Here is my Weds Brief (I stink at coming up with titles. Does anyone have any idea on what to call my Tom and Ben story?)
This week's prompts:
rule with a rod of iron
- That's none of your business
- you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs
- more dead than alive
- my whole world collapsed about my ears
- That won't kill you!
- one good turn deserves another
- never look a gift horse in the mouth
- it's a matter of life and death
- I'm damned if I know!
Tom never knew what kind of situation the firehouse would be called on to take care of.
Today was one of those calls Tom dreaded, and one that came all too frequently at this time of year. Someone was on the bridge, threatening to jump. Tom never understood why people felt that taking their own lives was a solution to their problems. Where were the family, friends, or co-workers to stop them from things getting this bad?
The woman looked to be in her late forties or early fifties; she’d climbed over the cement barrier and stood on the narrow ledge that jutted out over the water. It was at least a fifty-foot drop to the freezing river beneath. If the woman survived the fall, hyperthermia would set in in a matter of minutes in the frigid water.
“Ma’am, what’s your name?” Tom asked the distraught woman.
“That’s none of your business!” she yelled hysterically at him.
“Can you tell me what’s wrong?” Tom tried to calm the woman down. Trying to talk someone out of suicide was a dicey situation.
“I don’t deserve to live, I’m worth more dead than alive.”
“Now, that can’t be true.”
“I don’t have two nickels to rub together. All I have is a life insurance policy. At least I’ll be able to help out my nephew. He’s named in my will. He’ll be taken care of.”
“Do you know you’re being selfish?” Tom was playing a risky strategy.
“Selfish?” The woman laughed humorlessly.
“Yes, selfish. How do you think he’ll feel when you’re gone? I bet he won’t give a shit about the money, he’d rather have you in his life.”
“I haven’t been a good aunt, he won’t miss me.” She started to cry again.
“I bet he would.” Tom inched closer.
“He’s better off without me.”
“How about we call him? Come on.” He held his hand out to her.
“You really think so?” She wiped her eyes and looked down at the frigid water below and back at Tom.
“How about we call him and find out?” He reached out his hand and prayed the woman would grab hold. After what seemed like a lifetime, but actually was jut a few moments, the lady reached out and grabbed Tom’s hand, and he and the other firefighters helped her over the divide. The EMTS took her into the ambulance.
“I’m going with her.” Tom climbed into the back of the ambulance.
After the lady’s nephew had been contacted, the man drove from New York to Lancaster in record time. Tom’s heart nearly burst when he witnessed the tearful reunion. The nephew told his aunt that he loved her and that they were going to have a long talk after she felt better.
Tom’s shift ended while he was at the hospital so he headed straight home.
“Ben?” Tom called out when he came into the house and took off his coat and hat and scarf.
“Hey Tom, it’s good to see you home.” Ben stopped in his tracks when he spotted the look on Tom’s face. “What’s wrong?”
Tom wrapped his arms around Ben. “Bad day” was all that Tom was able to get out.
“Want to talk about it?”
“There was a suicide attempt,” Tom whispered.
“Oh baby, did they?”
“No I was able to talk the woman out of jumping off the bridge.” Tom allowed Ben to steer him into the kitchen and sat down at the table. Ben got him a cup of hot cocoa, with marshmallows on top, and sat down next to him.
“You’d think I’d get used to this by now. I’ve been on the job a long time, some of this stuff still affects you.”
“Of course it does, Tom. You’re human. Just because you see this stuff as part of your job, doesn’t mean you’re going to get all callous and not feel anything. You’d be less than human if you did.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.” Tom took a sip from the mug. “I love you, Ben. I’m the luckiest man in the world to have you in my life.”
“I love you too. And I have a feeling Santa is going to get you something extra special this year cause you’re such a good boy.” Ben smiled at him over his own mug of cocoa.
“You say that every year, Ben.”
“And have I ever been wrong?”
“No, well Santa is going to be treating you pretty good too.” Tom reached out and caressed Ben’s cheek and kissed him on the lips.
“Mm, that was nice. Hey Tom?”
“How about we get a Christmas tree? I already brought down the decorations from the attic.”
“Yeah, I’d like that a lot.”
Both men finished their cocoa and went out to get their Christmas tree.
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