Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pale Blue Eyes

Her car pulls away from my house and to the north, onto a highway on the south riverbank of the deep canyon. We continue to talk intermittently about our two or so shared interests, the conversation left dangling more often than not. My dark eyes strain to conceal their anticipation for the conversation's end, while hers are marked with a subtle strain of anger unfitting of their pale crystal blue.

"...and so," I continue, "the watchability of the show really depends on who is writing it, otherwise it's typical American garbage. The new season is written by Mamoru Oshii, a very unconventional Japanese director, so it's top notch."

"Uh huh," she nods passively, as we approach the towering freeway overpass, which, some sixty feet above us, leaves a darker shadow on the lake's already dark blue water. "Hey, so how about checking out those new Olympic buildings they've been working on?"

I weigh my interest in the buildings against my disinterest in the girl, and eventually nod. "Sure. You know about that temporary bridge across the lagoon? We can take that."

"Sure," she nods back, the bridge's construction equipment coming into view at the foot of the overpass' arch. "Hey, what's this playing right now?"

I lift up my I-pod and check the currently playing artist. "It's... Frita Fradner."

"Frita Fradner? Never heard of her..." We reach the bridge, and her car turns.

"Me neither. But this is good. I'll have to..." I notice another bridge in construction, slightly higher than the one we're on. "Say, I didn't know they were building another one..."

She gasps as the windsheild splashes full force into the lake, while in my seat I spin rapidly, taking longer than I should to piece together what has happened. Did we miss the bridge? Did it crumble under our weight? Are we really sinking? As the huge bluffs of the canyon outside are rapidly swallowed by the blue, and muddy water rises up my legs at an unbelievable speed, I realize the questions are pointless now. Time has slowed but not enough, and as I simultaneously stumble to unbuckle my safety belt and locate the door's handle, the antiquated locking mechanisms of both fumble in my hands.

"Oh shit..." I hear her say next to me, as water engulfs our heads. Outside, the desert bottom of the lake approaches, tinted an otherworldly shade. Finally, my buckle comes undone, and the lock pops up, as my lungs fill with water and questions fill my head. Could this really be my end? Could I even reach the surface with no breath left?

I push myself out through the door, but pause, looking back into the car's abyss. She still sits in the driver's seat, clearly conscious, those strange pale eyes looking out at me with the saddest of looks, a look that asks "is this how I die?" The shimmering light of the water's surface too far above me, I throw myself back instead, reaching for her belt buckle as I feel my lungs collapse. As my eyes roll back and the world turns blue, I wonder what else I possibly could have done, for either of us.

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