Short Story: Escape

The feeling of escape can be vital for a person’s sanity and can take many different forms; what unites us all is the desire to be saved from the need to lose ourselves.

She stands on the edge of the surf looking out over the black ink stretch of sea, a lonely figure on a cold night. She wonders what the few people walking past think of her standing there with her toes in the water, does she look distant, void or merely as if she is enjoying this time alone? She can feel the hollow space in her eyes, there is no light to shine out of her and it makes her feel a little sad that even her smile can provide no warmth for her own heart. The sound of the waves rolling over each other, hitting the pier and finally landing on the beach is so soothing she closes her eyes to it, letting the ebb and flow fill her mind, relaxing her thoughts and she breathes a sigh of contentment. She doesn’t cry even though she still feels shattered inside. She supposes she has used her allotment of tears and any more would just be greedy. Trying, trying so hard to keep it together, keep up the pretense of being a solid person. She wonders what it would be like to let go of it all and drift away, let the tide carry her out till she was nothing but a speck on the horizon. Would they miss her? Would anyone truly notice the absence of her in their lives? As always though, she shuts down these thoughts before they become too real and turns to walk back to the blanket she had abandoned and lays back down. Reaching above her head she tries to touch the stars, touch her star before the morning light could take them away. “Oh M”, she sighs, her whisper floating across the mostly deserted beach so soft yet so full of yearning. She stands, shakes out the blanket and makes her way up the cliff top ending another night out here alone, another night in a series that have been the same for months now. This is her escape.

The glasses are lined up on the bar in a neat row awaiting the chaos that will eventually come. He looks around the pier’s club at his drunk and leering friends, noticing a solitary girl walk past the window with a slightly haunted look on her face. He shakes his head pulling his attention back to the mission at hand, lifts the shot in time with his comrades and slams it back down as the burning sensation in his throat makes him wince. Another few rounds and they stagger to the dance floor taking command of it as if the club was made for them and this night. The music is loud and the beat pulses in his mind as he tries to remember what moves will make him look good, what will impress the lucky lady of tonight. He scouts around feeling like a lion picking the best choice of meat and spots her in the corner, alone and swaying in time to the music. He goes over and starts to grind against her, the typical mating dance of the young and inebriated. He buys them both more rounds, more drinking, more wooing and they both eventually fall out the door and in to a taxi that always magically appears just in time out front. They end up at hers as the golden rule is never to take one back to the lads and they go to her room so he can have his hard earned prize. She quickly falls asleep afterwards and he picks his way through the dark of her room collecting what pieces of clothes he can find, quietly closing the door behind him and makes his way home. He walks back with a smirk on his face, glad to have a story for the guys in the morning, glad to have had that moment of release. This is his escape.

She walks down to towards the beach to take up her nightly position. Something is in the air, something doesn’t feel the same as it has done before; the night feels like it has been waiting to start and her arrival is the beginning. She heads instead for the pier.

Tonight is different for him; tonight isn’t about conquests or badges of pride. He turns away from the doors, instead deciding to walk to the end of the pier tonight; he can always meet up with his mates later. This moment he needs for himself.

She stands at the end of the pier looking out over the water, black as ink and yet so inviting. Maybe that is what tonight is about, finally having the courage to finally let go and join her missing half in the stars. She stand on the bottom rail and leans out.

As he approaches the end of the pier he sees her; she seems entranced by her own thoughts and he notices how lost she looks. He stops and watches as she places her feet on the rail and leans out.

She is willing herself to let go and doesn’t even notice her body move up the rails, climbing further up, closer to her desires. She hears a movement behind her and it shocks her, stilling her progress. Clutching the rail she turns and sees him coming towards her, holding his hands out, shouting for her to stop. She turns away from him and looks back out in to the distance.

He runs closer and closer desperate to get to her in time. She is moving faster now, aware that he’s coming to stop her. She is at the top of the rail and he moves to grab her.

She is falling but something is wrong, she isn’t moving in the right direction. She expects the cold slap of a rolling wave, she waits for it to fill her lungs and drag her away. But she is falling in to his arms, she feels his warmth and the smell of him is what fills her lungs. She lets him hold her, moving only to look in to his face.

He manages to pull her towards him; she falls in to his arms and he clutches her so tightly, afraid that she will escape if he lets go. She goes still and for a few short minutes they stand holding each other, surrounded by the sound of the waves hitting the side of the pier. She moves and he looks down in to her eyes.

They lose themselves in this moment. They are each other’s salvation.

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