Welcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is to write a story about “Someone, not a stranger, standing on the edge of a precipice.”
Today’s story comes to us from Val Muller, author of the Corgi Capers kidlit mystery series. You can learn more at www.CorgiCapers.com.
“Goodbye” by Val Muller
The wind whipped her hair. It whirled past her ears, crisp and brutal, just the way it would sound in a movie. In fact, that’s just how she felt—like one of those wives in a movie, the ones waiting at the top of the hill to catch a glimpse of her husband’s ship coming in after months at sea. The wife of a whaler, maybe. Or a colonial bride waiting for her lover to return from a jaunt to England.
But that wasn’t what she waited for, was it? Her toil was quite the opposite. No one was coming home. Certainly not Greg. How could he come home to her if he’d never been hers in the first place? Her brain itched with the questions.
Her hand twitched, eager to type them out, to allow the angst to flow through the keyboard onto the screen. She needed to create more words, words, words.
No. Dr. Moore told her she’d written enough.
She clutched the pages in her hand. They tattered in the wind, and her hand threatened to let go. The words were sentient, like little beetles dotting the page. Size 9, single spaced, beetles, confined in margins as wide as the printer would allow. She’d done what her therapist said, after all: She’d printed them out and deleted the files. All those months of journaling, hundreds of pages condensed into a hundred and ninety-seven double-sided pages. Each page a saga. Each page wrinkled and tear-stained. She’d read the whole manuscript—that’s what she called it now—once over before coming out here. She’d touched the words, surprised they didn’t stab her fingers as they’d done to her heart, spoken each one aloud. And then she’d driven here.
She had to let go, Dr. Moore said.
And so she’d driven here, to the overlook, the site of her one and only date with Greg.
It was only once, Dr. Moore had told her. One date didn’t constitute true love.
True love didn’t need any dates, she’d told him. True love was true love, and Greg was her true love, plain and simple. The problem was that Greg didn’t yet realize that it was true love. She’d gone to Dr. Moore to ask how to make Greg aware. How to wake him up, to make his heart sentient.
But Greg was married now. She’d had to admit that at her last session. She’d used her alternate account to view his Facebook page, as she did every day and when her insomnia hit, and her heart sank when she saw the big announcement. There it was, posted by his wife. She could barely think the words—his wife! His wife? That was her! It was supposed to be her. But it wasn’t her in the flowing white gown, arm strewn around Greg. Greg, so handsome in his midnight black tuxedo.
And the comments. People had the audacity to congratulate him. Congratulate him? On what? On finding the wrong woman? On taking a step away from true love? And some of the subtleties, asking about children? Babies? Those were supposed to be her babies!
The wind whisked her tears away as quickly as they could come. This type of thinking was not productive, Dr. Moore had said. She needed to move on.
She peered over the cliff. It was so far down. If she were a bird, she could leap and soar across the ocean, find a new continent and a new lover. But she wasn’t one.
The wind licked the first page of her journal, and she loosened her grip. It was the page describing the first time she saw him, walking into the deli at college. His eyes had caught her immediately, though he didn’t see her. He was like a supernova. How could she look away?
Dr. Moore said he was more like a black hole.
The beetles on the page protested. They did not like being trapped on the page. The wind called to them. They wanted to be free. Free, just like she should be, Dr. Moore had said.
The page loosened and hovered in the air in front of her. She caught only frantic phrases. “Eyes like stars.” “His name is Greg.” “He’s majoring in biology.” Then the page lost its battle with the wind and was whisked out into the air.
Its journey to the sea took eternities. She wanted to jump out after it, to rescue it from its watery fate. The wind seemed strong enough to hold her, after all. But she knew what Dr. Moore would say. That would not be healthy.
So she stood firmly at the precipice, watching the page fall impossibly far out to the sea. She could barely make it out in the glossy sun on the water as it finally hit.
She released the breath she’d been holding. With the exhalation, her grip loosened, and more pages took flight. One, two, ten, two dozen. More, more, more. The thirty pages written about the night Greg told her it just wasn’t working. Her musings about how wrong he was, how he could not possibly know it wasn’t working after just one date. Her frantic sonnets about his knit hat and how it fell over his brow. Her haikus about each beautiful curl on his head. His wife would never appreciate him with that level of detail: she didn’t deserve Greg.
All that beauty, captured in words, now flew out to sea like a flock of birds. They landed peacefully on the waves. Her fingers twitched, thinking of what to say about that, about her urge to follow them.
But that would not be healthy. She could hear Dr. Moore tell her so.
So instead, she sighed once into the wind and mouthed the words as she returned to her car to find a way to move on, somehow, with her life minus her soul mate. “Goodbye, Greg.”
The Spot Writers—Our Members:
Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/
Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/
Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com
Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/