James pulled his Honda into the elementary school parking lot, and made his way through the front doors, and into the cafeteria. He sat there with the other parents who were there to pick their students up--waiting for them to be dismissed.
When Olivia's third grade class came into the cafeteria, she ran over to her father, and gave him a big hug around his legs. They both smiled and laughed, and made their way to the car.
They pulled out of the school parking lot, and James began the twenty minute drive home. As he was crossing the intersection of 18th and Potomac, a large SUV crashed into their car.
James woke up several days later from a coma. His wife Abby was at his side. Immediatly, James asked where Olivia was. Tears streamed down Abby's face, as she told him what happened.
After a few days more in the hospital, James was allowed to go home. There, he and Abby arranged for the funeral of their daughter. She was buried on Sunday, with all of their family and friends in attendance.
Once the funeral was finished, and their friends were gone, Abby and James' marriage began to degrade. James turned to the bottle and cocaine in an attempt to console himself. One day, during their third fight about nothing of consequence, Abby yelled at him, saying that she wished he had died that day, and not Olivia.
Drunk, and high on cocaine, James became violent. He began to hit Abby with his beer bottle--beating her. After a while, she stopped screaming, stopped fighting back, stopped everything.
The police arrived the next morning to find James still standing over Abby's body, a blank expression on his face. He was arrested, and convicted of voluntary manslaughter. The jury was unsypathetic, and gave him the maximum sentence of ten years.
Finally, just over ten years after he killed his wife, James was released from prison. He had nothing. He had no money left, and no job. The bank had taken his home, and none of his friends or family were willing to talk to him. Many men would have given up hope, but not James. James felt guilty for what he had done. He felt guilty for killing Abby, and for surviving the accident that claimed his daughter's life. So James decided that he had to suffer--living with the knowledge of what he had done. He lived on the streets for nearly a year, but eventually, he found a job. After a while, he was able to move into an appartment. Every day though, no matter what the weather was, or what was going on, James always went to the cemetary where his wife and daughter were buried. Every day, he would go, pray, and beg forgiveness from God, and from them.
It was on the Twentieth of January--a Tuesday afternoon--when it happened. James had just gotten off work, and he made his way to the cemetary. Walking up to Abby and Olivia's graves, he saw that something had damaged Olivia's, causing a break in the marble that cut her name in two. Upon seeing this, James ran. He ran right past his car, and down the street. He ran and ran and ran, until he could run no more, stopping on a bridge to catch his breathe. After composing himself, James glanced over the railing.
The police came too late, arriving to find his body broken below the bridge.