I was shocked that he did it. Threw himself out of that window and landed with a thud on the pavement below as people with dogs walked by. He was dressed to go out that night, in a suit coat and red tie, and he had his cane in his hand even as he lay dead on the street. Did that cane somehow help him to keep his balance as his body floated down 12 stories?
I came to my window when I heard the commotion. I threw open the curtains when I recognized his face, though I was half-naked. My husband asked from his chair in our bedroom what was happening. I couldn’t even form the words. I stood frozen, wondering why I hadn’t said what could have made the difference.
I couldn’t help but note that his face looked happy. Was that a smile, I saw? His perfect teeth shone in the glow of the street light. His arm was up, his hand open, as if he was waving a firm good-bye. I saw red everywhere I looked, as if his blood had soaked into the street and buildings and even the passersby. The only thing that glowed white was the church far off in the distance, as if his blood had not touched that establishment with its fenced grounds and tall bell tower.
A dog wandered up, sniffed the body, then turned away. No interest in investigating this new corpse that awaited the coroner’s pronouncement. People diverted their eyes as they passed by, choosing not to acknowledge that death waved at them from the pavement. I heard the moan of a siren and knew an ambulance was winding its way through the streets. A hearse was more appropriate, but hope was not to be scorned.
“Cover yourself!” my husband barked, not moving from his chair.
“What for? No one sees me anymore.”
My husband heaved himself up and came to the window. He gasped when he saw who it was. “Dear God. Who would have ever thought?”
“Certainly not I,” I lied.
My husband leaned back in his chair and sighed. “Poor chap. He confessed to me in the elevator just last week that he had at last found happiness.”
I watched as the ambulance drivers covered the body with a sheet. “Did he say why?”
“Love, I expect, but who knows? Maybe he’d had a run of good luck with the horses.”
I picked one dark rose from the nearby vase and dropped it down. “What a loss,” I muttered as I pulled the curtains shut. “What a loss, indeed.”