He sits on the bank of the river under a bridge. Round-toed workboots muddy, overcoat and dark hair sodden from the rain.
She, dressed in a black dress, black boots and a black overcoat, as if for a funeral, sits behind him watching the icy water roll by. One nor’easter just gone, another spiraling in.
“I drive fifty miles out of my way every time I visit my parents just to avoid you.”
She pulls her legs up and wraps her arms around them, leans her head against her knees. Her eyes close.
“I didn’t lie to you. I never said we were more than friends. Now I’m sorry I ever met you.”
“I’m not,” she says, her eyes still closed. “I’m not sorry you ever met me. It was fun.”
He turns to look at her. “It was fun. Why did it have to be something else?”
“Who said it did?”
He shakes his head, looks up at the sky through the bridge which has steel slats with gaps to let the rain water through.
“I used to cross this bridge to see my Dad at work. I rode over it to go to school. Every time I flew in I’d make a point to cross it. So it’s really cruel to take it away.”
She raises her head, looks up at the bridge, listens to a car rattle by.
She looks over at him.
“You can have your bridge back. I’m just another girl. We do crazy things. Since you were fifteen-”
“Twelve, believe it or not.”
“We’ve been doing crazy things around you-”
“And blaming me for it.”
“Helen of Troy probably wondered what all the fuss was about.”
There is silence for a moment. The wind picks up and the grass around the river bends and straightens and bends again. The rain begins in earnest.
He rises, turns to face her.
“I’m taking my bridge back. I don’t care that you killed yourself here. I didn’t want you to. There was no reason to. It was nothing to do with me…”
She looks away from him, up the river and toward the storm.
“I missed you,” she said. “And I never expected you to find out. It had to be somewhere.”
“Never expected your body to be found. Never expected me to find out what river you were in. Because I don’t know your family and friends…”
“You’re asking a lot from a girl on a bridge.”
“Well, you made a mistake. I liked you once and now I’m going to work hard to forget you were ever born. I won’t let you haunt me any more…”
He turns and walks out from under the bridge then begins to climb back up the bank to his rented car. He looks back to where the girl was sitting and finds her gone.
“I think about you every day.”
He shakes his head and then continues his journey away from the river.