26 August 2009

Forgiven But Not Forgotten...

On the morning of 12th January, 2008, a man named Joseph Peccard went up to the terrace of his building, and stood next the ledge, threathening to jump. As could be expected, within ten minutes, a huge crowd formed at the foot of the 35 storey building, crying out to the deranged man.

"Dont jump, please dont jump Mr. Peccard!" a janitor who knew Joseph cried out.

"It isnt worth it. Sir, please move away from the ledge. Do you hear me? Move away from the ledge!" Another man shouted.

Five minutes passed before the police arrived, and when they did, Detective Martin Spencer was at the scene.

"Who is that guy?" He asked, straining his eyes to see the man. Someone handed him a binoculars.

"His name is Joseph Peccard. He's a Senior Accounts Analyst at J.P. Morgan & Sons. Has two children, both of them married. His wife is a well known socialite. He lives at 56 Vermont Avenue, in a large villa. Owns another house in Illinois. Financially well off. Seems like a perfectly normal guy." Detective Thomas said, closing the file in his hands.

"Yah. Except that he's threathening to jump of the roof. Something must be odd," Martin said sarcastically.

The routine procedure in such an event was simple enough. The police would create a soft landing pad at the foot of the building, which would require at least ten minutes time. Until then, Joseph Peccard would need to be distracted.

"Where is the psychiatrist?" Martin asked.

In such situations, a police psychiatrist would be the one who talked to the person, trying to calm him down and make sure nothing rash happened. This time, however, the nearest psychiatrist was stuck in traffic.

"Great! Well, then, I guess I'll talk to him myself," Martin growled angrily. He was in a particularly anti-social mood.

He reached the terrace of the building, and found Joseph, standing next to the ledge.

"Hey Joseph," Martin said casually.

"What, no, stay back. Stay back I tell you. Or else I'll jump. I swear I'll jump. Dont come any closer!" Joseph bellowed. Martin didnt flinch. In his life as a homicide detective, he'd heard worse threats. Nothing could bother him after 8 years in the police force.

"Alright, alright. I'm just going to sit down here. And then we'll talk. Alright?"

It took about ten minutes, but Joseph finally mellowed down. He sat next to the ledge, with Martin sitting several metres away. Tears were streaming down Joseph's face.

"You must think I'm a nutcase, right?" Joseph asked softly.

Martin wasnt a very diplomatic officer. Which was why he was better that killing murderers than dealing with mad men. "I think you're a moron. A big, useless piece of shit! Why do you ask?"

Joseph was surprised by the answer. But he smiled after a while. "You're right about one thing. I'm a useless piece of shit. Atleast I became."

"Look, I know you're wife must've left you, or you got kicked out of your job. That doesnt mean you jump off the roof. For god sakes man, get a life! Or atleast stop throwing yours away!" Martin snapped. He knew this was the wrong way to go about things. But he couldnt care. He was having a horrible week, and there was nothing comforting he could think of.

Joseph laughed. A long, hysterical laugh.

"My wife isnt going to leave me. We're supposed to celebrate our 30th anniversary tomorrow. And about my job? Within six months I'll be the Chief Financial Officer of the firm. So that's not my worry, buddy."

"Then what the hell is your problem?"

"The problem? A cake."

Martin had half a mind to get up and pound the useless buffoon in front of him. But something told him the man wasnt mad. There was a look in Joseph's eyes. It wasnt the look of delusion. It was the look of....disillusionment?

"You see, my wife Mary makes the best cake in the world. I mean it. In fact, she made the cake herself for our wedding. Man, I'm telling you, I'll never forget the taste of that cake. We've had it ever since, every year on 13th January. It's always been the same. We'd break a bottle of champagne, the kids would bring out the cake, and we'd have a wonderful evening together. Not this time, though.

"Yesterday, I had to work till 8 in the night. So I called Mary and told her I'd be coming home late. So she decided to take the help of our kids, Marshall and Lily, to make the cake. They went out to buy some stuff from the grocery, and were on their way back, when -" Joseph stopped, choking on his tears.

"When what?" Martin asked softly.

"When some drunk driver almost ran into their car on the freeway. Marshall swearved the car in order to avoid a collision. The road was wet or something, he lost control of the car. It slammed into the side railings of the road, and flipped over. Again, and again." Joseph's face was filled with bitterness. "Again, and again," he repeated.

He suddenly stopped talking, and looked up towards the sky.

"The last thing Marshall said to the nurse was 'Sorry'. Sorry for what, I asked myself today morning. Sorry for driving a car past a drunkard? Sorry for leaving me alone? Sorry for what?"

Martin didnt know what to say. His face had lost the look of authority and command. Instead, there was a paleness in his cheeks.

"So Officer, dont tell me to get a life. I just lost mine. I lost my wife who I loved for 30 long years. I lost both my children. Every evening I should return from work to an empty house. Every morning I should wake up, feeling the empty space in the bed next to me. Every single frickking day. Every single day..."

Joseph began weeping. He wept until his body slouched forward, and he rolled onto the ground. Martin knew what he had to do. In a quick motion, he placed a pair of cuffs onto Joseph's arms, and lifted him up slowly.

"Take the fellow to a hospital. And find out which Freeway his family was driving in last night," Martin said to Thomas, as he placed Joseph in the back of the police car.

"Do you know what drove me over the edge, officer?" Joseph asked, his voice dry and feeble. "Last night, I came home, and saw the kitchen was in a mess. The cake was half made, placed on top of the oven. There was no sugar left in the house. I guess that's why they went out to buy some. I'll never forget how my wife used to make those cakes, officer. I'll never forget..."

Joseph Peccard was admitted to the hospital. One week later, he returned to his work, apparently cured of his suicidal thoughts. As he entered his office, he found a note on the table.

"To Joseph Peccard,

I was the drunk driver who caused the deaths of your family members. I hope you will find peace and the will to forgive me. Because I cannot forgive myself.

Martin Spencer."

Three hours later, there was a large crowd outside the building. Someone had jumped off the roof. The fall had immediately killed the man.

The paramedics carried away the body of Detective Martin Spencer. Some deeds can be forgiven. Some, unfortunately, cannot be forgotten....

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  1. heyy..relli a gud 1...1 of ur besttt stories..i m in l;uv wid it..thnx.always a great pleasure 2 read tis kinda 1s..
    -meghna jadav

  2. Nice to see a post on LD after such a long time!
    I really liked the ending. That was really unexpected. Not your best though! :D
    Awesome post anyways.

  3. dude, that was reallly good..!!
    i mean.. its been a long time since i read some story like this in urs..:P
    nice work bro.. luvved it..
    but as rejin said.. not ur best exactly..

  4. the ending was good..but comes under the usual stories!

  5. Amazing as always:) You really take the cake!!!Keep up!

  6. hey...really long since i read someting good after "A Handful of Olives"...nice story there...but nt exactly your best...i liked the idea though..n the last 2 lines...way to go!..

  7. Mohammed,
    I have seen your comments today, and I was completely stunned by your detailed review, a rarity these days!
    I shall reply to your comments in detail tomorrow and also go through your blogs in detail this Sunday as I am having exams now!


  8. This was something else..... am speechless !! was wonderful, am sure one of the best posts ever !

  9. one of the bests frm u..totally touching...specially the last two lines...very meaningful!!

  10. nice story .... but there's ample room for improvement .....

  11. Dude... this is awesome!! I really loved the narration. It has the panache of a seasoned writer.

  12. This is such a... (I can't use use the words wonderful, fantastic, or amazing because of the melancholy of the story). You've done a good job Mustafa. I admire you're talent. I think I'll just give this story a 5 star to express my opinion and save on the empty words.

  13. very good story..agree with sis though...ample scope for improvement...but hats off to ur original ideas....

  14. cant thnk of much for this ...next tym uw rite sumthing like this

    the det,killin himself doesnt help the guy who lost him family does it?????

    try sumthing diif mayb like the det, confess to him and trys to make up by .ummmmmmmm well ur da writer i'll leave to u to make the rest...... :-p....6/10