Short story (reposted from facebook notes)

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Short story (reposted from facebook notes)

Post by Boomerwang on Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:52 am

Haha... this feels weird. I don't think I've ever done this kind before. But what kind of artist am I if I don't try new stuff? Can't always make stuff about guns and monsters, haha. So this actually all just poured out of me this very moment, so I didn't really think about it. And since I'm not re-reading it either (I'm too embarassed to), I have no idea how it turned out. Probably corny? Oh well!



The group of friends sat around the cozy living room after a large dinner, enjoying the hazy, soothing warmth of the fireplace – though of course, the indoor electrical heating didn’t hurt things any, either. They had been through so much together, and apart from each other – families had begun, interviews churned out full-time positions, opportunities made some of them travel abroad, families became divided, families became joined, and so much else. It was very special that these friends from a long and distant childhood could gather together once again just to relax and play like they used to. Glancing around the room, at the doctors, lawyers, professors, engineers, soldiers, editors, reporters, programmers and scientists, one would have been hardpressed to tell that once upon a time, they had chased after each other beneath a younger sun, back and forth across the playground. That these professionals had once grabbed onto the monkey bars to chicken fight each other, or persuaded their parents with tiny high-pitched voices to part with their hard-earned money to provide the necessary equipment for their neighborhood water gun wars. As they sat in a moment of happy silence during a lull in the conversation, staring contentedly into the slowly waving flames, luxurious in their orange and yellow richness, each member of the group sighed inwardly, and found themselves sighing collectively with their other friends, in unison. In this peaceful moment, away from the stresses and rigors of the lives they had come to adopt, they allowed themselves that moment of childlike freedom, to go back and revisit those older times. Times that, compared to now, were so youthful and carefree, unworn and unstained by the clutches of society and the world as a dark, foreboding whole.

The comfortable silence continued. A few began to smile to themselves – the serenity was beautiful, the lack of the need to talk, to answer a cell phone, to schedule an appointment, to make arrangements, to sign off on decisions... that void was so astoundingly, wonderfully precious. A few glanced around them, at some of the others. A few made eye contact, and then looked back at the fireplace, the corners of their mouth flickering upwards like the flickering flames. Most of them were sitting in the couches and easy chairs, with several still at the open dining room table, and a few leaning comfortably against the corner kitchen counter that looked out into the entire living room space.

One of these friends, comfortably resting the small of his back against the edge of the countertop with arms folded over his powerful chest, suddenly, felt a familiar patterned buzz. But unlike a pesky cell phone, the noise never reached the ears of his friends. It was his jawbone that was giving off the vibrations. At once the man was alert, his body responding to the call by tightening up. As he sighed lightly and closed his eyes, willing his mind to dwell on the peace of the moment, forcing his body to return to the tranquil state it delighted in earlier, one of the friends next to him noticed the slight change in his posture. Or maybe it was apprehension the man now exuded into the air around him.

The man answered his call, and began talking. No one said anything as he imperceptibly mumbled into his own mouth. Because the communicator implanted in him was extremely sensitive, it could pick up on the most minute vibrations given off by his jawbone, through his voice box. The man didn’t need volume in his voice at all. He just needed to form the words, and pass a tiny amount of air through it.

A soft, delicate touch on his arm caused the arm to open his eyes and turn slightly. His friend looked up at him, beautiful eyes shining in the firelight. “You... have to go?” her lovely lips formed the words. Remorse traced itself across the man’s brow. He nodded ever so slightly. They did not want to break the spell of the atmosphere, ruin it for their other friends.

“You... got the call, right?” The movement of those lips captivated the man, instantly both sending his mind to new heights and breaking his heart. Those were the same lips that had – just “a few years ago,” it seemed – once yelled “Hike!” on the makeshift football field of an elementary school playground, and thrown globs of spit onto the black pavement of the basketball court. Oh, how times had changed.

Despite himself and all his years of training in his new profession, the man felt like letting go of the stone statue deep inside, and covering those lovely lips with his own. Instead, in response to the question was another almost imperceptible nod.

The girl looked down. Possibly at the floor, possibly at his powerful torso, who knew. Beneath the top lip, two pearly white teeth showed themselves briefly, digging into the lower lip. After all these years, the man was more than familiar with what this meant. He felt his heart sink a little more.

“Okay...” she mouthed, at long last. “Please be safe... okay? Please?” Her eyes, those wonderful, perfect orbs, sparkled in the dim lighting of the room. “I...” she tried to continued, but trailed off. Because she was still mouthing her words, this last part went unnoticed by the man, since pronouncing it didn’t change the shape of her mouth.

The man couldn’t bear it any longer. He turned to leave, slowly. The others in the room stared in the fireplace, a few quiet, sporadic conversations beginning among some of them. To leave unnoticed... it was not what he wanted. But it was what was best. Three silent steps later, he was almost to the front door. In the farthest recesses of his mind, the man wondered what kind of exit this would be to his friends. If he couldn’t come back and see them again... would they acknowledge him as a hero? Would they look up to him as somebody cool, awe-inspiring?

As he took his forth step, delicate, feminine arms encircled his waist from behind. Their smooth, elegant hands clutched his chest as he felt the girl press herself into him from behind. Inwardly, the man’s shoulders sagged with grief. Outwardly, he stood motionless, willing himself not to respond, not to get too attached. He felt the young, yet womanly body behind him shake periodically, and he knew she was sobbing.

A while passed. The girl that had blossomed from tomboy to beautiful woman pressed her mouth into the man’s, between his broad shoulders. “I’ll miss you,” she mouthed into his neck, punctuating her words with a quick, demure kiss.

Another while passed. The man’s head tilted upward slightly, as if looking beyond the doorframe into the star-filled night horizon. Finally, his hands reached upwards toward his shoulders, gently clasping the girl’s hands in them. He held them, running his fingers over them, memorizing every line, every texture, every smooth curve. The breath he drew was slightly ragged as he closed his eyes and smiled sadly.

Another while passed, and something in the man had changed. It was the decision he had made. He let go of her hands, and half-turned, still in the girl’s embrace. He looked down at her beautiful face, and leaned in close. Caught slightly off-guard, the girls’ heart fluttered as her eyelids closed. Her back arched as she turned her head upwards. The man smiled warmly as he felt her delicate breath dance upon his face. There, in the dim firelight of the foyer, they might as well have been worlds apart from the rest of their friends.

His lips almost brushed against hers as he breathed onto her, “Don’t miss me too much. I might actually make it back alive.” He drew his head back, and the girl’s disappointment broke into a smile upon her face. And what a lovely smile it was. She opened her eyes and stared long into his, and nodded, letting him go. The man took two more silent steps, quietly opened the front door, silently closed it behind him, and was gone from her life forever.

Outside, the man walked down the front porch steps, and turned back around to face the door and the silently weeping girl behind it. “I love you,” he whispered. And then he vanished into the night.
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Boomerwang

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