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Imagine (standard:drama, 2445 words)
Author: CyranoAdded: May 04 2009Views/Reads: 1776/943Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Fletch Christianson is unable to come to terms with grief. After years under the guidance of his father, under the celebrity of the media darling, he turns his back on his father, on the company, to find his own calling. His calling leads him to Bulawayo,

This is South Africa. The town is Bulawayo. A place where you screw up
your eyes, your shirt sticks to your back, the cattle are thin and it 
hasn't rained for eight months. There is nothing to do in Bulawayo 
except pray for your life, copulate, and drink yourself thirsty. 

Fletch Christiansen, after ten months working on a farmer's dam,
weakened with hard and cracked earth, enters his apartment intent on 
drinking a cold beer. The ceiling fan shakes and vibrates, wafting hot 
air about the room. He pulls a bottle out of the fridge, flips the cap 
away, doesn't matter where, puts it to his mouth while unbuckling his 
belt, letting his pants slide down his legs till they were round his 
ankles. There he stood, white jockey shorts, unbalanced, heel to toe, 
forcing shoes from his feet before slumping onto a worn out settee and 
shrugged his pants away. Grimacing at the odor he reached down and 
peeled away his socks, filling each shoe and, without looking, or 
caring hurled them out the door. A dog yelped and runs off across the 
shimmering tarmac road, searching elsewhere for shade. Wearily and with 
some effort he managed to strip away his shirt, sodden with sweat, and 
let it drop like a mop head to the floor. He walked back to the 
refrigerator door, opened it and took out another frozen bottle of 
beer. His day was done, till tomorrow, when he'll work and choke in the 
dust of the flatlands, under a fiercely hot fire burning in a merciless 
blue sky, surrounded by bush that crackles and cries out. 

He is far from his land, his town, and the mountain under which his home
is sheltered. He is far from grief, but even so the memories remain 
warm underfoot. He thought the heat might melt those memories, sweat 
them away, a fever. He is far from water, from sea, from yachts. He is 

What he remembers is Scotland, the snow on the window, Katherine sitting
in the passenger seat, feeding him chocolate down country lanes. 
Stopping at inns, ordering bitter and bangers, joining in the singing 
of bawdy Christmas songs and afterward, in the evening, climbing the 
rickety stairs to their bedroom. The bedroom never lost the smell of 
her or her things. Happiness has its own odor. During summer he would 
walk to where the early mist would sit on the water before the 
gathering heat of noon, smell her suntan lotion, feel the heat of her 
lying next to him wearing just her panties and black bra, the sweet 
clean taste of her wide mouth, long golden hair flying over green 

The last time he saw her she was wearing shorts and her legs were long.
She stood looking at him and then she cried, “Fletch!' She rushed 
across the threshold, slamming the door behind her. He'd been away 
several weeks, on the ocean, silent and vast, surrendering that side of 
him to the mystery of leviathans. The glisten of tears in her eyes but 
she was laughing...laughing...and neither of them knew what to 
say...only what to do, which was to hold on... 

No woman was flawless perfection; no man ever met every woman's need.
Fletch Christianson could not afford to brood or feel discontent. She 
had entered his life knowing his task, stood the whole way with him, 
fought everything at his side, now she was gone. Also gone were the 
simple words, the delicate words of love when there was so much cruelty 
and conflict going on? All his life he'd been allowed to think, to 
write, to dream, have friends who asked nothing but that he showed 
courage in his fight. Now challenged by the greatest force known to 
mankind. Grief. 

He had been born to love Katherine, to be loved by her. It was their
time but little did he know what was out there, waiting. The dream is 
over, like the loss of a child, a mourning never properly explained. 
Fletch Christianson was no ordinary man and such an extraordinary love 
kept him from flinching at his quest. Love for him was never about what 
one might have to pay, for this would mean the best love was the most 
expensive. No, the kind of love he felt was the love freely given, born 
of human tenderness, born fragile and delicate yet so resilient to 
loss, so responsive to courage that no force on earth can ever defeat 
it. Love, he knew, was either born in the pit of your stomach or it 
floated on the air, and if you could capture its beauty then it is 
yours just so long as you can find the courage to let it go. Love 
cannot be conditional, for if it were the most reliable would be that 
of a woman in chains. Love is a creation, a fulfillment. It can push 
you sideways, bite your lip, make a mockery of you but love is all. 

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