Something to ponder on as you wander on

Some liars are born that way, some are self-made; but the really great ones are elected to Congress…

Monday, July 21, 2008

SO LONG AGO...................

I am an old man now,, just resting here by the fire…
It was a long time ago,, but it still haunts me to this day…
A single act,, done in a fit of anger…it changed me forever…

In my younger days I lived in Seattle,, I was an aspiring painter
then…holding on to a full time job and trying to learn my chosen
craft…I would take painting classes and buy supplies when I could…
My small apartment always smelled of fresh paint and turpentine…
as long as nobody complained about the odors,, the landlord
wouldn’t bother me…I would occasionally get to do a portrait
of a friend,, and I even sold a couple of my landscapes to a gallery
downtown…it wasn’t much compared to the money I make today,,
but it was enough to keep me going and it encouraged me to
keep struggling…

I had been living in Seattle for only about three years,,
toiling away at my job and painting in the evening,, when I met
someone who would forever cast me in a different direction…
Seems kind of funny to me,, I always seem to meet people that
would be good friends just by accident…
Maybe fate steps in and lends a hand…I met Mike as I was
getting out of the elevator,, I was headed over to one of the nearby
cafes that cater to the noon business crowd…He was on one knee
tying his shoelace when I stepped out of the elevator,, not looking
where I was going,, and I fell over him…It make quite the commotion,,
with two others following me to the ground…I didn’t know it then
but he was the one who would change me forever,,
and I certainly did change his life,, and not for the better…
We untangled ourselves and said the usual apologies,, then we
each went on our way…

I met him again the next day,, in the office where I worked…
He had just been hired as an account rep,, in the same department
as I worked…It was only his second real world job…we hit it off
almost immediately…Strange isn’t it?...Sometimes you meet
someone and things just fall into place…He would come over to
the station where I worked and ask me questions about the
software programs we were using…How to enter data and
which forms to fill out…We would occasionally meet at the local bar
and toss back a couple of beers while playing pool...The two of us
watching the crowd hoping to see a woman and try to catch her eye…
Sometimes one of us would get lucky and spend the next hour or
so chatting away with our new find…The other would always
wander off and we’d meet the next day to talk about what happened…
He was becoming a good friend,, something that has always
been a rarity in my life…
Then things slowly changed,, we no longer went drinking as much
as we used to…I think he had met a young woman,, and was much
more interested in being with her than with me…It didn’t really
bother me,, we were both young and looking for companionship…
I’ve never really minded people coming and going in my life…
I just figured it was the way of things…kind of like ripples in a pond,,
at first the waves are all close together and then over time they
spread apart…

It was perhaps 8 months after Mike started that another person
come into my life…Her name was Cecilia,, a beautiful young woman
with a radiant smile and flowing black hair…she was beautiful to
me anyway…No,, she really was beautiful…
I met her by chance too,, we were both trying to get in the same
taxi after work…I let her take it,, but only after she agreed to
have lunch with me the next day…A bright cheerful woman,,
she could hold her own in a conversation about sports or the
national news,, and unlike most of the woman I had dated,,
she wasn’t too stuck on her good looks…She would sometimes
even go without make-up,, she had a natural glow about her…
I was very pleased with myself that we were getting along so well…
perhaps we could have something that would last…

It was only about 3 weeks after we had met that my life
changed forever…It was a Friday night and we had gone to
dinner and a movie,, I don’t remember the name… Afterwards
we stopped at my favorite bar for a couple of drinks and to relax…
The place was crowded as it always was on a Friday night,,
but we managed to grab a booth by the wall just as another
couple were leaving… Cecilia and I chatted for awhile,,
talking about the movie and about friends at work that we both
knew,, and making plans for the weekend…
As I looked around thru the crowd I saw Mike standing at the bar,,
he was standing alone even tho it was crowded,, nursing a beer,,
I think it was…I waved to him to come on over,, but he just
turned his back and ordered another round…I had no idea what
I could have done to make him act that way,, maybe he was just
having a bad day,, as we all have sometimes…Cecilia and I
continued talking and laughing,, having a good time enjoying
each others company…It was about a ½ hour later that I had
to excuse myself and head to the men’s room…

I found myself alone in the men’s room,, as I was standing there
washing my hands at the sink,, glazing into the mirror and thinking
about what a wonderful night I was having,, Mike burst thought
the door,, and just stood there with a half empty glass of beer in
his hand…I said hello,, how have you been,, but he said nothing…
As he walked closer to me,, I could tell that he had had too much
to drink…He then starting yelling at me and demanding that I tell
him what I was doing with his girlfriend,, Cecilia…As he got closer
he suddenly threw the glass of beer at me,, shattering part of
the mirror…What are you doing with my girlfriend he kept yelling,,
I didn’t know anything about his seeing Cecilia,, she had never
mentioned Mike to me…Why should she have?…
Mike and I started to fight with his grabbing hold of me and trying
to force me to the floor,, I finally broke free of him and pushed him
away…As he was stumbling backwards,, I stuck out my foot,,
just a reflex action I suppose,, and tripped him…As he fell,,
he half turned and his head struck the edge of the sink counter,,
I could hear the snap as it broke his neck…He tumbled to the floor,,
and laid there motionless…

I was horrified and stunned at what just happened,, all I could do
was stare at him as the blood started to spread on the floor...
Loud laughter coming from the bar finally jerked me out of my
frozen stance,, I was panicked that someone would walk in at
any moment…I bent down and grabbed Mike’s lifeless body
and dragged him into one of the stalls,, then I propped him up on
the seat…I quickly mopped up the blood with some paper
towels and flushed them down the toilet…As I was preparing to
leave I realized that I needed to take Mike’s wallet so it would
look like a robbery or a mugging…After taking his wallet,,
I just stood there looking at my friend,, then turned and washed
my face at the sink…Gazing into the mirror,, I didn’t recognize
myself,, I didn’t know who was in the mirror…

I made my way back to Cecilia,, going through the faceless crowd,,
trying not to make eye contact with anybody,, hoping that no one
saw me leave the men’s room,, hoping that I wouldn’t meet any
one I knew…My heart was pounding in my ears as I rejoined Cecilia …
She asked me what was the matter,, and mentioned that I was
looking very pale…As I sat there I could only tell her that I was
having indigestion,, and that maybe it was something I ate…
As I signaled the waitress to bring me our check,, I kept watching
the men’s room door,, waiting for someone to rush out yelling
about Mike…But nobody did…
The next day all I could do was sit in my darkened apartment,,
every noise in the hallway made me jump,, always expecting a
knock on the door…For the police to arrive…But they never came…
I managed only to go out and get a newspaper,, to see if Mike’s
body had been found…
His story was on one of the back pages,, the paper said that his
body had been found by one of the bartenders as they were locking
up for the night,, nobody could remember seeing anything out of
the ordinary that night,, and it was thought to be a mugging…
Still the police had a body and needed to find the mugger,,
I knew they would come around,, asking all his friends if they
knew anything…
And they did,, we talked in one of the office conference rooms for
about 30 minutes or so,, then they let me go,, and I never heard
from them again…

It was about two weeks later that I left Seattle,, I just couldn’t
stay in the town where I had murder my best friend…I would
always see him out of the corner of my eye,, or reflected in
some office window as I was walking down the street…
When Cecilia would call,, I would always put her off,, making up
one excuse after another,, saying I had to meet with a client for
a painting or a gallery owner…I never said goodbye to her…
I just wasn’t there one day…I often wonder about what could
have been,, I think of her always,, and I wonder did she have a
good life?,, did she find happiness?...
I hope so…
The events in that bars men’s room changed me forever,,
I know it did… I never married or got close to anyone again,,
I just couldn’t...The shadow of Mike is always with me…


Drowsey Monkey said...

Hmmm....we spoke of your imagination yesterday ... is that what you're using here or is this another piece of the puzzle?

Interesting story for sure ... is he better off having gotten away with it ... or would his life been better had he paid for his crime. Which is the worse punishment?

btw - you pick the weirdest labels for your stories. lol

gt281 said...

to Drowsey:
I'm just saddened by the fact that
Mike wasted some good beer....

thanks for the read.....

Bob Johnson said...

Another great read, gonna miss my Saturdays, now all I have is cutting the grass.:(