A True Story for Heather

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The story is true, happened to a friend of mine this year. Bit of a personal subject, so this piece is laced with my perceptions of its characters and events.

Submitted: May 09, 2007

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Submitted: May 09, 2007

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Heather’s hands were like the rest of her. She was an earthy person, radiating downy tones. Soils, clays, sands, dusts. Heather blew with the wind, and stood up against it, her bastion strong. Only time could wear her down. She was plenty human, more than her share. Breast cancer, a partner one year almost, was finally over. She gave her earthy body over to the treatments, the medicines, the chemotherapy and radiation. Like a cliff, she didn’t give way. She stood strong, as pale as bleached rocks and bald as craggy peaks. A year almost, and it was over. 

Heather, as the earth, knew modesty. She knew repentance, forgiveness, and celebration. Heather knew timing, knew appropriateness. Grounded, Heather was a world within herself. There was a day of the word, the day she was told her breast cancer was beaten. The day she learned that she, clay, stones, bedrock, had withstood a malignant tumor in her right breast, she celebrated. A brand new car, sporty, flashy. A dare, a step outside herself. A quarry filled with slate, emerging into a vein of something beautiful. A ruby, a sapphire, or a thread of silver, stretching back; dribbling back into her core. Something very present, but not always shown. Her new car was the flash, the glint of silver, both in the dry quarry of her soul, and on the road.

And a nice dinner. Something dressy. Elegant and filling. A toast to a new chance. Heather was grounded, she knew her compass well, she knew which way she spun. To the dinner came her husband, straightforward and direct, like water. With them came their neighbors, long time friends. A couple, married for many years, in fact.

White wine was raised over well seasoned dishes, prepared quickly but with precision. Fine glass clinked, Heather’s heart was strong. She smiled, an earthy smile, from her core. She had beaten death at its own game. Like the mountain crag withstood the endless days of whipping hurricanes, Heather had stood her ground. She deserved this, a night with friends, a new car. They were her gifts to herself.

The night began and continued, slowly and consistently. The couple, the friends they had brought along, had been falling on bad times. A marriage that was so strong at first was now beginning to crack.

The man, Andy, had wiry, willowy hands. His hands were like the rest of him, airy. He was fresh, open, and whimsical. He was also, like the winds that swept across the plains of his childhood, never bound to one spot. Andy was a thin frame; his soul could not be contained. This lightness had broken his marriage. It was on its last legs, both he and his wife were aware. Tonight was no different. Not even the humble victory of earth’s persistence could distract them long enough from each other. Bickering rose and fell, like the wind. 

Heather was reasonable, solid. She knew timing. She knew when to finish dinner, to suggest the drive home, to put their fighting out of her mind. She was the rock, a world within itself. She grew heavy with her own labor, not others. There were two cars, Heather’s husband would drive the wife home. Heather, in her silvery sports car, would drive Andy home, to the same house, but the separation for the drive seemed appropriate.

Walking out to the car, air swept himself up in a sense of longing. “May I drive your car? I have always wanted to drive a sports car.” He asked.

“Of course.” Heather, sympathetic, replied. 

The fighting couple’s house was on Heron street. Connecting to Heron street was Hill street. That intersection was simple. Go right onto Heron street. Go left to the town center. Straight was a dead end, simply the wall of someone’s garage.

Andy, the wind, in the silvery new sports car, flew down the nighttime streets. To this day, no one will truly know what was sailing through Andy’s mind. The intersection sped to meet them. In a split moment the intersection was there, and in another split second, Andy had driven the new sports car, himself, and Heather into the concrete wall of the dead end. Both of them died, a car in ruin. 

The police records indicate no attempt to turn the car at the intersection. Whether Andy had drowned himself in wine, had not been concentrating, or had been swept up in his own tragedy, no one truly knows. Andy and Heather’s souls rose to heaven in unison. The earth, who had stood the curses and plagues of cancer itself, could not withstand what had followed. 

Her form, dirt and clay, had rejoined ground soon after. Water had spilled down, Heather’s husband and daughter, now mourners, watched her return to her origins. From heaven, they said, she is smiling. From the earth, they said, she is smiling.


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