The Crunch

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
This particular story came to me one night in a sudden burst of motivation. The idea came, and they kept coming. Before I knew it I had a whole story, in just one night. It is one of my only finished works, and I am very proud of it. Please give me your feedback.

Submitted: May 02, 2016

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Submitted: May 02, 2016

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"The Crunch" by JCR O'Neal

I looked up from the pages of Love is a Dog From Hell.

 

I watched her walk into the cafe.

 

She was looking for a table to sit. Her amber eyes searching for an open space. Her lips resting as if they were ready to leap into a smile at any moment. Her dark brown hair flowed down and stopped like it was afraid to injure her delicate looking shoulders.

 

She had a book in her hand. Slaughterhouse Five.

 

It was impossible.

 

My favorite novel was resting in her thin, gentle hands. Caressed by her sweet, lonely fingers.

 

What were the odds.

 

I couldn’t break my gaze as she waltzed to an open table. She pulled the chair out and sat down, all alone.

 

She teased her hair in a way that made my heart stop.

 

She looked at me. Straight in the eyes.

 

I tried to look away, but she caught me staring.

 

I’ll never forget that look.

 

Her eyes tore straight through me. They tore through every doubt and every insecurity I had ever created. Her eyes cut into the deepest parts of my soul, where no one else had dared to explore. They corrected every mistake I had ever made before I laid eyes upon her. And those beautifully brutal eyes erased the pain of every heartbreak I had ever had to endure. Those eyes made every other pair of eyes sparkle a little less. They lifted the weight of loneliness off of my shoulders even it was just for a glance.

 

Her eyes were like the diamonds God used to illuminate the sky at night. Perfect diamonds.

 

I looked back down at the pages in front of me and tried my best to pretend like she didn’t catch me humiliating myself. I bore my eyes into the lines of poetry as if somehow it would make me disappear.

 

I thought to myself, “Oh God. She probably thinks you are some kind of freak.”

I started packing up my things, in a desperate attempt to escape the cafe before she could memorize what my face looked like. Perhaps I could meet her again when I wasn’t making dumbass googley eyes at her. I was moving so fast I couldn't manage to put my things back in my backpack. I kept fumbling all my books and my pencil bag went spilling onto the floor.

 

“I look like such an idiot!”

 

I was screaming at myself on the inside, just begging not to make myself look anymore like a loser.

 

As I was bent over picking up my pens and pencils, I heard the most beautiful voice to ever fill my ears.

 

“Let me help you.” She was speaking to me.

 

Those words could have liberated the billions of souls locked behind the gates of hell. Her voice could have made the world stop if she commanded it to do so. And those words were for my ears to hear.

 

I couldn't utter a word.

 

She bent down to help me pick up my pens, but I had forgotten they had spilled. All I noticed was the way her lips pouted when she was focused on the task. I was mesmerized.

 

She noticed my paralysis.

 

She spoke, “I noticed that you were reading Bukowski.”

 

I still didn't speak.

 

“I would have to say my favorite poem of his would have to be ‘The Crunch’, but that’s everyone’s favorite. I’m not very original.”

 

All I managed to say was, “Thank you.”

 

She looked into my eyes once more. Almost as if she were trying to lure out what had been hiding inside of me for seventeen years. Just waiting, begging for someone to bring it out. She knew I was hiding something. Something no one had ever noticed in me before.

 

“Which poem do you like the most?” She asked me.

 

I responded: “Well I. I um. I’m not sure. It’s so hard to choose just one.”

 

She continued to look at me. Forcing the words out of my mouth.

 

“I really enjoy ‘Prayer in Bad Weather’, because I just really like sad endings for some reason.”

 

“Why do you like sad endings so much?”

 

“Well um. I guess it’s because the world isn’t necessarily a happy place. Happy endings are so rare. So a sad ending contains more truth than a happy ending does.”

 

“That’s a very morbid way to look at things.”

 

“Yeah, I guess so.”

 

“Well if you ask me a happy ending soothes the soul. It helps us forget the sadness that exists in the world.”

 

Her hand brushed against mine as she reached for my red pen. I felt my stomach drop like the atom bomb. My heart stopped. My breath quickened.

 

“Well. I. I guess you have a point.”

 

“You ‘guess’ a lot. Did you know that?”

 

“I guess I didn’t.”

 

She laughed at me. I swear to you, that laugh could have cured the worst case of cancer that ever existed. And that smile.. well that smile could have lit up every inch of darkness that exists in the universe.

 

We stood up. She was still looking at me. Exploring my facial features like there was some deeper treasure buried underneath. Some treasure that had yet been discovered by anyone else.

 

“What’s your name?”

 

“I’m uh. Chris. What is yours?”

 

“I’m Audrey.”

 

She shook my hand. I had never felt a grasp so caring, or so kind. It was like she was afraid to pierce my skin or crush my bones.

 

“Audrey. That’s a beautiful name.”

 

“Why thank you. My mom had a slight obsession with Breakfast At Tiffany’s.”

 

She didn’t let go of my hand. She held it there. And I’m glad she did. I’m afraid if she had let go, that the moment might have shattered and she would have disappeared in front of my eyes. But she kept her grasp.

 

I looked down at our hands intertwined and she followed my gaze.

 

I quickly broke our handshake and picked up the last of my pens. I zipped up my jansport and threw the strap over my shoulder.

 

“It was a pleasure to meet you Audrey, but I. I’m sorry I have to go.”

 

I turned away from her and began walking toward the cafe door. My heart was begging for me to turn around and go back to her. But my brain was telling me to keep walking.

 

Before I could push open the wood doors, Audrey had caught up with me and blocked my path.

 

She gazed at me again with those piercing eyes. I was powerless.

 

“You're not getting away that easy.”

 

I took a step back and I looked at her.

 

Her converse were planted firm to the ground. They were tied with huge bunny ears looping over each side. Her black jeans hugged her gorgeous legs a little too tight. And the Harvard sweatshirt she had on was three sizes too big. But it was the look in her eyes that was bewitching.

 

I could have gotten past her of course. But why would I want to?

 

She took my hand and pulled me behind her as she rushed out the door of the cafe out into the brisk autumn night. She walked us out to the middle of the street. The cars were driving around us, seeming to part just for this one tiny, insignificant moment. The sounds of the city silenced and the fall breeze ceased. It was as if the universe was working in our favor. Working to help create this one, tiny, oh so insignificant moment.

 

“Look!”

 

Her elegant arm extended toward the night sky.

 

I had no idea what she was directing my attention to. The moon wasn’t anywhere to be seen.

I looked at Audrey confused. She took my arm and pointed it for me at what I was suppose to be seeing.

 

“It’s a lunar eclipse. See how the moon is hiding? It’s almost as if he is wanting to see if anyone will notice his absence. He knows we take him for granted.”

 

I had never taken such an interest into space until that very moment.

 

“I notice you moon. We notice you.”

 

She looked at me, with those eyes that seemed to contain the whole cosmos inside them. They were like a door to a neverending world of mystery and pleasure. A door that I would have opened even if had to break it down. No matter how long it took, I would open it. And see what beautiful things are hiding inside just waiting to be loved. I bet they contained more knowledge than could ever be obtained about the planets and the stars. I can imagine the mysteries far greater than those that lie amongst the galaxies, just torturing us, taunting the curious and the doubtful.

 

I wanted so badly for that door to be mine to open.

 

Our eyes were locked in a gaze that could never be broken. I felt her fingers slip in between mine almost as if they were missing puzzle pieces finally finding each other. She leaned into me and I leaned closer to her. My heart was beating so hard i was afraid she would hear it. My hands began to shake but she steadied them with her grasp. She pulled me closer to her and I could feel the warmth of her breath. Our lips met like two comets who were destined to collide, like it was written in the cosmos. I felt her hand on my neck, and I held her waist in my hands.

 

The kiss was broken apart.

 

All I saw was the tile and my pens scattered across the cafe floor.

I looked up and saw her walking away, leaving me on the ground gathering up my pens and pencils. I saw her heading for the doors. I tried to call out to her but she was out the door when the words left my trembling lips.

 

I stood up and ran after her, but by the time I got outside she was nowhere to be seen.

 

I stood out in the cold, autumn night. Hearing the noise of the city, and feeling the merciless fall breeze. The cars kept driving this time. Going in and out of my sight like a blurr.

 

“Audrey.” I could only whisper.

I looked up at the night sky, and I saw the moon. Hiding.

If only I could do the same.

 

I made my way back into the warmth and safety of the cafe. I finished packing up my things and told the barista goodnight.

 

Bukowski said it best: “there is a loneliness in the world so great that you can see it in the slow movements of the hands of a clock.”

 

Never had those words cut so deep.


I guess I’m just a sucker for sad endings.

 


© Copyright 2017 JCR O'Neal. All rights reserved.