Leather flapped against the ankles of his jeans, open snaps clicking with each step.  He crossed the highway, his thoughts little more than carbonated bubbles popping at the surface of his consciousness.  The possibility of an energy drink, what a beautiful day, glad that dickhead May hadn't shown up this morning.  He straightened his sunglasses on his nose and trudged up the slight slope to the 7-Eleven.

The wind was light, carrying gently the smells of fresh coffee, new mulch, and cigarettes only half- burned- out.  He made eye contact with a young guy in dirty clothes on an old, beat- up bicycle hovering by the ashtray outside.  There but for the grace of God go I, he thought to himself, then took a moment to ponder that such a phrase had occurred to him at all.  By all rights, he ought not own a thing.  He ought to be tooling around the neighbourhood, smoking abandoned butts and asking for spare change.

He told people he didn't believe in luck, that you made your own opportunities.  But the truth as he knew it was that there was no cosmic rationale, no intrinsic logic to the fact that he was here, in this life, and they were there, in that one.

His thoughts had become too heavy.  He poured creamer in his coffee and clomped out the door, up to the dealership across the road.  Ten minutes of respectful glad-handing, a moment to appreciate the bikes he could never afford, and another to scan the lot.  Good.  May's still not here.

That ***** had irritated him no end over the years.  They had, predictably, started out as friends.  But his wife had found Christopher Keaton May's money irresistible, and the ugly bastard had taken her up on it.  Now there was a man who could afford the Triumph Sprint.

Afford, but not deserve.  Not care for, not treat well.  Thoughts he had had about his wife at the time, too, but looking back now, she seemed to be right where she ought to be, **** you very much.

Thank God there weren't any kids.  Kids always suffered the worst when Mom became a cheating **** and Dad walked away.  No, he wasn't bitter at all.  the purring thrum of his engine between his knees eased him.  He felt tension melting out of his shoulders as he twisted the throttle.

Up to State Road 97, left on Desmond, then out to the little bridge that crossed Schreiber Creek.  There was no good reason why he did this to himself, not beyond tradition, anyway.  The first truly warm day of the season, he just had to come here, felt it like a pressure in his bones when the weather changed.  He needed to remember.  The air was fresher, here, and sour, too.  Tiny pine cones flushed green against the needles, marsh marigolds grew up in the wet bank slag of the creek.  It had smelled just like this; the light had been just this bright; he had been-  well.  Younger.  Dumber.  More idealistic.  And she?  She had been incredible.  Soft, willing, muddy at the knees...  He would have sold himself into slavery for her.  Instead, he just sold everything he owned and bought her the prettiest diamond he could afford.

She promptly showed it to her mother, who bought her two carat stud earrings and a four carat pendant necklace to show it up.  He ought to have known better, but how could he have?  All he'd seen was her smiling teeth and her soft, blue eyes.

So he rode out here, every damned year, and tortured himself with visions of her hair tangled in new grass and the sound of her innocent snorting laugh.  Reminded himself that all he really needed in this world he could carry on his own back or that of his machine, and tried to forget how her face changed when she wanted something she knew he couldn't give her.  In memorial, he whispered the words of the poem he had spoken on their wedding day.  The poem he had whispered into her sleeping ear the day they'd come here the very first time.

He swung his leg over the seat of his old VFR and pulled out.  And just like every year before, he promised himself that next year, he'd be somewhere else.  Somewhere too far to come back.  Somewhere the heat of the sun didn't feel like fingers stroking his cheek.
RascallyRabbit RascallyRabbit
31-35, F
2 Responses May 16, 2012

I like it.

"and tortured himself with visions of her hair tangled in new grass and the sound of her innocent snorting laugh"<br />
<br />
Does the torture ever stop?

hmmm... hasn't yet. guess it depends whether or not he reaches escape velocity between now and this time next year. the thrust, is the thing. necessary force.

I have a feeling his orbit will always bring him back. Maybe not in body, but always in soul.