I wrote this story a while back and I played around with it in a workshop session recently. It’s not really a short, most likely it’s the start of something larger. But I like some of the imagery.
“One Week With Her”
I stepped away from the field office around 6:00 p.m. last Friday. Wearing a sweatshirt and two jackets, the sidewalk caught my legs as the journey home began. An icy chill stung my face, my feet were being water-boarded by my socks, and I grew more dissatisfied with existence the longer I persisted. Straining every ounce of fortitude to go forward, I finally reached the intersection bordering my neighborhood.
A light snow began to fall, faint, like it didn’t want to rush its existence. I jammed my forefinger into the cross walk button, silently begging for the old light to allow me access across the unguarded street. To my left the distant lights of a vibrant city, full of engaging people with glorious lives marauding around with intensity. In front of me, the bare nobility of the outskirts of my neighborhood blithely beckoned me homeward. And, to my right, a brightly colored car came visible over the horizon. A distant hum, the kind someone tends to notice when a speeding car is approaching, grew louder. Exponentially the car encroached on me, forcing me to ignore the newly welcoming stop light. My heart pounded and my breathing became stagnant. My fingers shook. Was it frostbite? No, I was wearing gloves. The coupe came on me in an instant. It skidded through a stop at the crosswalk, forcing me to jump backward. A door burst open and a woman – the woman – erupted from inside the car. Five-foot eight, with flashing red hair, her black dress made her soft skin look like the snow tried to take shape and create beauty. She collided into me, literally and figuratively, dropping her purse, yet kept moving. She had no intention of coming back.
Instinctively I grabbed the clutch and careened forward.
“Miss, your purse!” I yelled as I chased after her. The snow whirled around me and I became encompassed in a flakey white wall of ivory snow, with eyes locked on my flashing red beacon.
“I don’t want it!” She yelled back, not stopping to satiate my pleasantry.
Suddenly I lost my senses. No longer was I worried about frostbite. No longer did I notice the pounding in my chest. No longer did I care about how I was breathing or if my feet were wet. I had to get to her. Eventually a Chrysler careened into the abandoned coupe and her feet froze to the alleyway upon hearing the crash. A group of men leapt out of the 300 and, at the sight of seeing them, she erupted into the alley.
I stopped at the mouth of the backstreet and watched her run. When she looked back, she saw me and stopped.
“If you want to live you need to come with me. Run!” She yelled. Her voice had a sense of desperation that went uneasily ignored.
I looked back at the men, who began to notice where I was. Not wanting to risk it, I sprinted down the alley. The senses came back. Fear became me. But I had to keep up. Passing trash cans, back doors, and fire escapes, we ran until we reached a garage. She stopped on a dime and began molesting the wall.
“What are you doing?” I beckoned, taken aback by the situation I had wandered into.
“Shut up!” She barked, continuing to paw for something she obviously knew was there.
I looked back to the other side of the alley. A beam of light from the sunset temporarily blinded me. And while my vision was blurred, I clearly saw the men had turned the corner with brandished guns in hand.
“Woah!” I exclaimed, coming to full realization of my plight. “They have guns!”
“I know they have guns,” she retorted blithely, not appeasing me with a glance. After a moment her hands hit a panel and her fingers worked in a code. The garage opened and she jumped into the type of car you would see Paul Walker die in. She flung the driver-side door open and motioned for me to get in. I hesitated for a moment until our eyes caught each other.
“Get in or die!” She screamed.
Instantaneously I was in the car. A car that made the buildings, other cars and people look like one big blur as we raced by.
“Who the fuck are you?” I pleaded, confused at how the past ten minutes had played out.
“Not yet.” She said, without breaking her gaze on the road.
“I just want to…” I began.
“Look, I’ll tell you it all but for right now you just have to shut up!” And at that moment she swiveled the car onto the highway. Swerving through lane after lane, trying to reduce the distance from wherever she was to wherever she intended to go.
We rode for an hour, in silence, but then she told me everything.
I can’t remember the last time I relaxed. I don’t think I ever was relaxed. Ever. Life in the states gave us endless relaxation options that all promised to fulfill every wish society wanted. Who ever thought all I needed was a beer, an inner tube, and the ocean?
The sun shined and a warm wind brushed upon me. My toes glided through the water and my arms were developing a border-line sun burn. The toe line connected to the inner tube began to tighten and I looked towards the skiff.
“Babe!” She began to call from the side of the boat. “Are you hungry?”
“I could eat!” I called back. I downed the rest of the beer and began to swim back to the skiff. Climbing upward, my bikini bottomed beauty came into sight. She smiled and kissed me on the cheek.
“I have something on the grill.” She said and turned away.
“Are they finished?”
I went inside and looked at the table, which was strewn with building schematics, dossiers and figure sheets. The meticulous nature of each piece of paper was only diminished by the simplicity of the stage. It was going to be a work of art.
I grabbed another drink from the cooler and made my way topside.
“So, what do you think?” She called as I took the wheel.
“It looks magnificent,” I smiled.
I pushed the throttle to begin back to the port. The warmth of the wind invigorated my body and filled my senses. With each wave I was refreshed and took stock in the choices I had made during the past week. The sounds of the birds and the people grow louder as we approach port. She comes to the wheel and kisses my neck. The more that happened the more right I was feeling with everything.
“Dinner is almost ready,” she whispers and rubs the small of my back.
I couldn’t go back to what my life once was and I was ok with that. I didn’t need to. I didn’t want to. I had her. I had some who made me feel the thoughts and ideas that I never thought would take shape. She was my savior. She was my soul. She’s my wife. The bank robber. And we found our next heist.