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Stogie

Fiction story...

The dawn broke over the eastern horizon, a bleeding orb into the unready sky. I stood on the rail of the bridge, replaying the events that brought me to this point in my life. My body fought my brain as the images flashed before my eyes.

It's the day before, and I'm in my home. Alone once again, except for the liquor, and the drone of a radio somewhere in the back. I feel the bile in my throat, the guilt in my heart; I don't know which hurts more.
I sat there for two hours, pondering what I've done, and the pain that filled her eyes. She cried for what seemed like hours when I told her good bye over the phone. I don't know why I didn't hang up when the words had ended. I screwed up, and listened to her pleading for me to reconsider, and that she forgave me. I hadn't forgiven myself though. Probably never would.
The guilt for hurting her, and lusting after another tore my mind to shreds. There was nothing now. A night of lust, and two broken hearts; enough to drive a man insane. I grabbed the bottle from the table, and took a long drink, feeling the fire in my brain. Trying in vain to burn away the pain.
The next I remember was wandering the streets at 6:30 in the morning. The cool morning air chilling my fevered skin, but not touching the burning in my mind. I don't know how long I walked, or how far. All I know is that I came to the 21st Street Bridge. There was no traffic, the only sound coming from the river churning below. The swirling brown water was hypnotic. I stood and stared for what seemed an eternity. I wandered how that water would fill, if I were to enter it. Would the icy shock kill me quickly, or would I live to feel the water enter my lungs, and choke out my lungs. Either way it didn't matter, it would all end the same. Peace for the ones I had hurt, and an ending to the torment in my soul.

Segue back to the now, as I hang on to the cold steel railing. My eyes are focused on the churning rapids, roiling over the sand bar a few yards distant. The sun had been obscured by a cloud bank, dark and skulking. At least the Sun would be spared the sight of a broken man, ending a broken life. My palms began to sweat with the anticipation of the fall. A sound of a speeding car filled my ears, but I was too focused on my own demise to pay it any attention. I let loose of the metal railing, and began to fall forward, feeling the final sensations I'd ever expected to feel.

But the falling was halted by a sharp jerking of my belt. My body flew back towards the concrete and steel of the bridge. A large fist flew form the side of my vision, and my world went dark. Seconds later, I felt the cold smooth metal of a truck bed beneath my cheek, and the throbbing of a sucker punched temple as well. I tried to raise my head, but he pain was too great. I slipped back into oblivion once again.

A century seemed to have passed before I woke again. I felt my self moving again. IT was oddly deja vu-ish, this new movement. Only it was in reverse. The tugging at my waist came first, followed by the sensation of falling. MY brain snapped back to full attention when the first icy cold hit my body. I gasped, only to taste the bitter water of a stagnant pond. I sputtered to the surface, my hair dripping brown water into my face. A firm, rough hand reached out and took mine. It was only then that I realized that it was the hand of a friend. Jake, my "other-brother", standing there, looking down sadly at me.

"Rachel called me. She said that you were talking nonsense last night. She asked me to come find you." he said in that quiet voice that hid the strength he possessed. "You're lucky I had to drive across the bridge to get here."
"I guess." I replied meekly. My teeth chattered loudly as I sat in the back of his truck. "Why did she call you?"

"She was worried, and frightened. You said some pretty stupid things last night." His tone had changed from a worried parent to a caring brother. "I mean, the girl forgave you. What more did you need to hear."
"I don't know. I wasn't in a good place last night. The guilt I'm feeling, it's driving me crazy." The memories in my mind fuzzily played back. "Look man, I don't remember what I said, but I know that I'm not ready to see her yet."

"You don't have a choice.” he replied. "She's sitting in the front right now. Has been, since I knocked you across the face. By the way, you still have a glass jaw."

The feeling of the punch came back, as I rubbed the tender flesh. "Thanks, I think. I owe you my life."

"No, you owe her your life, and an apology. Now get off your ass, and buck up. She's waiting."

Slowly I picked myself off the tail gate, and noticed the raven black hair that was always pulled pack in a pony tail. I slowly walked up to the door, my clothes coldly clinging to my body, and a blanket wrapped around my shoulders. As I came within a foot of the door, it opened, and Rachel stepped out. Her eyes were red and puffy, sure signs that she had cried for the hours I had imagined. A few loose strands of jet black hair hung down her face. I lifted my hand to move them aside, and as I did, I felt her take my hand in hers. Her hands were warm and soft. She pulled me close to her, and didn't speak. I felt the warmth of her body piercing the cold dampness.

"I told you I forgave you. I still do." Her words were like that of a child, soft, and full of love. "I love you. Nothing will change that. I know you screwed up. We all do. But it doesn't change how I feel about you."

"How can you? I did something terrible." I strained at the words. I tried to speak more, but she cut me off by placing her finger over my lips, and looking into my eyes. Her sapphire eyes shimmered with tears, and I knew. She forgave me for being a fool, and knew that I loved her.

"Let's get you home. You smell like a dirty pond." she said, half-smiling. "And let's get some ice for the shiner Jake gave you."

Comments

How lovely to find this waiting on my flist when I signed on this evening!
I really do love your writing style here/ It
is so visceral. So *visual*! I could just see the bridge, feel the cold, agonize with him as he walked. Feel my stomach rise into my throat as he jumped. I actually gasped when Jake grabbed him!
Absolutely amazing!
Rachel is a *SAINT*.
I am just amazed. Truly! I loved it!!!!!
Thank you SO much for sharing.
you've made some changes since the last copy i've seen. which i still have by the way. its still a good story. are you going to continue it? maybe give a back story behind each character? just an idea. laters, StrLte
Stogie

May 2009

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