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A Bride of Enderby (standard:romance, 863 words)
Author: CyranoAdded: Dec 07 2007Views/Reads: 2037/1086Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Love is like bananas, when it goes bad it's tossed away...

A Bride of Enderby 

I sit across from the stranger, my legs dangling over the ledge of the
cliff, while she stands naked, staring out toward the ocean's horizon, 
her clothes piled neatly at her feet. Between us, ten feet of air, and 
ten thousand differences about love and life and living. There's no 
life-light in her eyes, just emptiness; like the emptiness you see in 
the eyes of animals held in cages. 

‘Look,' I say, stating the obvious, ‘just so you know, life is not
intended to answer everything we don't understand.' 

She offers no intelligible response, no sign that she even heard me, no
movement but for her fingernails continually scraping blood from her 
thigh. It's just the two of us beneath a snowball clouded sky and a 
grassy sea. 

She makes the slightest of movement, a flutter of hesitation a young
gull makes the second before its first venture into the sky. It prompts 
me, nervously, to state another point of view. 

‘I'm much older than you, by what, forty years I reckon, and I've stood
at this same place. I think God designed cliffs for people like you and 
me to get away from cross streets, traffic lights, neighbours, and the 
kinds of day where at anytime, and for no reason, we might feel a sense 
of terror. I came here to find my life, you come to end it, right?' 

My words fail to bridge the distance between us; this space is a deep
universe where love has come to die. 

This shoreline is where I've chosen to settle and live out my life. It's
a simplistic lifestyle, purposely designed to get away from the feeling 
of uncertainty that occasionally grabs at me, as though I'm still a 
child or the man bereft of love. 

I look at the clothes by her feet, folded with precision, topped with
panties and bra and a pair of glossy, high-heeled shoes. I don't know 
why but Masefield's poem comes to mind,  “Dunno about Life – it's jest 
a tramp alone from waking time to doss. Dunno about death – it's jest a 
quiet stone all over wi' moss.” 

It's impossible to imagine what the stranger is thinking or what her
perspectives are, standing precariously, as she is, between life and 
death. I could tell her that perceptions change on reaching differing 
heights, that when I was three feet everything seemed of the same 
magnitude: merry-go-rounds, rice pudding, Christmas, Bambi, the whole 
world in fact. By the time I was four feet I learned not to save the 
all best things till last, understanding that ice cream melts faster in 
the summer. I'd reached another height when I realised that beaches, 
rocks, and crabs are a far cry from the grocer sprinkling salt in front 
of his shop on Baker Street during the terribly serious winter 

Different perspectives have engrained themselves into my thinking, like
stab wounds. Perspectives changed because of books, divorce, death, 
war, love, in fact a mushroom cloud of happenings and events, many of 
which never passed me by. Some important enough that on one day in the 
world I stood where she now stands... called by the Beach Goddess. 

Do not think of me kindly because I don't want this woman to leap to her

Sure enough, I don't. But compassion is not the reason, for mine is
hackneyed and used up. If she should leap from this rock I'll be 
dealing with the intrusion of police, morbid sightseers, and then, God 
forbid, the family mourners. I'd have a week of people coming to see 
the rock from which she leapt, crying, leaving flowers, and screaming 
how they didn't know things were so bad for her and perhaps the only 
absentee, in this Shakespearian tragedy, a fanciful young man. 

I'm so happy living here that it's hard to control my dissatisfaction at
the intrusion of her naked presence. Couldn't she go through this 
hateful stuff somewhere else? I can't fathom why she'd want to 
contaminate the frothy excitement below with the red of her anguish. 
Does she not know that her chosen demise won't get a mention in the 

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