Part 54 She Chose The Day He Died
Hana answered the phone after three rings. “Hello?”
“Hi, this is Gia.” she said quietly.
“Hi, okay, let me just say this first, Luke was my husband, and we loved each other very much, we had no secrets, and I always had an access to his email address, that’s why I read your email.” Hana said in a firm voice, as if she was justifying her actions or preparing for a fight. Gia was taken a back a little, there was no need for Hana to explain herself, as far as she was concerned.
“Yes, of course, I understand, and I am sorry, Hana, I am really sorry about all this…” Gia almost whispered. An uncomfortable silence grew between them.
“So, what did you want to know?” Hana surprised Gia with a question.
“Well, you said Luke had problems, and that you could tell me more about him…” Gia plowed through the strained conversation.
“Luke suffered from bipolar disorder, and he had a lot of problems, mainly mental issues. He took medication and saw psychiatrists….He worried about stuff that other people would’t even think about. He was often depressed. He worried deeply what people did or said and obsessed about it for days on end. Other symptoms were his inability to sleep, he kept pacing around at night, going to the bathroom a lot… It also affected his relationships with women in general.” Hana was listing all that was wrong with Luke with a certain detachment.
Gia’s mind was instantly flashed with images of his perplexing behavior. She remembered hearing him walking in and out the the cottage all night at their last school trip. And then it hit her. Luke was actually trying to tell her that he was ill, but that was after he insulted her, and she was not hearing his words.
“I didn’t know he was ill, but I remember some of this behavior, it makes sense now. I think, he was trying to tell me once, but I didn’t want to hear it, I feel so bad about it now…”
“Please don’t, there was nothing anybody could have done. He also had a very difficult relationship with his mother, no matter what he did, he could never please her.”
“Was that his birth mother?”
“No, he was not in contact with his biological parents. You were talking about your own family problems…He was drawn to women with similar personality, and he recognized similar issues…When he found such girl – he focused on her intensely, perhaps hoping that she could help him, but they couldn’t, and he moved on. Some of the women took it badly, they idealized him and were left heartbroken. And sometimes it was his illness acting out, it was not real, but he couldn’t help himself.” Hana paused.
What was Hana saying about Luke and other women? She was vague, and Gia sensed that this was a sensitive topic that Hana didn’t wish to elaborate on.
“It seems, that he found something in you too. I mean, the intense eye locks – that is something I recognize because that’s how it started with us too, we left our partners to be together. I also had a difficult childhood…, we didn’t really see our families much-it was just us, and it was very difficult. From what you have described in your email, I think that something was definitely going on from his side, but he would have done something about it, something must have stopped him.”
“Yes, I think I know what it was, I hurt him badly once unintentionally, and then he did the same thing to me years later.” said Gia with regret.
“That sounds like Luke. He needed the girl to express her love openly to him, what you did was probably something he didn’t expect at all, and your reaction shocked him, he would have been very hurt and angry about it, that’s why he moved on, and then he was mean to you in return years later.”
“Thank you, a lot of what you are saying fits, even his emails make sense now.” said Gia. But he didn’t move on, not completely did he? The only thing that stopped was Luke coming up to her at the school trips, not the eye locks, and what about the strange encounters such as the cinema and the bus stop fiascos?
“Are you saying, that you emailed each other???” Hana panicked voice jolted Gia back into the present.
“Oh, not that much, do not worry! It was mainly about the reunion, but he did express he was very sad several times, I sensed there was something more to it.”
“Hana, I am so sorry, I feel like it is my fault…”
“NO! No way! It had nothing to do with you at all!” Hana was adamant.
“But I asked him to come to the stupid reunion, and maybe it opened some old wounds-”
“No, absolutely not, it is not your fault, do not blame yourself, he just couldn’t live with himself any more. I believe, that he felt like he let me down again, and that our relationship would not survive this disappointment, that’s all. If he hadn’t done it on Saturday, he would have done it on another day. He just kept promising to try harder, but when Luke was in one of those states, he was unable to think of anyone but himself. ”
“So did he actually go to the reunion?”
“Yes, he left for Prague that afternoon and…” her voice trailed off, and the awkward silence was there again.
“So, was that him, the man on the rail?” Gia braved the question.
“Yes.” said Hana, and Gia could hear the pain in her voice.
“And was there any indication that he would do this?”
“No. Not that day, but the threat was there, he actually attempted suicide once before when he was a teenager. He cut his arms, at the time he was in a relationship with an anorectic girl – they were helping each other, but nobody could help him.” Hana paused. “Look, it’s nobody’s fault, trust me, nobody could have done anything to stop this, he was sick, very sick.” Hana’s strong voice broke under the strain of emotion again, “I loved him so much, I did everything I could possibly do, and it didn’t help him. Now we have to move on with our life, make sure our kids grow happy and healthy. You have kids right?”
“Okay, focus on them, forget about him, there was already enough pain and suffering, because of him, concentrate on your children, get your life back together, and move on. He left behind lots of of suffering and unhappy people. Lets learn a lesson here. You are still young, and you can be happy. Do not let this ruin your life.” Hana urged.
Gia could not believe that this woman, who had just lost her husband, was the one comforting her. It was surreal.
“Yes, you are right, thank you so much, and again I am so sorry about your loss and all of this.”
“Thank you.” Hana said.
“Good night.” replied Gia.
Gia put the phone down and sat there replaying the surreal conversation with Hana. She never expected to find out that Lokie was actually mentally ill, but on the other hand it didn’t surprise her. It explained a lot of the weird stuff that had gone on. All along Gia thought she was the one with mental issues, but by the looks of it, that was nothing comparing to Luke’s. Gia felt such sadness, and she was kicking herself, that she didn’t listen to him that evening when he was trying to tell her. She was too self absorbed at that moment, too busy nursing her hurt pride, that she didn’t take in this crucial information.
She shivered, when she remembered the gut feeling that their relationship would be painful. It would have been an insane nightmare! Gia felt so sad that when she finally opened up and wrote Lokie the truth, when she finally reached out with full honesty, it was too late – he would never read it. He would never know how sorry Gia was about many things….But in a way it was also a lucky escape, then and now. All that time Gia cursed fate or whatever kept them apart, but wasn’t that in fact a blessing in disguise? Some kind of Guardian Angel?
Had they met at the reunion, it would have lead to something, she was sure. There would have been an understanding, they would have been shocked how much connected they actually were. What would Lokie think when Gia would ask him about death? One of the topics she wanted to talk to him about??? It is scary to imagine, and it would have probably ruined her life.
Then anger switched places with sadness…How could he have done this on THAT day?! He must have known what it would do to her! It was not a coincidence, in fact it was the biggest f**k off that there had ever been! But that was stupid, too drastic to prove a point, and for what? There was nothing between them really, not on the outside…, on the other hand he could have done it to save her, to save them all from himself.
Gia would never fully know the reasons, but she still didn’t fully believe Hana’s version. In part it was something to do with Gia, she couldn’t explain it, but like with all her hunches before, she knew.
Then another realization hit her – Lokie must have been depressed since before Christmas, that was the sadness he was writing about, and the lack of reply to her emails about the reunion in the spring. But he must have really wanted to come, despite the depression he was on the way to Prague, then at some point he turned around. Why? What happened? What kind of thoughts and emotions was he going through? Poor Lokie… She’d have to research this bipolar disorder more.
Oh, why Lokie? Whatever the reason why did you have to do this? And why did Gia have to push for this date? Because she was selfish, because she wanted to meet him as soon as she could, so she could get better. If only she went along with Leni, the whole reunion could have taken place the following weekend, and maybe none of this would have happened…., and how foolish she was thinking that another year of waiting wouldn’t make a difference...
Gia’s very soul was hurting. She was exhausted. This kind of pain was unlike any other she experienced before, as if a huge chunk of her died with Lokie. Emotions killing her, thoughts tormenting her…She was engulfed by a big black swampy abyss. It is true, that Gia got some answers but yet more whys.…What if the weird thing between them was death all along? Gia was the one that chose the day he died, and he somehow knew it…
Original writing and photo © Gia Joseph and Giasuniverse, 2015