Dark Places

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Chapter 16

Elaine was the happiest she had ever been for a long time but the same could not be said for Mike. It was now the beginning of December and nearly the season of Christmas and its’ cheer and new starts in the forthcoming New Year but at this moment in time there was little to cheer about in Mike’s life.

Mike following his second attempt on his life was now being cared for in Weston Super Mare in a low secure psychiatric hospital. The unit was a purpose built hospital, which had 5 wards that provided two separate routes of care for men and women. The hospital had 16 acres of landscaped grounds and overlooked the Bristol Channel, ensuring a tranquil and therapeutic environment.

Mike had been sent to the hospital by the warders at HMP Bristol, as they were concerned about his mental state following the incident of stabbing himself. They were very concerned at the fact that this was not the first time that he had tried to commit suicide. They also knew that he had previously stayed at Avon House for rehabilitation and treatment for that, which at the time reported to show that Mike was much better and would be in better mental health but the report had not anticipated Mike trying suicide again so this was the reason that he was moved from the prison to the hospital, where he would spend time having treatment for his mental health issues. He was also under a restriction order, which had to be decided by the Ministry of Justice, basically meaning that the Secretary of State would decide when Mike would have to return to prison and he was made very aware that once he was better he would be returning to prison to serve out what was left of his sentence. Mike knew his life was a mess and that he needed to change the way things were for him. However, he knew that was easy to say but probably much harder to do.

The hospital would have to issue Mike with medication to deal with his depression, but he would also be offered therapy to help him deal with the depression, which they hoped would set him on the road to recovery. Mike was determined that he would do whatever it took to get his life back. He knew he had always had his dark places but it was time now to deal with them. It was all too easy to try and sweep his emotions under the carpet but he knew that trying to commit suicide was a definite call to do something and there was an organisation called Depression Alliance, who would offer the support and help that Mike would need to go on to lead a healthy and active life. He also had the detail of Sane, another organisation that he could turn to. It was with these details that Mike finally was starting to see what he needed to do to get the lighter life that he so wanted and he could receive all the help and care he needed but it was he who had to make the change.

Mike was starting to sound a little more positive about his state of mind. However, of course he was not aware of what changes were being made in Elaine’s life and how would he react when he learnt the news that Elaine was now engaged to Steve? That was a bridge that would have to be crossed at another time but he would have to know that his life was never going to involve Elaine anymore.

HMP Bristol had forwarded a letter to Mike, which they had received for him at the prison. When he was handed the envelope he knew that writing; it belonged to Elaine. Mike opened the letter and read to the second paragraph and starting to weep.

’Dear Mike

It is that time again for me to write. I am afraid I still am unable to bring myself to visit you especially in the prison; otherwise I would have said the news I have face to face but well….

I know none of this will be what you want to hear but you need to know that our divorce proceedings are now complete so I am afraid we are now officially no longer man and wife. I am still very upset that our relationship had to end this way, as I still cannot get my head around that we are no longer a couple especially as we both adored each other but you know my reasons for this. I am waffling now though as there is something else, which is more important that I need to tell you.

I do not know if you know that I have met a man called Steve. He has been such a sweet man since we met, he waited for me when he knew about the rape and was prepared to wait for me whilst I felt comfortable in a new relationship and I hate to confess this to you but I have never felt happier than this in my own life. I feel so comfortable with him and a couple of days ago he proposed to me and I said yes. I know that this news will hurt you and your depression but I am sorry to say that this was inevitable the day I left. You probably knew that one day you would lose me to another man.

I hope you can be happy for me and wish Steve and I well.

I will gain courage to come and visit you in Bristol again soon.

Best wishes and kindest regards

Elaine’.

Mike knew that the divorce was going through, however he had not yet been informed via his solicitor that his marriage with Elaine was now officially over. He did know though that he would have to cope with that reality. What he could not take in was that his Elaine, his precious Elaine now had a new partner and was his fiancée and she was right that had hurt him so much. He would have to take this letter to his counselling so that he could cope with the information properly but his heart was now bleeding. He had officially lost Elaine in two ways and knew that he would never get her back. Now that the divorce had taken place and Elaine was now engaged, any thoughts of getting Elaine back had diminished.

For the moment Mike needed to get back into bed and get some rest. He however, knew that resting would be easier said than done now that he had things on his mind again but he was determined that he would not break with the news that he had been given. He could not put himself through all that torture again, not if he wanted to get better and be free again.

Elaine was as always sitting in a café drinking tea and eating cake with Charlotte. She always seemed to have something to discuss with her best friend but it was time to put Charlotte out of her misery from the suspense she had left her with when she had first messaged her to arrange the meeting.

“So what is this exciting news you have to tell me then?” asked Charlotte.

Elaine was surprised that Charlotte had not immediately noticed her new bling on her finger so she replied excitedly “After the Christmas market one evening, Steve proposed to me and I said yes”.

“When you told me you had news to tell me I wondered if it was something involving Steve and well it is. Congratulations and I am so pleased that you are so happy together. I prefer seeing that smile on my friends face”.

Charlotte then asked to see the ring properly before commenting “wow that is beautiful. You are such a lucky woman and Steve is lucky to have found you. I am always going to say this but when I first saw Steve watching you in the club I knew in my heart there would be some special times, which you would share together but I never saw you being engaged to him. Does Mike know?”

“Yes he does, how he will take it who knows but I have to move on and live my life without him and my mind has been made up on that one as the divorce has now gone through so me and Mike are officially no longer a couple. I know the news will break Mike but he let himself in for it and will have to take it and allow me to enjoy my new life”.

“Do you know how he is?”

“I do not know and though I guess part of me wants to know how he is, the rational side of me says that I should see him but the other part of me does not want to know. I guess I will see him at some point but the first thing I want to do is spend my first Christmas with Steve”.

“I cannot blame you for any decisions you make and as always whatever you do I will always be there for you”.

“Thank you Charlotte. Would you like me to invite you to dinner at mine so that you can meet Steve formally?”

“Yes, I would love that very much. I definitely want to be able to meet the man that has made my friend have the biggest smile on her face”.

Charlotte was happy, that Elaine was so happy but at the back of her mind Elaine could not help thinking about Mike and what he was going through. She knew what she needed to do and that was to forget him but could she do that?

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