“Do you think if I jumped I could fly?” Megyn stood dangerously close to the edge of Hatfield bridge. Her heels barely clung to the chipped stone ledge and her grasp on the old wooden rail was loose.

“No. I think you would die,” Garrett replied with no emotion in his voice. “But you can go ahead and find out if you’re really so curious.” He tapped his cigarette on the side of the railing sending a scattering of ashes to disappear in the night sky.

Megyn leaned forward until her arm was as stretched out as possible and she was angled over the black water below. The moon glinted off the still blackness of the water and she could make out a faint image of herself dangling high above the quiet river. “If I fall, would you try to catch me?”

Garrett didn’t look up. He just stared at the orange glow of his cigarette. “Probably not.” He stayed silent for a moment, contemplating the possible outcomes his next words might bring about. “You could let go and see,” he said. His words sounded a little upbeat, but there was also an air of menace in the way he said them.

“You wouldn’t care if I fell,” Megyn loosened her grip more, “even if it meant I’d die?”

“It’s your choice. Who am I to stop you?” He took a long drag of his cigarette, then let the smoke seep slowly from his lungs. “Besides, that fall wouldn’t kill you. My brother and his idiot friends used to jump off this bridge every summer.” He dropped the cigarette butt and ground it beneath his heel. He was lying.

Megyn let out a gentle laugh, but it was tainted with sadness. “I could drown,” she said to the soft wind.

“Doubt it.”

Garrett was acting unusually harsh, even for him. They both had spent the day arguing—which was how they spent most of their days lately. The threat of breaking up hung over both of their heads, but their love was still young. It had only fully blossomed within the last year of dating—their second year together—but those petals of love were starting to become weathered and sere.

It all started when they moved into a small apartment together. The excitement of new beginnings helped them forget about their problems. They’d hoped a change of environment would help break old habits. Chiefly, his propensity to talk to other girls when he drank, and her willingness to keep the pain he caused bottled up until it would inevitably explode into confrontation. They lived in harmony for three months before the bottom fell out and the old habits resurfaced.

Megyn couldn’t figure out why Garrett talked to other girls and he refused to open up about it. As far as she knew he just liked the attention, but it went deeper than that. He was missing something. Something she could never give him no matter how much he pretended she could. They would never work as a couple and they both knew it. But fear of change—of being alone—it kept them together. Even when the last petals withered away and dropped to the ground.

“I love you,” Megyn said in an almost whisper.

Garrett looked up for only a second, then back to the ground. “I know.”

Her heart didn’t speed up or slow down. Like time, she had no choice but to move forward. She was emotionally spent and could no longer feel anything other than a longing for times since passed.

“It wasn’t ever going to work, was it?” Her grip slackened until only her fingertips held onto the railing.

Garrett looked at her. “No,” he said quietly, watching the relaxed blonde waves of her hair sway in the wind.

“I didn’t think so.”

Megyn let her body go limp as she gave herself to fate. She closed her eyes and her fingers slid off the railing and danced freely in the air. She fell forward and relished the thought of soaring through the air like a bird. But it only lasted for an instant before hopelessness and regret siezed her. This wasn’t how she wanted to die. It wasn’t how she was suppose to live. But now it was too late. She had made her choice and there was no going back.

Her heels teetered off the ledge and she fell forward, but then she stopped. She wasn’t falling to the cold water below. Megyn open her eyes and looked back, and there was Garrett—his hand firmly holding hers. They looked at each other but didn’t say a word. They didn’t need to.

dark water.jpg

If you liked this, check out these other great flash fiction pieces.

Wall For A Coffin

Without A Trace

The Temple Fish

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