Friday, December 5, 2008

Crying In the Park (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by Vonnie at My Back Door, click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Note: This is a very old piece I couldn't resist giving a makeover. Enjoy!

I rang my voicemail only to hear a message I didn't really want. It was my friend Kikki Morgan and her message was simply. "Sally said you called, I’ll talk to you later. I've gone crying in the park. Please don't come after me."

Years of friendship made me stay exactly where I was for all of five seconds. The next few minutes had me careening through the dusty country roads, to the abandoned park opposite the quarry.

My heart bypassed my throat and went straight to my brain, delivering a well-deserved shock of emotion and guilt. I should've been paying attention, but I'd been too wrapped up.

The deserted park was more eerie than ever, confirming that Kikki would be somewhere nearby. Since Camille’s death, she’d withdrawn to a world of darkness I couldn’t comprehend. Her sister, her other half, her twin. They’d shared a bond deeper than our friendship had ever been able to dream of. I shook my head to clear it some.

Shadows captured everything around me, including the creaking chains of rusty swing sets and last year’s leaves flittering across the bent slides.

I saw her, finally, sitting on the edge of the Great Rock. Her hair was loose, blowing about the wind and she was wearing Camille’s favorite sweater.

The signs of her reoccurring memories were obvious; but her response to my arrival wasn't. "I told you not to come." She spoke before my shadow even reached hers. "It wasn't a code."

"As if." I circled the rock to try and see her face; it was hidden amongst the tousled curls. Hoisting myself up beside her, I glanced at my watch. There was a half-hour at least to spare. "What's the matter?"

"Nothing." She fingered the oversized buttons,

Silence captured the distance between us, leaving me to feel smaller and lowlier than a gnat.
What kind of friend am I? The mind game began, threatening to whittle me down to nothing. "Kikki-" I began.

"Not now." Her voice grated, one pale hand reaching up to tuck the windblown tresses behind one ear. Her tear-stained face held the faintest touch of something I couldn't describe.

"Are you okay?" My traitor mouth spoke for me.

Her mouth twitched the way it usually did instead of smiling outright. "I'm fine. You?"

I didn't dare answer her. The day had been horrible and her voicemail hadn’t improved it any. The silence passed with my frustration mirroring my impatience. “Fine.” I muttered when she looked at me.

“Fine?” There was no mistaking the contempt in her voice as she suddenly jerked to her feet. “That sounds about even for both of us, so why don’t you just get up and go?”

“Says who?” I challenged.

“If you don’t go, then I will.” Her eyes locked onto mine.

“I’m staying right here.” I squared my shoulders, waiting.

She didn’t move at first, but then she turned and jumped off the rock, stalking back the way I’d come.

“Kikki!” I groaned, rolling up to my feet and hurrying after her. “Kikki, wait up. You can’t just…you know, you can’t…” I caught up to her and grabbed one skinny, sweater-sleeved arm. “Kikki! Look at me!”

Her head whipped around with an angry glare, reflected in the half snarl. “Just leave me alone! Okay? Just alone…is that so hard for you to comprehend?”

I stared at her, surprised by the reaction, surprised by her. She yanked her arm free, and turned to go. I stood, numbly, watching.

And only when her fuzzy figure began to disappear from sight, I ran after her again. This time, when I caught her arm, I didn’t speak. Her unspoken request was on thing my mind had conveniently overlooked in dredging up memories of our friendship. I didn’t squeeze or pull, I just let my hand rest there, struggling to keep pace with her longer legs.

The silence between us grew longer and deeper and then she stopped. Her head turned towards me again, aged, weary. Tears were still flowing freely down her cheeks and she gave a slight jerk of her head in the direction we’d both come from.

I shrugged. She almost smiled.

We turned as one and slowly made our way back to the rock. From there, we sat, in silence. The tears taking our permission, came fast and freely. The need for words slipped away in this cloak of senseless, but necessary grief, shaking me to the core.

Eventually our fingers interlaced and squeezing her hand in reassurance, soon became a hug, where the last of our tears were spent on each other’s shoulders. When I could breathe again, the throbbing ache in my heart, the one I’d buried, sprung up, afresh, but not so deep. One layer, somehow, had been closed.

The rays of sunset began their afternoon march across every object of the earth. The soft pink glows reflected on Kikki’s sweater and the color, for a moment, somehow reminded me of life.

I nearly laughed. Her arms tightened around her and I rested my head on her shoulder. We’d be fine. Broken, shattered and twisted, but still…just fine.

"Friends?" I whispered.

She coughed, then smiled. "Forever."

Copyright 2008


Dee Yoder said...

You have such a way with dialogue, Sara! This is a very touching story and I like how you described grief as a peeling away of layers--it's very much like that! Great story. Hope your day is going well!

Yvonne said...

Sawa, that's what friends are for; to never give up even when the friend doesn't know they need you.

You are a good friend!


Hoomi said...

A very gritty, very real emotional scene. You captured it well.

Treasure Seeker said...

i felt it!


BethL said...

Wow Sawa! This is amazing... I truly wanted more!

Joanne Sher said...

Oh, girlie. This is incredibly real and beautiful and breathtaking and excellently emotional and gritty.

Stina Rose said...

That's all I can say

Patty Wysong said...

You did an excellent job capturing that moment. We don't know what comes before that, but this is complete within itself. Something all of us can relate to. Super duper, sweetie!!