh.... There will be huge crowds at a water park...." said Lucia, "Especially because it is indoor.... With air conditioning, like you said.... Not to mention, cold water.... Everybody will have the same idea, Ell.... Isn't there a movie playing somewhere in an air conditioned theater....? You know.... Something that we would like to see....?"

"Alright, darling," said Ellington, "Okay, okay.... We can go and see a movie!!"

Ellington logged onto Lucia's laptop to check films that were showing.

"How about The Avengers?" he suggested.

"Um.... Robert Downey Jr.?" said Lucia with a huge grin written on her face at last, "Tony Stark? Iron Man? Need I say any more?!"

"That is right, you love Robert Downey Jr.!!" said Ellington with a huge smile written on his face, "No, you need not say any more!! It just makes me feel happy inside to see your smile, darling!!"

"Well, I am a Robert Downey Jr. fangirl!!" gushed Lucia, "Isn't he just so cute, hot and sexy as Tony Stark?! I do love that 'schmuck in transition'!!"

So they saw The Avengers together!!

But several weeks later, Lucia drove to Ellington's house. And--being an adventure-seeking, adrenaline-loving guy, he had yet another suggestion.

"I have a good idea!!" said Ellington, "Let's drive on up to Rocky River!! We can rent a canoe there and row it out!! Doesn't that sound like fun?! There should be breathtaking views of partially snow-covered mountains on our canoe ride...."

"What is it with you and water-related activities?!" interrupted Lucia, "First it was to swim the entire ocean. Then an indoor water park. And now you want to canoe down Rocky River?! Water!! Water!! Water!! That is all you ever think about!! Water!!"

"Well, it is not all I think about, darling," said Ellington with a loving smile written on his face, as he looked deep into Lucia's face, "But.... It is Summertime.... And we are still suffering from a huge heat wave, after all...."

Ellington paused, for he could sense that something was bothering his lover.

"Luci...." he softly said, "What is wrong?"

Lucia did not answer.

"Come on, darling, you can tell me," he gently pressed, "I am your boyfriend!! Luci.... What is wrong?"

Wet, hot, tears suddenly streamed down Lucia's face.

"Ell...." she finally burst out, "I.... I.... I.... I cannot swim...."

"Ah, I understand now," Ellington softly said, "You are not terrified of being attacked by sharks, at all!! Or water, even. You are frightened of drowning!! And rightfully so."

"Yes...." said Lucia, as she sobbed uncontrollably, "But you don't understand, Ell....!! You're not afraid of drowning.... You can swim....!! You're not terrified of deep, deep, deep waters.... You don't have to wear uncomfortable, bright orange-colored, embarrassing-looking life vests...."

"But I do understand," Ellington gently said, "You're feeling embarrassed and ashamed that you cannot swim. Because everybody else in the entire world possesses that ability. Or so it seems."

"Yes...." said Lucia, as she brushed the wet, hot, tears from her eyes.

"But not everybody can swim," Ellington gently encouraged, "My grandfather never learned how!!"

"Really...." said Lucia, as she blinked back wet, hot tears.

"It is true!!" said Ellington, "So I do understand, darling. I get your thoughts, feelings, emotions and fears. I mean it. I do."
"I know I should have told you that I cannot swim...." said Lucia, as wet, hot, tears freely streamed down her face, "Lovers aren't supposed to keep secrets from each other.... I am an incredible failure of a girlfriend....!! I have disappointed and let you down...."

"Oh, Luci," Ellington gently said, as he wrapped his loving, strong, muscular arms around her, "Stop. You're not 'an incredible failure of a girlfriend'!! And you definitely haven't 'let me down', darling!! Not in any way, shape or form!!"

"Ell...." confessed Lucia, "I have yet another secret to share with you.... I also suffer from necrophobia.... I am afraid of death and dying...."

"So is my grandfather," Ellington gently said.

However. Lucia's negative thoughts, feelings and emotions were much more profound than keeping twain Lifelong secrets from Ellington. For she also suffered from Depression. Whenever yet another cosmic tidal wave of the mental illness emotionally overwhelmed her, Lucia always transformed into an isolated loner. For no family, no friends, no doctor, no psychiatrist--not even Ellington--completely understood the demons that she constantly battled. Because during bouts of Depression? Lucia withdrew herself mentally and emotionally from everybody. She simply lived with Depression. Lucia employed her unhealthy coping mechanism of mentally running away from complex thoughts, feelings and emotions. Because after all. That is the easy route!!

Although her Depression was undiagnosed and therefore untreated, she still felt completely hopeless. Lucia was often irritable toward family, friends, co-workers.... And Ellington. She also felt completely helpless. Lucia was very pessimistic. She also felt completely empty within her heart and soul. Lucia suffered from insomnia. As resulted, she felt fatigued and had a decrease in her energy levels. Yet at the same time, Lucia also--oddly enough--felt restless. Wet, hot, tears frequently streamed down her face for no apparent reason. Lucia also felt prideful and guilty of her Depression. Because, after all. What will people think? Lucia felt completely useless. She was convinced that her Life will never--ever--amount to anything important and meaningful. As resulted, Lucia felt like a cosmic, worthless failure. And she also battled constant, deeply private, daily, second-to-second thoughts of suicide.

It feels.... thought Lucia, Like I am drowning in the deep, deep, deep waters of Depression.... I'm drowning....

Wet, hot, tears streamed down her face, as she curled up into a fetal position.

But.... thought Lucia, I just need to swim through it....

She was always, always, always alone during her lowest, darkest, emotional and mental moments.

I must learn how to surf these deep, deep, deep waters of Depression.... thought Lucia, I am alright.... I'm fine.... I am okay.... I will deal with this....

But Lucia was neither alright, fine, nor okay. For over the years--especially during her lowest emotional and mental moments--she had contemplated suicide options.

Should I.... Lucia often thought, Purchase me a gun and shoot myself in the head....?

Should I.... Lucia frequently thought, Find me a tall, tall, tall building somewhere and jump off of it....?

Decisions, decisions, decisions.... Lucia often thought, There is literally a laundry list of suicide options....!!

One morning {during an incredibly low moment} Lucia wrote with trembling, unstable hands a brief goodbye letter to Ellington. Wet, hot, tears streamed down her face the entire time.

Life is hard. I have never had a best friend. {That is, until you entered my Life!!} I have never felt a real connection with anyone. {That is, until you entered my Life!!} I have never had a like-minded community. {That is, until you entered my Life!!} I always longed to have a best friend like in Bruce Springsteen's song, 'Bobby Jean' {....'there ain't nobody, nowhere and nohow, gonna ever understand me the way you did'....} And then.... You entered my Life!! I am so sorry, Ell. You provided my Life with everything that I ever dreamed of, wanted or needed. But I guess it wasn't good enough.... I am not good enough. I'm so sorry, Ell. I have to end my own Life like this.... Goodbye, Ell. Why does Life have to be so damn hard?!
Love, Luci

She then drove down toward a deep, deep, deep, rushing, flowing river. Was it to enjoy its beautiful, serene, scenic views? No. While facing her twain deepest fears head-on--dying and drowning--Lucia stepped foot into the freezing cold river waters. Then slowly--while fully clothed--she kept walking. The deep, rushing, flowing river waters rapidly rose higher and higher and higher against her body. Past Lucia's shaking knees. Up to her waist. Past Lucia's breasts. She repeatedly glanced behind her back to make certain that nobody was watching. Although Lucia's heart pounded hard, she actually did not panic about drowning. Or dying, for that matter. Lucia quickly submerged her head into the river. And that was it. As her body painfully whipped against sharp rocks across the river {within minutes} Lucia was dead.

Meanwhile, Ellington had previously planned on driving to his lover's house around noon that day. Which was exactly what he did. Ellington brought over Lucia's choice of delicious, spicy, mouth-watering, juicy orange chicken and fried rice from Panda Express for lunch. He unlocked her white, magnetic, front door. But instead of happily greeting Ellington with an embrace and a kiss, she was nowhere to be found.

"Luci!!" he called, with a smile written on his face, "Where are you? I brought Chinese food!! Can you smell it's delicious, mouth-watering aroma?"

But there was no answer back.

"Luci?" said Ellington, now with a quizzical expression written on his face, "Darling, are you in the bathroom?"

But before Ellington could even listen for Lucia's reply, he saw her note.

"'I have to end my own Life like this'?!" he read aloud, "'Goodbye'?!"

Ellington's heart raced, as panic brewed within his heart and soul.

"Oh my gosh!!" he said, "This.... This.... This.... This is a suicide note!! Luci!! Where are you, darling?! Luci!!"

Ellington threw the bag of Panda Express food onto her kitchen counter. Its force crushed both of their vanilla-flavored fortune cookies. He frantically ran all throughout Lucia's house. Bathrooms? No!! Her bedroom? No!! The living room? No!! Her backyard? No!!

"I haven't any idea where Luci is!!" Ellington frantically said aloud, "Or even in which fashion that she...."

Ellington swallowed hard at that very emotionally painful thought of his lover committing suicide.

"....Killed herself...." he said, "Think, Ellington, think!! Time is the essence here!! If Luci did.... Commit suicide.... Where could she possibly be? If Luci did.... Kill herself.... How, exactly, would she do it?"

Ellington picked up his cell phone and punched in Lucia's number. Her cell phone rang. Rang. Rang. Rang. And it rang some more.

"Was it an overdose of pain medications?!" Ellington wondered aloud, "Did Luci hang herself?! But she suffers from necrophobia...."

Lucia's cell phone--which lie in her abandoned 'old' 1970's baby blue-painted Ford pickup truck--was immediately directed to voicemail.

"Damn it!!" whispered Ellington.

Hello, this is Lucia's cell-phone number, said the prerecorded message, I'll call you back when I can!! Leave a message at the beep.

"Luci!!" yelled Ellington, "Are you there?! Answer your phone!! Luci!! Do not kill yourself!! I love you, darling!!"

Then Ellington hung up his cell phone. He immediately tried again. No response.

Hello, this is Lucia's cell-phone number, said the prerecorded message, I'll call you back when I can!! Leave a message at the beep.

"Luci!!" yelled Ellington, "It is me again. Pick up your phone, darling!! Luci!! Where the hell are you?!"

Then Ellington hung up his cell phone.

"The police department!!" Ellington finally said aloud, "Although I do not know how much help they can be, since I haven't got any clues to offer them. I mean, I don't even know where Luci is!! Or even...."

Ellington paused.

"....Or even if she is still alive!! Luci!! Where are you?!"

"Hello, this is Graceland from the Los Angeles police department," said a woman, "How may I help you?"

"Graceland?!" said Ellington, with a smirk written on his face, "Like the place in Memphis, Tennessee?!"

"Yes, my Dad was a huge Elvis Presley fanatic," explained Graceland, "And he named me!!"

But Graceland was all business and not in any mood for chatting.

"Sir?" she asked, "What were you calling for?"

Countless thoughts, feelings and emotions overcame Ellington all at once. He tried hard to maintain his composure.

"I think that my girlfriend.... Her name is Lucia...." began Ellington, "Committed suicide.... But I do not know how.... Or even where she is right now...."

"Let me get this straight," said Graceland, with a cold, hardness in her voice, "You 'think' that your girlfriend committed suicide. However.... You do not know for certain?"

"Luci left me a suicide note...." said Ellington, as wet, hot, tears streamed down his face, "And she will not answer her phone, because I have already tried that approach.... Please, Graceland.... Help me...."

"Alright, we will send some police detectives to investigate on this missing person/'potential' suicide case," said Graceland.

"Oh, thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!!" said Ellington, with a sense of relief in his voice, "Thank-you very much!!"

"What is your name, sir?" asked Graceland.

"Ellington...." he answered.

"And what is Lucia's home address?" asked Graceland.

"Uh, it is 1010 South East 75th Court, Los Angeles, California, 54321...." answered Ellington.

"Do you have any current, up-to-date photos of Lucia?" asked Graceland.

"Yes...." answered Ellington, "But they are all inside my phone.... I have a lot of pictures...."

"And I assume that you called Lucia from your cell phone," said Graceland.

"Yes, I did...." said Ellington.

"What is your cell phone's number that our police detectives can call to contact you?" asked Graceland.

"Uh, it is 777-5555...." answered Ellington.

"Make certain that your cell phone is well charged up and keep it with you at all times," said Graceland, "Our police detectives may--or may not--need it in order to locate Lucia's whereabouts. Also, have her 'suicide note' be readily available. It can serve as potential evidence. And stay right where you are."

Then Graceland hung up her phone.

Wait a minute.... thought Ellington, as wet, hot, tears streamed down his face, If Luci really did.... Kill herself.... Then this suicide note is not only 'potential evidence'.... But it also doubles as the last precious handwritten letter that I would have received from my lover....

Gingerly, Ellington picked up Lucia's suicide note. He then walked toward her copy machine, and gave himself a keepsake version.

This looks so different from Luci's original suicide note.... thought Ellington, as he wiped away wet, hot, tears from his eyes, Wow.... It looks so fake.... Oh well.... It will have to do....

Then Ellington waited for the police detectives' arrival. And waited. And waited. And waited some more.

Ellington sighed deeply.

Time always seems to pass by slowly when you are waiting.... he thought.

Ellington was no longer feeling hunger pangs shoot through his stomach. So he put the Panda Express food inside Lucia's refrigerator. Ellington then picked up his fully charged cell phone. He attempted to call Lucia once more. Just like before, she did not pick up.

Hello, this is Lucia's cell-phone number, said the prerecorded message, I'll call you back when I can!! Leave a message at the beep.

"Luci!!" yelled Ellington, "Where the hell are you?! I am getting very worried!! Luci!! I called the police and they are on their way...."

Just then? There was a loud, hard, knocking against Lucia's front door. The police detectives had arrived!!

"....Goodbye, darling!!" Ellington abruptly said.

He immediately hung up his cell phone, unlocked the door and opened it.

"Hi, my name is Elizabeth," said a female, brunette-haired, blue-eyed police detective, "And this is my partner, Conner."

Elizabeth shook hands with Ellington.

"We have been informed that you think your girlfriend Lucia committed suicide," she began, with a much softer tone of voice than Graceland's.

"But...." added Conner, "You currently do not know how Lucia killed herself.... Or even where she is?"

"That's right...." said Ellington, as wet, hot, tears streamed down his face.

"But Lucia did leave you a suicide note?" said Elizabeth, "Where is it?"

Ellington pointed to the kitchen counter where Lucia's suicide note lie. He wiped away wet, hot, tears from his eyes. Both Elizabeth and Conner read Lucia's lonely, desolate, last words.

"This suicide note is so vague!!" said Conner, "It lacks countless clues such as Lucia's whereabouts or how, exactly, she killed herself. This is so frustrating!! But you tried to call Lucia's cell phone. Correct?"

"Yes, about two or three times...." answered Ellington, as wet, hot, tears streamed down his face, "But she will not answer my calls...."

"Did you leave any voicemail messages on Lucia's cell phone?" asked Elizabeth.

"Every single time...." answered Ellington, as he wiped away wet, hot tears from his eyes.

"Let me see your cell phone," said Conner.

Ellington handed it to the police detective. First Conner looked at Lucia's photographs.... Then he retraced all three of her lover's frantic voicemail messages. Conner listened to them. He even read several undeleted text messages. Elizabeth then pulled out her laptop computer.

"Lucia's vehicle is located at Rocky River," said Elizabeth.

"Let's go!!" said Conner.

Elizabeth looked at Ellington.

"You may follow us to Rocky River," she said, "But based on what we may--and will probably--find there, I highly recommend against it. Not to mention the fact that you have a deeply personal connection with this case."

"Let's go, Elizabeth!!" Conner impatiently ordered.

And follow the police detectives, Ellington did!! His heart pounded hard, with dark, surreal fears freely rushing through him like the waters in Rocky River. There were also literally countless questions that remained unanswered. Ellington quickly hopped into his 'old' 1970's yellow and black-painted Ford pickup truck, started her engine and drove away from Lucia's house.

"Please do not commit suicide, Luci...." whispered a hopeful--yet very frightened--Ellington during his drive toward Rocky Lake, "We will work everything out together.... Everything.... Please do not be dead, darling...."

Ellington blinked back wet, hot tears and kept driving.

Once they arrived at Rocky River, Conner thoroughly searched Lucia's 'old' 1970's baby blue-painted Ford pickup truck for clues or evidence which could lead to her whereabouts. He found nothing but her cell phone. Conner picked it up. He then looked at photographs and selfies of Ellington posing with Lucia. Conner even read through several undeleted text messages. Meanwhile, Elizabeth--with a worried-sick Ellington following closely behind--searched Rocky River for Lucia's corpse. And--during several quick nanoseconds--she found it. Lucia's soaking wet, bruised, bloodied Lifeless body lie face-down against a large rock. Ellington could feel his heart stop beating.... Literally. Complex thoughts, feelings and emotions seared through him. He was rendered utterly speechless.

Elizabeth looked at Ellington.

"Are you alright....?" she gently asked him, "Now, I am going to turn 'Lucia' over so that we can see her face clearly. Can you handle this....?"

Ellington didn't answer, not even with the nodding of his head. Suddenly, any optimistic hope that he held within himself for Lucia's survival disappeared.

No, I cannot handle this.... was all he could think, as wet, hot tears streamed down his face, Because it is Luci.... I can feel it.... No, I am not alright.... But thank-you for asking.... It is Luci.... I just know.... Luci.... Oh my.... Luci....

Elizabeth respectfully turned the corpse over. She gingerly lifted Lucia's closed eyelids. And then Ellington saw her. His lover. Ellington looked away, for he was now overcome with emotion.

"Oh, no, no, no, no!!" yelled Ellington, "It is her.... That's Luci's beautiful bright-as-a-red-sunrise hair that I find so attractive.... It is her.... That's Luci's fair, white-as-the-snow skin that I love so much.... It is her.... Those are Luci's green-as-jade eyes that sparkled like diamonds.... Oh, no, no, no, no!!"

"I am so very sorry for your loss, Ellington...." said Elizabeth, "Please accept my most heartfelt condolences...."

"I do not understand...." said Ellington, as wet, hot tears streamed down his face, "Luci.... She was terrified of drowning.... Luci.... She absolutely refused to partake in any water-related activities with me.... And Luci.... She also suffered from necrophobia.... You see, Luci.... She was frightened of death and dying.... I just do not understand, Elizabeth.... How can Luci--who was so afraid of drowning and dying--commit suicide.... In this fashion?! I mean.... Luci faced her own death.... By drowning.... Herself.... In Rocky River.... Luci.... Bravely faced both of her fears head-on.... It just makes no sense to me....!!"

"Perhaps Lucia was more scared of Life than dying...." Elizabeth gently said, "But that is only an assumption.... Perhaps Lucia was more afraid of living everyday with her crippling Depression than drowning...."

"I just...." said Ellington, as wet, hot tears continued to fall down his face, "I cannot believe that Luci is dead.... I never knew about her struggles with Depression, you know.... I did not see the writing on the wall.... I--Luci's boyfriend--never knew about her struggles with Depression...."

Then Ellington let out a mournful cry, a yell, a scream that echoed all through the forest.

"Why....?" he said, as wet, hot tears fell down his face.

Elizabeth then offered Ellington a clean handkerchief. Which he gratefully accepted!! Ellington wiped his wet, red, bloodshot eyes with it. But Elizabeth offered far more to Ellington than a handkerchief. She offered him her friendship....