Tiny Sailboats II

Tiny Sailboats II

A Story by Marcos Berenguer
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Another story.

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Tiny Sailboats II

I stumbled to the middle of the overpass. I leaned over the railing and looked down at the highway system below and saw a million little red lights, streaking together, forming sets of parallel lines.  Vertigo again. The black clouds in the darkening sky above me formed an evil face that I’m sure was laughing at me.  I looked left. Then right.  I took a couple steps backwards and tossed your bouquet of carnations as far as I could to the highway below. I touched my chest. So much blood.

I lit up a fresh menthol cigarette and sat near the lighthouse, on the end of the pier. I looked out at the water to see if I could see the tiny sailboats we’d always look for�"but they no longer existed.  I scrolled through the contacts on my cell phone and dialed your number. It rang. Voicemail again.  I smiled every time I heard your goofy voicemail message.  But you hadn’t answered in weeks and I was beginning to worry. After all, you were alone down there.  I had to find you.

                The airport was busy, like it was the day you left, so many years ago.  I looked at my watch. My plane left soon.  I had a rental car waiting for me when I landed.  I boarded the plane.  I was lucky enough to get the window seat.  I sat next to an old man.  We talked all the way there�"he told me he hated going to the city, but he had to�"because the people he loved lived there.  That’s why he was on the plane.  I told him I was visiting for the same reason.  He wished me luck.

                When I landed, I found my rental car and left. The city was a couple hours away.  I searched the radio for a good station.  It was hard to find one�"they were all foreign to me.  Finally, I found one I could tolerate.  So I let it play a while.  I could see the big city up ahead.  The sun was setting behind it.  Silhouettes of black plumes coming from factories and power plants met the sky.  They formed black clouds.

When I reached the city, the roads were so busy, it was hard to drive.  I should have just taken a taxi.  I pulled into a small grocery store and bought you some carnations.  You’d love these.

 I spotted an enormous parking garage at a hospital.  I’d park there and just walk to your apartment�"I could get the car in the morning, when the traffic wasn’t as bad�"and I was in walking distance to you now.  I pulled into the garage and drove up.

I parked my rental car, grabbed your carnations and looked down a few stories.  Vertigo.  The parking garage was cold, drafty, shadowy and tinted orange.  The strong scent of gasoline made me nauseous and the echoes of engines and voices made me nervous.  At the far end of the garage, I saw 3 figures.  Men, standing in the dark.  Were they watching at me?  I buttoned up my jacket and started walking, nervously. I kept turning my aching head.

From my pocket, I pulled a letter that you had written me�"you wrote that you missed me. And that you wished I’d come visit soon. On the envelope, there was a sender address. That’s where I was headed.

                It was a moonless night�"but there were plenty of lights in the city. Still, though, I felt like I was being watched. Or followed.  Maybe I just wasn’t used to the city. I felt awkward carrying around a bouquet or carnations, alone, in the big city at night. It made me feel sad and lonely.

Without much trouble, I located your apartment complex and found myself knocking on your door.  There was no answer.  I called you again (for the millionth time that day) but there wasn’t an answer.  I called again.  I could hear your cell phone ringing inside so I figured you were home, but nobody came to the door.  “Maybe I showed up too late.  I’ll have to come back tomorrow.”  I turned around and started walking off your steps. Suddenly, from behind your door, I heard footsteps.  A man in a blue bathrobe answered the door.  He asked me who I was.  I told him I was looking for you.  He laughed and told me to get lost.  “Sorry.  Wrong address.”  Again, I started walking away.  Then I heard your voice.

                You told the man you’d only be a minute.  He shot me a dirty look and disappeared into the dark apartment.  You looked at me.  “I saw your calls.  And all of your texts.  What are you doing here?” Saddened, I looked at her.  “I was worried about you… here, I brought you these.  I really missed you.”  I handed you the carnations.  You smiled.  “That’s really sweet of you.  But I can’t accept these.  I’m with somebody else now.  He wouldn’t want me taking them… We had our time together. But that was a long time ago.   I can’t believe you came all this way to find me.  It’s sweet of you but it was a waste of time. I’m sorry.”  I took back the carnations and walked away.  I didn’t look back.

                The bar was a little place.  Cluttered, smoky and filled with conversation and laughter.  There were neon beer signs everywhere.  They buzzed loudly.  Some ugly girl who I’m sure was a prostitute, kept asking me about the flowers.  I ignored her.  She was lucky.  I asked the bartender for the strongest whisky he had. I drank until the bartender refused to serve me.  I paid, and then he asked for my keys, so I ran.

The world spinning, I wandered the city, completely lost.  Where was the parking garage?  I looked behind me.  Three men.  Were they the same men I saw earlier?  I wasn’t completely sure.  I was too drunk to think straight.  I wandered around, on the road, underneath the street lights, holding your flowers.  I had wandered pretty far in the complete opposite direction of the parking garage.  Ahead, through an alley and just across an overpass, was a little motel.  I could crash there until morning.  I had some cash.

Leaving the light of the sidewalk, I walked into the alley that lead to the overpass.  The three men seemed to have left.  I guess I wasn’t being followed after all.  I looked around, but couldn’t see much.  It was too dark and my eyes hadn’t adjusted yet. I made my way to the end of the alley and gripped the handrail.  I started walking up the stairs up to the overpass.  That’s when I felt the knife.

The sharp pain in my right shoulder blade made me fall off the stairs.  Three men stood above me.   One of them came from behind me, picked me up and put me in a chokehold.  The other two punched me continually in the face and chest.  They took me wallet, my watch, my jacket, my phone and my shoes.  They threw your carnations back at me.  They began to walk away.  I could hear them talking.  And laughing.  Wiping blood and sweat from my eyes, I looked up at them, walking away down the spinning alley.  I struggled to stand up, but I did. They didn’t see me.  “Those belong to me.”

 I ran at them, screaming.  I tackled the leader (or so it appeared) and began to hit him in the face.  The second man kicked me in the face, knocking me on my back. The third, unfolded his bloody butterfly knife.

I tried to stand up but I was struck again, this time with a fist, in the side of the head.  I felt the butterfly knife in me a second time�"this time in the chest. Then I felt it again.  And again.   the men were gone.  I closed my eyes.

 When I awoke, I thought I was dead.  But to my surprise�"or to my horror�"I was alive.  I was lying in a puddle of my own blood.  Like a slug, I crawled up the stairs to the overpass and stood up.

I stumbled to the middle of the overpass. I leaned over the railing and looked down at the highway system below and saw a million little red lights, streaking together, forming sets of parallel lines.  Vertigo again.  The black clouds in the darkening sky above me formed an evil face that I’m sure was laughing at me.  I looked left. Then right.  I took a couple steps backwards and tossed your bouquet of carnations as far as I could to the highway below. I touched my chest.  So much blood.

The light from the little motel was the only thing keeping me going.  I pushed off the rail and crossed the overpass, slowly.  I grabbed the handrail and started walking down.  I could see a small, black waterfall flowing down the stairs in front of me.  At the base, was a lake.  I stumbled and fell down the stairs.  

I reached the parking lot and started walking towards the motel.

© 2012 Marcos Berenguer


Author's Note

Marcos Berenguer
Haven't written the ending yet.

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Added on September 12, 2012
Last Updated on September 12, 2012
Tags: tiny sailboats