Ok, ladies and gents.The story is a bit longer so if you make it to the bottom of the page, I’m hopeful that you’ll think it was a good read. Enjoy. Just another day in the life of me. 🙂
Something Had to Give
John slightly pulls his wrist out of his jacket pocket, making sure he doesn’t reveal the gun he’s holding inside of it. He checks his battered watch. Twenty-three minutes he has been walking towards the theatre. Twenty-three minutes thinking of the pain she caused him. Twenty-three minutes to think about if he should have turned into every alley he passed and end his life instead of theirs. Sweat runs down his entire body. To John, it seems like the closer he gets the more his sweat glands torture his eyes. His hair is wet and ruffled. His black jacket aged beyond belief. His green khaki pants crinkled and scuffed. His brown casual shoes, which oddly resembles a clown’s elongated shoes, are no better. His left shoe has been worn down to the point that the sole is partially hanging off and noticeable to any passerby with every step he takes. John wonders how he never noticed how gloomy and dreadful London looks at night. It sickens him.
Up ahead, the headlights of a passing car reflects off a store’s window, but the light off the huge lettering on the window makes a weird reflection. As he passes the window, the hole in the bottom of his shoe catches on the uneven brick of the sidewalk and he stumbles as he tries to read the lettering. “Angelica’s Bridal”, John says aloud. Behind the lettering is a bride’s dress and he thinks it’s beautiful. He doesn’t realize that it could be any bridal dress and it still would be beautiful to him; as long as he can picture her wearing it. This triggers a thought and that thought reaches back into his memories. His nerves react, and he becomes tense. He feels his heartbeat thumping harder, and its pumping Fear into his veins. He is standing back at the altar right before the moments of saying “I do.” A random man, standing at the farthest corner of the church yells in objection, but John couldn’t understand. He is confused as to what this man is doing… until he starts to lose his grip on her hand. The certainty and resolve in his soon to be wife’s grip dissolves. John remembers his heart racing at that moment, just like it is now. His bride steps off the altar; slowly, but surely. The audience was of no importance. Tears run down her eyes knowing well what she was about to do to him. But she had to do it. The bride walked, then jogged. Finally, she runs towards the man in the shadows. As John still stands at the altar, he looks down at his ring finger and stares at the artifact left from years of wearing his promise ring. John snaps back to reality, even now looking at the same ring finger, with the artifact completely faded.
As he gets closer to the theatre, he begins running for the next ten minutes. Sweat drips all over his jacket. Ten more minutes of heart ache. Tears form at the corner of his eyes. Ten more minutes of a thorny rose constricting tighter and tighter around his heart with every step he takes. Time heals, but Time is surely taken it’s time with John’s heart.
Now its almost time. John turns into the theatre alley heading for the side entrance. He steps on a rock, stumbles forward; catching the hole in his shoe on another brick. With both of his hands stuck in his jacket pockets, he grabs the gun with his right hand preparing to fall. His eyes become wider as he is falling forward. Time seems to immediately stop mid-fall as he realizes two things at that moment. First, that the gun inside his jacket is pointing towards his left leg. Second, that he accidentally pulled the trigger. “Will they hear the gun shot”, he wonders to himself. “Will I bleed to death? Will I get the chance?”
Time slowly resumes again, and John realizes that the gun didn’t fire as he expected. He forgot the hammer wasn’t cocked, but that wasn’t going to protect him from the hard impact as he watches himself moments from hitting the ground. He maneuvers his body as much as he can in hopes that he can turn enough to fall on his back, instead of his face. John’s right shoulder takes the blunt of the impact, but still bumps the side of his head. After a few moments, John picks himself up, but is a bit groggy. His resolve doesn’t waiver however. John will accomplish what he set out to do.
He finally walks into the side entrance of the theatre. He navigates through backstage, and he sees the show’s production crew and actors going about their business. John, however, is only focused on one thing: the voice in the distance. Her voice is as relaxing as the ocean’s waves softly brushing against the sands of a beach, but at this moment it is nothing more than thrashing tidal waves beating boulders into pebbles. John notices an actress grabbing her mouth as he passes by, and the stupor he is still suffering from temporarily changes his focus onto the reason for her reaction. He touches the side of his head, and brings his hands into view. All he sees is scarlet. All he desires is scarlet. He finally reaches the side of the stage, and sees everyone watching the source of the beautiful, yet menacing voice. Scarlet is what they will get tonight.
As he pulls out his gun, the revolver is firm within his hand as he yells her name “JESSIE!” Events begin to unravel as you would expect. The current stage actors and actresses yell and scream. The crowd gasps. And John, he is already aiming of course. One thing caught his eye though; something familiar. The stage’s tapestry casts a shadow partially on one of the actors on stage, who is heading towards John from ten yards away. It was him; the man that took his everything and left John to ruins. John returns his attention to Jessie. Although his arm is in agony as a consequence of falling earlier causing a bit of a shake, he is confident in his aim. John prepares the revolver’s hammer, and pulls the trigger back. Time immediately stops.
Everything has ceased in moving. Everything is stuck in its place. Everyone is frozen, except John and this mysterious man. Both look around observing what is happening, or the lack thereof. They make eye contact, and the man walks over to John. John immediately yells “get away from me,” with obvious pain emitting from his voice.
“Don’t do this. Please don’t do this. I love her.” the man talking slowly and in a very calm manner .
“SHE WAS MINE TO BEGIN WITH! YOU TOOK HER AWAY FROM ME,” John retorted.
“I didn’t take her away from you. She …” the man said but John interrupted.
John lets go of the revolver, but the revolver is still in mid-air pointing at Jessie. “Yes you did! If you didn’t come along we would be happily married by now. Now, now, now you get to take her out on dates. Show her off as a trophy. How many times have you fucked her?! Huh?!”, John said crying.
“John. Listen to me. My name is …” Before the man could finish, everything that is frozen continues moving forward in time just a bit more. The revolver’s hammer inched back into the cylinder of the gun, which is seen by both of them.
“You’re mistaken. My name is Jimmy. I’m the childhood best friend from London she must have told you about. I’m nothing more than that to her, and that has never changed” Jimmy said in a more hasty voice. Time is running out.
“Jim…Jimmy?” John stutters. “She told me you couldn’t make it to Texas. Why did you show up at our wedding like that? Why did she run off with you?” John replied bewildered.
“John. She loves you, but she is not in love with you anymore. I knew that. She knew that. But she was still going to marry you because that’s Jessie. She’s a lover of souls, and she wanted to make you happy. Even at her expense. She didn’t run off with another man. She surely didn’t run away from you. She ran away from unhappiness. Because its, ’Til Death Doth Us Part. So please, don’t shoot her.”
John stood there even more bewildered with tears continuing to flow down his face, but now it may be for different reasons. He didn’t understand at first, but he knew Jessie enough to know that what Jimmy said wasn’t far from the truth. She is a lover of souls.
Fear suddenly pumped into his veins once more with vigor when he notices everything that was frozen moved a bit more again. The gun, in mid-air, began to recoil back a bit. The bullet has begun its path of trajectory. John is consumed with terror he has never experienced before. John fears he has made a grave mistake; the worst mistake of his life.
“Its too late. I can’t do anything about it. I can’t..” John stops mid-sentence.
“It’s not her fault. Do something…” Jimmy stutters. He stares at John intensely hoping for something more than ‘It’s too late.’’
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” John whispers (but more at Jessie than at Jimmy).
They both return to their original positions. Jimmy is back at the sprinting position near the tapestry, but now with a three yard gain. John holds the gun that is still in its recoil phase. They look at each other one last time. Eye to eye. An air of melancholy envelopes them. They turn their gaze to Jessie. Both are mourning over the living. Both are shedding tears during how ever many seconds they have left in frozen time. Both are grieving over the soon-to-be-deceased.