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Goodbye, Part 2


By Randy Wayne Jellison-KnockPublished 17 days ago 22 min read
Goodbye, Part 2
Photo by Ahtziri Lagarde on Unsplash




{If you haven’t read the first part & want to catch up, here’s the link:}


Dejah, sensing a lull & that it was for the moment safe, came by the table & asked if there was anything else he could get us. We never looked at him, we just shook our heads & weakly mouthed, “No.”

“Separate tickets or together?”

“Separate,” I answered, finally looking away from Qui.

“I’ll bring your tickets. Don’t worry. No rush.”

There was another long silence before I broke it with a question I found burning a hole right through the bottom of my heart.

“But you still love him, don’t you?” I had to ask. He was my friend, my best friend, & for once I found myself hurting more for him than for myself.

“I don’t know,” she replied. She turned back toward me, head tilted down, looking up as though asking a question.

“The truth is, I’ve always loved you. I just wasn’t willing to admit it. Even when I was walking down the aisle, I sensed that I wanted the two of you to switch places. If I hadn’t been so stubborn, things might have been different.”

What does one say to such a confession? I don’t believe you? It’s not true? How dare you put me in this position? He’s my best friend?

Another long silence. Nothing pregnant about it. Just cold & lonely & empty & broken.

Qui cracked first. “I wish I had married you.”

Fifteen years I had longed to hear such words from her. Now they were jarring, upsetting, so much cognitive dissonance.

“It wouldn’t have worked.”

“How do you know?”

“He’s my best friend!”

“I thought I was, too.”

“The truth is there’s no way I could ever make you happy. You know it & I know it.”

“After fifteen years, how can you say we couldn’t be happy together?”

“Trust me, I know.”

Dejah brought our checks. I laid a twenty on the table & told him, “Keep the change.” He smiled eagerly & said, “Thanks!”

Standing up, I turned to Qui & told her, “Go home. Make this right. The vast majority of people on this planet would be thrilled to find someone like Chi…, & the rest are just plain nuts! Let yourself be happy. You both deserve to be happy.”

“So, you think I’m nuts,” she offered as one last salvo.

I just stared at her for the longest time, shaking my head, unable to think of a single response.

We didn’t say another word. I imagined as I walked toward the door that she was sitting there too stunned to speak. But then, I don’t know. I never looked back.

How do I know it would never have worked? She told me so. You see, Chi might be bigger than the Don, but I’m not. In her mind, I would have been nothing more than another little boy.

Out on the sidewalk in the cool morning light, I felt a tear brimming on my cheek, then another, until finally they were streaming down my face. A leaden knot clung to the inside of my stomach as my heart & mind dragged each other through minefields in a struggle neither would ever be able to win.

“I’m never going to get married,” I muttered to myself with an uncertain sense of finality.

Then, straightening myself & fastening the buttons on my jacket, I turned to my left & walked down the street.


{Most of those who have commented, including me in my replies, have had plenty to say about one or more of these characters, much of it disapproving—except for Dejah, of course. Everyone seems to like Dejah. We’re supposed to. His name means “pleasant”. But so far, all we’ve seen is a snapshot of one brief moment. None of the four have had the opportunity to become more fully formed in our minds. For Qui to have said these things, I can’t help but think that she’s still trying to figure out what she wants or needs to say & do. Surely she can’t be as shallow as she seems here. (I was actually searching for a woman’s name that meant “shallow”, but couldn’t find one that appealed to me. So, I switched to searching for “hollow” which actually fit better with the sense I had for her, that at this moment she’s devastated & desperate &, knowing she has no one to blame but herself, is feeling completely empty & hollow inside. “Quilla” means “hollow quill”.

But what if we allowed her to fill that quill with ink & continue writing her story?

That &, of course, our Main Character. Do we really want to leave him there? Sure, he may finally be over his childhood crush, but they’re still his best friends. It would be tragic if he simply abandoned them, especially since it probably leaves him abandoned as well, left to flounder with his own “male penile insecurity”, so freshly reinforced & nailed into place.

What if their story continued something like this:}


I hadn’t even gotten a block before I stopped dead in my tracks. It was not a decision I made. Something inside me just caused it to happen.

I couldn’t leave it there.

I turned around & walked purposefully back to the bistro, completely clueless as to what I would or should do.

There was no lingering at the latch this time. Without hesitation I swung the door open & stepped inside.

She was still sitting there, staring numbly out the window next to the table, tears streaming unabated down her cheeks. Her neck & clavicle glistened with their wetness. Even her blouse was beginning to darken with the damp.

I couldn’t help but wonder how this had transpired so quickly. I hadn’t been gone that long, no more than a couple of minutes!

Without a word, I sat back down at the table. Dejah seemed comforted that I had returned & was already preparing another pot of tea, I assumed for me, as there were no other customers remaining inside. I guess once the floorshow was over….

Qui continued to stare out the window. She would not look at me.

I reached out my hand to place it on top of hers which set loosely on the table in front of her.

“I’m sorry,” I said, my own eyes beginning to shimmer & brim.


{Or how about we continue it this way since everyone seems to like Dejah? What if we rewind just a bit & allow the story to continue this way? Don't worry. We'll come back to this same moment.}


Dejah, sensing a lull & that it was for the moment safe, came by the table & asked if there was anything else he could get us. We never looked at him, we just shook our heads & weakly mouthed, “No.”

Dejah stood there for a few moments, considering the situation in front of him along with the few bits & pieces he had overheard. Then, with a wizened look in his eyes far beyond his tender years, he placed his hands on the table, leaning in between the two of us & said,

“No. The two of you need to talk this through. I’ll bring some more coffee & tea.”

We sat there in silence until I could take staring at the side of her head that was turned to me no more. Still saying nothing, I did allow my teary gaze to drop.

Dejah returned, poured Qui’s coffee & set the pot of tea in front of me beside my empty cup & saucer. “I brought Lavender Chamomile this time. It’s good for calming nerves. I think you’ll like it.”

He returned to the counter & retrieved a few more items, then was back to our table, kneeling beside us. To my surprise, he set a chocolate filled long john in the middle of the table along with a knife & a couple of forks.

“I’m sorry about this. I had been saving it for myself once my shift was done. But I want you to have it. I brought a knife & a couple of forks in case you want to share. It’s on the house.”

I glanced hesitantly over to him with eyes so red not even a whole vat of Visine could have cleared them. “Thank you,” I said with a voice trembling & weak. I wasn’t sure he heard it.

Qui glanced around, somehow avoiding any eye contact with me, & mouthed her silent thanks as well.

Dejah nodded his head with a prayerful look. Then, with solemn resolve, he stood up & turned to resume whatever chores he could find, ostensibly to grant us some privacy & space.

We sat there for the longest time, me staring at her or looking down toward the table, she staring out the window. At least her tears had slowed.

I began to reach for the honey to sweeten my tea, then thought better of it. I paused, then stretched out my hand to place it on top of hers which set loosely on the table in front of her.

“I’m sorry,” I said, my own eyes beginning to shimmer & brim.

At this, she collapsed & began to sob, still turned away but hunching over as her body convulsed, her free hand sweeping upward to cover her mouth. I moved quickly to her side & without thinking wrapped my arm around her waist, laying my other hand upon hers which remained on the table.

Almost as suddenly, she turned & threw her arms around me. Free-flowing mucous, which had fully whelmed her philtrum, speckled my cheek as she buried her head in my shoulder.

“I’m sorry, too. I didn’t mean it. I really didn’t. I would never want to hurt you…, to hurt either of you. I’m so, so sorry.”

“And yes, I do love him.”

Her voice trailed off toward the end, lost in a drowning of tears. We stayed that way, holding one another, until my legs fell asleep from kneeling.

Slowly, I let go. Following my lead, she sat back in her chair & watched as I returned to mine. She laid her hands on the table, a silent plea for me to take them.

I obliged. After sitting for a bit, I asked as tenderly as I could, “What can I do to help…, aside from marrying you, that is?”

This prompted an involuntary chuckle to burst forth from her. She ran her right hand under her nose, then wiped it on her skirt before taking hold of mine again.

“I don’t know,” she shook her head wearily, though beginning to calm some. “The truth is…, it’s not like I didn’t already know. He’d told me right up front when we started getting intimate that he was small. And when we were making out, I could feel it through his pants. I had a pretty good idea.”

“Aw heck, I even lied about not having seen it. It’s just that it was always erect when we were together. Yeah, it wasn’t big, but it seemed okay. I’d even given him several hand jobs. Twice I blew him. It only seemed fair with all he was doing for me.”

She paused, then violently shook herself with disbelief over her own dissembling.

“Good grief! I’m not even being honest about that. I wanted to do those things. I enjoyed driving him wild as much as he did me. Afterwards, we always kissed. It was wonderful getting to share those tastes, mixing them together on one another’s tongue.”

“But that night we’d been talking as we lay in bed. We smiled & giggled as we confessed how much we enjoyed the day, the things that made us laugh…, those moments that filled our hearts & had our eyes brimming with tears…, how it had been so beautiful & fun & whelming with love. And, of course, there was all that raucous honking.”

“We groaned with delight as we imagined what the next week would be like & if we’d actually see anything of the Bahamas outside of our room.”

“We dreamed of our future together…, of when we wanted to start our family.”

“We were so relaxed, talking, kissing & holding one another with so much genuine affection. Until, that is, I decided to throw back the covers & get this show on the road.”

All of a sudden, Qui looked so timid & small. As she proceeded, her voice seemed as meek as that of a lonely field mouse.

“It shocked me. I wasn’t used to seeing it like that, all tucked back as though trying to hide.”

Her words began to rise, growing more breathless & frenzied.

“I couldn’t help it. I just covered my mouth & started to laugh, my eyes as big as saucers. When I realized he was confused & a little wounded, I tried turning it into a joke, just a tender-hearted tease. I blurted out the first thing that came to mind. ‘You’ve got a third nipple,’ as I pointed & giggled. That only seemed to hurt more. So I started dancing around crying, 'Nip! Nip! Nip!', as silly as I could. When that, didn’t help, I turned it into a song.”

She sank back in her seat again, looking completely defeated, clueless, disappointed & frustrated with herself.

Physically & emotionally exhausted, she seemed resigned to the rest of her story, staring numbly at some spot on the table between us.

“That’s when he got up, dressed himself & started to leave. I grabbed him by the shoulders & asked what he was doing. He just glared at me with a hurt so deep I couldn’t find the bottom. Then he brushed on by me & walked out the door, car keys in hand.”

“I followed, waiting for him to say something, to yell, cry…, anything. But he just kept walking, right past the front desk, straight out to the car. He opened the door, got in, revved the engine & threw it in gear.”

“I kept looking to him, trying to get him to look back, to give me the chance to say I was sorry. But he never did.”

“Somehow, I managed to get in the rear seat before he drove off. I stared at the back of his head the whole way home. I kept trying to catch his eye in the rearview mirror. Not once did he even glance. But I could see the tears rolling down his face & I knew that I’d broken his heart.”

“I followed him into the house…, hung my head like some chastened pup as I watched him gather some things from our bedroom & head off toward the guest chamber. I could hear him sniffling. Sometimes there would be a convulsive sob. The tears were just rolling.”

“I slept on the couch that night. I didn’t want to be in that bed without him. And I desperately wanted to be there whenever he came out. But he didn’t. Neither the first day or the next. By the third day, I tried the door, but it was locked from the inside. I knocked & called his name repeatedly, but he wouldn’t answer. I pounded & screamed, but still nothing.”

“I finally collapsed back on the couch. Haven’t been able to eat, sleep or drink since.”

That explained her untouched Danish & rapidly cooling coffee. I wondered how she had finished the first.

“I remember my phone rang several times. So did his. Neither one of us answered. I couldn’t bear to. A couple of times people came by & knocked on the door, but I couldn’t go there.”

As she replayed their week for me, her eyes remained down as though trying hard to remember everything, to hear, see & feel it as deeply as she could.

But now she looked up, searching my eyes. “That’s when I called you.”

I thought back, just a little confused. “So why couldn’t you get away until 10?”

“I didn’t want to be here during the breakfast rush. That, & it gave me time to freshen up. I hadn’t showered since last Saturday!”

I wasn’t quite sure that made sense. Then again, it had been a week. What was an hour or two longer?

“Are you sure he’s still in there, that he didn’t sneak out?” My voice was thin & tentative, my eyebrows raised with inquiry.

“No, I’ve heard sounds a few times. Water running in the bathroom. The toilet flushing once or twice. I heard him snorting through his apnea a few times. There was once I heard something different, like an outdoor faucet being turned followed by a spray hose or something. That was a couple of days ago. I haven’t heard anything since.”

I grabbed her hand & hoisted her from her seat. “We’re going!” I said matter-of-factly. There would be no arguing.

“Why?” Qui asked. “What’s going on?”

I didn’t answer. “Dejah, thanks for everything. Take the long john, it’s all yours. We gotta go.”

Dejah stood there motionless holding his mop, watching as I dragged Qui across the floor, through the door & past the windows where we had been sitting.

“Where are your keys?” I commanded. The car was still plastered with everything from a week ago.

“She fumbled in her purse & handed them over. I pushed the button to unlock the doors & said, “Get in!” as I opened the door on the passenger side. Upon closing her door, I rushed to the other side, plopped myself in, jammed the key into the ignition & fired her up.

I didn’t bother to fasten my seat belt. I always fasten my seat belt.

It was seven blocks to the house. I asked her if she’d locked the door. She couldn’t remember. I told her to have her key ready.

She pointed to the key in the ignition. I glanced down & nodded.

Once in the driveway, I burst from the car & ran to the front door. It was ajar & swung open freely. Qui followed close behind, a numb puzzled look still morphing across her face.

“Which is the guest bedroom?” I asked, my voice as firm & commanding as before.

She pointed.

I tried the doorknob. Locked. “Chinu!” I called out. Then I took a few steps back.

I bounced off the door once. Barely taking time to check my shoulder, I charged again. The third time the door jamb shattered & I landed on the floor in the middle of a crusty lake of lukewarm vomit.

Chi was lying on the bed, fortunately on his side. Dried pale-yellow chunks of regurgitant plastered his face & mouth, retched over the side of the bed & splattered across the floor. I scrambled across all of it, throwing myself atop the bed to check for his breathing.

Yes. But just barely.

I picked up the empty pill bottle tipped over on the nightstand. Ambien.

“Call 9-1-1 & tell them we need an ambulance stat! Then help me get him up.”

Sensing that this was no time to argue, Qui found her phone & dialed.

“Hello, this is 9-1-1. What’s your emergency?” I could hear the operator’s voice almost as clearly as if she’d been on speaker.

“We need an ambulance. I-, I think my husband may have overdosed.”

“We have a unit on your way. They should be to your home within about five minutes.”

“Five minutes? What do we do until then?” Qui was done with being dazed. She was now sliding into full panic mode.

I motioned for her to help me get Chi sitting up & over to the side of the bed. She dropped the phone, the operator still attempting to calm & give her instructions.

Qui slipped & fell in the ejecta covering the floor. She scrambled, crawling through it to the side of the bed, hoisting herself up.

“Get under his arm. We’ve got to lift him & get him walking until the ambulance arrives.”

For the most part, we carried Chi back & forth across the room (he did occasionally lift a foot, roll his head, &/or mumble something unintelligible). I kept my right hand close to his heart. As long as I could still feel it, weak as it was, we were okay.

Qui asked, “What happened? When do you think he did this?”

“I think at first it was just to help him sleep. But Ambien can also bring on suicidal thoughts. Add his mood at the time…, I don’t know how many he had in there, but the night you heard him vomiting, that was when he took whatever was left.”

I looked across to her. “You said that was at least two nights ago? I can’t believe he’s still breathing.”

I half-muttered that last part to myself. I couldn’t be bothered with the pained expression on her face as she took my words in.

“He was lying on his side,” she observed, thinking out loud, almost questioningly.

“If he’d been lying on his back, he’d have choked & drowned.”

The tears began to stream down Qui’s cheeks again, but she managed not to collapse & let Chi fall. (She might have stumbled a bit once or twice.)

“It’s all my fault!” she bawled breathlessly. “How could I have been so stupid?”

“It’s not you, Qui,” I reassured her. “Normally, this shouldn’t have happened.”

“Why? What do you mean?”

“This wasn’t his first.”

“What? When?”

“It was a long time ago. He’d hit a rough patch at home, school, sports, girls. He used aspirin & acetaminophen that time. He was in the hospital for weeks, first in acute care, then on the psyche ward. I’d just met him & used to go visit when it was allowed. It’s how we became friends.”

“Why didn’t he tell me?”

“For the same reasons none of us do. To begin with, it’s not something you bring up on a first date.”

“I think we were a little past that,” she responded in the best, “well-duh” voice she could muster under the circumstance.

“I know that, Qui. It’s just…, how do I say this? It’s just something that’s hard for guys.”

“What is? Can’t you tell me.”

I felt myself losing any strength or will left in my voice, but I managed to allow the words to trail out.

“We’re not supposed to be weak.”

“What?” she asked, in that manner suggesting she hadn’t a clue what I was talking about, while simultaneously suspecting she did but just couldn’t put her finger on it.

“Men are supposed to handle things. We don’t cry. We’re told to take it like a man. We’re supposed to be some version of Prince Charming or knight in shining armor, even when there are no damsels in distress because they’re more than capable of taking care of themselves.”

I could have sworn I heard her swallow her tongue at that moment & that I couldn’t hear her breath for a long time.

“It’s something that gets drilled in, usually beginning with our parents & siblings. But if not them, society, friends & peers fill in the gaps pretty quick.”

Chi groaned & mumbled something as he rolled his head to the other side. I thought that was a good sign.

“Anyway, at the hospital is when they decided he was bipolar & put him on lithium.”

“I…, I’ve never seen a bottle for it anywhere,” she questioned.

“You’ll find it around here somewhere, though probably not in this room. I’m guessing he forgot to grab it, then just couldn’t bring himself to come out. He was pretty good at taking his meds. Except…,” I hesitated.

“Except what?” she asked after I failed to continue.

This time, & only after a brief struggle with myself, I was the one who surrendered to this thing I was reluctant to say.

“Except when he really didn’t want to miss those highs when something special was going on. Sometimes he would risk the crash.”

“Like for our wedding,” she completed my thought with an inward gasp.

“I’m guessing he didn’t take his meds that day.”

“And when I laughed…,”

“…he crashed. If that bottle’s not in here, he’s been off it for a week.”

Sirens & the sounds of an ambulance outside. EMTs brought in equipment, a gurney & took over, checking his vitals, airway, etc., preparing him for transport.

As they loaded him on the ambulance, I turned to Qui & said, “You go. I’ll follow with the car.”

She nodded & walked outside. She was tearing again & she brushed a few away as an EMT helped her in. I watched as she sat next to Chi & took his hand, brushing away another tear before laying her head down as near to his heart as she could & shutting her eyes. As the doors were closing, I saw one of the team hand her a towel to clean the dried puke from her face & clothing. When she didn’t take it, he laid it over her knee.

I sat down on the front steps completely drained. I needed a moment to collect myself & catch my breath. “They’ll be in the emergency room for a while, then ICU at least for the night,” I thought. “I’ll get there before she comes out to the waiting room.”

Weary notions continued drifting through the fog in my head. “I should take a change of clothes for her. I guess I should take one for Chi, too. He’ll be needing something fresh & clean when he gets out, whenever that might be."

"I think I’ll go home & shower first. No use grabbing clean stuff for them when I still look & smell like this. A change of clothes would be good."

"Then I’ll come back for theirs."

"I suppose I should call Dejah, too."


Trigger Warning: All of the information & cautions provided for the first part of this story apply here. But in this portion, the subjects of mental illness & attempted suicide are also addressed.

taboosexual wellnessrelationshipshumanityfiction

About the Creator

Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock

Retired Ordained Elder in The United Methodist Church having served for a total of 30 years in Missouri, South Dakota & Kansas.

Born in Watertown, SD on 9/26/1959. Married to Sandra Jellison-Knock on 1/24/1986. One son, Keenan, deceased.

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Comments (6)

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  • Kristen Balyeat11 days ago

    Randy! I’ve been off vocal a few days and just catching up! So happy to see a round two, although this broke my heart I’m a billion pieces. I love love love that you addressed mental health in men and all of the expectations surrounding societal ideas of masculinity. I’ve witnessed mental health struggles first hand and everything you said is spot on. Thank you for writing this and for addressing all of these important issues. It’s vital that we talk about them. Also, your writing style always has me hanging on every word!!

  • Naomi Gold16 days ago

    I love that you gave us a part two, but I still don’t like Qui. This actually made me hate her more. And her reaction would’ve been upsetting even if he wasn’t off his meds. That was so sweet of Dejah to give up the chocolate filled long john, and bring the tea. Although, I hate that lavender tea almost always has chamomile in it. To me, chamomile tastes like cat piss smells. Is Dejah single? Asking for a friend. ☺️

  • Roy Stevens17 days ago

    Randy, I need to hit the hay or my eyeballs are going to plop out and damage the desktop keyboard. If you don't hear from me tomorrow, could you please remind me to come back here and read part two? Pretty please? Haha, I'm leaving you a wakeup call!! Sorry, it's been a frantic day...

  • Things are getting spicy and sour 😉❤️But I Approve of Qui's characteristics in this chapter❗

  • Judey Kalchik 17 days ago

    I reiterate- Vocal should have a Community for men. However, it’s possible I would have missed this and I’m glad I didn’t. You are doing this so well.

  • Jay Kantor17 days ago

    So Pastor ~ This is so long I'm going to finish it in the bathroom tonight; I've already read the recent R.D. *Although, you keep "KnocKing" it outta the park; you still had me @ the 'roids! Jay Kantor, Chatsworth, California 'Senior' Vocal Author - Vocal Author Community -

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