Friday, October 8, 2010

Burntcore Week 20: My Heart Aches


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Burntcore's Choice: Both

My Heart Aches

Morgan sat on a tree root overlooking Lake Crescent. The calm, still waters helped sooth her whirling thoughts. She came here often to think, although she tried to stay away on the weekends. This was a popular turn-off point for tourists and the weekends were when they were the busiest. Nothing was more disruptive then loud out-of-towners oohing and ahhhing over the vista.

However, she took her chances and ventured out on Highway 101 on that Saturday afternoon. She really needed to escape home for awhile. Her relationship with her boyfriend, Lincoln, was at a crossroads. They had gotten into a bad fight, the worst they’ve ever had, and she wasn’t sure where to go from there. She loved Lincoln, but she couldn’t go on like this. They couldn’t go on like this.

Morgan recalled the note that she found tucked into her favorite book earlier that morning. Lincoln was known for doing that, except this time the message wasn’t a love note. The slip of paper fell out of my book when I grabbed it to do some reading. The small rectangle fluttered to the ground, the message that had been written on side flickering as it fell down.

“My heart aches”

Leave it to Lincoln to sum up his feelings so succiently. It looked like he had taken his time with this particular message. Morgan could see the faint lines of pencil underneath the black sharpie.

“My heart aches”

Well, that makes two of us, Morgan thought bitterly to herself as she stared at a crack in the bark of a nearby tree. She ached for him, but not just in pain. She ached in love, in lust, and in loneliness. After their fight, she had not seen him in several days.

Their typical answer to a problem or a conflict was to ignore it. This worked out at first with the little stuff. But the little stuff piled up and became big stuff. Eventually something big came up and caused that pile of ignored issues explode.

Lincoln and Morgan yelled and screamed and cried and pulled at their hair. Words were exchanged that couldn’t be taken back. Some words deserved to remain, to be a reminder.

“My heart aches.”

Morgan sighed and thought about her future, their future. She had finally made up her mind as a car pulled up into the turn-out. Two couples stepped out, a younger set just a little older than Morgan and Lincoln. The second couple made her pause. They were elderly, but it was easy to see the love between them. The man, stooped with age, hobbled over to his wife’s door and helped her out. She smiled hugely, lighting up her face and briefly showing the beauty that she once was. Carefully leaning over, she kissed her husband on the check and kept her hand on his arm as they slowly made their way to the rail of the turn-out.

Morgan could hear the voices of the two couples but could not make out words. What they said wasn’t important. Their body language was more telling. It was apparent that the younger couple were in the middle of a disagreement. The woman leaned away from her spouse with an air of offense. The man stood stiffy, anger emenating from his lean frame. The elderly couple watched the pair sadly. The younger woman said something sharply to her husband before she stalked over to the older woman.

Feeling like a voyerur for watching the interaction, Morgan stayed in her spot on the tree root and observed. The elder man made a gesture to his wife with a soft smile. She smiled back and led the upset young woman off to the side. The older man walked over to the younger and they talked softly.

The two younger people animately pled their cases to the older. Each of the older couple remained calm and patient, speaking only occasionally. The air of peace of Lake Crescent and the attitude of the older couple infected the younger. The young man’s and the young woman’s gestures became more reasonable and their posture less angry.

Satisified, the elderly pair turned their charges back to one another. The young woman looked sheepishly at her husband. His expression mirrored hers. Slowly, they approached one another and clasped their hands together. After standing together shyly for a few minutes, they finally began talking. The elderly pair looked on with pride and satisfaction.

Morgan was touched to the core by the scene she witnessed. Here, that was what her and Lincoln needed. Communication. They needed to talk and air out their issues. While her and Lincoln didn’t have the benefit of elderly advice for them, they could still get somewhere. Somewhere past the impass that had them in limbo.

Digging out her cell phone, Morgan settled back down on her tree root seat. She quickly dialed Lincoln’s number and tried to keep the butterflies at bay. The longer it took for him to pick up the more nervous she got. Right before she thought she was going to be put into voice-mail, he picked up. His voice was soft but cautious.

“Hi, Lincoln. I want to make this work. We need to talk about this out. Can you meet me at Lake Crescent?”