The heated sand of the beachhead nipped at his toes as he dismounted his truck. He didn’t mind much, since the ocean was always cold. One of the benefits of being so far south and away from the warmer tides, along with the possibility of a great white appearing to munch on his board.
Still, the froth of the water was most inviting, making him wish he had brought both surfing platform and wetsuit. But that would have to wait for another time. Today, there was a plan. So simple, it had no hitch, but it carried a great weight to it.
At first, it had begun as a fling , a reunion between friends and nothing more, for long had it been since they had spoken. It was the only reason he had ventured homeward at all, since there was little else to look forward to in such a trite little community. But like the land that marked his birthplace, there had been much more potential to this. To her. Only the smallest of sparks was needed to kindle the inferno, beginning with feverish kisses and primal expressions in the darkness of a theater. Some might have thought this a warning or a sign of things to come, but not him. He had found paradise, purpose, and possibility in life. And he promised to explore every inch of it.
What followed was nothing short of chaos. Sure, every relationship had its hustle and bustle, highs and lows, agonies and ecstasies, but this was … was there a word for it? Pandemonium, perhaps? Bedlam, because brightest days carried darkest nights? Mayhem, mainly for the discord and outright demonization of everything he had thought he stood for?
But through it all, he had never lost hope. Battered, yes. Beaten, many times. But never broken. He had not placed his world on a spoon for her to be slapped away like that.
He shook his head grimly to himself. Whatever diode still carrying those thoughts needed to be shut down, extracted and placed in the pail he now buried halfway in the coarse grounds around him for stability. Once that was secure, he went back for the rest.
Opening the cab if his chariot, he cursed as his cargo spilled out at his feet. Even fate had one last stab waiting for him, as what stared back up into the sky now was a picture. Their picture. The one taken the day he summoned all courage and knightly pride on the planet, and dropped to a knee to present her with a stone that would last only half as long as his love for her would.
The mere thought of it now brought a rancid taste to his throat. It reminded him that there was a time where his purpose was clear. He wasn’t just hers back then, he was all hers. Every smile she had worn, he had helped build, even in the smallest degree. Every rant of her hardships through life, the universe and everything he had lent his ears and mind to.
But looking back at it now, he knew that was a lie. A lie he had forced onto himself and others. A falsehood, wrapped in dishonesty and topped with anger. Her elocution had left no question when she parted her final goodbyes. After that, the purpose had been lost, replaced by the faceless who had kept him company on single sporadic nights, the whiskey he had tried to drown himself in to purge that very smile from his mind, and the work that had become his new slavemaster.
And then came the day he knew would come, the day that brought him to the waterfront on this mission. The day her salacious ways captured another man, much as they had held him so willingly. Now that smile he had so carefully crafted mocked him, spat on whatever dreams he had built for them, and crushed the picture in his grasp. But that was his wish after all. He had said it many times, wishing and praying for her happiness, no matter what shape it took. Then was that a lie as well, to illicit such a reaction now? She was happy after all, so his pleas had been heard. That left just one last step.
The feeling of the crumpling memory in his palm kicked him back into the moment. There was much left to do, and standing here moping would accomplish none of it. He was here on a mission; to be rid of these last few reminders. To finally purge the days of these hollow memories that coagulated around his heart and tried to shoke him from within. To burn them all away and rise anew from the ashes.
When he noticed the beauty parked next to him, he had to smile. A relic of another generation, complete with white-walled tires, the smell of carbureted exhaust and all the good things in life that weakened the ozone. And he let himself wonder, just for a moment, if he would be here now if he had lived back in the days of 8-Track and Detroit muscle. Without the modern conveniences of life, he would have never discovered this final breaking point, he would have simply drifted onward in ignorance, however forced. So which was the worst offense?
But he didn’t. He was here now, and there was work to do.
The fire from his bucket created a second star as Sol faded under the waves. An inferno fueled by broken promises that now tasted like lies and sins shaped like sweet memories. Each of them incinerated while the lullaby of the waves kept him company. When all it had finally been destroyed and the container was cooled by the water, he tossed the ashes into the froth to be washed away forever. Though the fire did not reveal what he had hoped, nor did the water clean his wings for new flight. Only the purr of eight cylinders and the deathly silent night followed him home. Which was fine by him. It was his road now, however solitary it was.
My entry for this week’s Free Write Friday. And I really don’t know which one I hate, loathe and despise more; what I wrote, or the fact that I am given cause to write anything like it at all. Oh well, maybe dumping all that into a post like this will knock it out of me. We shall see.
I hope you all enjoy! Now to head somewhere where I can burn some of this energy out of me, the gym!