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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
On the edge, Greg needs answers

Submitted: February 20, 2008

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Submitted: February 20, 2008




“Jesus Greg-”

“I didn't ask your opinion for Christ's sake, just pour the drink”

Hunched over the bar table he grabbed the shot of straight scotch from the bar tender. How many was this? 100? 200? 300? How many more shots of this stuff would he take down before it was all over? He pondered this and stared blankly at the rack of bottles ahead of him, across the bar.

“Greg?” the tender tried to get his attention.

But he wasn't there. His mind was already drifting back. Flashing images of a woman, a home, a family. He was eight years old. He was kicking and screaming for his parents. He was panicking as the man put him in a strange looking van. Tears streamed down his face in torrents as he saw the officer put cuffs around his mommy and daddy's wrists. His last bit of hope faded along with the view of his wonderful home in the back window of the Child Services van.

He was 22 years old. He was nervous, shanking, and anxious. He was sitting across the table from the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He had arisen from the ashes of his childhood like a phoenix. He was successful now, he was happy. He felt the box in his pocket almost jump out and present itself to her. “Wait, wait” he told it, good God he was so nervous. Finally, he did it. He went to one knee, held the box to her, and popped the question.

He was left alone on one knee in that restaurant, with everyone looking at him.

He walked to the bar. “Scotch, straight” he tossed what was left of his hope and optimism into an empty bottle of scotch and threw it away.

That was more than fifteen years ago.

“Greg?” 2again the bartender questioned.

“Yeah, sorry John. I think that's it for today, I gotta get home.”

He left the bar and stumbled into the daylight The crowd of people walking on the sidewalk were a blur of faces and figures. After several minutes of fumbling about he saw his bus stop.

He grabbed the handrail of the bus and pulled himself in. He wondered what the driver of the bus thought of him-struggling with the coin toll on the bus, trying to fit his pennies and nickels in the wrong slots. At least he didn't have to worry about finding a seat. There were only two other people on the bus. He took a seat behind what appeared to be a Chinese Shogun warrior. On the other side of the bus sat a slightly feminine-looking hair dresser. The three of them sat awkwardly on the until finally his stop came alone.

“Well, bye” he said to the two people left on the bus.

“Bye” he heard them say as he put his feet back down on solid ground.

He had lived in NYC for over 20 years now. During this time, he had never moved. His apartment was conveniently located just across the sidewalk from the front door of his apartment. He shuffled of the bus, head slumped downward. Suddenly, just to his immediate left, something caught his eye. It was here that time seemed to slow down. How the loosely inflated ball seemed to lose its perfect shape with every impact on the ground. How the sound made by the four year olds shoes hitting the ground seemed to be delayed slightly. How the bus driver failed to yield as the toddler grew ever closer to the front of the diesel driven giant, not knowing of the danger just before his eyes.

When it was over, Greg found himself on the ground, with something in his arms. People around him were yelling and screaming, but he could not hear. He saw the toddlers mother turn around. He saw her cell phone drop and shatter on the ground. He saw her run and pull her son from his arms.

He slowly came to the realization of what was going on.

“Oh my God! You saved my son! He's all I have, thank you so much!” she was half crying as

she spoke.

“Its, well uh-”

“Greg? Oh my God, Greg?”

His heart jumped, his blood pressure rose, his glands released adrenaline. Standing just before him, was her; Rebecca. The woman he once proposed to so many years ago.

“Greg, I'm, I'm so sorry” she was in amazement “I didn't know what to do, I was so young then.”

“Uh, its okay, I mean I've only been a complete screw-up ever since.”

“Greg, you look awful”

“Gee, thanks” he retorted.

“Greg, come with me, we need to catch up.”

She extended her hand. Greg was tired. He was 42 years old. He was lonely. He was cold. But when he looked into her face, he felt a little bit of the warmth from better days. He looked deep into her eyes. He could see hard times, he could see desperation, he knew she was lost too.

He slowly put his palm in hers, and together they walked away from the bus, the apartment, and from what almost certainly was the worst day of either of their lives.

The End.

© Copyright 2018 Victor Gray. All rights reserved.

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