The Promise

The Promise

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A feather floats above, slave to a fickle breeze…Pedestrians walk below with their intentions and destinations unseen.

Within this sea of people, there is one particular couple walking side by side, enjoying a sun not seen for months, its glow warm and comforting on their skin. Bathing in that spring ambiance inspires a man to speak a truth he’s been hiding for weeks…

-“Babe…” he says loudly enough to be heard over the many voices accompanying them.

“Yeah?” she answers casually.

-“What time is your flight tomorrow?”

“How many times do I have to tell you?? 5:45PM.

-“Ah yeah, okay…well that gives you enough time,” he says tentatively, the man’s face beginning to show signs of concealed truths. She noticed this quickly and her mind starts to turn…

“Enough time for what?” she inquires, looking up at him intently as they walk. He didn’t answer straight away, during that pause she could see their reflection in the passing windows of the high-street shops. Normally, she wouldn’t be able to resist checking herself out in the glass, but her fiancé’s peculiar demeanour focused her attention. After a few awkward seconds had passed he, broke his silence and spoke.

-“Okay well please don’t get mad Jen but, I went to see her again, a few weeks ago…”

“You’re joking…are you serious?? After everything, you went and saw her again?!” The women’s intuition had signalled he’d been hiding something, but this…she never saw coming. This realisation sent her into a red-hot rage. She couldn’t refrain from hurling obscenity-laden abuse at him, she had a volatile temper and her fiancé was taking the full brunt of it. He tried his best to calm her down, to explain his actions, but the judgemental stares of those around was proof of its futility.

-“Babe you don’t understand, just let me explain, she called me! She said it was important! I would never have gone to see her otherwise.” Word after word just fell upon deaf ears, as far as she was concerned, each syllable was just another thrust into the dirt covered grave he was digging himself. Jennifer’s fiancé, knowing her like he did, soon realised that she was past the point of rational thought and there was only one way to get her attention. He turns to face Jennifer directly and in one swift movement grabs her forcefully by her shoulders, his masculine strength rooting her to the spot. His abrupt halting of her incensed flailing sends a shock through Jennifer, snapping her out of a violent rhythm.

In her surprise, she looks at him with wide eyes, almost as if to say ‘are you sure you want to be doing that??’ Jennifer feels his grasp deepen along the five points of his fingers. At which point, even her elevated adrenaline wasn’t able to conceal the pain, she slowly looks down to her left and while staring at his hand says, “Joseph…you need to let go of me right now.” Her tone was cold and her expression one of deathly seriousness, combined, they delivered a piercing message of intent to Joseph. A voice nearby exclaims loudly, “hey man you need to let go of your girl! you can’t be about that life…that’s not a good look man!”

Joseph, upon hearing the man’s words, pauses to think for a second…before he can say his next words, something changes his expression from a pleading focus to concerned puzzlement. Jennifer, tired of waiting, begins to try and fight her way out of his grip, screaming repeatedly “LET GO OF ME!! LET GO OF ME!!” Joseph’s pupils suddenly dilate, his mind struggling to deal with the onslaught of incoming stimuli, rushes to a brutal conclusion. Within a fraction of a second, he’s shifted his bodyweight towards her, and thrown her towards the glass window of the store behind! Her body flew back, as if weightless, the gawking people around gasped in horror at her impeding plight. The seconds slowed in Jennifer’s mind, her anticipation of the impact was a brief torture, compared to what fate had in store for her…

A song called pain had just started playing at the scene, the people gathered here by his invitation move to its rhythm as they stare. She was the belle of this ball and was asked to the dance floor by the figure ‘in all black tux’. To be close to her was its desire, for It had been written in cosmic ink that she would dance with death, dance to a requiem called pain. But, before she could, another stepped in, taking her place in its hypnotic sway. He would surrender to its will and perform this art in sacrifice, dancing his final steps towards the grave. For Joseph had actually saved her from an oncoming car that had lost control. He paid a high price for admission…And now the song called pain was finished. Although Jennifer was saved from its melodies, another song began, only she could hear…a song called sorrow.

Before his final breath, he left a parting message, “Babe…you have to go see her…I know we were moving on…but, she still has a piece of me. Forgive me…I really did want to spend the rest of my life with you, I never wanted things to turn out like this…”

Jennifer couldn’t calm her mind enough to understand the meaning of his words. By the time medics arrived in their blue and red lit chariots, Joseph’s broken body was pronounced dead at the scene. Watching the love of her life carried away left her inconsolable. The medics were attending to all her wounds- all but, the one that counted. She retreated into herself, looking for solace in memories of their time together. Yet only the unhelpful kept turning in her mind – “You said you’d never leave me…even after my 3rd miscarriage, you said you’d stay…Every time you came to visit me in rehab, I thought it would be the last…but you stayed. You said you’d never leave me…” This line of thinking was slowly circling her around the drain. she was on the precipice of a deep darkness…and unlike all those times before, he wasn’t going to be there to pull her out if she fell.

She was still, sitting on the edge of the pavement; the wreckage – behind a cocoon of screaming people that insulated her from the horror of the past minutes. Since she wasn’t the only injured, the medics took her tranquil gaze and bandaged wounds as sign that their work was done, and so moved on. A fatal mistake. In the confusion she invisibly slipped away, making her way back to the car they’d bought together. She sat in the front seat pensive, the subtle taste of her own blood still in her mouth. After a few seconds of silent waiting, she came to a conclusion. “You said you would never leave me…but you have…and its her fault. You would still be here if it wasn’t for HER. She can’t get away with this…I won’t let her.” she thought, bereft and angry. In that one moment this ‘other women’ had inherited all blame, become the focus of all hate…and now Jennifer was going to seal her fate.

20 mins later…

Jennifer arrives, behind her a trail of broken dreams and in front, a green wooden door. Its number – like her, barely hanging on. Three loud knocks signal her intent; the person inside senses it, tentatively comes to the door, and seeing who it is, feels compelled to let them in.

“Hi Jennifer…” She whispers, with shame in her voice.

-“Hello…” Jennifer replies, just as quietly.

“Do you want to come in?”

-“Yes…I think I should…”

In a vacuum of quiet awkwardness, they both walk into the living room and sit down, Jennifer’s asked if she would like something to drink, but she doesn’t answer. Her mind is occupied by how much she hates the fact this women is prettier than her, how she would love to change that…with her bare hands. Gritting her teeth, she stares at the other women, who nervously eludes her gaze. She thinks Jennifer has come merely to discuss why she’d called Joseph, even after she claimed that she never would again. She was wrong, and soon would find out just how wrong. Knowing she had a lot of explaining to do, she began the conversation. “Erm…so I guess you want to know why I called him…well–”

The women’s explanation was cut short by a sudden breath-stealing surprise. Jennifer had just plunged a blade into her stomach. It was something she’d stolen from the medics treating her and was now trying to penetrate the women’s flesh as deeply as she could. Her face close enough to her victim’s to be able to kiss it with her warm murderous breath. The unfortunate women – in shock – didn’t even let out a scream…Until Jennifer wrenched the blade, turning it, dragging it across her stomach, splitting her open, exposing her insides. Screams of agony poured out of her just like the blood flowing across Jennifer’s unforgiving fists. She continued her brutal attack, every strike an accusation of stealing Joseph from her. In between the women’s flailing and screams for mercy, she was trying to tell Jennifer something. Something Jennifer’s temporary insanity would not let her hear.

“Please stop! STOP!!! You’re KILLING HIM!!!”

-“No B**** you killed him, YOU did!”

This blind rampage continued for a few, yet interminable minutes, before her victims life began ebbing from her body…fatigue had slowed Jennifer movements and mind, and at this pace she could finally hear it properly. “You killed him…You killed Joseph’s…” Blood and tears muffled the words, but their meaning was clear. “…Joseph’s baby.”

Those were the last words the women ever spoke, and with them, Jennifer understood the truth. She was the only person responsible for removing the last piece of her fiancé from her life, from the world.

Death’s song of sorrow started anew.



© Alpha Maurice Cidade Cauwenbergh – Storyteller, Poet & Intern at Wordsmith Inc. 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alpha Maurice Cidade Cauwenbergh – Storyteller, Poet & Intern at Wordsmith Inc. with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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