Fictography #4 — Just Like That.
* * *
/FICTOGRAPHY/ def. — The intersection of photography (submitted by readers) and fiction (written by me!).
This week’s gorgeous black and white photograph comes from a former student of mine, Tim Pyle. Tim’s photograph was taken in Baltimore’s Harbor East, near the new Under Armour store. It’s a beautiful vantage point of the Harbor, and I must admit to being very much in love with Baltimore. Therefore, I need to offer an apology to my readers for writing this bitter, angry, and sad story that takes place in this tranquil and lovely setting. I can’t always explain why a story pops into my head; it just does, and the result is what you’re about to read.
* * *
Fictography #4 — Just Like That
The guilt was overwhelming him. He had tied the boat back up, and made his way to the dock to sit and reflect upon what he had done. His heart was pounding. Beat. Beat. Beat. No, it was more like bang, bang, bang. The intense feeling of his heart walloping his chest caused him to not be able to focus for a second. What he had done—it wasn’t right. It was awful.
Everything was cloudy, as things often are after an argument, or the end of something when it’s foggy and uncertain. He pictured them both standing there in the hallway, telling him together, as if it would soften the blow.
How grateful he may be years from now when the dust settles that he hadn’t married her; how grateful he may be years from now if and when he finally marries that he asks his brother—the guy he should have asked in the first place—to be his best man instead of his untrustworthy snake of a best friend.
Two ducks approached—a male and a female—and he was quickly reminded of something he learned in one of his science classes: ducks do not mate for life. He remembered thinking that was a random thing to learn your first semester in college, but seeing as how he considered becoming a veterinarian, perhaps it wasn’t that strange at all. He fully intended to move in that direction with his studies, and then his father collapsed suddenly and was left bedridden by a stroke. Dane had been running his father’s marina and taking care of him ever since.
And now, some six years later, he felt strange and unsettled. Somewhere at the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay, it would become an artifact: an artifact that would probably never be found. And even if it were found, there was zero chance she would ever get it back.
Never. It would never happen.
He had dumped it and watched it hit the water and then plummet.
He had a conscience; he knew he shouldn’t have done it. It had been her grandmother’s gold charm bracelet, and it was her most precious possession. It weighed a ton, and it was the one thing she had left behind accidentally. She had called and said she was planning on coming to get it the next day.
And yet by his own hand, before she could retrieve it, he snagged it. Down it went; the second he let go of it, he felt regret.
He hated that word with a passion. Regret. Don’t regret this…Don’t regret that. Now he regretted it all: her, him, and that blasted bracelet.
All three gone.
Just like that.