After about ten minutes of flipping through the channels George realized there was nothing on that would grab his attention. He pressed the OFF button on the remote and tossed it at the TV set. He was still naked from his encounter with the whore so he decided to take a shower. He stumbled into the motel bathroom stopping at the sink to gain his balance as he nearly toppled over. For a brief second he had caught a glimpse of his reflection in the mirror.
Not being too keen on what was in the mirror, he immediately turned away and sat down on the toilet to catch his breath as he tried to regain his composure. He hated this part the most, coming down from a high, remembering how lousy his life had become. His buzz was long gone too and he was now drifting into hangover territory. He managed to somehow step into the tub, turn the shower on and then he lied down and proceeded to drift to sleep.
It had been five years since the car accident that night. George was standing in the middle of the highway watching the cars wiz by. He was barefoot and in his boxers, feet bleeding from some sharp object he had stepped on during his trek from the motel room to the highway. He didn’t even notice the pool of vomit that he was standing in, which must have been his own. He could see a child across the way holding a goldfish in one of those little baggies you get from the fair. As he starred at the goldfish he started to think back to when he was a kid.
He thought about how he had given her that goldfish even though he won it for someone else. It was his first date with Molly, the woman he would eventually marry. He was remembering how he must have spent twenty dollars knocking down milk bottles to win that goldfish that he wanted to give to the woman he was falling in love with. It didn’t work out that way; his mother had basically forced him to take Molly to the fair instead.
He knew he would meet up with her, the one he won the Goldfish for but Molly got all chipper and said gleefully how sweet it was he won her a goldfish. He had no intention of giving that prized possession to Molly, it was meant to go to Stephanie Taylor, the girl he had a crush on since the sixth grade. Being the romantic that he was, his heart melted as he looked into the eyes of the young girl standing next to him. From that day forward they called her Molly Goldfish.
He looked back up at the young child standing there with that red balloon and the bag filled with water and the goldfish swimming in it. Suddenly the child ran out into the highway right into the middle of traffic. His heart began racing as he watched the cars fly by not even noticing the young girl. He tried to run out and save her but he couldn’t move, all of a sudden a car coming from the right lane moved into the position to hit the child head on.
The driver of the red Camaro looked up and saw the child just in time to swerve. He missed the girl but ran head on into a minivan. He looked over and saw the body of a young woman flung from the car. He walked slowly towards the body of the woman that flew into the field just past where he was standing. This was impossible it was an accident almost exactly the same as the one his brother had been in.
He walked over to the body that lay face first in the ditch. Nobody else was even moving in this direction, the paramedics had arrived and were busy cutting the six children and their mom out of the minivan. He bent over to see if the woman was still alive and when he turned her onto her back his eyes opened wide in terror as he was staring Linda right in the face! She blinked twice and looked right at him, and then said in her dying breath,
“George, why didn’t you save me?”
All of a sudden George sat up, his heart pounding in his chest. He felt the water rushing down on his naked, hairy body. He realized it was just a dream; he must have passed out in the tub, the shower still running. He sat up straight, turned the water off and then reached for a towel to dry his face. He whispered under his breath,
“I’m so sorry Linda. It should have been Molly in that car, not you.” George whispered.
After a few minutes of feeling sorry for himself, George decided to go get something to eat. He felt like he needed some fresh air for the first time in a long time. It had been five years since the accident. Five years since his divorce, since he saw his daughter. He didn’t think about Melody much while he was her dad, but now that she was out of his life he kind of missed her.
He couldn’t quite put his finger on it really. He had hated his wife, and he thought he hated his daughter too. Melody had been just nine years old when it happened. She was mere months away from her tenth birthday.
“She must be going on fifteen, right about now”, he thought to himself. George cleaned himself up a little, got dressed, and then left his motel room to find something to eat.
There was a crummy little diner across the street from the filthy motel George was living in so he made his way over there. He walked in, grabbed a menu from the rack and sat down at a booth. It was long after midnight so there were very few customers around at this hour. His waitress was over in the corner flirting with some scrubs that were in no way going to tip her what she was worth. He looked at the waitress and noticed that she was incredibly beautiful for a place such as this.
He felt sick to his stomach as she finished up with that bunch and made her way to his table. They were all just having drinks anyways, probably there just to ogle the young woman. As she approached his table he began to realize how wretched he had become.
“What can I get you sir?” the waitress asked.
George didn’t have time to react he ran to the bathroom to vomit. He was in there long enough to realize how pathetic he had become. He used to have a good job, a nice house, a wife, and a kid. He lost it all because he hated his wife and lost his temper one night. He collapsed to his knees in that stall and began to sob tears of realization. As he sat there, hunched over the toilet in a bathroom of a crummy diner he asked himself, for the first time ever, why he hated her.
George finished wallowing in his sorrows. He want back to his booth and ordered some food. He sat there looking back on his life. Where had he gone wrong? Why did he hate his now ex-wife so much? These were questions he wasn’t going to find answers to in a crummy diner. He at his food contemplating all the mistakes he had made in his life.