According to those who knew him, Kaidou was the happiest man alive.
He had married had a married a wealthy, beautiful woman with just the right connections to advance his career and a father with just the right lifespan to line his pockets with more money than he thought existed. He had three strong sons, all fiercely intelligent and with different, noble goals in mind. The youngest dreamed of becoming a Catholic priest, the middle one dreamed of being a doctor, and the eldest, Kaidou's pride and joy, wanted nothing more than to follow in his father's footsteps and enter public office. He had a magnificent house, several cars, scads of expensive jewelry and artwork to decorate his wife and his walls, and a respectable position in the party.
By all accounts, Kaidou had done very well for himself. His friends always remarked on how affectionate he was with his wife, how attentive he was to his children, and how generous he was to the community. In every piece of photographic evidence of his existence, Kaidou had the brightest smile out of anyone. He didn't have a thing to be depressed about, and so he was filled with nothing but joy.
The again, his friends didn't know him very well.
In reality, Kaidou and his wife had been married as an arrangement for money and for the future. After the birth of his third son, his wife had announced that they would be having no more children if she ever hoped to get her figure back. This meant a vasectomy for most men, but to avoid any scandal, Kaidou and his wife simply retired to separate rooms every night after the children had gone to bed. They liked to pretend that no one else in the house knew about it.
As for his children, their hopes and aspirations had been drummed up by Kaidou’s people. They could not have been further from the truth. His youngest had left to go back-packing around Europe with no plans on returning or ceasing his drain on the family accounts. The middle one had been in college in the States for six years now, taking his time with graduating because he knew he would never be able to get into medical school. And while the eldest was entering public office, he was doing so specifically for the purposes of being above the law so that he could continue his illegal racing, illegal drugs, and illegal women.
Kaidou knew he should have been happy. He knew he had been given a lifetime of breaks and every opportunity to be happy, but he wasn’t. He was depressed more often than not, and he went through scotch bottles fast enough for three men. He was even seeing a therapist on the sly under a pseudonym, but Kaidou was becoming more and more convinced that it was simply a charlatan loading him with sugar pills and raking in the cash.
At his lowest points, Kaidou found himself thinking back to a girl he had once known very long ago. He thought of her hair woven from the finest silk and dyed from the deepest night sky brushing against his wrists. He thought of her eyes, the color of amethysts and dusk and fairy tale flowers, piercing into his own, reminding him to be a better man. He thought of her lips softer than any cloud as they brushed against his mouth and the quiet sigh of contentment that had made him shiver with want. He thought of pale skin, pure heart, and fiery soul.
And he thought of the day he had left her. Thought of the day he had broken her heart. Thought of the day when he’d killed his own.
Kaidou should have been the happiest man alive. But instead he was the most miserable, and he had no one but himself to blame.