Lovers Never Lose

Entry by: Seaside Scribbler

30th June 2017
Part 3 (Parts 1 and 2 can be found in Ephemera - am doing a crazy writing experiment, trying to write linking stories. This should read as a stand alone story too.)

Lovers Never Lose

'I don't know how I get to the bridge, across roads with horns blaring at me, through the park, with tears blurring my way, down the High Street, with people avoiding me. I don't see anyone I know which I'm only partly glad about because they might try to stop me, and they might stop me. I still don't know at this point if I want to be stopped.'

I stop writing, and feel my muscles clench as my hands clenched the railing, as my brain tried to cling to any last bits of normality above the churning madness - like the river below the bridge - of my thoughts. I take a breath, and look at the page behind the one I'm writing on.

The previous diary entry reads simply, 'Goodbye.'

I'd not expected to be writing again but the page is clean and soft and blank. Like the rest of my life, if I choose.

'The thoughts in my head weren't thoughts. There was no rationality, just me in the here and now, running and running towards a place I knew I could go that would take the pain away. I didn't think about those I left behind, apart from knowing, with certainty, that they'd be better off if I was gone.'

I'm glad I've slipped into the past tense as writing in the present made it too real, too close to what nearly happened... Putting it in the past means it is IN the past. For now. Writing it is giving myself a choice. I've a future, if I want it. Once I've written this entry, I might know for sure. I'm doing my best to win, to find love again, all that stuff that people keep telling me.

'The last bit of the journey I remember. I found myself at the town end of Middlewood Bridge, the same bridge where I used to come with Katrina to fling stones and wishes down to the water below. It was said that if your stone was carried all the way to the ocean, that your wish would come true. Mine were always the same: Katrina, be with me forever. She'd throw hers and smile the same wish back at me. We knew without saying that we wished the same thing.

There were people on the bridge, which I'd not counted on. The faces I'd seen on the way here passed in blurry lines of eyes staring and mouths open in leering smiles; those I was trying to get away from. The people on the bridge looked like gargoyles, awkwardly shaped faces with frightening smiles and eyes that sought out my own, looking into my soul, wanting to get in the way of me and my death. The word 'death' had become like poetry. I could die like Katrina had and we'd be together and if my body went all the way to the sea wouldn't this wish come true?

It was almost dusk, and I found a place in the lengthening shadows where I could be unseen. Except people are nosey and they saw me and they came in amoeba crowds to swallow me up and take me back to their land, that of living laughing loving people.

Bollocks to that, I remember thinking, and then I was surprised at the fact there were words once more in my head, not just images and feelings and pain. It was one of Katrina's favourite sayings. Bollocks to that. She'd have said, 'Bollocks to that,' if she'd known about the car crash, but of course neither of us did.

I found I was over the right side of the railings. The wrong side for life, but the right side for me. There were gasps behind me and I knew a crowd had gathered. I yelled something at them, I don't remember what. In these last moments I wanted to be alone, so I could think and feel my wish with every fibre of my being and make it come true - just take me back to her.

I think I hesitated also because I thought she might appear. If she saw what I was about to do, wouldn't she come back and stop me? Or would she pull me down, to be with her? The crowd was keeping her away. I shouted at them again, incoherent, mauled words, which made sense in my head. I let go with one hand and touched the scar on my face. When that was made, she was still alive. If I touched it I'd be closer to her. There were louder gasps.

I was in a film. I was already dead. I'd died in the car crash, too, and this was a weird sort of afterlife I had to wade through to find the place Katrina was. The river was a conduit. It was all a test. If I turned my head, she would be there...

So I did turn my head. And I saw a woman coming right at me, through a gap between me and the living. Not Katrina. I turned back to the river, thought, I'll just let go, wishes or not, but then there was something cool against my hand and everything changed.

I turned my head and there was a stone against my skin, a smooth grey rock with some writing on it. I didn't want to, but was compelled to hold it.

The world flashed and crashed around me and I was flung deep down inside myself. It felt like I'd let go and was falling and I thought, thank God for that, I can go now, but instead I was in a cafe, drinking coffee, and talking with my hands animating the air around me, talking with passion to a woman opposite

and then I was with the same woman in a swimming pool, nose to nose right down at the bottom and there, without words, I could see her face for who she was and she was

my lover walked towards me down an aisle but not in a church, on a beach and the aisle was made of stones, and people stood on either side, smiling and some of them I recognised and some I didn't and in my heart I felt

pure love. It was a pure love in my mind and my soul and my heart as I helped deliver my own child in the living room of our house because the midwife hadn't got there in time and

I was back on the bridge. My hands and the woman's were in a solid hold with the stone somewhere in between. She looked right at me, right into me and she knew, somehow she knew that I'd failed to save Katrina, that I wasn't the hero she'd needed as she was stuck in the car, as they pulled me away and tried to cut her away, as the flames caught me, as the flames consumed her. I wasn't a hero. I didn't save her and they saved me first and that made me a failure, her lover and a failure, who failed his love. I was an anti-hero. Someone who simply didn't deserve to live.

'Be your own hero,' the woman whispered, then she was sucked back into the crowd who now had proper faces, of concern and care.'

I shut the diary. I've had enough writing. I want to write what happened, to try and make sense of it, but it's hard. I can't take you back there, to that moment and that's what I want to do because I can't put it all into words. It's love, and how can you write love?

Katrina was love and the firemen who cut me away acted with love and I know they tried; there was an inquiry after all and nobody was found lacking, not even me. Nobody said I wasn't a hero, they all gave me pity and, yes, love. The woman with the stone, love taking over. Me crossing back over the railing, helped by many hands - all pulling me with love.

And the future the stone showed me: Love. There was more love for me, if I chose to stay and find it. Katrina was gone, but I would be a lover again.

Only... There's something wrong with all of this. I don't want those things with anyone else. I don't want that future and that pool and that wedding and those eyes. I wanted Katrina all of my adult life and now I don't want her any less. I was her lover and losing her took away my ability to feel love. I can see it in others, yes. But have I any left? I don't think so.

I've got one job left. It's to pass this rock on. I don't know what it is; it's carved with three letters, in old fashioned writing: NSD. I've got to pass it on (don't ask me how I know this, it's one of those things in life that you just know.)

After that, I'm going again to find Katrina. Lovers don't lose love. They lose the ones they loved but the feeling never dies. You can't replace it, change it or take it away. I've only got one option, and that's to find her. All those well meaning people's words about how I'll find love once more. No. That rock showed me a possible future. That much, I know. It showed me what I could find, if I stayed.

But I'm not staying.

Once that rock's passed on again, I'll write a single word in my diary, close the book and then take my leave, in my own time, quietly, in private. And be with my love again.