JB Lacaden’s Picture Choice: 2
Title: The End of the Road
The street was as empty as the sky and the air was as chilling as the approaching darkness. I stood at the end of the street; behind me was the unfinished bridge that led to nowhere but a very deep fall and some nasty-pointed rocks. It had remained unfinished for about five years now—no one knew why, no one bothered to ask. It was blocked off from traffic so accidents could be avoided.
I blew on my hands to keep them warm but I knew it won’t do them any good. In my ears, The Beatles were singing ‘Eleanor Rigby’. I turned around and stared at the space that lay across the half-built bridge. There was the continuation of the road and the road went on straight for a bit. It then zigzagged a bit and trees had appeared on its sides. After that, it was an upward climb and on top was the downward part. I started imaging the part after the downward part. That was when I felt someone tap me from behind.
I turned around and there she was in all her imperfect beauty. I removed the earphones from my ears and hang them around my neck.
“Hi,” she said. Her cheeks were red from the cold and I could see her breath in front of her.
I smiled (it was impossible not to smile when you’re looking at her). A year had passed and time had done her well. I said “hi” back. “You waited long?” she asked.
I shook my head. “Nah, just got here about the same time as you did,” I lied.
Without warning, she got down and sat cross-legged on the ground. She patted the space beside her, motioning me to sit by her side. I ran a hand through my hair and I sat down.
Our eyes stared at the everything that lay before us. The silence that had settled wasn’t uncomfortable at all. It was quite the opposite. The silence was a blanket that had fallen over our shoulders and it warmed us from the coldness of the night. The road stretched long before us. On its left side were trees with leaves turned brown by the changing of the season. Beneath the trees, the grass was littered with dried up leaves. On the right side was the river—steadily flowing towards the direction of the unfinished bridge. At the end of the road stood the town, our town. Lights from the many windows of various buildings and houses slowly came alive one by one, like fireflies.
She let out a sigh and the blanket of silence flew away. “Thank you,” she said.
I gave a nod. “I’d do it all over again if given the chance.”
From the periphery of my vision, I saw her look at me. I turned my head and looked at her. The blueness of her eyes were as deep as the sky hanging above us but, unlike the sky, hers was filled with stars—I saw them, I really did, and they blinked and twinkled and danced. Amidst the stars, I saw traces of melancholy.
“It’s not the end of everything, you know,” I whispered. Images flashed in my head. A star filled sky, her smile, the whiteness of the snow that blanketed the road, myself lying on the ground.
Tears formed at the edges of her eyes and they remained there for a while as she willed them not to fall. But fall they did. “I know,” the words were mixed with sobs and the sound of a broken heart beating.
I held her face in my cold hands and I brought her closer to me so our foreheads were touching. Both of us had our eyes closed and I whispered to her words—words that reflected the intense longing I had for her, the incalculable love that lived in my being, a love reserved only for her, the pain of leaving her broken and forlorn. I whispered to her hope and dreams and strength. I whispered to her comfort and love and the future. Where words fell short, my touch and my kisses and my tears spoke. I don’t know how long we remained like that.
When all my words and feelings had been poured out, we stood up and brushed the dirt from our pants.
“You going to be OK?” I asked.
She didn’t answer right away. She looked at the town and the ever growing number of lights appearing. “I think I’ll be fine,” she finally said. Somehow, I believed her. “Two years. Two years passed us by.”
“No. Two years passed you by,” I said laughing. “Time hasn’t touched me since that night.”
From somewhere far, the sound of cars rose and fell like waves from the sea.
“You’ll be fine,” I said.
“I’ll be fine,” she agreed. “Next year. Same time and place?”
I shook my head. “I think today’s the last time we’d see each other. Two years had gone by. You’ll be fine.”
“Today’s the last… Before I went out of the house, before I went her, somehow, someway, I thought to myself that today would be the last,” she said. Thank you. For that night, for saving me.”
I nodded. “If given the chance, I’d do it all over again.”
“I know,” she said. “Goodbye?”
“I think so.”
The night had fallen completely and I watched her standing alone at the end of the road. She shoved her hands into her pockets and started walking back to town. Above her, a single star blinked and twinkled and danced.
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JB Lacaden dreams of someday being a published writer. He currently resides in Manila, Philippines. He's a lover of comic books, science fiction, and high fantasy. Check out some of his works at http://www.jblearnstowrite.com/ and follow him at @jblearnstowrite.