It struck me as odd that no one had followed me. Not a single person at Devon’s party had rushed after me. No one, not even Marcel. The hot, sweaty living room felt like it was swallowing me and Radiohead blaring through cheap speakers.
I needed to be elsewhere.
My feet knocked against Patterson Bridge, echoing sounds around the silent and empty evening. I walked with guide-less purpose along the center of the bridge, in the middle of the wan overhead light. It was a steady guide, my sight blurred by the tears I was fighting. Too busy being angry to notice anything else. My feet traveled the span of the bridge, feeling pretty sure that someone would come after me. They had to, right?
I looked around. The night air was crisp and my steamy breath coming out in puffs of smoke. The steel railing covered in a faint layer of rain drops. “Marcel, where are you?” I thought, as I turned my head to see the way I came.
No one was there.
I felt alone.
Angry at Marcel and myself, I stomped to the other side of the bridge making an effort to draw attention to me. And I recalled Marcel’s words, “You know you aren't the only one…”
It stung. Oh how they stung, replaying the words in my head, over and over. They hurt, a lot. My heels clacked loudly on the concrete. The echo sounding flat against the night. “Bastard!”
I heard my voice, but somehow it didn’t register. Little puffs of fog escaped my lips. I felt my heel catch on a grate, pulling at my shoe. My ankle tensed. I couldn’t hold it back. The tears pooled around my eyes and I wiped my left hand across my face.
It never occurred to me that bridge was quite so empty. I was concentrating on my previous conversation with Marcel, replaying over and over that I never saw it coming.
A loud siren, an ambulance or a cop raced up Main Street, lights were flashing in protest to being dragged across town. I could hear Soundgarden playing somewhere in the back ground, ‘In my eyes, Indisposed, In disguise, As no one knows, Hides the face, Lies the snake, And the sun…’
In my disgrace the conversation continued in my mind, “What would you do without me, Ari?” he asked almost noncommittally.
“What does that mean, Marcel?” I asked, not really understanding. He was giving me that look; a look that made me stupid.
“It means that you should probably know that I…” the music suddenly blared Katie Perry and distracted Marcel from what he was saying.
“You asked me to the party and then you hardly speak to me.” My voice sounded detached, “What…” I turned away, trying to out words together. There was noise and voices. I tried to clear my thoughts. “What do YOU want?” I asked, turning back to face him.
‘Black hole sun, Won't you come, And wash away the rain?, Black hole sun, Won't you come?, Won't you come?’
The song returned to Soundgarden, Marcel shook his head, “Fine!” He made it sound final, “You want the truth, Ari. It’s over.”
“Over?” I said, sounded surprisingly like a teenager getting dumped. I blinked. “But…” stumbling over my words and looking into Marcel’s eyes, I saw cold reserve. This wasn’t new. That was who he was, and I saw for the first time the truth.
“All this time I have spent on you and what do I get?” He voice cold and cruel. “A big fat nothing!” His words cut and I felt my cheeks burning, “You aren’t the only one…” The rest of the sentence escaped Marcel’s lips as Soundgarden was again replaced by Katie Perry. “…See I have needs,” he was implying.
Suddenly I was aware of Antoinette Tegan at Marcel’s side. She kissed him, right on the lips with tongue. I blinked.
The room now felt hot and I was blushing.
Then I ran. I ran from Marcel and Devon’s party. I ran out of the house and down the street.
Now, I was standing with my heel caught on Patterson Bridge. The wan overhead lights that obscured all but the shadows. The ambulance had passed. The sirens were replaced by my own expounding to the night air.
Three years I spent with him. Three years. It hit me and I realized what Marcel had meant, “You aren’t the only one.” The truth of the words, he had been screwing Antoinette and others.
I was crying and tugging at my heel. I couldn’t see. And the world was suddenly quiet. I was suddenly aware of how quiet the bridge was, especially at 10:30 on a Saturday night. My feet didn’t seem to want to move.
I was aware of my body held in place. I fought to escape my heel from the grate, the light overhead seemed to change colour. Another tug and my foot sprang forward. The heel still firmly attached to the grate and I heard the sirens again, or maybe they were still sounding but I had tuned them out.
I didn’t care and I fell hard on the concrete crying. Rolling into a ball on the far side of the bridge and the lights were now tinted pink. I felt dizzy. Laying there in the cold and crying I heard the sirens wailing into the cold night.
I suddenly felt the cold air.
“Why? Why? Why?” I screamed and my echoed bounced back at me. Remembering the party, the music, and Marcel and I thought, “I should have slept with him.” I said it loud to the bridge and the pink tinted lights and the air seemed to vibrate.
“What would that have done?” a voice said. It cut through the night air and I pushed my eyes open. Staring up into the overhead bridge lights I couldn’t see anything. I felt miserable.
I was suddenly struck with a though, how come the lights were pink?
“Maybe I wouldn’t be here?” I said out loud, not sure of whom I was actually talking to.
“I think you would still be here,” the voice sure and familiar.
“Crying into the cold concrete?” I asked sardonically.
“He would have done it to you, even if you had slept with him. You know that. He’s an ass.” The voice sounded bitter and hateful.
“Do you know Marcel then?” I asked, fighting to sit up. The concrete felt cold on my bare skin. I tried to follow the voice of the girl, but I saw nothing, not even a shadow cast in the pinkish overhead light. “Where are you?”
A laugh sounded. “No where,” said the voice, “I just know that Marcel was up to no good.”
I was sure that she sounded familiar. I looked around, thinking I saw a shadow in the direction of the voice. I struggled to stand up. “Help me up?” I asked hand outstretched toward the direction I had come.
I heard nothing at first, “Hello?” I said looking around fully at the empty bridge.
“You know what you should do?” the voice said again. I turned around to follow. I thought that I saw a figure at the end of the bridge, from the way I came. I stood, slowly, finding my footing. My foot hurt a little.
I blinked. Nothing there.
“No I don’t,” sounding miserable again. I tried to take a step back across the bridge towards the figure, but only fell on the ground again. “Dammit!”
“You can’t come this way again,” she said. “You need to move on”.
“Because, you ARE the only one…” The voice sounded distant and fuzzy. My head hurt. Making it to a standing position, I stumbled about three steps across the far side of the Bridge. Again I heard sirens and now running footsteps. “Keep going forward,” the voice whispered.
There were now voices.
My body suddenly felt heavy. “Keep going forward,” I felt my lips move the words. There wasn’t anything else I could do.
I was painfully aware that the voice was gone, but the other newer voices were crowding me. They were not clear, distant and my head hurt. I couldn’t see, not even the pink lights, just the pale, wan lights that were shining down on me. Everything was fuzzy,
I heard the sirens again or still, louder now.
The concrete was so cold.
I was cold.
I felt nothing.