Steve

Steve

A Story by GwenLark
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A short story about the life of an ordinary man that hasn't had it easy.

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He gazed out of the window.  The sad sight of greying, dilapidated houses surrounded his own.  The rain was creeping down the dirty window.

Drop.  Drop.  Drop.

Steve couldn’t take in any more of the depressing view.  He raised his weary body from the snug leather chair and went to the phone.

He picked up the handset and dialled her number.  He didn’t know what he was expecting to happen, but he got what he always got... The same angelic voice telling him sweetly to leave a message.  A message she would never return.

***

Steve Mitchell squeezed his lean, 6’5’’ body into his sleek leathers and grabbed his crash helmet from the workbench.  The full population of the tiny racing island were front and centre for this first motorcycle race of the famous Isle of Man TT.  Steve flicked his long, blonde hair back and winked at some girls standing next to the starting grid as he slipped on his helmet.

He smirked as they blushed and giggled.  Steve walked his heavy motorcycle to the pole position.  He was starting first.  He was nineteen and already a race leader on the road and on the track.  “A natural-born talent” his race sponsors called him.  He was 1970’s Scottish rider of the year and he was determined that 1971 was going to be no different.

Steve straddled the bike and revved as everyone cleared the road.  A deathly silence fell over the crowd and all that could be heard was the wild, mechanical howl of the engine between his legs.

“START!” yelled the race marshall.

He was off. As quick as a bullet from a gun.

The small thatch cottages and all the spectators merged into a colourful blur as he reached 70 miles per hour.

He concentrated taking each turn with ease and confidence.

80 miles per hour.

The long infamous straight was ahead.  He put everything he had into it.  The engine became a part of him, as much as his fast beating heart.

90 miles per hour.

100 miles per hour.

Faster and faster he went.  No one was behind him.  He was clear of any competition.

“Just finish,” he thought to himself. “Don’t crash.”

His thin leathers clung to him and done all but nothing to save him from the bitter cold of the unrelenting wind.

Hours of this intense competing went by and he could see the finish line up ahead.  He was too good to be caught now, and he knew it.  So with a confident smirk, he opened up the throttle and blasted toward the checkered flag.

It wasn’t long after the growl of his tormented engine slowed to a gentle purr and he was flooded with mechanics, race officials, sponsors, friends, family and girls all wanting to offer their congratulations on a perfect win.

He had hoped for this win, that meant he wouldn’t have to go back to the Isle of Man for a week and his best biker friend was getting married at home in Glasgow.  He would pack light, go for the wedding, spend the night and come back to train and get the bike ready for the next race.  Steve thought Barry was a bit of an idiot for getting married at 21, but hey, his funeral.

The ceremony was long and boring.  Barry’s new bride was Catholic...  The reception was a little better though.  All the bikers that Steve had grown up with were in attendance.  They all sat at a big table and chatted and laughed at each others stories and checked out the girls.

That was when he saw her.

Steve’s jaw almost dropped.

It was like electricity.  She was thin with curves in all the right places.  Her hair stretched the whole way down her back and curls kissed at her wonderfully rosy cheeks.  Her emerald eyes seemed to pierce his soul and Steve realised he had butterflies.  A girl had never made him feel like this.  He was so used to them falling at his feet, having his choice, but this girl was different.

“It’s Barry’s wife’s cousin, Christine.” his friend answered him, when he asked who she was.

“She seems to like you!” joked another.

Steve’s head whipped round and caught her glancing his way.  Steve’s heart skipped a beat and his breathing became shallow.  He tried to swallow the feelings away but the lump in his throat persisted.

He lifted himself from the God-awful decorated chair, his long legs quivered.  He went to talk to her.  The nervous excitement that built up in his bones made him feel weak.  She was standing by another girl in the same dress, they were clearly both bridesmaids.

Steve was about to approach and chat up a member of the wedding party... What was he doing?!

He reached her.  There she was, standing there like an angel.  She even made the horrendous dress that Barry’s wife picked look amazing.  It was then he realised he had no idea what he was going to say!  He’d just been drawn to her like a moth to a flame, he hadn’t thought about what he would actually do when he reached the source of the fire.

He panicked.

“Ehm, hi. My name’s Stephen... I mean, Steve.”

She looked at him with the face of a saint and smiled.  His heart melted.

“Christine.” she beamed.

He was at her mercy.  If she’d asked him to step in front of a bus at that moment, he would have.  He was just standing there, waiting - praying - he would find something clever to say.

In the end, it was Christine.

“Do you like dancing?” she asked innocently whilst gesturing to the dancefloor.

No he didn’t like dancing - In fact, he hated dancing - especially on an absolute baron dancefloor where everyone had a clear view of him making a fool of himself.

“Uhm, yeah!” he found himself saying over enthusiastically.

Christine reached for his trembling hand and lead him towards the music.  Steve couldn’t tell what song was being played, he didn’t really care.  Christine let him pull her in closer, and they just danced.  He could have danced forever with her.  She was the only person he ever wanted to dance with, she was the only person he wanted to see him race, she was the only person he wanted to come home to, she was the only person he wanted to be with, to share his life with.

Steve’s mind was in chaos, his senses in a craze, but all he knew for sure was that somewhere in those soft eyes gazing up at him, he had lost his heart.  He knew then, he would follow her anywhere.

Months passed, years passed, and finally five years after that fateful night, at the age of twenty two, Christine Alston became Christine Mitchell.

Steve couldn’t have been happier on that day.  She was a vision, and still the most bewitching woman he had ever met.  He couldn’t help but beam and wear his happiness on his sleeve.  He wanted the world to know: He was the luckiest man on the planet.  This beautiful woman that had been with him through everything, through every crash, through every defeat, every win would finally be with him through everyday of his life.

He felt at that moment he would live forever, that their happiness would live forever.

All Christine had ever wanted to do was have a family with Steve.  Steve had raced on for seven years.  He went on winning races and furthering his career while Christine stood by and supported him.  He had raced his whole life, he didn’t know how to do anything else, but he could see Christine yearn for a baby.  It killed him inside.

Christine would never had said anything, she loved him and supported him through thick and thin.  She was not only the best wife but also his best friend and every race victory just seemed hollow because even though he was getting what he wanted, she was there for him with receiving nothing back.  It was time for him to give it up.  He loved racing and he loved his bike.  But he loved her more.

It wasn’t long after that, Steve became a father for the first time.  Christine not only gave birth to her little girl, Emma, she gave birth to her dream.  Steve had never really been bothered by kids, he could have lived with or without them, but when Emma was thrust into his arms he fell in love with her immediately; almost as fast as he had with her mother.

Steve looked down at Christine on the bed, spent but glowing and absolutely gorgeous as he always thought she was.  She handled the birth of their second daughter, Lissy, seven years later with the same grace and composure, Christine was nothing short of amazing; an angel on Earth.  His whole life revolved around her and he would never, ever have had it any other way.  She was his and he was hers.  Their love was timeless, it was endless.

Her body was not.

When she found the lump eight years later, everything changed.

Christine was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Emma was fifteen, Lissy was eight and Steve was devastated.

The day she found out, Steve sat on the bathroom floor of their empty family home and cried.  He sobbed like a child and couldn’t stop.  He wept because his world was ending.

No one saw him, no one comforted him, he let no one know.

This is when she needed him the most.  She was falling and he had to catch her, he had to be the one to make this alright.  Steve had to be the one to support her now.  They had to take this step by step.  There was no saying that she couldn’t beat this.  If he kept optimistic and upbeat, so would she.  Steve just wanted to make her smile, he wanted to make her laugh and play and enjoy her life as much as possible.

Steve took the family to Florida and took Christine to Europe.  Those were among the happiest times of his life.

Chemotherapy, the cure that makes you ill.  Christine did so well.  She was so brave.  She was surrounded by another dozen sufferers, each one at different stages, some well looking and others who were inches from death.  All the while, through every drop of liquid in the IV, through every wheeze and cough and through every brief nap on an uncomfortable chair, he held her hand, the way it had always been.

Steve had to be strong when she woke up in their bed and her pillow was covered in hair.  When she had her head shaved she fell to pieces, he kissed her head gently, full of love; that would never change.

This was his wife, no, this was the one.  This was his soulmate and she was fading away.  She was terrified and she was so ill that every breath was a burden.  Her beloved children watched this.  For years they watched this.  Steve knew they would always be affected.  Disease is not a natural part of family life and they would always think it was.

Emma became rebellious and she drank and she took drugs, that broke Steve and Christine’s hearts.  Lissy became withdrawn and quiet and wouldn’t speak.  She didn’t speak for almost a year.  Their bright and brilliant little girls were damaged.

Steve saw this affect Christine as she guiltily sank her face into her hands every time she went for treatment.  No amount of rows and no amount of discipline would solve this.

This is not how his life should have turned out.  He was angry.  He cursed the sky and punched the wind.  The love of his life was dying, their children were derailing and he was barely trying to keep it all together.

“Why? WHY F*****G ME!? WHY F*****G HER!?” he would rage.

Before long Christine was bound to her bed.  She couldn’t move and she began to lose her speech.  Soon she wasn’t able to tell him about her day, or whose birthday was coming up next and what she liked about the gifts he bought her everyday that kept the smile on her face.  Soon she wasn’t able to whisper warmly in his ear that she loved him, before she would fall asleep in his arms, the same as she had done every night for thirty seven years.

This was his love, this was his one and only, this was his Christine and this was the end of his world.

This is the moment where he wished that she had asked him to jump in front of a bus.  That would have been less painful than watching the only woman he could ever love pass away before his eyes.

That is exactly what happened, on May 18 2008.

Emma was a wreck, Lissy prayed for answers and Steve... Steve hoped and wished and prayed with all he had that he could be with her.

She was the only person he had ever wanted to be with and she was gone.  Life and its cruel ways had stolen her.

The funeral was packed, 227 guests at the church that had all been touched by her.  To know her was to love her.  She truly must have been an angel, for heaven had taken her back.

Back to a place where he could not follow.

***

Five years later, his children are grown; Emma at work and with a baby of her own on the way with her husband to be and Lissy at university in a different city, studying to become something great.

Often he justs sits on his own and thinks about her, from morning til night, continuously phoning her voicemail, just so he can hear her voice again.  He pretends to everyone, his friends, his work, his doctor and his children that he is normal, that he is fine, but every waking moment is plagued by thoughts of her belongings still in a drawer next to him, that her ashes are in the next room and that Emma, who he sees everyday, is the image of her mother.  Every time he closes his eyes he sees her face and hears her laugh.

He can no longer bear to say her name, whenever she is mentioned, he winces.

He just wishes for her back. Everyday is a chore without her and when he falls into bed he dreads a sleepless night, interrupted with dreams of her.

He lies awake most nights thinking about his life and sometimes he sees it differently, but in every one she is still with him, she is still laughing and baking and sleeping in his arms, she is still alive in every picture of his alternative life.

Any life is better, make believe or not, than the one he is living.  A life of eternal loneliness.

Even the most timeless love stories have an end.



© 2017 GwenLark



Author's Note

GwenLark
Ignore grammar and spelling. Just want to see what you guys think. Thanks for reading.

My Review

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Featured Review

I'm not just saying this, but things rarely keep my attention but this did. I had a love like Steve and Christine once. To lose that is almost heart stopping. Your details about the wedding being poorly decorated made me laugh. I will definitely continue reading!

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

GwenLark

1 Month Ago

Thanks so much. Thanks for reading



Reviews

A very pleasant read. It started kind of slow, but gained pace later which had eventually made me hooked on the story. I couldn't stop reading as soon as I began feeling really interested.

Steve and Christine's relationship, from their first meeting to the end, wasn't overly done; it was written with simplicity which made this whole thing so believable and relatable. My heart​ totally went to Steve when he was losing his love and their daughters were almost falling apart. His love for Christine was ultimate and endless, and I love his character.

It's undoubtedly a great work. Thank you for entering this to my contest, and Congratulations for winning the first place for story.

Please keep writing. You're a very good writer.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


I'm not just saying this, but things rarely keep my attention but this did. I had a love like Steve and Christine once. To lose that is almost heart stopping. Your details about the wedding being poorly decorated made me laugh. I will definitely continue reading!

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

GwenLark

1 Month Ago

Thanks so much. Thanks for reading
i think it is a great believable story

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

GwenLark

1 Month Ago

Thank you for taking the time to read it, I hope you enjoyed it.
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This comment has been deleted by the poster.

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3 Reviews
Added on September 3, 2017
Last Updated on September 8, 2017
Tags: steve, short story, cancer, wife, christine, daughters, ordinary life, life, motorbikes, isle of man, tt, racing

Author

GwenLark
GwenLark

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom



About
Just exploring my boundaries. I love writing and I love reading other's creations. Just starting out. more..

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