Shattered Love

Shattered Love

A Story by Tim W

Shattered Love


Darkness began wrapping its cloak around the living room as the sun dipped below the mountains in the West. Jamie was slipping in and out of consciousness on the leather couch. Any slight shift in body position led to a hook and loop scenario, the couch grabbing her skin and tugging. It was a slight reminder that she could probably be doing something slightly more productive than watching old episodes of "Friends." 

It was steamy September evening in the Queen City. The Ohio River was swollen from all the rain, the streets alive with activity, and the Reds had the throttle pegged for a playoff chase. Jamie and her husband Mark were die hard Reds fans. They weren't season ticket holders but they made all the Cardinal and Cubs series in the Queen City. If they didn't walk the three blocks to the stadium for a night game, they could easily make out the majestic glow from the field. The perks of a high-rise luxury apartment in South Cincinnati were abundant, especially for sports fans and shopping freaks. 

"The Cubs series starts tomorrow," Jamie thought. This brought an involuntary smile to her face, eyelids pleading to close. "Friends" had ended, awhile ago. She turned her gaze to the grandfather clock in the entryway. It was ten minutes before 9pm. Mark was working a late shift in the ER and Jamie knew his arrival would be as unpredictable as I-75 traffic. She contemplated the 11 steps or so it would take to travel to the bedroom and decided it wasn't worth the effort. She directed her energy towards channel surfing, landing on the local news which was buzzing with Reds title chances, riverboat gambling restrictions, and "Big Mike's" traffic report. 

When Mark came through the door, it was three minutes shy of midnight and Jamie was sleeping soundly. He placed his keys in the antique dish his grandmother gave him and he walked into the kitchen. There was a half-eaten plate of Lasagna on the marble countertop. The only sign of a dirty kitchen. Jamie adored cleanliness and Mark never took it for granted. Despite the heaviness of September's humidity, it was chilly in the house. "Damn it feels good in here." Mark’s shirt was saturated with armpit sweat and smelled like an operating room. The cool air was a welcome change from the anxiety-ridden day at work. 

Jamie was now Mark's priority. He walked through the kitchen and into the living room. "Friends again?" He smiled and placed his hand on her cheek, caressing the side of her face and neck. She loved his touch. His hands were magic. Mark ran his fingers through her blonde hair. "Feels like silk," he thought. Jamie woke for a brief moment. The chill in the air was too powerful. She wrapped herself in the fleece blanket that laid next to her, took a deep breath, and found Mark's gaze. She placed her hand on top of his and held it to her cheek. Mark stood and stared. "Hi gorgeous," he whispered. He knew the love he had found with Jamie was one in a million and she still could give him that crushing, school-boy feeling when she walked into a room. "Baby, it's midnight, let's go to bed," Mark politely urged. “The Reds have a better chance of winning the Series than I have getting her to bed” he mumbled under his breath. He reluctantly walked towards the back bedroom but before he left her side he simply said, "I missed you terribly," and as quick as Mark was gone, Jamie was sleeping soundly again. 

18 miles away, the traffic on I-75 South stretched beyond the horizon just after 11pm. The night sky was saturated with the hue of red and blue emergency lights. The line of cars were frozen to the pavement. Frank and Danny were on there way to Covington, barely on the other side of the Ohio River, opposite Cincinnati. There eagerness to party as wild-eyed 21 year olds would be subdued by the carnage that lay ahead. "Jesus dude, that's horrible," Danny mumbled under his breath. All Frank heard was "horrible." "Yeah man, I ain't ever seen nuttin like dat," Frank retorted. They had a front row seat in I-75's asphalt movie theater. The shards of glass danced on the blacktop and stretched as far as they could see. The semi-truck was jack knifed on its side. By the deep ruts in the grassy median, it was evident that this truck once had a destination north of their current position. 

The was nothing left of the other vehicle. A sedan of some sort. It was one step above disintegrated. Rescue workers were in no rush. They slowly meandered back and forth between the shoulder of the highway and the accident site. Most of them had their hands in their pockets as a team of three fire fighters skillfully cut chunks of metal away with large power tools. They worked like artists. Whoever was inside, whatever it looked like inside, didn't appear to distract them. "Think they're dead," Frank asked? "Dude, no one could survive that." 

Mark was no longer in the living room as she had remembered when the doorbell rang.  Jamie drunkenly made her way to her feet, slightly anxious. She had less than a second to glance at her phone. "8 missed calls?" It was just after midnight and she couldn't understand how she slept through that many missed calls. The house was a cavern of darkness. The only light was emitted from the 65" flat screen that was now muted. She didn't notice the "Breaking News" flashing on the bottom of the screen that read, "One dead in fatal I-75 crash." 

When she looked through the peep hole of apartment 2218's thick steel door, she saw two police officers, neatly dressed with high and tight haircuts. Her heart dropped to the floor and pumped like a race horse in turn three of the Kentucky Derby. She glanced at the glass dish and saw that Mark's keys were absent. "Thump, Thump, Thump." More knocks on the door, this time with absolute authority, startled her and shuttered her dainty frame. Jamie slowly opened the door, head down. "It's Mark," she quivered, already knowing the answer. "Ma'am is your husband Dr. Mark Franklin," said one of the officers? "He's dead isn’t he?" Jamie collapsed to the floor letting out a primitive wale.  She began sobbing uncontrollably. 

Rescue workers were still attempting to remove Mark from the vehicle when Jamie was notified. His death was instantaneous. Jamie was assured that he had no time to react and he felt no pain. The officers assisted Jamie to her feet and helped her back to the couch where she collapsed. Her motor skills were compromised by grief and the love of her life was gone forever. She fumbled for her phone knowing she had to call Mark's parents in San Francisco. Jaime dropped the phone when she saw that Mark had called eight times... all after midnight.

© 2015 Tim W

Author's Note

Tim W
Any and all criticism is welcome! If you read it, thank you!


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Added on February 15, 2015
Last Updated on February 24, 2015
Tags: love story, Cincinnati, true love


Tim W
Tim W

New Haven, CT

I retire in October, 2015 after 20 years in the US Coast Guard. Writing is my passion and I'm trying to rediscover myself. more..

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