The Bridge

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Two lovers. One bridge. One decision.

Submitted: September 17, 2013

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Submitted: September 17, 2013

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They had agreed to meet here every day at lunch. There was something about the neutrality of this place that spoke to both of them. “Not mine, not yours”, he liked to repeat. “Ours”, she added. Meeting here made it feel like what they had between them was untouchable. It did not belong to anyone, perhaps not even them, but to their surroundings. They walked for just one hour, holding hands and speaking softly. They could also scream and laugh here without the fear of being noticed and heard. The noisiness was lost in the symphony orchestrated by birds and trees, and the river. But just like the bridge created the illusion of continuity, meeting here made the fog of hopes slither, filling them with a silent wish that their story could continue, too.

Whatever life has in store for us, we seldom march through it with big steps. We take one, stop and consider the next big move, accepting consequences of every action. His job certainly did not call for a ton of responsibility, the kind that makes you cringe under all the weight you feel every hour of every day. On the contrary, the path seemed to be laid out. However, the responsibility of their relationship was getting heavier, and he did not quite know what a man should do about it. It certainly felt too good to get rid of it. Love lifted up his spirits, brightened up his day and did all the other things of which songs try to convince us, but it came with and enforced responsibility, primarily that of a secretive nature. In a town where everyone knew each other, in a company where everyone’s nose would be much longer if only it corresponded to the extent to which that nose was in others’ business, he struggled to gain his own corner. So, he did not want to share his love story with anyone else: he panicked at the thought of questions and felt fatigue from a possibility of explaining everything. However, once he stepped on to the bridge, he left his other self behind: the self that was afraid and doubtful, the self that lacked freedom.  

It would be a relief to hear that she constituted the opposite, pointing to it as a primary reason for their mutual attraction. The eternal search for that one person, who would complement us while turning into better human beings, can be our shining armor, protecting us by chasing away our own nightmares. Indeed, the easiness with which we would then say, “Ah, how lovely! Those are all the qualities that I lack, and that is why our bond is so strong.” Alas, that was not the case. The bridge did wonders for her, too. No people snooping around, no questions about the future, ‘free as a river’, as Stevie Wonder would sing. She felt as if their story had a touch of mystery to it. Naturally, the idea seemed appealing to her.

Upon their separation at the end of lunch hour, they were left with the very same questions they had tried so hard to avoid, since answering to oneself never really allows you to pass on it. Others could not ask them, but they could: what is next? Truth to be told, the simple “till tomorrow, till tomorrow’s lunch” sufficed for a period of time. Unlike their mindset, the paths leading them to the bridge differed, bringing them together from the opposite sides. It awfully resembled some conspiracy movie, in which the two protagonists strove to make everything possible in order to go unnoticed while sharing sensitive information. Interestingly enough, on her way there was a sign as loud as it could possibly be. Warning, stopping, trying to prevent the inevitable. It read: “Dead End”. Her way to the bridge served as an outlet, thus escaping to be identified as a final destination. Was it the world’s way of telling her that every relationship has to evolve to avoid becoming stale and turning into a swamp? Perhaps.

Spring became summer, which, following the nature’s course, transformed into fall. They were still meeting, laughing, circling around the same foundation they had built. However, the excitement of the old days began to fade away. Even the most delicious meal loses its charm once you get used to eating it every day without the possibility to choosing something slightly different. She noticed that her jealousy slowly but surely started to get the best of her whenever she looked at her friends and heard them chatting away about their boyfriends, husbands, trips together. The world outside the lunch hour’s constraints was certainly bigger and brighter, and encouraging, and intoxicating. So, she cast a glance at him every now and then, while her mind repeated, “Dead end, dead end.” Although not the most perceptive of men, he, too, spotted occasional curves in the flow of their relationship.  She appeared sadder and quieter, and he desired to once again get out of the box, but old habits die hard: he had gotten used to his passive way of life, comfortable and cozy, and had come to believe he was not meant for life’s white water rafting. Hence, he kept silent.

It was the 20th of December. He stood on their bridge, breathing in the crispy air. Grey skies, flurries falling and melting once they touched his coat. His watch showed ten minutes past twelve, but she was not there. He paced back and forth, turning around to make sure he would not miss her walking towards him, smiling as she had done before. Ten minutes later the loneliness was still his only companion. With every passing second, his panic grew, as he began to realize he had no intention of being alone in his life’s boat, with one paddle, while the other one was half a bridge away. He moved in her path’s direction. Closer. Closer. At last, he stood near the bridge’s end. He had never thought of a single step being so difficult. He started gasping for breath, feeling as if he was falling down a dark hole. Then it suddenly stopped. He took a step, crossed the line, and stepped on to the pavement on the other side. His phone rang.

“Hello?”

Fin.


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