Monica tell the rest of her story and what she did to hide the truth from her daughters.
Monica was crying now as if she would never be able to stop. "He reached the edge of the pond and I closed my eyes. I wanted him to think I had passed out. I listened to him start across the ice toward me. My body started to shake. I was so cold lying on the ice but still I didn't open my eyes. I could hear him getting closer, calling me. He was getting angrier. He told me I was a stupid bitch who was going to get what she deserved. My ear against the ice could hear the cracking. I was prepared to die. My heart was breaking cause I knew I would never see Kara and Kelly again. I tried to remember if I had told them I love them before they had left for school. He was getting closer and the ice was cracking I could feel it under me. He was just a few feet from me and I couldn't keep my eyes closed anymore. When he saw me open my eyes it enraged him. He lunged at me and I rolled out of his reach. Suddenly the ice gave way and he fell into a small hole that had opened. I rolled further from him. He was holding on to the surface, the ice that was still solid. I got up and started to crawl towards the shore. Kyle called my name and I stopped. I looked back at him and he was struggling to hold on."
She stopped talking and closed her eyes. "He called my name but now he called me without anger. He was pleading with me to save him. "Please" he said, "please help me".
Monica's crying was now pitiful sobs. It was all Gerard could do not to go to her. She opened her eyes and looked at them. "I looked at his face and saw fear. He knew he was going to die and he was pleading with me to save him. For a heartbeat I almost went to him. He was the father of my children, he was my first love, and he was my husband."
"Monica, you would have died too if you had tried to reach him." Ray said, "You would have died too"
She met his gaze, "I will never know because I turned and got off the ice. He was still calling to me. Telling me he was sorry for all the things he had done to me. Saying he would never hurt me again." Her voice was fading "He told me he loved me"
No one spoke. Once more she looked at Gerard. "I couldn't help it I turned one last time, the ice broke and I saw him go under completely. I saw the face of the man I had loved pleading with me to save him. I turned away"
Gerard was at her side on the floor. He gathered her in his arms and rocked her back and forth as she sobbed. He just kept saying her name over and over. God, hearing that she had almost died tore at his heart. The others looked away from them. Their pain was too much to see.
Time passed and Monica sat up "I have to tell you the rest" she said, "I have to tell you so you all know the whole story."
"Monica you don't need to tell us anything else" Gerard told her refusing to let her move away from him.
"No Gee I have to finish this" she pulled out of this embrace. "I stood staring at the hole on the pond knowing my husband was beneath the ice. My mind was numb as my body. But then I remembered the girls. Everything I had suffered so that they would be OK physically. Now I realized I had to make sure they would be OK mentally. I had to hide the truth. It was if all my emotions shut off and survival instinct took over. I made my way back towards the house. The bus would be coming soon with the girls. Now I was intent on hiding what had just happened. There were no footprints because of the ice that covered everything. I went back the way I had come looking for any clue that might be uncovered. Outside the back door was some of my blood where I had fallen. Just a few drops that I quickly erased. I went up the steps and inside the back door. The blender was on the floor. I picked it up and placed it back on the counter. I straightened the items that had been knocked over when he threw me into the counter. In the living room I put the doorstop back. My eyes went over every inch of the room looking for anything out of place.
She paused trying to remember the sequence of events, "When I was sure everything looked like it should I went out the front door and locked it. I had to get away from the house. My body was shivering from the cold but it didn't matter. I had to get away from the house. I started down the road towards town. My mind was already preparing the story. I would say I had been in town. Mailing letters would be my excuse; I often walked into town to mail letters. I had only gone a short distance down the road when I could see the school but about a mile down the road. There were several hills and stops between it and me. Our nearest neighbor Mrs. Pierce was just coming out of her house. I knew what I had to do. She hadn't seen me yet so I threw myself down on the ice at the end of her drive way. The ice cut my lip even more. I knew it would also explain the bruises on my face left there by Kyle. Mrs. Pierce was almost to her car when she spotted me lying there. She rushed to me and helped me up. I told her I had been walking home when I had slipped and fallen. She insisted on taking me into her house and getting me cleaned up. As she put medicine on the cuts I heard the school bus pass. Kara and Kelly were almost home. Mrs. Pierce drove me home. When she helped me to the door we were met by the girls. It was Kelly who noticed her dad's car parked behind the barn. She wanted to know why. My lies to my children began with that question. I said I had no idea. I wondered out loud where Kyle was. I gave the best performance of my life. Mrs. Pierce stayed because she knew we were all so upset. The police were called and I explained to them that my husband's car was there but we couldn't find him. They searched his car and all around the barns. When they came back to the house they told me they had some disturbing news. It looked as if the ice on our pond had broken. Would my husband have been down by the pond they wondered. I told them I had no idea. It was hours later when the underwater rescue team arrived that they came to tell me his body had been found under the ice. It wasn't an act, I fainted. Until that moment I hadn't thought of Kyle as "a body".
Mikey handed Monica a glass of water. Her voice was rough from talking. She took a sip and thanked him. "The next day the police came back to question me. I told them my story and explained the bruises on my face. Mrs. Pierce backed up my story. She told them how she had found me lying on the ice and had helped me home. Jenn my sister-in-law was at the house staying with us because of the tragedy. As I answered the questions I could feel her watching me. When they left and the girls were in bed she told me she knew I was lying. She said that Kyle had told her many times that I was a bad person who he was trying to help. She stayed with us until after the funeral. Once she had returned to her house I felt I could breath again. I waited a few months then..."
She took another drink "I found my will to live. The letter from the lawyer telling me I had inherited a house in New Jersey came. I took it as a sign. I contacted a real estate agent and sold the farm to him at a much lower price than it's worth. I just wanted out, wanted to get away. The girls and I took only what we needed and left the rest to be auctioned off with the profits sent to us. We drove to Belleville where once again I felt fate had punished me. The house had burned and we had nowhere to go. I was in that grocery store trying to stop myself from having an anxiety attack when your mother saw me. Your mother saved my life that day, Gee. I was so close to the edge."
"My mom loves you Monica." He simply stated the fact.
"But would she love me now? Knowing the truth of what I did. What I am?"
Gerard looked confused "Of course, honey. Why wouldn't she?"
Monica shook her head "Gee, I lured my husband to his death, I watched him die and did nothing to help him. I am damned."
"Oh my God, Monica. Is that what you think?" Realization hit him like shot. This was the guilt that ate at her. "Monica, you listen to me. You were ready to give your life to save your children. But you were saved. If you had gone back on that ice to help him you would have died." Just saying the words, knowing she could have died shook him. "You survived Monica. It wasn't your time to die. Now don't throw that gift away. Live damn it." He pulled her into his arms and shed silent tears that mixed with hers.
"He is right, Monica" Ray added. He walked over to them and placed his hand on her shoulder.
"Monica we love you" Mikey added.
Frank and Bob moved to stand by the group. "This story will never leave us." Frank told her. "Your secret is ours"
"You are one hell of a woman" Bob said looking shaken "You protected Kelly and you protected Kara. I can't imagine my life without her. Thank you." His voice cracked with emotion.
Monica looked up at all of them through her tears. She had never felt more loved in her whole life.