In the parallel universe a young would-be poet named Will had his first poem published in a little-known literary magazine when he was seventeen. It was an amazing event in his life and promised a brilliant future.
He went on to having more poems published in better known publications and by the age of twenty he had his own page, albeit a short one, more like a mention, in Wikipedia.
With the life of his dreams ahead of him, Will got married when he was twenty-one to a woman named Gloria Rainwater, a second generation Cherokee with long black hair and a tattoo of an eagle above her left breast. She said her Indian name was Eagle Flies High.
Will and Gloria had two children, a boy and a girl who they named after his father and his father’s second wife. His biological mother had been convicted of trying to kill her husband with a kitchen knife when Will was fifteen. She was found to be a paranoid schizophrenic and was committed to an insane asylum. Two years later she committed suicide in the asylum by slashing her wrists with broken glass.
Will’s wife Gloria worked as a paralegal with a large firm and was the breadwinner for the family, giving Will the time and opportunity to continue his career as a poet.
The years flashed by like wildflowers. Will’s father and his second wife lived a full life. She died when she was seventy and Will’s father lived alone in a small house in the country. The only thing that kept him going was his son and his two grandchildren who visited him often and gave him a reason to live.
Meanwhile in this universe, after having his first poem published in a little-known literary magazine when he was seventeen, Will became increasingly depressed over his mother’s suicide. He got into bad company and drugs and almost died from an overdose of barbiturates when he was twenty. His father visited him in hospital and said, “I hope you don’t try this again, Will, because I don’t know if I could survive if you actually killed yourself.”
A month later Will did try it again. This time he took enough barbiturates to kill himself three times over. He wanted to make sure this time.
Will’s death left his father suicidal himself. In the years that followed, it was only his second wife’s love and strength that prevented him from following his son in death. It was a dreadful burden for his wife but she bore it with unshakable loyalty until her own death at the age of seventy.
Will’s father lived alone after that, in a small house in the country. He missed his wife beyond words. He longed for his son to visit him and bring along his children to visit their grandfather. But that was not possible in this universe because his son had killed himself.