Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday Tales: At the Bridge



I stopped at the bridge to look into the icy water below. It was frigidly cold. The wind seemed to go through my coat like a sieve, and yet I couldn't help stopping. I loved this part of my walk home... quiet and peaceful.

In the spring, this creek trickled along with a happy melody, ducks floating along its path and flowers filling its shore. But, the winter's creek had its own beauty. The water still flowed, but there was a firm layer of ice on its surface. I wondered what it was like to be a fish living under there. A world that still moved on, yet was so separated from the one we existed in.

I turned to go, but as I did, slipped over a patch of ice. Breath exited my body in a rush as my feet flew out from underneath me. My eyes widened and then squeezed shut. It was all that split-second slow motion stopping of time that happens when something dreadful is about to occur. I threw my arms out to somehow cushion my fall, like a baby does when it loses its sense of security.

But before my body hit the ground, I felt arms lift me skyward and suddenly I was enveloped in strength and safety.

I blinked.  Looking up at my savior, I looked into deep brown eyes, framed in the blackest of eyelashes and furrowed in concern. "Are you alright, Miss?"

"Yes, I--" I stammered, taken off-guard by his sudden appearance but also with the nagging feeling that I knew this man.  Somewhere between the fall and the save and the warmth, it hit me.  It was Sean... or at least, I thought it was. I smiled at the memory. Sean had been my first love.  Hardly a love, I suppose.  We'd only shared one date. But, he had been handsome and sweet.  He was Hawaiian with dark hair that went so smoothly with his complexion. His face was more lined now than it had been back then, but he was no less breathtaking. Perhaps the lines even gave him more character; he was more handsome than I remembered. Than the dreams that I still had about him on lonely nights. "Thank you," I said, weakly. "I think... I think I know you.  Sean?"

He raised an eyebrow but shook his head. "Sorry, Miss. He must be a long-lost cousin or something.  I'm not Sean." He began to loosen his grip on me finally and I felt just a little disappointed. "Are you sure you're alright? Why don't you come sit over here?"

I let him lead me away from the bridge and to a bench along the creek.  I thought about this moment often later. Maybe if I hadn't been so struck by his resemblance to Sean, maybe I would have noticed the things that were just blips on my conscious then. Maybe I would have noticed the almost imperceptible nod he gave to someone along the opposite shore.

Maybe I would have noticed the glint of the moonlight on the knife he hid in his sleeve.


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