All Grown Up #6

All-grown-up-#6

The Lateness Of The Hour

September 17, 2012

I was closing for the night when Cole and Flint asked me to meet them for beers. I decided to stay back for a while; there were a few coffee cups still to be washed anyway. Clint was exhausted; I took over and sent him home. The night was quite warm. I locked the front door and put on some music, walked upstairs and fished out a stray wrinkled cigarette from my jacket, opened the window and lit a match. Music rang through the empty bookstore and wafted up the stairs. I put on a clean apron, rolled up my sleeves and started washing. Rinse, soak, dry, dishwasher. Like clockwork. Uncomplicated.

I finished up, straightened the collar of my flannel shirt, double checked on my hair and walked out. It really was warm for September. I locked up again and started in the direction of the bar. The air had that familiar smell of the docks. It’s a smell I couldn’t really describe, been here for too long. My roots had grown deep. Maybe too deep. Deep enough to fester. It nearly knocked the wind out of me. Was it already time to move out? Move on? Could I do it?

This was the place where Kristin and I had fallen in love, and we’d envisioned a life for ourselves here. A future of love and happiness and family. And they had taken her from me. There was some crap floating about on how the world would end this year. I’d beaten the Mayans to the punch. My world had ended long before December.

Some days were okay and others were, well, not so bad. But when it got worse, those days could be hell. And it was constant. The pain… what I felt inside… it was constant.

There were a lot of lights. I sat down for a while on a bench. Lit a cigarette I’d bought on the way. The metal rim of my watch caught one of the dim lights and sparkled. I didn’t realise I was sitting that close to McFlynn’s. Whenever someone went in or out, I’d hear the noise. There was quite a crowd.

“Got a light?” a slightly out of breath voice above me asked.

It belonged to a tall, slender raven haired girl with feathers in her hair and trashy clothes. Her smile left me breathless.

I gave it to her and she left with a wink.

I entered behind her. Cole called out to me and I followed the fish and chips waitress to the table, beer was waiting. There was much to be drunk.

“Try this out boys,” she was tiny, yet quite adept at serving, “it’s our new beer-batter fish fry.”

“I…”

“He’ll be needing more of the tartar sauce, so if you could just get some more please. Thank you.” Flint looked at me smugly.

“Blow me, Summers.” He slid me a beer.

I looked the other way, searching every corner until I found her near the bar, along with some seven biker dudes. She was sitting on the lap of a tattooed bar rat kinda guy. They were loud but I could hear the jangle of her silver earrings from all the way across the bar.

I was at the bar buying cigarettes when she came up to me in that trashy bold way. Smiled at me and gave me a kiss.

“Well you’re quite confident aren’t you.”

“I’ve learned freedom, but the bad thing is it leaves you with nothing.”

“What’s your name?”

“Kaja Domistova.” I hadn’t noticed her accent before.

I looked away. Took my smokes, lit one up and walked back to my table where more beers awaited.

She ran up to our table where the bottles were now empty. Grabbed my hand and took me outside, where the temperature had considerably dropped.

She kissed me again and this time I kissed her back.

“I’m Marlie.”

“Ike…” I let out a ragged whisper.

“Come away with me.” she said.

I couldn’t understand the significance behind those words but I could tell they meant a lot to her. She said it in a way that made her shudder and brought moisture to her eyes. She looked at me and I wanted to hug her, comfort her and hide away under covers.

The bar rat burst through the door. He looked at the two of us and just left. He looked like she’d genuinely hurt him which surprised me. They looked like the kind of people who didn’t belong to one single place, didn’t belong to anyone. There was something about her that made me want to be reckless.

She looked at me, hand outstretched. I took it and we ran.

The wind blew past us and we kept running. And somewhere on the way I took the lead. We ran all the way up to my boat, shoes clicking loudly on the wood, gasps of breath and exhilarated laughter in the air. It was going to rain. I could feel it in the air. But we took to the boat anyway. I gave her Kristin’s ring that night.

We spent the whole of next day on the boat.

And I left her there. I left her with my boat. I left Jaime with the bookshop café. My house to Cole. And I left town, not knowing that she’d catch up with me. Because only Marlie knew how to. The thing is, she took my nightmares away. I slept peacefully when I was with her.

Ike

Rohan Dahiya

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