Down by Len Kuntz
Hundreds of feet above, standing on a bridge with a woman he once loved, he looks down at the raucous waves below and thinks how easy it would be to jump, to leap, or to simply fall through the thin August air.
She says, “What are you thinking?” She says, “You’ve gone cold on me.”
He remembers their first kiss and the first time they had sex, sex not love-making, because it was turbulent and quick in their friend’s bathroom at a party for that friend’s son. When they were done, he wore the smell of her all the way home and did not shower for a day.
On the shore below someone is fishing. Further ahead a ski boat ploughs through the waves and for some reason it makes him think of Moses parting the sea.
When they were younger they could talk about things. He even confessed some of the disturbing events in his life, admitting his part in their occurrence. She’d held him close, a mother coddling her tot, and a veil of safety temporarily shielded him. What he couldn’t say now was how hollow everything seemed. He was different, she was different, the world was.
This stroll had been his idea. He believed it would be easier to tell her here, out in the open air rather than inside where the walls were thick custodians always holding them in, pressing too hard.
They had a son, a daughter, a life. Their friends envied them, but they didn’t know and so he kept his solace to himself and pretended to be a funny clown. The therapist he’d secretly been seeing told him guilt was the biggest enemy. The therapist said lots of people get divorced. She said it was either that or live a lie.
His wife slides over, clutching the rail while wind shoots locks of hair across her cheek.
Without looking, she says, “It’s a long ways down.”
“It is,” he says, and goes airborne.
Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State and an editor at the online literary magazine Metazen. His work appears widely in print and online at such places as Connotation Press, Boston Literary Magazine, Ofi Press of Mexico City, and others. Len’s story collection I’m Not Supposed To Be Here And Neither Are You debuts from Aqueous Books in 2014. You can find him at lenkuntz.blogspot.com.