Sunday, October 09, 2005

Untitled: The ending of a short story
He was right there at the rock, their rock.
“How’d you find me?”
“Wasn’t very hard. This was my spot. Until I brought you here, and then it became our spot.”
“The place you told me where everything makes sense.”
“You know, I came here the night I found you with Nicki, wearing her thong…”
“Please don’t bring that up again.”
“I waited here, at this very spot for hours that night. Waiting for you, waiting for things to make sense.”
They stood there for a long moment, an unspoken understanding of sorts lingering in the air between them. Brian started to say something, he wanted to say something about regrets, about not coming to the spot that night, but he thought better of it. “Did I ever tell you about the first time I saw you?”
Jade looked at him inquisitively. She wasn’t sure what he was getting at. “You mean that day at school when I elbowed you in the neck by the lockers? I thought we’ve relived that one enough for the both of us.”
Brian shook his head no. “That was the day we first met. I’m talking about the first day I saw you.” Jade looked at him intently with her dark piercing stare, trying to size him up.
“It was the day we first moved to town, my mother was driving down First street, past your grandmother’s, looking for my aunt’s house. There was this crowd of students assembled outside, all looking somber. I saw this very beautiful, very sad girl walking down the street alone, walking away from the group.” He closed his eyes, visions of that day flashing around him. The gray clouds, the brown grass in all the neighbors’ yards, the aging neighborhood, and then the girl. “She was crying, the tears were streaming down her face, but she was trying to compose herself, she was striding away purposefully, but really fast as if the most urgent thing was hundreds of feet away. It wasn’t until gym class that I realized the girl with the pink stripes in her hair, the black nail polish and a Nine Inch Nails obsession was the same girl as the one on the sidewalk. It wasn’t until the homecoming party that I found out that the reason you were crying was that you had just lost your grandfather. What I can’t get, what I’ve always wondered about is why you walked away. It always looked like you were fleeing from something.”
Jade looked at him, with tears in her eyes where there was once a piercing gaze. She was amazed that there had been another witness to that moment, and the one witness happened to be Brian. “I couldn’t breathe.”
“I couldn’t catch my breath. Friends, classmates, people who wouldn’t give me the time of day three days before were hugging me, acting like I was their best friend and they had all the answers, and they didn’t. It was crushing me, and I couldn’t breath. So I walked away.”
Another long silence sat there between them.
“Do you love him?”
“How could you even ask that?”
“Jade, please. Do you love him? Are you happy?”
“I wouldn’t be getting married if I wasn’t. I don’t do things I don’t mean.”
“No empty gestures.”
“None at all.” More silence.
“I guess I owe you an apology for what I said back there.”
“It’s not me you should be apologizing to. I know why you said what you said. It’s because things between us…” She took a breath, unsure of what to say.
“They were left unfinished.” It struck them both at that moment that they could still finish each other’s sentences. That they still knew each other’s thoughts. It scared Jade just a little to know that he could still read her. She let that knowledge, and the feelings that went with it, linger in the air for a moment.
“And that’s how they are going to have to stay.” She wanted to say more, everything, but she knew it wouldn’t do any good.
He wanted to ask her, he had to ask her if she still loved him, but he knew in his heart where that line of questioning would lead. Like so much in their relationship, it went unspoken.
And so it was that they left the rock, the spot where all things made sense, where they made sense, and where they came to try and make sense of each other. They went back to the party, where he apologized to the guests, to her family, to her fiancé. The party ended. The days went by. A very beautiful wedding took place a few months later with Brian in attendance. Months turned into years. Brian finally went back to school. Another wedding took place, this time with Brian at the end of the altar and Jade in attendance. Babies were born that grew to children. Pulitzers were to be had by one of them. The other would realize fulfilling work in a non-profit organization. Life went on, Brian and Jade remained friends, things made sense, they made sense on their own without the assistance of the rock, but things made sense with them together, as life long friends who would never visit the rock together again.

No comments: