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Sunday, September 16, 2007

One Fallen Dove

A work of fiction - done when I was YOUNGER. (so much more so than I am now)



The sound of the rocking chair on the creaky floorboards echoes eerily through the deserted corridors of James Hall. The approaching dawn bathes the floor in a soft pink light. All the doors are closed, as no doubt the co-eds are sleeping off the night before. A soft chuckle emits from the rocking chair as the occupant gazes at the hallway of closed room doors and remembers....

It wasn't long ago that he was part of the group who were locked behind those doors. They were young, they were friends, but most of all, they were alive. From all different sorts of backgrounds: upper class, lower class, Catholic, Atheist, Italian, Arabic. Social barriers had separated them at first, but they quickly discovered that they were all alike, no matter how different they may have seemed. "These are the best years of your life.” he had been told, and he had believed them. So, off to university he went, apprehensive, yet excited at the prospect of freedom. It was a concept his life at home did not allow him to fully explore, or experience. He did, however, have extreme regrets about leaving HER behind.

She was the one girl he wanted, and the one girl he couldn't have. His best friend, and fantasy, she was already taken. He had only been at university a few months, and although he kept himself busy by working hard and trying to see other girls, he missed her like crazy. But he HAD to keep in mind (for his own sanity) that they were just friends. Yet it was not possible. She had come to visit on her exam break, bringing with her (much to his dismay), her boyfriend and two others. Still, he was ecstatic to see her, regardless of who she was with. "We'll go anywhere you want to go." he had told her. When she asked for ideas, his first mistake was to mention Kelly's, a local bar, that was holding a their weekly promo night. Twelve dollars for all you could drink, and OH BOY! Did she ever. Assisting her back to the dorm room, it was ironic that her boyfriend should be there, when he had her where he always wanted her - in his arms. He wanted her to stay a few days longer - just her, no one else. But of course this did not happen and the following day, he kissed her cheek and wished them all a safe drive back.

As their car faded into the distance, he turned from the window, and forced her out of his mind. He sat down to do his art homework, and life went on as usual. The pub parties, the classes, the endless all-nighters, and of course, the homework. But he still found time to think of her.

It was a cold Thursday in February when his roommates, Keith and Ron, opened the door to his room. The three of them were so close, that they had been officially nicknamed The Three Musketeers, and they tried whenever possible to live up to their name.

"Comrade Aramis! Get thy nose out of that book and let us journey to the local tavern and get thee wasted!" Ron hammed it up with broad gestures and a deep theatrical voice. It was once again everybody's favourite night - twelve dollars for all you could drink. He threw a pillow at the door, laughingly stating "Journey to get thee wasted and raise a glass for me, for alas! I regret I cannot join you in your merriment. I've got this major paper due for English, and I have no time for frivolity."

If the truth were to be known, the paper was already done. He just couldn't take the memories of the last time he was there with her. The pain was too fresh; he missed her more than ever. She was constantly in his thoughts. As much as he tried, he couldn't get her out of his mind. Her image was permanently embedded in his brain, and he couldn't figure out a way to erase it. Keith and Ron were perplexed.

"Very well friend. But thy presence shall be missed by the lovely maidens and thy comrades." They waved as they went into their separate rooms to change. And just as he was going back to his book, he heard her voice.

"Hello Aramis. How art thou?" His eyes shot up and drank in the sight of her figure lounging in the doorway. He closed his eyes tightly, as if she were a mirage, and figured that when he opened them, she would be gone. When he opened his eyes and she was still there, his jaw dropped open in surprise.

"HELLOOOOO NURSE! What are you doing here? Who else is with you?" he asked, mystified. She giggled, and he blushed.

"You call THAT a greeting?" she teased. "Well, I'm here to see you of course, and I'm all by my lonesome. Nobody else could afford the time off." She flew into his arms and held onto him tightly. He felt uncertain as his strong arms circled her trembling body, and she began to cry.

"Ssh. What's wrong sugar? Don't cry." he soothed. She pulled away and swiped at her eyes. "I might as well tell you. He and I, well, the reason I'm here alone is that we broke up." She took a deep breath. "Last week." He felt guilty as a jolt of surprise (and pleasure) ran throughout his body.

"Why?" That one simple syllable set her off crying again."I guess he couldn't take being tied down." she sobbed incoherently. "He wants to be `just friends'." She spat the words out in disgust. "I came because I really needed to be with you, my best friend." She gazed up at him, her big brown eyes overflowing with tears. She seemed to be so vulnerable, so yielding, yet so inviting. He had to do SOMETHING.

"Porthos! Athos! Get thy butts in here!" They came racing in, took one look at the helpless girl in their roommate's arms, and looks of concern crossed their faces. "What's up boss?" They chorused in unison. "Call Whitney, Trevor, John and Phil. We are all taking my baby for a night on the town. And if I have anything to say about it," he gazed down at her lovingly, "this little lady here is going to have the time of her life!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I had a great time tonight.” she whispered as he helped her into bed. "Good." He pulled the blanket under her chin and kissed her forehead. As he turned out the light, he didn't hear her light footsteps as he felt her arms steal around him.

"Please stay." she whispered. She was drunk, depressed, vulnerable, and oh so tempting. She was begging for his company and he saw the plea in her eyes. As much as he wanted to make her forget all about what’s-his-name, and hold her all night, he had to do what was right. While his mind and heart were violently arguing, he lifter her in his arms and carried her to the bed. Once again, he laid her down and kissed her; only this time it was different.

“I love you.” He said. “I always have. And when you wake up in the morning, I’ll be here, taking care of you. For now, and always. Have sweet dreams my princess.”

That was the last time he saw her.

She was still asleep the next morning when he awoke for his first class. He dressed silently, as so not to disturb her slumber. He scribbled her a quick note to let her know he’d be back soon. A quick knock on Keith’s door let Keith know that she was still asleep, and to keep the noise down.

He grabbed his books, put on his Walkman, and walked out the door. Led Zeppelin tunes filled his head as he began the cross campus trek towards the arts building. He never saw the car, never heard the high-pitch squeal of the brakes or the loud blare of the horn, and never felt any pain…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As the alarm clocks begin to sound behind the closed doors, the occupant remains in his seat.Creak, creak.

“Another day of hell, eh Keith?” Ron’s voice carries to the silent occupant as the door to room 306 opens.

“Yeah, I guess.” Keith’s voice is despondent. Ron doesn’t have to ask the reason for his misery. He clasps Keith on the shoulder.I know pal. I miss him too.” He gazes directly at the painting above the rocking chair, of doves released from their cage and soaring to freedom. He always said that it symbolized their release from university and being set free to explore the world. Painted by their missing friend, the absent Musketeer. They stand in silence for a moment. The occupant rises, reaching out to embrace his friends, but to no avail. He grasps air instead. For more than social barriers separate them now.

More than a world separates them now.

The occupant sinks back into his chair, knowing that he is forever destined to rock alone but for his memories.

As Keith continues on his way to the common room, Ron hears a noise from the rocking chair.It sounds distinctly like someone sobbing. He once again gazes at the painting.


And remembers…………© Angell 1994

2 comments:

Travis said...

Beautiful.

Dana said...

Wow...seems I've read that before or am I crazy?

Wait, don't answer that.

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With love and pride