Tuesday = #Blogbattle
#BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge using a single word for inspiration. Hosted by the talented Rachael Ritchey. Feel free to join in, or click here to read the current week’s stories and vote for your favorites.
This week’s word: Scar
The rain is fiercely coming down, pelting my skin like a thousand tiny daggers. The icy water from the river has risen far too quickly and is now rushing around me. I hold on tight to a tree branch. I know if I start shivering, I won’t be able to hold on. The wind has picked up and the temperature has dropped at least 20 degrees. I knew we should have turned back before the storm hit. My fingers are tingling from the cold, “Adam…I don’t know that I can hold on any longer.” I yell above the rushing water and the howling wind. He answers back “Kate….hold on Kate, I’m coming, I’m almost there.” His voice loud but calm. “Hurry!!” I frantically scream. I try to focus on my grip, but my mind wanders to what if he doesn’t make it in time. The river will swallow me up, I won’t have a chance, just then my grip slips, “Adam!!”
I must have yelled his name so loud that it woke me from my sleep, because I bolted straight up in bed, my chest heaving as I try to catch my breath. I brush my hair from my face, and realize it was just a dream. The same dream I always have when I’m stressed out and things seem out of my control in my life.
I look at the clock, it’s 4 a.m. I’m wide-awake now. I head to the kitchen to get some tea, maybe that will calm my racing thoughts. As I fill the kettle with water and place it on the stove, my mind takes me back, I remember that day all too well. Adam and I always took walks along the river near his house. We were just teenagers then, he was older than I was, yet we spent a lot of time together. We always crossed the river at the same spot, so it wasn’t new for us. But that day the storm rolled in too quickly and the rain came down too hard. We were racing to get home, and I slipped on a rock and almost fell into the river before he caught me. In the process of him saving me, he acquired a nasty gash on his left hand that we didn’t see until we were safely catching our breath in his backyard. I reached over and grabbed his hand cradling it carefully in my own, and said, “You hurt yourself. Yikes, that’s going to leave a nasty scar.”
Applying pressure to it with the corner of his shirt balled up in his other hand, he casually replies, “Eh it’s nothing….it was worth it. I’d never let anything happen to you Kate.”
It was at that moment that everything changed between us, but I was too young to really understand what to do with it, and before I knew it his family moved away and we lost track of each other.
The memory of our friendship and all those carefree days we spent together made me smile. The whistle of the teakettle brings me back to reality. My thoughts begin to berate me. Get a grip Kate. I’m sure he doesn’t even think about that day or you at all. Sure he has the scar as a permanent reminder, but I’m sure he has moved on…happily married, with a wife, 2.5 kids, a dog, the house with a white picket fence. Unlike you. Yep…we all have scars, only mine cover the walls of my mind, and canvas my heart.
I shake my head and abruptly stop that train of thought. It has to be the stress from work. My boss assures me this merger is going to go smoothly. I can only hope. I look at the clock again. It’s too early to go into the office. I decide to hit the gym and work off some of this nervous energy. A good work out and some laps in the pool will get me in the right frame of mind.
By 8:00 a.m. I walk into my office with coffee in hand ready to take on the day. All negative thoughts and emotions left drowning in the pool. My assistant Lisa knocks on the door, with files in hand she reminds me of my meeting at 8:30.
I walk into the conference room, and the VP greets me, and then introduces me to the gentlemen next to him. “Katherine Richmond, this is Adam Madsen.” Adam extends his hand and I firmly shake it, not taking my eyes off him. This can’t be happening. The meeting is about to start, so we take our seats not getting a chance to speak.
It takes every ounce of my strength to focus on the meeting. I just know it’s him. The meeting ends just in time for lunch. I quickly exit the conference room, on my way out I let Lisa know I’m leaving the building for lunch. I have to get away and wrap my brain around this whole situation. When I return from lunch Adam and I will be working closely together until this merger goes through and then once it is done. How am I going to do this? There is no way he recognizes me. I go by Katherine now, my last name has changed, my hair is a different color. OK…I can do this, just focus on business. I cannot bring myself to eat, so I return to the office, ready to work.
Lisa let’s me know that Adam is waiting for me in my office. I walk in and casually say, “Are we ready to work?” With that we dive into the task at hand. He is focused on the details, so it makes it easy to keep things strictly business, and I am determined to keep it that way even though the scar on his left hand seems to want to incite me to do otherwise.
We’ve put in a long day, and then some. We order Chinese Food in for dinner as we wrap up for the day. It isn’t until then that our conversation turns to idle chitchat. I notice no wedding ring, and he confirms with his conversation that he isn’t married. With that bit of information, I cannot help myself, I have to know. As I begin cleaning up the empty food cartons I reach over and run my finger along the scar that runs the width of his left hand. “That’s quite a scar you’ve got there…so…was it worth it?”
He gazes down at my finger caressing his hand for a heartbeat, then looks up, stares deep into my eyes as if searching for the answer, and when he finds it he says, “Kate.”
© 2015 Carrie Ann