“No!” Sarah bolted out of the apartment, “I’m sorry” following her. She ran to the elevator, mashing the buttons again and again. She wiped stray tears away and dashed to the stairwell exit, slamming the door open. Her feet tapped down the stairs faster than ever before. The pace ate the floors in a blur until she looked up to see nowhere else to go but out.
She barreled into the lobby, afraid of pursuit. She kept her head down, acknowledging no one and accepting none in return. The cold city air slapped her as she exited. She thrust her hands in her pockets, hunched her shoulders, and strode down the sidewalk. Shoulders jostled her sideways as she forced her way through the bustling crowd.
He held her hand as they walked down the beach, wind whipping their hair. The sun set painted the sky indigo, crimson, and orange, while the waves lapped against the shore. He chuckled and she glanced at him. He swept her off her feet and splashed into the surf, both of them laughing when he fell. He pulled her close and kissed her in the fading rays.
“Hey, watch it!” The rough voice jolted her back to awareness. She looked around, surprised to see herself several blocks away. A convenience store beckoned to her, and she shuffled inside. “A pack of Marlboro Menthol’s and a lighter.” She tossed the money on the counter, took the smokes and flame, and scurried out, ignoring the “Hey, lady, don’t you want your change?”
She jammed her purchase in her jacket and took a second to catch her bearings. She nodded and continued her subconscious journey. She paused at the corner as sirens wailed and a police car zipped past, red and blue bright against the deepening gloom.
“I’m home. I had the most horrible day.” She dropped her purse on the floor and tossed her keys on the stand by the door, exhausted from her shift. “Todd?” She walked into the living room, mouth agape when she noticed the red and blue streamers strung across the ceiling holding a silvery sign that read “Happy Birthday!” Todd burst out of the kitchen with her favorite dessert, a chocolate cake.
She laughed. “It’s not my birthday!”
He shrugged. “I couldn’t find a sign that said “I Love You” so I made do with what I had.” He set the cake down, flipped on the radio, then gathered her in his arms to dance to the soft guitar strains wafting from the speakers.
The park by the river where he had proposed loomed ahead. Her pace quickened as she sought the bench overlooking the bay. Nobody sat there and she claimed the seat for herself, exactly the spot where she sat three years ago when she met him, and three months ago during…
Sarah’s fingers clenched around the box in her pocket and she pulled it out. Once the cigarette dangled, she flicked the lighter, but her shaking hands kept causing the flame to dance and die. She yanked the cigarette from her mouth, ran to the railing, and threw both it and the lighter in the water with a scream that shattered the quiet night. “DAMN IT!”
He pleaded with her. “It’s only for a few da-“
“Go just…go. If your job’s more important than me, then just get out!” She turned her back on him, arms crossed.
“We’ll talk when I get back.”
“LEAVE!” She started crying when the door closed behind her.
She fell to her knees, no longer able to bear the weight of her pain. It wasn’t long before familiar arms wrapped around her. She looked up at a concerned face. “Daddy?”
“I’m here, sweetheart.”
“We fought, Daddy. It’s my fault he…”
His voice took on the gentle, but firm, voice he used when she was little. “It’s not your fault. Accidents happen.”
“But…but…,” she lowered her voice to a whisper. “I told him to leave.” She buried her face in his shoulder. “That was the last thing I said to him before…Why did he have to die?” she wailed.
Her father hugged her tight, knowing only time could soothe the edges of her torn heart.
Word Count: 700
For a new challenge for me: Mid-Week Blues Buster. Every week they post a music prompt to inspire stories. You don’t have to write about the song or even reference it. It’s just to get your mind going. There is a word count of 500, but it is a “slushy” 500, which means you can go as high as 700 (good for me in this case) or as low as 300. Just write and post your story in the comments.
The music prompt (and my new favorite song):
Hope you enjoy.
Happy Reading and Writing!