Thestory below is mostly based on fiction, whereby two prominentindividuals are faced with a scandal, one which ends in death. It hassome element of reality as I picked certain aspects from my aunt’slife. Melanie is Wilson’s daughter and Mark and Wilson arechildhood friends.
Thevalue of a friend cannot be expressed by the clever grouping ofletters, something Mark had come to learn over time, rather by theloyalty that binds them together. The friendship that Mark and Wilsonshared had stood the test of time and tough trials. They stillrevered each other as they once did when they were younger, and thismutual respect is what saw them to their elevated positions in thecorporate world. Both Mark and Wilson were chief executive officersof two rival brands. Even then, the competition between theircompanies had never once been a wedge in their friendship, up untilnow.
Mark’scompany was in the rocks. They would soon be declared insolvent ifhis old friend were not going to step in to allay the situation.Wilson would have done anything to help his brother out, as that ishow they had grown to consider each other over the years, but whatMark needed was more than what money could buy. Mark’s personallife was currently trolling the tabloids, and most mediaconglomerates were not missing out on having a piece of thisscandalous cake. His wife was divorcing him because he was alleged tobe having a torrid affair with a seventeen year old girl. Mark deniedthis accusation indignantly claiming it was a desperate and cheapattempt of disgracing him after several years of well-earned respectfrom the public. Understandably, investors tend to shy away fromcompanies whose managers are under scrutiny by the public eye. Asalways, customer loyalty also tends to take a nosedive when thecompany’s public figures are constantly in the media because ofshameful covert affairs.
Inthis particular case, there was no redemption for Mark. He eventuallydecided to come clean about the situation to Wilson and plans wereunderway on how to salvage the guy’s reputation, as well as hiscompany. It was around this time that there were new developments inWilson’s family.
Melaniehad just turned seventeen and was considered among her friends as theice princess. She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth as somewould say, and had almost everything handed to her on a silverplatter. Her father, Wilson, was preparing her to go to StanfordBusiness School. Furthermore, it was the father’s dream that hisdaughter would be the heir of the business empire he had built up forhimself. In addition to being the most popular girl in school, shewas among the best in terms of academic performance. Bearing all thisin mind, it is understandable why Wilson was extremely appalled whenhe received the news of her daughter’s pregnancy. She had tried toconceal it for the first three months, but it was already starting toshow.
Bythis time, Mark’s company had bounced back, with the help of hisold friend, and the scars of the scandal were slowly starting todisappear. His wife did not get out of the marriage empty handedeither she took with her a large fortune from Mark’s estate. Itwas a small price to pay for his depravities, and he considered hisalimony as penance. As the storm in Mark’s household was slowlysettling, another was brewing at the Wilsons manor. Melanie hadrefused to give up the name of her child’s father despite theconstant probing by her parents as well as by Mark.
Markwas a very close family relation, and so if Melanie could not tellher parents who the father was, they hoped that she would at leasttell him. She, however, did not budge once and claimed that she wasscared of what her father would do to a young boy. Only that it wasnot a teenager who had sired a child, neither was it her father thatshe was scared of. Months flew by, and the Wilsons had come to acceptthe fact that Melanie had the right to remain silent on the identityof the child’s father.
April7th was a radiant day. Mark was on vacation in his summer villa atNew Hampshire. He was looking back at the dramatic year that had justpassed and thought of how things could have been much worse. “Allmen fall, great or small, it is but time and methods that differ,”he wrote in his journal. His company had seen better days, but hechose not to complain so much about the less-than-Stellar profitsthat it was now receiving presently. This was much easier to handle,given his prowess in business, than the scandal that his wife hadcaused earlier on.
Heremembered the young Melanie as well. She was a streak of beauty, andmuch as he was not proud of betraying his old friend he was not tooremorseful about his affair with her. He had managed to buy hersilence with the promise of a car when she went to college, as wellas triple the allowance she was getting from her parents. In additionto that, he promised to arrange for her child to be adopted into awealthy household so that she would be well-provided for. Thisarrangement would ideally never work for any other rich girl, becauseMelanie had all the money that she needed to get by, and more. Theonly logical conclusion Mark came to was that she was in love withhim. He knew better than to abandon her. His wife had taught himwell hell hath no fury than a woman scorned. In the light of this,he did his very best to make sure that Mel was comfortable, a gestureWilson highly appreciated. The latter thought that his friend wasmerely returning the favor. The truth, however, was much uglier thanthat.
Twoyears later, Melanie was in Stanford, a freshman. The pregnancy hadcaused her to start the college later than expected, but it was allworth it. The little angle was a bundle of joy to everyone, even tothe Wilson parents. She knew that she would eventually have todisclose the true identity of her child’s father and she had grownweary of protecting Mark. She had come to discover, painfully, thathe did not love her as much as she had. Moreover, her child gave herall the strength she needed to stop being scared of him. She,therefore, wrote Mark warning him of his impending doom as she wasnot keeping his secrets for him any longer. She divulge it all to hermother who then told Wilson. It took him a while to accept it, but hehad to take his daughter’s word over his friends.
Theletter struck Mark like a thunderbolt. He knew there was no escapingthis and that he would have to pay the piper. So that afternoon hedrunk himself to sleep and began to write his final journal entry inthe morning:
Anew dawn rises and death suddenly seems so romantic. One brief momentof pain and it’s the end of all other previous unrelenting agonies.Like a doctors’ injection, a permanent end to a life-long ailment.
“Weare encouraged to take short-cuts in life and yet no-one dares takeone in death,” Mark wrote.
Lifequite simply has no meaning. We are all walking around waiting todie. For some, making sure they torment as many souls as they can ontheir way to Hades, their final resting place.
Thedoor latched open interrupting him from his line of thought. Great,probably another reporter, they always have impeccable timing.‘Well,` he murmured irately as he walked towards the door, ‘Ifyou could just wait till I killed myself, you’d probably be havinga… ’ before he finished these words, he saw who it was, and itwas already far too late for the comforting thoughts of suicide. Nomore words could be exchanged between these two old friends. No morewords could be written. Life had decided to take away the only thinghe thought he would have control over his death. Had he known hisassailant would be visiting him this morning, he would have sparedhimself the trouble of writing that suicide note.
Eventhen, as he stared down the end of the barrel that was already fixedat him, he thought back at his life, knowing full well that there wasmuch he could have done to allay the series of events that lead tothis moment. Death is the end of everything, even an empty dead-endmorass of life.
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