Hope hurts, it can be like a finger nail aggravating a wound.I sat feeling the august sun on my face. the sun in its own warming way gave me hope but only as I watched it hang temporally above the horizon. I had made the deal and tonight at 8:42 it was time to pay. The beach never looked so beautiful. So many decisions and roads I could have taken. I sat on my crumbled piece of concrete listening to the waves crashing and staring at the beautiful purple dusk above. I could smell the warm nostalgic trace of faraway bonfires as the cool evening wind picked up. So many ways my life could have been but this was it and it seemed right.
At about eight thirty my sense of place in the universe slipped away giving into a fear that made my heart cold and therefore my blood. Suddenly the comforting beauty and endlessly promising horizon had been engulfed in a suffocating darkness. The soothing sound of the waves crashing where now a menacing barrage heralding what was coming with each ever more deafening crash.
About a minute before my toll was due my heart and mind had reached such a state I probably wouldn’t have been worth much from then on anyway. That’s when I felt his boney fingers on my shoulder and suddenly I was ok again. I did not want to look at him, this time I knew he had come to me in his true form.
His grasp reminded me of why I had struck the deal on that rainy day sitting on my knees in the middle of the street. Briefly I remembered how it felt there in surrounded by the musk of street dust mixed with warm summer rain. Sitting hoping an unsuspecting driver would come and take away the pain.
Now as he squeezed my shoulder I remembered my baby girl shinny and red, her little body bent and broken in that car seat. I also remembered hearing the unnerving snaps and pops as it seemed to put itself back together as he promised. At 8:42 he pulled on my shoulder, backwards and down I fell, my flesh began to burn but all I felt was the warmth of knowing she was going to be ok.