High Lining


by Jacob Beam

        Complications arose in the arrival of the family. Doctors were telling the two of us things that should not be heard. The prescription drugs of the past had moved into the system from both parts of the relationship. The child would most likely not be seeing the light of this world.

“How can you tell me this?” she squealed in pain.

“I’m truly sorry ma’am but there is nothing more I can do. We just have to wait and see.” The doctor was nervous due to her intensity and my stare.

“Fuck me.” Mustering all I had.

“No.” My wife sang out into the white office space.

Against my better judgement we walked home that day from the doctor’s. She didn’t say much. I tried to hum a few inspirational tunes but it stayed quiet. She was saddened and I saw a new pain in her eyes, one I could not change.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

“Don’t put that on yourself baby.” My eyes starting a wail.

“I wanted this. I wanted this.”

“I wanted it as well.” Moving fast in my mind trying to save the situation.

“It’s my fault.”

She chose to sleep much more frequently after that. A darkness crept into our house, and into our home, that was not reversible. No more flowers in the window sealing the heart. No more sweet kisses meaning nothing more than love’s existence, it did no longer. The light of my life had grown cold. She had fallen over the side of the boat and refused to take my help. Floating without Self she walked around the house looking out the window, searching for the days of old. I did the same.

“What are you doing today?” She came outside to the back porch only for a moment.

“After I finish this joint I’m heading to class and I may write some after that. Are you okay? I can take the day off, I don’t think the kids will mind.” I had chosen to not stop fighting for her.

“I’m okay, baby. Have a nice day at work.” Simple.

“Okay. I love you.” Asking for something in return.

She closed the door behind her. I want to think she heard me. I want to think she still loved me. But in the moments of the present day nothing was certain. My wife had broken the bond and was fighting me as I fumbled around trying to fix it all.

Driving to work was a time of reflection and heartache. The moments died fast and went quick. As I walked into the building I knew something wasn’t right.

            The phone rang.

            My life changed.

            “I need you to sit down for me.” The tone was futile.


            “We found her in the closet. Both were lost. I’m sorry.” Darkness had set in.

            “No.” I had nothing else.

            “I’m sorry.” I ended the call.

            Later that night I sat in the living room and drank from a tall tan bottle that had been hiding in the pantry for some time. A pool of tears and booze circled the ground around me. The end of the bottle approached but the pain was still present. The pull of the grain cemented the pain deep into my soul. I yelled out against the wall and up to the gods. I threw down my phone and up my sadness.  

            I fought to stand up and walk to her side, to fall where she fell. To lay down next to her one more time. Weary from the wheat I stumbled and went sideways. Blacking out my view of life momentarily I woke to some kind of light, some kind of brightness. But I lay still and fought to stay in the darkness. 

I received my education from The University of Texas-Tyler. I dig art, green tea and traveling. I live in Austin, Texas. I'm really enjoying the freedom from the terrifyingly backward thinking that only East Texas can bring.