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For One More Day [Secure eReader]
eBook by Mitch Albom

eBook Category: Mainstream
eBook Description: Mitch Albom mesmerized readers around the world with his number-one New York Times bestsellers, The Five People You Meet in Heaven and Tuesdays with Morrie. Now he returns with a beautiful, haunting novel about the family we love and the chances we miss. For One More Day is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that lasts a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one? Charley Benetto, his life ruined by alcohol and regret, returns to his hometown with plans to kill himself. There, he makes an astonishing discovery: His mother, who died eight years ago, is still living in their old house, and she welcomes him back as if nothing had ever happened. For One More Day follows the one ordinary day so many of us yearn for: a chance to make good with a lost parent, to explain family secrets, and to seek forgiveness. Through Albom's inspiring characters and masterful storytelling, readers will newly appreciate those whom they love--and may have though they'd lost--in their own lives. For One More Day is a book for anyone in a family, and will be cherished by Albom's millions of fans worldwide.

eBook Publisher: Hyperion e-books/Hyperion
Fictionwise Release Date: September 2007

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I. Midnight

Chick's Story

LET ME GUESS. You want to know why I tried to kill myself.

You want to know how I survived. Why I disappeared. Where I've been all this time. But first, why I tried to kill myself, right?

It's OK. People do. They measure themselves against me. It's like this line is drawn somewhere in the world and if you never cross it, you'll never consider throwing yourself off a building or swallowing a bottle of pills—but if you do, you might. People figure I crossed the line. They ask themselves, "Could I ever get as close as he did?"

The truth is, there is no line. There's only your life, how you mess it up, and who is there to save you.

Or who isn't.

* * *

LOOKING BACK, I began to unravel the day my mother died, around ten years ago. I wasn't there when it happened, and I should have been. So I lied. That was a bad idea. A funeral is no place for secrets. I stood by her gravesite trying to believe it wasn't my fault, and then my fourteen-year-old daughter took my hand and whispered, "I'm sorry you didn't get a chance to say good-bye, Dad," and that was it. I broke down. I fell to my knees, crying, the wet grass staining my pants.

After the funeral, I got so drunk I passed out on our couch. And something changed. One day can bend your life, and that day seemed to bend mine inexorably downward. My mother had been all over me as a kid—advice, criticism, the whole smothering mothering thing. There were times I wished she would leave me alone.

But then she did. She died. No more visits, no more phone calls. And without even realizing it, I began to drift, as if my roots had been pulled, as if I were floating down some side branch of a river. Mothers support certain illusions about their children, and one of my illusions was that I liked who I was, because she did. When she passed away, so did that idea.

The truth is, I didn't like who I was at all. In my mind, I still pictured myself a promising, young athlete. But I was no longer young and I was no longer an athlete. I was a middle-aged salesman. My promise had long since passed.

A year after my mother died, I did the dumbest thing I've ever done financially. I let a saleswoman talk me into an investment scheme. She was young and good-looking in that confident, breezy, two-buttons-undone fashion that makes an older man feel bitter when she walks past him—unless, of course, she speaks to him. Then he gets stupid. We met three times to discuss the proposal: twice at her office, once in a Greek restaurant, nothing improper, but by the time her perfume cleared my head, I'd put most of my savings in a now-worthless stock fund. She quickly got "transferred" to the West Coast. I had to explain to my wife, Catherine, where the money went.

After that, I drank more—ballplayers in my time always drank—but it became a problem which, in time, got me fired from two sales jobs. And getting fired made me keep on drinking. I slept badly. I ate badly. I seemed to be aging while standing still. When I did find work, I hid mouthwash and eyedrops in my pockets, darting into bathrooms before meeting clients. Money became a problem; Catherine and I fought constantly about it. And, over time, our marriage collapsed. She grew tired of my misery and I can't say I blame her. When you're rotten about yourself, you become rotten to everyone else, even those you love. One night she found me passed out on the basement floor with my lip cut, cradling a baseball glove.

I left my family shortly thereafter—or they left me.

I am more ashamed of that than I can say.

I moved to an apartment. I grew ornery and distant. I avoided anyone who wouldn't drink with me. My mother, had she been alive, might have found a way through to me because she was always good at that, taking my arm and saying, "Come on, Charley, what's the story?" But she wasn't around, and that's the thing when your parents die, you feel like instead of going into every fight with backup, you are going into every fight alone.

And one night, in early October, I decided to kill myself.

Maybe you're surprised. Maybe you figure men like me, men who play in a World Series, can never sink as low as suicide because they always have, at the very least, that "dream came true" thing. But you'd be wrong. All that happens when your dream comes true is a slow, melting realization that it wasn't what you thought.

And it won't save you.

* * *

WHAT FINISHED ME, what pushed me over the edge, strange as it sounds, was my daughter's wedding. She was twenty-two now, with long, straight hair, chestnut-colored, like her mother's, and the same full lips. She married a "wonderful guy" in an afternoon ceremony.

And that's all I know because that's all she wrote, in a brief letter which arrived at my apartment a few weeks after the event.

Copyright © 2006 Mitch Albom, Inc.

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