BulletproofA Story by Brianna Woodward
Better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all.
Noah scaled the ivy-covered wall with ease, his hands and feet finding familiar footholds and crevices. He had done this so many times before; it was almost unreal that this would be his last time.
He reached the window in a matter of moments, pulling himself up onto the windowsill with little effort. His muscles ached with mental tiredness as he situated himself on the ledge. Then, muttering a prayer under his breath, he pushed on the window.
It didn’t open.
Noah felt his heart constrict; he knew he could use the front door. The key was just where she had always told him it was. But Noah had always come in this way. He wouldn’t break that tradition now.
He pulled his feet up so he was sitting on the sill, looking out over the dimly lit city street. It had always been a quiet street, something rare in such a place. The moon was illuminating the park just across the way in a milky twilight and Noah could just make out the outline of the parks fountain.
As tiredness crept over him, Noah leaned his head against the window. A shiver shot through his body as his skin made contact with the ice-cold glass, but he didn’t move. He simply looked into the familiar room.
It was just as it always was. The floors were polished to perfection so a hazy outline of the stars could be seen off the reflective surface. White sheets and comforters neatly tucked in covered the bed like a blanket of freshly fallen snow. The room was simple, but she had liked it that way. She’d always tell him it was like a blank canvas, a room full of possibilities.
A chilling autumn gust tousled Noah’s hair, bringing him back outside the window where he sat alone.
He had first met her on a windy fall day. It had been an early afternoon and he had nearly knocked her over as they lunged for the same taxi. He could still picture her eyes, deep blue ones that glistened like raindrops.
She had loved the rain.
Noah smiled to himself as he thought back to one of their earlier dates. When the sky had opened up and it had begun to pour; her hand reaching out to him, stopping him as he made a dash to the nearest store. They had danced the whole way to her apartment. And Noah pictured her, spinning and twirling on the street he now overlooked, a huge smile of pure bliss on her face, her white sundress like a snowstorm in the middle of a downpour.
It had been snowing the first time he climbed the ivy.
Like usual he had dropped her off at the door, and like always, she had shyly gave him a peck on the cheek before closing the door with a soft smile.
Thinking back, Noah couldn’t recall what had first possessed him to scale her ivy wall and tap on her window. Maybe it had been sheer craziness from lack of sleep, or maybe it had been the way he felt right whenever he was with her.
Either way, he had done it, scaring her almost to death in the process. But she has opened her window to him nonetheless. And that night they had simply talked: him leaning against the foot of her bed on the floor, her on her back on her bed, looking down at him with those big blue eyes.
And every time he dropped her off at her door, she gave him that same smile, and closed the door as usual. And Noah just couldn’t stay away. So after every date, he would climb the ivy and tap on her window. And every time she would open up, letting him in. Noah liked to think that maybe she couldn’t stay away from him too.
One night, their midnight talk had been interrupted by a knock on the door. Her neighbor had called the police, thinking Noah had been a thief. And after everything had been explained and the officers left, she had kissed Noah for the first time. And as he held her in his arms he had felt invincible, bulletproof.
But one night it hadn’t been Noah climbing the ivy. And even as he held her in his arms, he had discovered that they weren’t truly bulletproof.
And as she slowly died on the floor, he had said the only thing that made sense.
“I love you,” he had whispered into her hair as he held her close to him.
Her last word had been his name; his name was the final word left upon her lips.
As Noah sat on her windowsill, he felt a solitary tear fall from his face. In the distance, he could make out two headlights and the hum of a motor. He lifted his head off the window as a black car came to a halt below him. A man stepped out, looking up at him.
“I was told you would be here,” the man said. “You know the guidelines for the Program; it isn’t safe to be here Even.”
Noah’s new name seemed alien to him; he wasn’t sure he would ever get used to it. Her last word had been his name, and now he didn’t know if he could ever be referred to by it again.
“Are you ready?” the man asked, obviously eager to be on his way. Noah nodded. Then, taking one last look at her room, he climbed down the ivy for the last time.
Noah jumped into the car without thinking and he never looked back. He was afraid that if he did, he wouldn’t be able to leave.
As the car lurched forward, Noah knew he was leaving behind everything: his name, his home, his family, her. He was to be a whole new person till her murderer was found. Only then could he return.
But Noah tried not to think of this; instead he looked up at the night sky, gazing at the canvas of stars. One star seemed to shine the brightest as it guided the car through the city, the first few raindrops of a storm sliding down the glass windows. And Noah smiled, picturing a girl in the rain in a white sundress. And for one moment, Noah felt completely bulletproof.
© 2012 Brianna Woodward
AboutAn unpublished teenage author (though hoping to change the first part). Just the usual small(ish) town girl, living in a lonely world, except the city boy missed his midnight train going an.. more..