I remember our last words to each other, the anger you felt, and the betrayal. You could not understand how I could love you as I did and not share the vision you treasured. What could I say to you? That for me the band had been no more than a tool to pry you free of a destructive life? That my place had been to absorb all your anger and give it voice in a way you never could? That Neff and Aiko, as much as I cared for them, were never so important to me as you? That I had seen the beauty and vision of this tortured young soul and sought nothing more than to set it free?

That I loved you too much to let you love me any longer?

You threw me out, screaming at my back as I walked away. I am so very strong, the armor around my heart so thick and well-tested, but it took everything I had to do what I knew had to be done. Had I stayed I would have consumed you, destroyed you, and I could not bear to see that. So I left.

I took the Dodge and drove into town, found a bar and started drinking while fending off the advances of those neatly dressed businessmen in town for a meeting and the old men for whom this place was a second home. I drowned myself in scotch, turning over a glass for every thought of never again hearing your laughter or feeling your warm curves under my hands. I cried, the quiet tears I shed being all the mourning I could allow and I felt soiled knowing they also served to make my final act that much more believable.

The bar held me until closing time when I wandered out into the night with the other lost and drunken souls. In the car I broke open another bottle- I was quickly sobering up and I did not want to. In sobriety I would find cold and calculating approval for my actions- drunk I could embrace the pain and the loss, and I was not ready to let it go.

The car felt chilly, but that was for the best- it helped me to concentrate as I maneuvered my way out of town and then onto the railroad right of way, following the tracks until I reached the river crossing. It was a popular make-out spot, but at 3:00 AM it was deserted. I pulled the Dodge as far to the side as I could. From the back seat I took the small bag that made a lie of all this drama: it carried a dark wig, a dress, undergarments, sneakers and shoes, a handbag, two thousand dollars in cash and my .45. I changed in the back seat, throwing the old clothes into the bag before I carefully tucked my hair under the wig.

I left the car running and the door open. I wanted it to be noticed at some point though I was certain I had at least an hour before the local patrol might happen by. Wearing the sneakers I walked out onto the bridge until I was at the center of the span. I laid my old shoes and purse on the side rail along with the empty bottle, then drew the light jacket I had been wearing out of the bag. I stepped up onto the side rail and dropped it over the edge.

I stood there balanced upon that rail in the moonlight. My jacket fluttered down to the river, disappearing into the froth and rush just a hundred feet below. It was like watching the last three years spin down into the past, lost to me and to everyone. There was a sudden longing, an urge to simply lean forward and fall, let my body hurtle down into the maelstrom of surging water and shattering rock and truly make an ending of this.

I am not indestructible… perhaps that would have been enough. The thought of it held me rooted there far longer than I had intended, the river calling me to seek peace within its crushing embrace. It tempted me, singing to me the angry words you hurled at me and the bitterness of your pain, but I know those easy lies and I have lived too long to fool myself. It was not fear of death that finally let me step back onto the tracks, but fear of survival.

The tracks made a graceful curve along the bridge and into the forest. Behind me the old Dodge Dart idled, the driver’s door open with the dome light forming an oasis of warmth in what now was such a cold and lonely darkness. I turned away and crossed the bridge, letting the night close in about me. Leaving everything behind. Leaving you behind.

It would be five miles to the next town- there I would catch the 8:00 AM bus and start making my way back to Boston. The pain was already receding, tamped down into that deep, cold place where my more rational and calculating self stored such things. I knew my choice was correct, that it was truly the only choice I had.

But I felt unclean.

6 Responses to “1967”

  1. I read this yesterday. I didn’t know what to say or think couldn’t even get my head around it. Maybe you did some research but there a small detail in there that I just can’t figure out

    I woke up today and it was all set in my head.

    Do you have any idea what you did to me you fucking bitch?

  2. There you go again, making even heartbreak and faked suicide sound like elegant poetry. Your writing style is georgeous. Seriously, though- to me, this just begs questions, why start such a meaningful relationship, knowing how relationships tend to end for you? That sounds very masochistic. And why would you go through so much pain for the better good of your loved one, only to open the wound up again after so many years? (Inferring that’s what you’re doing here). Lastly, why would jumping in a river be enough to kill you? You’ve got a story on here where drowning in the sea didn’t do it.

  3. I know precisely what I did to you- I set you free. Had I taken any other course you would have sought me out, and as the years passed love would have turned to poison.

    I have been in this place before, Dalene. I know it well.

  4. Allison-

    Why love? Because I am not immune to loneliness. It makes me foolish. I resist as I can, but here, in this case, it truly caught me unawares.

    Why open this wound? I did not open it, rather a third party did. We are merely completing events set in motion by someone well-meaning, but faultlessly ignorant.

    Drowning nearly did end my life so very long ago. I believe that episode was as close as I have ever come to dying. That experience taught me I am not indestructible. A fall from that bridge into the rapids below might have done enough damage, but it might not. As I noted- it was not fear of death which stayed me, it was fear of failure at dying.

    I have opined on the topic of suicide before. For some reason I do not fully grasp, I have yet to make a serious attempt. It has been suggested by others that all of this open revelation is just a round-about attempt to accomplish that goal.

    For with it may be worth, I do believe they are wrong.

  5. It never, ever ends with you does it?

  6. I will be in Cincinnati tomorrow afternoon. I am closing these posts. Anything more we have to say to one another we will say in person.