We can all agree that weekends are quite refreshing and relaxing. More time for friends and ourselves. How are your TBR’s coming? I’m done with three books so far. Still burning with bookish energy from Oyinkan Braithwaite’s ‘My Sister The Serial Killer’ that I finished this morning. Like what!!??
Anyways, that would be conversation for later. Today is another Flash Fiction Friday! Enjoy!
I huddle through the dark alley, my mittened hands stuck in my jacket packets and my nose, dripping with liquid snot.
The cold is terrible this time of the year in Quebec. To make it worse, the little town I live in borders with the ocean and roaring waves. This morning, my ears were as stiff as a board.
He is standing by the barred bridge, staring into the dark sea and tumultus wave, hands jammed into his pants pockets. I pause for a bit, drinking his sight in. With a sigh, I close the distance between us and reach out to tap on his shoulder, when he turns around.
For a moment, my hand is stretched awkwardly and we are staring at each other. I get myself first, withdraw my hand and give a short wave. “Hi.’
He smiles slowly and my heart staggers in my chest. “Hi, Alice.”
“Cold night, huhn?” I look towards the charging ocean, stifling a sniffle.
He copies me. “Yeah.”
The cold wind embraces me and I shiver dangerously, doubling over in the process. He catches me by the shoulder. “You’re burning up. This jacket is too flimsy for Quebec cold, Alice.”
I straighten up. “I know, I won’t be here for long.”
He reaches and adjust the muffler across my neck, his hand, grazing my jaw and sending warm spasms throughout my body.
“Yep.” I reply bubbly, trying to hide my red cheeks. “This bridge has so many memories. Doesn’t it?”
“It does.” He replies, gazing at me softly. “So why are we here?”
My mouth opens but nothing comes out. Everything I’ve prepared to tell him resets and my brain is blank. He catches my mouth open and releases my favorite sound in the entire universe; a gentle chuckle. His nose dilates and extra air is pushed out, but it is so gentle, that you’d miss it if you are not watching intently.
“Lost for words?”
I lick my lips, gripping the dangling chains separating the cobblestoned bridge from the raging seas and beg the stars for direction.
“I just wanted to see you one last time before your trip tomorrow. Granted I might never see you again. I wanted to say a final goodbye.” I manage to say calmly without stumbling over my words.
He stares at his feet. “Is that all?”
“Yes gumball. What are you expecting? A declaration?” I laugh drily.
He gives me a tight-lipped smile and I can see the disappointment that rest beyond the gates of his emotion.
“Well then. You’ve seen me. So, I’d be on my way.”
My heart misses a beat. This wasn’t how it was meant to go. He can’t just leave. Stop him! But my brain is on an override and my lips splutters a weak. “Okay.”
He hesitates, gives me a long look, then begins to walk away then suddenly stops few feet away. Abruptly, he swivels around and marches towards me, swelling with indignation.
“What is wrong with you?”
My mouth slacks open. “What do you mean?”
“For God sake, why can’t you be honest with your emotions for once? Why can’t you look me in the face and tell me your feelings? Why can’t you open up and let me in? What is wrong with you?”
“I’m here to say goodbye.” I stupidly reply.
“No, you are not. You had all day and evening to tell me goodbye. You came for my send-off nd you said nothing. And by what? He taps his phone alive. “By ten minutes past midnight, you decide you want to tell me a personal goodbye. Taking a forty minute walk from your home in the midst of a raging storm when you are currently dealing with pneumonia!”
His voice booms into the night and the dark clouds rumble in agreement. He steps closer. “Tell me Alice, tell me what you really feel. You can’t keep doing this to yourself. You deserve love as much as everyone. Don’t deprive yourself of it.”
I am vibrating with cold and excitement. Deep in my jacket pocket, my fingers play with a goodluck pebble.
“You have one more chance at this, Alice. I’m not coming back. If you have anything to say, this would be best time.”
I lose touch with my faculties and for a second, I have no control over my senses. The words are stuck in my throat, fighting the thick ball that blocks my speech sound.
And for a moment I stop struggling and I feel tired, exhausted from hiding, lying, covering up, and the words suddenly spit out involuntarily.
“I like you Peyton,” I look around avoiding his eyes. “If I dare say, I love you.”
He is silent and my heart is in a frenzy. I take the risk and glance at him, but his expression is staunch and reveals nothing. “Why wait this long?” he asks quietly.
Only if I knew the answer.
“Why wait for so long? Do you know what we could have built together? I would have stayed in Fairweather for your sake or we could have gone together.”
“You dom’t understand,” I try to defend myself.
“Then make me understand because I’m lost. Over and over again, you threw my love to the dogs. Make me understand why?”
My face grows hot and my eyes mist over. I struggle to keep my emotions on check but tired of being bottled up, they rebel.
“Cause its hard!” I cry. “It’s hard to open up everything to someone―”
“Someone?” he recoils in hurt.
“―make yourself vulnerable and putty. I can’t. What if they decide they don’t want you anymore. What if they reject you?” I feel so absurd as I cry.
“I am not ‘they’, Alice. Stop using the world to judge me.”
“Aren’t we all a part of the world?”
“You don’t understand do you? I wanted to be with you. I loved you. I really did. And you pushed me away each time, because what? You’re scared of rejection? I loved you for three years Alice! Three years!”
“And I loved you for seven.” I reply, a deep sob catching my throat.
He look so broken and lost and I hate myself for being the cause. “So what’s the point now?” Peyton throws his hands in the air. “I leave for UK in a few hours. What difference does this make?”
“You asked me to do this.”
“Right. It’s on me. What was I thinking?” He shakes his head and look towards the sea again. It seems to calm him down.
“This can’t work.” He says finally.
I nod at my feet. “I know.”
He sighs exasperatedly. “You’re not even going to put up a fight.”
I shake my head and let the tears drop like a waterfall. This time, I can’t cover up the sob that catches my throat with a tight grip. “I’d just end up breaking your heart again. So there’s no point.” I choke out.
He grips his hair and sniffles. “I can’t do this anymore. Figure yourself out.” He says and walks away.
Call him back! My brain screams. But the words do not form.
Then, they abruptly bust out. “Peyton!”
He doesn’t reply.
“Peyton!” I scream and a bout of fever hits me, so hard, I shake violently, gripping the bridge.
“Peyton please!” I’m hysterical. He can’t leave.
“Peyton!” I sob violently but he’s a dot against the backdrop of streetlights.
My heart bleeds as he disappears into a turn and I cry deeply, whimpering in the darkness. I lose all track of time.
I was right after all. What was the point? Opening up to someone and they decide if they want you or not. The vulnerability. The rejection. What is the bloody point?
I hold my chest, because it feels like my heart is about to drop. The chain links clatter in my grip and my rationality disappears with my peace.
Before I know it, I am climbing over the chain link, crying as the wind roar in my face.
Nothing barres me. The sea slurps and the wind tugs at me to join the game. I consider their invitation.
“Alice, what are you doing!?” A voice calls from the darkness.
Our eyes meet. Mine, swollen and puffy. His, wide and hysterical. He shakes his head slowly and sprints towards me but it’s too late. I let go.
“Alice!” Peyton yells as the sea swallows me.
The cold and pain knocks my breath off and I am brought to the harsh reality of my stupidity. It isn’t as peaceful as I expected. The wind embraced me but the sea tore me apart. I scream but it chokes me. Drowning me with it’s juice.
I never knew death is this painful and hopeless. It stung hard and I blame myself for listening to it’s gentle encouraging voice.
But, it’s too late for regrets. I convulse in the belly of the sea, my brain shrinking from lack of oxygen and stars busting in my sight.
And I see him against the shaft of moonlight, swimming towards me, fighting the tide furiously. I smile as my body jerks repeatedly and slowly begins to shut down.
It’s always too late for us, Peyton. Maybe it was never meant to be.
And with the final jerk, I drown.