Lorrie Caldwell, her rumpled night gown barely covering her protuberant belly, tried to focus on the empty pill bottles on her coffee table.
As always, the agents had left her with nothing but two or three day's worth of her medications. Never enough to finish the job.
The baby kicked. In the past few weeks his intrusions were more frequent, but also more meaningless. Like everything else in her life.
She had given it a fair chance –years of psychotherapy, buckets of antidepressants, brutal electroconvulsive therapy. Nothing worked. Her mother had encouraged to get the new implant–some kind of brain wire–but Dr. Levine was dead set against it. The new pills were better, he said.
Fucking drugs. No good for fixing her life. No good for bringing it to an end.
Lorrie stared at the useless bottles with as much frustration as her dulled mind could muster. Going out to get more drugs was not an option. Getting dressed, the elevator ride, figuring out how to get the car started, getting out of the gated community… It would never work. The agents had been very efficient at tracking her every move. Not that in recent weeks she had any desire to move anywhere.
A phone rang in the distance. Eight or ten rings. The answering machine picked up. Her husband's voice, calling from Afghanistan. There used to be a time when she would leap with joy and race to the phone…
Afghanistan. She knew it would be a death sentence eventually. Nothing else had worked out in her life. Her father could've kept Joey out of there. He chose not to… Damn him to hell.
It didn’t matter now. She was tired of trying to crawl out of her pitch black well, of making it half way out, getting stuck, hanging on for dear life, then falling back into the abyss, unable to hold on to the slippery edges.
Falling could be the answer. A messy answer, but who cared?
She forced herself off the couch, and shuffled to the bookshelves. She pulled out a fat volume and stared at the key hidden in a cut out. The one escape route they had overlooked.
Steadying herself on the furniture, she made it to the sliding glass door, used the key to unlock it, and walked out on the balcony.
Three stories below a car cruised by. Some lucky person with a reason to be going someplace…
How fast does a body fall after three stories? Faster if she went head first? Her high school physics students would know. Her Air Force husband would know.
I'm sorry, Joey. I can't go on.
Pain didn't matter. If she aimed for the concrete sidewalk, it would be over in a heartbeat anyway. She hoped the baby would go as fast. She had no right to leave him behind.
She saw the rays of sun starting to color the horizon.
She tried to think who would miss her. Perhaps she should write a note…
There will be headlines. How would Father handle them?
The baby kicked again. She pressed her belly against the railing to quiet him.
The sunlight was turning a brighter orange.
Far away, they were banging on her door.
The sun will be up soon. It's time to go, was Lorrie's last thought.