chain


(C)Copyright 1998 by Ronald Rand
All Rights Reserved.

chain

I

Teetering, balancing on the edge of eternity. She stood waiting for him, her eternal love. She stood alone, kicking stones into the pit of death. The water below looked black as tar. "Like pavement," she remembered him saying. The water was too far to see if there were waves. She remembered lying on the beach at night looking up at the stars and out at the water while the waves rolled up onto the shore. The only waves she was seeing now were the ones in her head. Everything seemed to swoon and spin from the empty bottle of Jack Daniels in the car.

Kicking stones. We kicked stones together, she thought out loud. We kicked stones from way up here, our heads spinning from little rolled joints of marijuana. My love, my sweetheart, he said he would come.

He told her he would meet her if she were ever alone. He said he would be here if she were ever hurting inside. He said he would be here, so she waits for him, her eternal love, to come and save her.

"Intense," she could still hear him screaming. He laughed, maniacally, in his sick, twisted little way. But she thought it was cute just the same. She would watch him spinning on the ledge and dancing with death. Death twirled him and dipped his head back over the ledge. They played a game together: this game between Death and her beau. And in the end Death had won and she could still hear her boyfriend laughing.

I'll bet Satan was laughing like that, she thought. The whole time my love danced and teetered on the ledge, Satan was laughing at him.

"Come on, boy," the devil would taunt him from below. "One false move, trip over a crack, and you're all mine, slug," the devil was saying all along, over cracked and decaying gums.

Time and time again, he would scoff at the devil and dance his little dance. Loving life, laughing, and always kissing death, the same way he used to kiss her. He twirled to her side and gave wet, innocent little kisses on her cheek. She loved him for that.

So she waited alone, looking down into the deep chasm. She ignored the yellow sign with the black stripes that stood amongst the weeds next to the hole. Very visibly it warned, "Danger, Keep Out." She crawled under the fence right where he directed her. She remembered because he had pointed out the vines hanging with the berries. She stood on a ledge at the gaping mouth of the chasm. A cement wall behind her was all she had to keep her balance. It went over her head and behind her as far as she could see in the night. This damned cement wall, she thought. And the expanse, the eternal expanse over the water, and the thick fog in every direction as far as the eye could see.

She wondered if by some stroke of luck, a lost hiker might chance down a wrong path. Surely, no-one else would ever be crazy enough to come here on purpose. She imagined that one day someone might find the both of them in the water. But they would never understand or know why.

The fog is teasing me, she thought. It looked so thick as though it might somehow catch her if she happened to lose her balance.

If he really loves me, he will come. This I know, if he loves me one-tenth of how much I love him, he will come from out of the chasm. Because he knows that I am afraid of death and heights. He knows how much this is killing me inside.

Down there, below in the darkness, she wondered if he was still there. She wondered what he might look like now. Two years would have passed by in July. She remembered seeing a picture of someone who had been found in a lake after one and a half years. Someone had filled a bucket with cement and put the man's feet into it before it had hardened. Then he'd been thrown into the lake and allowed to sink to the bottom. When he was found, his face had turned blue and folds of skin peeled from it. His eyelids had been nibbled away by sealife. It had not been a pretty sight, one needs only to use their imagination to understand. Strangely enough, she was not scared. She was comforted by the thought that he was down there somewhere. And the closer she could get to the water below, the closer she would be to him. And she would still love him no matter what time had done to his once beautiful face.

She felt a sense of belonging here. She wanted to call out to him into the depths below, but she was afraid that she might not hear anything in return. That would disappoint her.

If he's here, he will come, she thought. Perhaps he needs a little persuasion. So I have to bring myself closer to the water. I need to put myself in danger. She couldn't believe how much noise the stones made when they broke away from the ledge and cut through the thick silence into the depths below. She noticed she couldn't hear them when, or if, they ever met the water.

Maybe if I sit down and swing my legs down over the ledge, I'll be able to peer down without so much fear of falling, she thought. So she did. Now, I'll just sit here and wait.

The silence began to make her nervous, so she started tapping at the ledge with the heels of her boots. The steady rhythm calmed her nerves. The echoes came back to her and she wondered if someone far away was listening to her. This dreaded, vile, silence, she thought. No sign of life but my own.

She closed her eyes and listened. She could hear her own heartbeat and she imagined she were laying next to him in bed with her ear buried in his chest. "Can you hear that?" she remembered him asking her.

"Yes, I think you love me," she would say back to him. And he'd twirl her hair around his fingers. And she'd listen to his heartbeat until she fell asleep.

She opened her eyes and watched the moon appear through the fog three or four times. It smiled down at her. "Do you want me to jump?" she called up to it. She wondered why the moon wasn't comforting her like it had so many times before. Whenever she looked away from it, she could feel it staring at her. If even the moon could not comfort her anymore, then nothing could, except to be in the arms of her eternal love. But he wasn't there. Maybe if I kicked louder to get his attention, she thought.

That didn't work. He must not know I'm looking for him. She was never one for what-if games, but maybe he blamed her for his death. So maybe all he really wants is for me to fall, like ying and yang. Maybe being dead by himself isn't suitable enough for him. Is that why he's not showing himself to me? Is he mad at me for not following him in two years ago?

If this is what he wants, then I'll surely not disappoint him.

She turned around and lowered herself by her hands over the ledge. Then she began to swing her legs back and forth. "Now maybe you will come," she yelled. If you come, love, there will never be a better time.

After minutes, the muscles in her hands began to stiffen. For a moment, she started to feel fear. Then there were the little rocks, the jagged little rocks that poked into her hands and made them bleed. Damn these rocks.

Peering down, she still could see nothing but darkness. She tried to get her leverage so she could look further down through the fog. She found a handhold on a rock that fit her hand like a glove. She looked down and could see something peering up at her. If it weren't for the fog, she'd be able to see a face. But all she could make out were deep green glowing eyes like his.

Is that someone kissing the back of my neck? He will catch me, now I know.

 
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