Certainty Of Change (A short story)

The girl was alone on the foot bridge that crossed the river through town. Waiting for him here wasn't somthing to do with a past romantic moment they'd shared or anything like that.

It was just a place to meet him and discuss what was going to happen with their relationship. Why they couldn't have met in a bar or maybe at his house or somthing, she didn't know. It just seemed like a neutral place to meet.

It was autumn, and it was cold and she'd be leaving him soon. He'd knowna bout it for the past nine months and it had shattered his visions of going with her. He didn't have the same inspirations as she did, and had wondered herself what was it that they really had in common.

He still lived in a dream world of music an films, and minor career as a chef but wasn't really going anywhere. Where as she was going away to university, somthing that she'd told him early on in the relationship. And he'd immediately gotten worried, and had insisted he come with her.

Such things never turned out though, and he would have to stay.

She knew that he wasn't seeing their relationship the same, he was always looking ahead and worrying where as she just took each day as it came and enjoyed every moment with him.

Gazing down into the fast flowing river, she wondered about what he would say to her. What would she say to him?

She still didn't really know what to say without hurting him. Because she knew he'd still be in some kind of denial about the whole situation.

A car drove past and she turned and watched it head towards the other side of town. It was then that she saw the figure walking out of the shadows at the foot of the bridge.

For a second, she thought it was him, but they way he walked was all wrong, and he didn't have that apologetic stoop that all tall people had.

Nor was he wearing an Iron Maiden t shirt.

"Hello."  The man said as he reached her side. He was tall as her boyfriend was, but looked a little older.

"Hello." she replied back, then turned away shyly. She didn't recognize him as a local. She looked at him again as he stood next to her, he too looking into the river below.

"You waiting for someone?"

"Yeah, my boyfriend."

"I see. For good or bad?"

She looked at the man, an thought he had a friendly and understanding face. So she told him the reason why she was waiting for her boyfriend here and what she would try an sort out.

"Does he love you?" He asked.

"Yeah he does. But I sometimes think that he's in love for the sake of love." She said, she brushed the her flowing red hair away from her face.

"But isn't that what love is for? Love for loves sake. Just like artis gratis artis..."

The girl smiled at him. "Art for arts sake."

"You know your classics." The man said, impressed.

"It's why I am going to university."

"And he's not?"

"He can't, or won't. He's still like a little kid at times."

"Boys always are. Maybe thats why he's so in love with you."

"Cos he's like a kid?" she asked.

"No because of his innocence. I can tell you envy that."

The girl nodded in agreement. "Yeah I am."

"Innocence is somthing to be treasured at any rate. I wish I was the same." Said the man. "You suppose that education of your standard ruins it early on?"

"Yeah, it does. By the time I was five, I'd been told I'd be going to university and I could already read latin. Very different to his upbringing. My path had already been set, where as his...I guess he can still shape it how he wants."

She looked at the stranger, surprised he was listening to her. Unlike her boyfriend who would only pretend to listen at the slightest start of conversation to do with anything like this. 

"I never got that chance because so much was expected of me."

The man nodded in agreement. "Nor did I. You could say, that I too was the top of my class, and had great expectations of me."

"So what happened?"

"I went against what was expected of me and I lost everything. But only when I lost it, I found I could somehow claw my way up from the depths of Hell itself."

She laughed.

"Hell? That's a kind of harsh term."

The man ignored her and said instead "Do what you feel is right no matter what other people say or tell you how to do things. That's why you have a soul....and allegedly...free will." 

"I would stay with him. But like I said before, too much has lead up to this point in order to change it all for him."

"Free will." Said the man.

"Yeah. I guess. I know he's been worrying about this ever since we first met. Worrying that I'd be going away with the possibility without him. I've not worried, I just took each day as it was. I wish he had."

"You would know that nothing lasts forever. Only the certainty of change. Nothing will ever stay the same, so who knows what is in store for you both? You could look back when you are old, and wonder if you'd done the right thing to lead you down that path. Or it could be a decision that would ultimately lead you to end up together in the end."

"Again, free will."

"You won't know for sure until you look back on this and the moment he shows up here. You'll think, would he have been worth giving it all up for? And then again, maybe you won't."

"You being here has changed things." she said. "I'll certainly look back on this moment in time."

"It may change the outcome on your lives. Just like you changed his life and he has changed yours.

"I still don't know what I will say. He wants to know if we will still be together."

"Tell him that nothing lasts forever, be it his love, your love, or your loss and his loss. That's the beauty of human nature I think."

"He won't understand that."

"He will, in time."

The man pointed over her shoulder. "Is that him?"

She turned and saw her boyfriend walking down the street leading to the bridge.

"Yeah...it is. Do you have anyone in your life?"

The man shook his head. "I don't live that kind of life I'm afraid. So I envy you and him, no matter how tough you think it is. At least you feel."

She laughed again "Surely you must feel somthing, you must feel somthing after you've told me all of that."

The man smiled wistfully. "Yeah...maybe I do in someway."

She looked again at her boyfriend as he reached the foot of the bridge, she smiled and waved.

He waved back and smiled, somthing he didn't do often but when he did she remembered why she loved him.

Though he was wearing an Iron Maiden t shirt.

She turned back to the stranger, to at least thank him again...for waht she didn't know but she felt that he was right somehow, an that him speaking to her had somehow influenced the course of her life... but he'd gone.




The End

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