Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A TEASE on this here Tuesday...

Long time, no tease, huh?  Well, I have been writing, peeps.  I promise.  And, to prove it, I've got a fun little snip I thought I'd share.

You're welcome ;)

We wander in silence for a while, but it’s not the tension-filled quiet from the beginning of our outing.  It’s relaxed, easy.  I begin to look around me more and more the further we go.  We’re moving in random patterns, with no real direction in mind.  A left here, a right there.  Usually, we have a clear destination, but this is nice, this aimless wandering.
Until I see it.
Another “paved” road.  Like most of the back roads we travel in this town, it’s more a patchwork of cracked concrete and asphalt band-aids than an actual paved highway.  The difference here is not the webbed cement.  It’s not the dense thicket of brush and trees with the occasional smattering of wildflowers bordering the road.
It’s the small white cross perched alongside the road, right at a spot where a fading black mark rests.  Tire marks.  Rubber burning up the pavement as brakes were applied far
too late.  Closer to the center of the road, a darker spot, more round.  It could be from something as innocuous as a broken radiator or a cracked oil pan.
Or it could be blood. 
Her blood.
Next to her cross.
The world tilts, and my knees buckle beneath me.  This is it.  This is where it happened.  Where she drew her last broken breath.  The policemen said it was instant, that she felt no pain, but how can they know for sure?  They weren’t there the moment it happened.  They can’t know if she gasped and cried for help, if she prayed for someone to save her. 
If she called out for me.  And, I wasn’t there to help.
The only one who knows for sure is him.  Cole Michael Grant.  The murderer.
And, now there’s this fucking cross.  A flimsy piece of white plastic that some kind person thought to stick in the ground.  Some stranger who wanted to remember the woman who was lost here.  The lives that were shattered.
I should’ve been the one to put it here.  Her son.  Not someone who’d never seen her before, never met her.  Never knew the sunny warmth of her smiles, the safe haven of her arms, the comfort of her laughter.
No one can ever miss her as much as me.  No one
Mark appears beside me.  His hand rests just above my shoulder, but he doesn’t touch me.  It’s like he can see how close I am.  How I’m this broken fucking mirror that’s been pieced back together with cheap ass paste and not super glue.  How the cracks are there, so fragile, so close to breaking that it’ll only take one thing, one tiny little thing to shatter me completely.
“This is where it happened,” he whispers. 
I never told him how Mom died, but Mark’s not stupid.  He must’ve put it together way back on our first trip into town when I’d flipped out over that damned newspaper.  So, he knows.  He doesn’t need me to answer.
I find myself nodding anyway.  “Yeah,” I whisper and nod again.  Really, I never stopped nodding in the first place.  My head just keeps bobbing up and down.  Up and down.  Up and down.  There’s an odd sort of comfort in the movement.  It keeps the sobs trying to crawl their way up the back my throat stuck at the halfway point.  It keeps the tears blurring my vision from spilling down my cheeks.
“Yeah,” I repeat, and I keep repeating it just as I keep nodding.
It’s the only thing that will keep me from crumbling completely.
There on the side of the road, with Mark hovering over my shoulder as a silent wall of support, in the place where my world ended in a fraction of an instant of shattered glass, twisted metal, and broken lives, I reach out and touch that thin plastic symbol of my mother’s death.

And wish it had been me in her place on that terrible day.