Monday, February 28, 2005

On the way home, conclusion

Tony came into town a few days early and had every intention of spending as much time with Jane as possible. The town in which they grew up, where she still lived, was on the far suburban reaches of a major city. Not exactly the sticks, but far enough for her, and surrounded by factories, chemical plants, and the kind of blue collar bars that catered to the blue collar locals. He agreed to meet her at her favorite icehouse.

They talked for hours, but it didn't seem to last that long. He talked about himself, and she talked about herself, but they didn't talk about them being together. Better to dance around that subject a bit longer, but neither was fooling the other that it was the reason they were there in the first place. He listened to her tales of heartbreak and for the first time in a very long time he really heard what a woman was saying to him. He began to feel the heartbreak she had felt, and the heartbreak he had caused those other women. He began to doubt, and began to think that they wouldn't, couldn't be together.

They closed down that little icehouse, but 'last call' doesn't mean the night is over. He followed her home and she poured a couple glasses of wine. She was about to launch into another story of heartbreak when he leaned in to kiss her. Not a kiss to shut her up, though that was an unintended benefit. It was a kiss to apologize for the pain she had felt and the pain he had caused. A nice kiss, the way nice boys kiss nice girls. It was just the right thing at just the right time and now she wanted him to stay. He knew she wanted him to stay and he knew how to get her to ask him to, but he stood up as the words had just begun to form on her lips.

He could have tried to explain it to her. She hadn't said anything when he kissed her, and she hadn't said anything when he stood up to leave. She had no way of knowing that he finally understood that he had caused such heartbreak. Not her heartbreak, but the difference didn't matter to him. Of course, she thought she'd done the wrong thing and her face flushed with embarassment. The furrowed brow asked the question for her, one to which she didn't think she could stomach an answer. He should have tried to explain it to her, but the only thing he could think of was that tonight he could still hurt her. He kept that to himself and kissed her wrinkled forehead instead. A smile and a wink punctuated the sentence. He knew he'd see her again soon. This night, however, was over.

He headed back into the city and actually felt pretty good about things. A single kiss didn't undo a string of empty relationships. Leaving when he could have stayed didn't erase the past, but he felt like he might have turned a corner. Nobody else even knew he was in town so nobody would have expected him or been shocked to see him coming home at 3 in the morning. The rain came out of nowhere. Unfamiliar roads, now slick, he strained his eyes to find that turnoff in the dark. He saw the sign at the last second, too late to slow down. He rolled that little pick 'em up truck 2 and a half times, finally coming to rest upside down in a ditch rapidly filling with rainwater. This night was definitely over.

16 Comments:

At 6:52 AM, Blogger Badaunt said...

Is this a man thing, or what? A couple of semesters ago I got my classes writing love stories. The guys were all upset at first, until I told them the stories could be comedy, or horror, or science fiction, or anything they wanted, as long as there was a love story in it. Then they got into it.

The girls wrote a variety of stories. The guys ALL wrote love stories with tragic endings.

 
At 7:31 AM, Blogger tonia said...

you were right. i don't like the ending.

 
At 7:43 AM, Blogger Kate the Peon said...

NOOO!!! Me no likey!

 
At 9:24 AM, Blogger Allie#3ga said...

I prefer the happily ever after endings my own self. and just so you know - that's SO not the end. she has to go find him and nurse him back to health - THEN the happily ever after happens.

that's what.

 
At 9:25 AM, Blogger Zelda said...

Very sad. If this isn't a true story, then why did you have to kill HIM off?

 
At 10:56 AM, Blogger Tasty said...

I like the ending. Tragic and right for the story.

 
At 11:15 AM, Blogger Allie#3ga said...

shut up tasty!
=)

 
At 11:56 AM, Blogger tinyhands said...

Oh come on. What do y'all REALLY think?

 
At 12:19 PM, Blogger Stacey said...

I think life happens and some things end badly. Nice endings have their time and place, but in this story, I think you ended it the way it needed to end.

Fate often plays the same trick ...

 
At 11:05 PM, Blogger Badaunt said...

Hey, I didn't say I didn't like it! I just wondered about the guys and tragic endings thing.

(I like it.)

 
At 12:44 AM, Blogger Heather said...

I thought it was beautiful.

 
At 2:22 AM, Blogger mellancollyeyes said...

very nice. i like it. good job th.

 
At 1:59 PM, Blogger Kate the Peon said...

I read it as, maybe he didn't drown. People climb out of cars in the water all the time. Maybe it just meant, the night was over, as in, no more fun.

 
At 3:24 PM, Blogger tinyhands said...

Well, I intended it to mean that he survived the car wreck, only to drown in the ditch. I thought it would be ironic or something. If you prefer to believe that her psychic intuition led her to him and she rescues him, I guess I can't complain. Likewise, if you want to believe that she goes out into the rain to find him but gets struck by lightning and SHE dies (Zelda?) I'm ok with that too.

Theic- Guys and tragedy are the yin to your romantic yang. There's nothing wrong with my yang, that's just not what this story was about. ;)

I'll stick to exaggerated non-fiction from now on.

 
At 3:50 PM, Blogger Allie#3ga said...

consider this a formal request for stories about your yang.

that don't involve cereal

 
At 5:37 PM, Blogger Zelda said...

I say if you're going to write a tragedy, go full on Armegeddon. Everyone goes. Jane, Tony, bartender, grocery store clerk, little old lady crossing the street, everyone Tony has ever considered screwing, and the truck.

 

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