At the end of a story

by | Dec 12, 2023 | Fiction, Issue Thirty-Six

I wrote a story of our friendship, but tequila and beer fucked it up in the end. I even reworked the ending to undo the parts about the car’s speed and the curve in the bend of the road, but I couldn’t delete the enormous bruised oak tree on Palmer or your twisted, bloodied body being pulled from the wreck.

For a second, I even prayed for a new ending. But of course, you know my prayers went unanswered because I never believed in God or could barely remember a time when I did. And, anyway, why would God let someone as kind and loving as you die in a flash?

Our earlier conversations echoed in my soggy brain, so I bit down on the inside of my left cheek until a salty, metallic taste reached my tongue and stung my cheek like a hard, angry slap.

~~~~~~~

“Stop! No more,” Cassie said.

“Knock it off! You sound like my mother,” I said.

“Let’s get out of here. I’m feeling kinda sick,” Cassie lied.

“Just a little longer; I swear,” I lied.

~~~~~~~

Fuck! If we could relive that moment in your room, blow-drying our hair and putting on make-up, we could start a new chapter. And instead of getting pissed off at your lecture, I’d listen, and we’d be home, huddled under the covers, whispering funny stories we make up in our heads.

I twisted and manipulated the story’s plot until you sat here next to me on the curb in a hazy mist, consoling me and telling me everything would be alright. But when the fog lifted, my pen dried up and fell from my broken hand, leaving me unable to rewrite a new scene.

~~~~~~~

“Promise me,” Cassie said.

“I promise,” I lied (again).

~~~~~~~

And what if I believed in your God now? Would he strike a bargain and remake me into a person more like you? Perhaps then, God would answer as I prayed and begged the paramedics to restart your heart.

But I knew what I’d become. No deity listened to my feeble attempts at prayer, attended to my frantic pleas for revision, or comforted me as you once did. Instead, the man with his hand placed on the top of my head guiding me into the backseat of a cruiser heard my choked-up, prayerful confession as I recounted the ending I created, “I was drunk and killed my best friend; Cassie is dead¬–The End.”

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