• K. Lucas

No One

Forest was a simple man, who lived a simple life. He was an accountant who worked from eight to five in the city and he owned his own car and home in the suburbs. He made decent money and was an average looking guy. On paper, he'd done everything right. On paper, he had a great life. Forest reminded himself of these facts almost daily, right about the time that he wanted to slit his wrists.

Sometimes he would have fantasies about killing himself, trying to imagine what it would be like. He would envision different ways that he might do it, sometimes thinking of more painful ways just so that he would feel something instead of the stagnant nothingness that consumed him. He was single, with no partner and no children, and he often wondered how long his corpse would lay rotting before someone found him.

During a routine visit to the grocery store one Sunday, his entire world changed. Forest was pushing his shopping cart through the produce department, not really paying attention to what he was doing. Suddenly he felt his cart lurch to the side, as pain engulfed his left hand. A beautiful young woman cried out, "I'm so sorry! I wasn't paying attention."

She'd smashed her cart into the side of his, hitting his hand too. For a moment he was dumbstruck, not knowing what to say. She began to walk away, looking like she was about to cry, when Forest said, "It's perfectly all right Ma'am. I wasn't paying attention either." He smiled. She turned back around to speak with him again. He couldn't believe it. No one ever wanted to talk to him. He was not an interesting person, and not a good conversationalist, but none of that mattered right now. If she wanted to talk, he would damned well talk.

Her name was River and she completely changed his life. They began dating and eventually there was a baby on the way. Forest felt like the happiest man in the world, no longer suicidal, and thankful every day for finding his love. When River went to her prenatal appointments, she liked to go alone, which forest though was a little odd. He wanted to be there too, but gave her the privacy that she needed. She finally asked him to join her for her third trimester ultrasound.

He held her hand as they walked through the hospital doors. When they reached the check-in, he gave her name, but there was some confusion. "I'm sorry sir, there's no River scheduled for today," the receptionist said.

Forest turned to River to ask, "Are you sure it was for today?"

When the receptionist saw forest turn to speak, she couldn't quite hear. She said, "I'm sorry, sir, I didn't catch that."

"Oh, I was just speaking to River." He put his arm around River's shoulders to pull her closer.

The receptionist's eyes grew wide and then her entire demeanor changed to that of sympathy. "Sir," She said gently, "there's no one there."

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