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A Woman's Guide To The Universe, Love, Sex, Romance and All of That

The Bridge Of Love

The Bridge of Love is a short story by Alfredo-Perozo.

She gazed over the fading twilight. The best part of the sky was overcome by grey clouds and it was clear they wouldn’t hold for long. Cold breeze was nipping at their exposed skin and both had goosebumps all over.

As Marianne looked over at the horizon, Jared stole glances at her soft features. Flushed cheeks, that he had always contemplated brushing his hand against. Just to feel them. Brown eyes that twinkle when they spot a four-leaf clover.  The gentle curve of her nose, and full lips. Mesmerizing, is what he thought.

Marianne felt his eyes on her. Her stomach lurched and her brain felt numb. Only in her wildest dreams had she ever thought of being and walking and breathing alongside him. Reality was surreal and blithe. Too good to be true. But here she was, and there he was. Only she knew how much courage she’d had to muster for this scene to not remain a fantasy. She had not asked him out, but had expressed a love of walking along the canal. He agreed to come with her. He’d said yes! Yes! He’d said yes! She tried to hide her smile.

A drop of rain hit her cheek and traveled down her neck.

“It’s drizzling,” she said.  “I like it.”

“Me too,” he stated. “I like the smell, the Petrichor.”

She smiled and gave him a sidelong glance.

“How do you know that word?”

“Petrichor? I read your blog.”

Her face lit up like a lamp.

“You do? Since when?”

He heaved a sigh and said, “Home is too far. We should get going.”

“Since when Jared?”

“Since the time you wrote ‘Love how feelings work. They augment and fade. And build up again.’ ”

She stopped in her tracks. Her first post.

He winked, a coy smile on his lips and pulled her toward their bikes.

“So you like it?” she asked, her desperation unmasked.

“It’s alright.”  Her expressions faltered, but she was quick to reply.

“I understand. It’s just that I have been-”

“Your writing is beautiful, Marianne. I was playing with you.”

She rolled her eyes and smiled.

“Not that it makes a difference if you like what I write, but thanks I guess,” she haughtily stated. To which Jared chuckled. She had always secretly wished that Jared would read her posts, but she never thought he would.

The wind blew again, this time colder and stronger than before. Marianne shivered, and that didn’t go unnoticed by Jared.

“Here, take my coat,”  he said, as he took it off. “You need it more than I do.”

“You don’t have to do that,” she said “I’m fine.”

“You’re trembling with cold,” he insisted. He was a bit cold himself, but he couldn’t selfishly let her get cold  so that he could keep himself warm.

Indeed, she was trembling. And the helpfulness in his gesture, the kindness in his eyes and the candor in his smile were such, that it felt wrong to turn him down.

“Suave and genteel,” she flirted, “I like it.”

She rejoiced at the warm and cozy feeling she now had, in both her skin and her heart, thanks to the coat, and thanks to his arms surrounding her for a second.

A few more drops fell over them, as the clouds danced high over their heads, and the cold breeze played with the curls of Marianne’s hair. Jared wanted to reach out, to get a feel of them. She was perfect. She was just so perfect…

“We’d better hurry,” he said, as he reached for his bike. “It’ll soon start raining heavily.”

But she did not want to hurry. She wanted that moment to last a little longer. She wanted that moment to last forever.

“So, shall we find shelter and wait until the rain stops?”

Jared pondered for a moment, and replied, “We can get home before the rain catches us, if we’re fast enough.” And looking at the rays of sunlight in the horizon, he added, “And we’re a bit late.”

They remained silent for a moment. Marianne then suddenly turned to Jared.

“You know what?” she said with a grin. Just as he frowned an inquiry, she jumped on her bike, raced forward, and yelled “Race you to the bridge!”

She had surprised herself. Marianne wasn’t competitive, deflected challenges, was indifferent to the thirst to win. But the evening was so right, exactly like the montages she watched with delight. Was it real? It tasted different because it was veridical, it was true. It tasted delectable, and made her want more.

She crouched, low and forward, cutting sharply through the strong headwind. Her nose burned with the biting cold, her eyes narrowed against the wind.

Jared didn’t take long to compose himself and was right behind her. He pedaled madly, unconcerned by the rocky path that he could have avoided had he taken the well-trodden, zig zagging road. He didn’t like her being beyond his reach. For him, it wasn’t a race with her, but to her. And that was victory.

She heard Jared call her name once, twice, thrice, but her response was no more than a mocking hand-wave. She giggled at the silliness of it all. He was hot on her heels and in no time they were beside each other, sporadically scaring one another with sudden swerves of their bikes.

The rain was no longer just a splatter of drizzles and was coming down fast enough to soak them. Still bantering, they approached the wooden bridge that spanned the gushing river, covered with weeds on either side. They slowed and rode onto the paved road toward home.

“I have something to show you,” Jared said.

“It’s late,” she said.

“It won’t take long.”

Before she could protest further, he dismounted in one graceful motion and rested it against the balustrade. Marianne had no choice but to do the same and follow suit. She caught up and asked what was up. She was too invested in every passing moment she breathed the same air as Jared. She knew this would end and the end of this stealthy respite was horrifying. She didn’t care if it rained or stormed, all that made sense were these ticking moments.

Jared led her to the side of the bridge facing the moon. She looked over at him and followed the bead of water that emerged from his forehead, collated in his thick brow, trickled down the valley of his nose, shaping his pink lips and meeting the tip of his chin. He was magnificent to Marianne.

A Bridge of Love on chezgigi.com

“Many years ago,” he began “Rumors of the collapse of this very bridge were widespread. A famous clairvoyant predicted it. He was known for the details of his prophecies, and precision in the smallest details. He said the bridge would dismantle, break into shreds. Why? When? He did not know. People feared this and offered to break it before it broke on its own, to which the clairvoyant reacted in a way that indicated there might be worse circumstances.”

After a pause, he continued, “They resorted to using boats. A few years later, the clairvoyant was on his deathbed, coughing up blood, overcome by illness. An acquaintance came to him and said, “‘The bridge prophecy was a lie, wasn’t it?'”

“The old man smiled and replied, “That took you a long time! I had a difficult time commuting from one end to the other for my basil leaves. Though rowing people across earned you some good money, I reckon?'”

“My father told me this story every night until I was eight, ” Jared said. “He’d made it up, but I would listen with rapt attention. I took pride in understanding the humor in it. I used to exaggerate my giggles to show I understood.”

He reached in his pocket and produced an object roughly the size of a fist.

“It’s turquoise. A healer stone. Dad gave it to me, two days before his death. Tomorrow is the anniversary of his death, in fact.”

Marianne’s eyes widened and she gasped. Like someone had punched her in the gut.

“I am sorry, I didn’t know.”

“It happened four years ago. He gave it to me and said, ” ‘The clairvoyant would have still lived if he’d had the stone.’ ” He gave a humorless chuckle. “The irony,”  he said with his jaw clenched, his forehead wrinkled in pain.

Jared put his head in his hands and sobbed quietly. Even in the rain, Marianne could separate tears from water. She had never seen Jared so sad, so desperate, so vulnerable.

She put her arm around his shoulders and wiped his tears away with her other hand. Jared cried a few moments longer and then sniffed. She desperately wanted to say something, to comfort him, but words failed her. She had a lump in her throat. She ran her hand through his hair and softly kissed his right cheek.

Jared lifted his head and looked up with her with both gratitude and disbelief. She had, once again, surprised herself. She felt alive.

“Marianne…” he began, in a low, solemn voice. “No one has ever been so kind to me before. I…” He stopped. They heard an ominous creaking. The bridge around them had begun to tremble. They stepped away from each other, and in shock watched as a large spindle on the opposite side crumbled into the canal,  water shooting high, a deafening sound rising when the rod hit the surface.

They were still frozen with shock as the dust settled, and the waters of the canal resumed its course. Drops of rain hit the water in sparkling diamonds. They were finally jolted out of shock at the sight of an old gentleman under an umbrella, watching them from a distance. They heard him say in tones of pride: “I told them. I told them!”

Marianne and Jared looked at the old man, at the broken bridge next to them, and then at each other.

They broke into hysterical laughter at the same moment.

 

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20 Comments

  1. Alfredo Perozo

    Hahah! Thanks a lot again, Gigi!

    Wow, our story is featured in ChezGigi. I guess that makes us Published Writers? What an honour!

    I trust my proud co-author will greatly appreciate this 😀

    • I trust she will too! I’m not sure how published you are, but at least you’re on my blog. With this and a quarter, you still won’t be able to buy a cup of coffee. Tch. Glad you like it, Senor!

      • Alfredo Perozo

        I see you have a profile pic in here now! I wonder how does one get one of those 😛

        And well, the prestige of us being invited in here is more than enough. It won’t buy a cup of coffee (at least not for now) but it’s very welcome and needed good news.

        • I’m glad Alfredo. A good boost is worth a lot, temporary though it may be. What profile pic do you mean? The main one? I thought it was up when you visited me before?
          You keep a good thought, Senor. One never knows what the future holds.

  2. Mike van horn

    Even before I comment on the story, I’ve got to tell you: I touched down in Las Vegas today, and changed planes. I looked out the window to see if I could spot you so I could wave. I didn’t see you, maybe you were on the other side of the plane. Then, off to land at Tulsa on our way to Fayetteville AR.

    • I might even have been there, Mike. Close enough to hand you a cup of coffee, if I could do that from across the street at Sunset Park. I often take Sugar there. The jets go right over head.

  3. Majo Yohannan

    Thank You Gigi, I loved the story so much,I read it two times.i would love to rewrite here the whole story.”But she did not want to hurry.She wanted that moment to lasts little longer …,,..”
    You know Gigi,I always rub my wife’s cheeks to feel how soft it is.It’s amazing.
    Please watch the movie “Departures”.The plot is beautiful.

    “Sometime later, they learn of the death of Daigo’s father. A reluctant Daigo goes with Mika to another village to see the body. Daigo is at first unable to recognize him, but takes offence when local funeral workers are careless with the body. He insists on dressing it himself, and while doing so finds a stone-letter which he had given to his father, held tight in the dead man’s hands. The childhood memory of his father’s face returns to him, and after he finishes the ceremony, Daigo gently presses the stone-letter to Mika’s pregnant belly.”

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Departures_(2008_film)

    I am a fan love stories Gigi.it’s hard to impossible to get back our school days had the real butterfly feeling of love that we felt on those days but still there is a beauty in it’s loss and give us a nostalgic moment.

    Thank You Gigi!

    • Majo, you have such a romantic soul. You amaze me. This is Alfredo Perozo’s story. I’ll tell him to come read these comments. He’ll be so appreciative. And thank you for reading. I’ll try to find that movie.

      • Majo Yohannan

        Thanks Gigi,I am sorry I missed Alfredo’s name in my first read.

        Thank You Alfredo ! The story is beautiful.
        Maybe the word beautiful is an understatement but my vocabulary is not strong.
        When we are in love we feels eternal,but that eternal lost for me in those school days but your story directly taking me back to my school day and suddenly I felt a great pain and loss.Still there is comfort in pain .It is like squeezing out of honey from thorns.
        Thank You Alfredo!
        Thank You Gigi!

        With love and love and love…

  4. Gunjan Negi

    I loved it, Gigi. I was so scared for the two of them and I was hoping that you would be kind enough and not have them come down with the bridge.

    Beautiful 🙂

    • Thank you, Gunjan. It’s Alfredo’s story, though. I’ll tell him to come read the comments. He’d never kill off the lovers, I’m sure!

      • Gunjan Negi

        Oops. I’m sorry I totally skipped the opening line about this being his work and jumped to the story.

        Great work, Alfredo!!!

  5. Mickey

    This was beautiful! Great to see Alfredo’s name up in lights along with yours, G! I hadn’t seen much of him like I used to, and then of course I deactivated for a while. Good touching base with you and talk to you again soon friend! XX

    You’re right, Majo does seem to be a romantic and he’s a sweet guy.

  6. WOLFMAN

    He should Publish his works. The tenderness of it get’s into your soul. I detect a hungry heart dwelling in this work. Bravo,Bravo

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