A death long foretold

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Story written for a book of mine called "Distorted Perceptions of Reality"

Submitted: August 30, 2012

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Submitted: August 30, 2012



A death long foretold

Dane Broome

She had come all the way to Minnesota to live with him, in the little harbor city of Duluth. He described it to her with so much passion and the most vivid of expressions. She felt quite disillusioned when she arrived in the midst of the coldest winter in twenty six years. That cold air was dry and brutal and being from Tennessee she had never breathed an air so cold that would hurt her lungs to inhale.

They met on a Greyhound bus years back. They sat together from Dallas to Phoenix where she was going to visit her mother's sister that was dying from cancer at the time, and he was finally nearing the Mexican border after a three day ride from Minneapolis. She admired him for his young, adventurous spirit and his desire to embark on a long adventure to such a faraway place in search of his identity. He had gone with the intention of meeting many people and didn't ever expect to hear from her again, especially considering the age difference-- she was quite some years older than him. He felt something special, however, and before she got in her taxi he asked for her telephone number.

The years did pass and times did change as did their lives as most do when one grows older. Each one could easily spend hours reminiscing about how things used to be. They maintained contact very well, of course in those days technology facilitated this in such ways that it was easy to take for granted the art of communication.

One summer he traveled to see her. He'd been to Tennessee once when he was a boy. His family had driven through on their way to the sea shore. His mother admired those rolling hills and the miles of endless scenery that you can observe atop the rocky cliffs; the ranches and hobby farms boarding horses and that whole "free spirited" way of living. That is how he remembered it, but when he arrived he knew that the times had changed as did his perceptions on what is seemingly admirable and what is truthfully delusional.

The people he met laughed at him when he pronounced Minnesota. "Oh, he's just a damn Yankee, what more can you expect from a northerner, their too damned close to them damned Canadians". He had never really taken time to reflect on how vast and regional his country really was. The further he got from Minnesota the more he stuck out like a sore thumb.

She treated him real well though, when he visited her. The evening he arrived she took him for some bourbon whiskey in an uptown Nashville saloon. The country music rang out and from the streets and it was merely impossible to recognize any song in particular, as they all rang out with such impulsiveness that they just mixed together and made it difficult to even think. They entered into a saloon playing a Merle Haggard song. It was the only place on that strip that didn't have bright lights flashing. There was one long bar against the back wall and a stairwell going to an upstairs that had booths set up where people of all age groups were set drinking bourbon whiskeys. The air smelled of potent tobacco smoke and it burned his eyes because he wasn't accustomed to so much smoke in one place. The bars back in Minnesota seemed to be better ventilated.

They nestled into a cozy little booth in the corner.

"So, what do you think of Nashville"?

"It makes my eyes hurt from so much damned smoke and my head hurts from so much bad country music."

"Bad music? Why do you say? You don't like country music?"

"Let's just say that the only reason I allowed you to take me into this saloon is because it was the only place that wasn't playing the terrible, modern day radio country, but I see that that only lasted one song."

She smiled at him and took a cocktail menu from the waitress.

"So you're into the old country?"

"Well, I certainly don't care much for the new stuff. Do you?"

"Well, I am from Nashville, what would you expect? Here you don't have the option to hear anything else."

He chuckled.

"Why, what do you guys listen to in Minnesota that is so great?"

"I guess someday you'll have to come and find out".

She stared into his eyes with the same warm and abrasive look in her eyes that once captured his attention many years ago on that bus to Phoenix. Her smile was very sweet. Despite the age difference he found her to be quite beautiful.

"Trust in me, that someday I will come to Minnesota to see you."

She leaned over and kissed him with those soft and warm lips she had fixed up to be real pretty for him. It was the first time their lips had ever made contact, but it was followed by many more similar episodes later that night. When the waitress came around he ordered them each a double bourbon whiskey without even opening the menu.

They must have stumbled home well after three o'clock in the dawn hours because all of the other places were closed down. They walked up eight flights of stairs and she fumbled her keys a few times before opening the door. Her place looked beautiful and he removed his shoes and fell freely onto her bed and she slipped into her night gown and joined him. Their lips made contact and she began to unbutton his shirt. The first light of the day was coming in through the window.

He woke up some hours later and she was there looking out the window at the busy street below. He drifted off back to sleep.

In Minnesota things were a bit different. The night life wasn't nearly as lively as that of Nashville. Duluth was hilly and it was a long and exhausting walk from his house to the downtown district, and even more exhausting getting back home.

He was from a small town in Northern Wisconsin and all of his life Duluth had seemed like a great city where all of the artists and authors lived and gathered inspiration in their daily lives. At night you could go there and see the bright lights of the city that glowed from many miles away. "Perhaps you'll like it better in the summer, you're just not used to the brutal winters" he'd say. At night she'd lay shivering under the wool blanket and though he hugged her tightly she felt far from home and quite lonely.

Spring came around and it was a rainy spring. He kept convincing her that the nice city that he'd described would soon appear as soon as the weather permitted it. But a good thirty days passed without seeing any trace of the sun, and one evening he came home from work and it was dark and stormy and she wasn't around the house. He set out to look for her. The lightning struck illuminating the streets every few seconds and all of a sudden the rain came crashing down. He set back for the house to get a rain jacket and when he set back out the door he saw her walking up the hill to the house, her head down, soaking in the rain. She slowly made her way up to the door but she surely wasn't being herself.

"Where have you been? You had me badly worried."

"I needed to get out," she replied, "I've been feeling strange as of lately, quite low, and I don't think it's doing me much good living here all cooped up in that dark bedroom."

That night when they were making love he noticed something strange about her arm and when he held it up to the lamp he saw where there were marks from a needle on the veins of her arm. He got up and searched her jacket and found the needle and strap. He commenced to scold her with an angry voice.

She ran into the bathroom and cut up her wrists with a half dull razor blade. He kicked the door to break the latch and she was bleeding good. He caught her as she was falling and grabbed a dry towel to hold against her wrist and stop the bleeding. "What was she thinking?" He felt terrible. She didn't feel happy there with him. He needed to get her back to Nashville before it was too late. He'd stay with her out there and get her some help. She was murmuring something that he failed to comprehend and began foaming from the mouth. It had never occurred to him that she was a junky. He wished she hadn't been because despite the age difference she made him feel so infatuated and enamored, and he knew that come summer she'd love his city and together they could live happily. He fell asleep there holding that towel against her. He woke up sometime later and she was taking his clothes off kissing his body but he was too tired to keep his eyes open.

In the morning he wished he had made a better attempt to stay awake because it was sometime in the course of the night that she hung herself in the closet with a black belt that his grandfather had given him when he was a boy. He found her naked body dangling lifelessly and he wept loudly as the rain came crashing down against the tin roof of the house.

© Copyright 2018 Dane Broome. All rights reserved.

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