Right to the Rail

Hamilton Mountain. There were a number of precipitous overhangs. The Escarpment virtually cut the city of steel in half – Upper and Lower

Nicole had the afternoon off. Parked at one of the observation points overlooking Lake Ontario. Smoke stacks, container ships below and in the distance. She felt a brisk May wind as she leaned against the pipe handrail panel. Then she was up and over it, feet perched precariously on the cement ledge, hands grasping behind at the top railing at waist height.

The weight had been on her for six weeks. Suspicion. Mark had proferred a bunch of silly excuses for his unusual absences from the home. Started with that conference in Chicago. Sandy the new research head had also attended. Sexy Sandy. Something was going on.

The night before Nicole had put it to her husband and the fight had been horrific.

She had now been out driving around for five hours. Three-year old Benjy was with Mrs. Stephenson four doors down the block. He really could charm her.

An exceptional blast of wind from below hoisted up her trench coat. Just one step she thought…and release of the rail. The pain would all stop. Mark would be forced to see the enormity of his betrayal. Hadn’t she given up that MSW Supervisor’s job that she loved to provide a warm and secure reception for their one child?

One image entered her consciousness, just as she was about to drift forward…Benjy’s face, tears awash, cheeks red and tooth gapped howl . Nicole bolted upright, felt for the railing with clutchings of steel. Eyes opened to the two hundred foot drop beckoning with talons of self-pity.

A car was approaching on the gravel of the lot behind. A young man’s voice “Lady…” Firm hands grabbed her right upper arm and left shoulder.

Benjy needn’t cry.


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