The side of the aircraft blew out and John went with it. He’d ignored the fasten seat belt sign and whatever became of his seat behind him was beyond knowing. Wind rushed in his ears and the ground below was rushing towards him rapidly. Oh God, he thought. He was going to die horribly. He’d thought about killing himself a hundred times before, but now faced with death he was terrified.
Hurtling towards the ground, the last thing he expected to hear was Mary’s voice.
“You killed me John. You killed me and now you are going to die too.”
“I can’t die like this.”
“Why should you get to decide how you die John? I didn’t get to decide.”
“I never meant for any of that to happen. I tried to repent. I did. I did my time for it.”
“Jail? Do you really think a few years of imprisonment can possibly make up for killing me?”
“No.” He stared in terror as the ground grew ever closer. “But I wasn’t trying to hurt you. I could never hurt you.”
“You did hurt me John!” Her voice was a scream that drowned out the wind. “You chose to drink. You chose to drive home and you are the one who went through the front window. I died and who else is there but you?”
“I never meant to.” It was a feeble excuse. He’d been denying it for decades now. He could lie to everyone else. He could lie to himself, but he couldn’t lie to her. “You are right. I killed you. There’s no one else who can take the blame. Accident … murder. I loved you. I still love you. You were the only thing that really mattered and I never saw it until you were gone. I deserve to die.”
“Yes John, you do.”
Only seconds until he struck the ground, but he didn’t care any more. He closed his eyes and accepted his fate. For years John had been in freefall of a different sort. He’d killed his wife and now he himself would die. She would have peace and maybe now he would go to where a punishment worthy of his crime would befall him. He was at peace with that as well.
Nothing seemed to happen.
Opening his eyes, the world was washed in a white glow.
“I forgive you. I love you.” Her voice came from nowhere. “Now stop torturing yourself and live.”
The sharp beep of a monitor was the next sound he heard as he woke in the hospital. Someone was talking about how it was a miracle that someone could have survived the fall.
“Thank you Mary. I love you too.”
Interesting story …as a pilot as well as a recreational skydiver, I was anticipating the details. However you’ve conveyed a moral in a few brief paragraphs.