He has his answer: it doesn’t stop.
“Does it ever stop hurting?” The question he doesn’t ask – his mother weeping openly – he feels the need to be strong, outwardly. Inwardly, he is already heading to the crossing.
The crossing. It’s dark; a mild, starless night. He tries not to think about the doctor.
The doctor, hiding behind her clipboard, muttering “I’m so sorry”s with a solemn, tearless face. He stares at his knuckles, white and pink from his fierce grip on absolutely nothing.
Nothing to stop him now. As he waits, his thoughts turn to heaven or oblivion. Which is worse? Best to say his goodbyes now, in any case. The note already does that, for the most part, but he wants to say something to his daughter.
His daughter, three years old, refuses to get into the pool. She doesn’t want to get her new swimming costume wet. It’s red, with a smiling yellow duck over the heart.
“Come on in, honey, Daddy’s gonna catch you!”
– on absolutely nothing –
He boards up the window she fell from, hammer and nails splitting the wood.
The wooden post piercing the earth; the last mark he’d make on this house; the last he’d allow it to make on him.
His eyes blur with choked apologies as the screaming demon train took him to whatever comes next.