7/29/2013

The Rush of Sunrise (Short Story)

The Rush of Sunrise

There is no place more calming than that old yacht club. The rickety dock has more than a few loose boards, but an unforgettable charm. There are sailing vessels at rest in their slips, tied loosely to the pilings and floating with serenity on top of the water. On the clearest of evenings you can almost see past the stars to the other side of the universe.

The moon gives light to the night sky, tranquility strikes the mind. I made my way to the humble spot at the end of the crippled dock. I am never disturbed while I sit down and explore my imagination. Nights at the yacht club are filled with solitary rumination under the shaded light of the moon. Until the early morning I sit and ponder existence, waiting to see the dawn of a fresh day. When the sun rises, it sends chills down my spine, through my veins, and into my brain.

Tonight there was a full moon, there’s nothing better. I strolled up on the rock driveway, feeling excited, but felt an unsettling presence. Anxiously I walked over to the gate, and it was locked as usual. I grabbed the chain and turned the numbers on the lock into place. Click. The lock was undone. I moved the chain aside and pushed my way through the gate, replacing the chain behind me. I always locked the gate behind me, just to keep myself alone. I knew I wasn’t alone this time.

I could see the silhouette of a man sitting in my favorite spot at the end of the dock. A man much younger than me, a man who appeared to be heavily distressed. The closer I crept, the more alarming the scene became. The sleeve on his left arm was rolled up, and a rubber band was tightly wrapped around his bicep. In his right hand he held steady a full syringe, and in his teeth he held the end of the rubber band. My heart pounded as I stopped in the shadows to observe for a moment.

My spot was occupied by a tormented soul, trembling with emotion. I debated with myself on whether to leave him there, or stay and offer help. I opted to continue my slow advance, while he continued to shake. The moonlight revealed his ghostly white complexion as I neared the edge of the dock. He sat there, feet dangling over the water, needle in hand. He began moving the needle toward his bulging vein, and I touched his shoulder. He stopped shaking, took a deep breath, and dropped the rubber band from his mouth. His shoulders fell, but he did not turn around. I took a seat next to him on the dock.

“What’s up?”

He remained frozen in place, neglecting to respond. Our feet dangled over the water in the deathly silence. We sat there in silence for a few moments. He still held the needle in his trembling hand, staring at his ghastly reflection in the water. His body was littered with an expression of deep sadness as he drew in air, preparing to speak.

“I was about to stick this in my arm.”

The reflection in the water remained unchanged. He looked straight into his own eyes shown as dark circles in the lightless mirror below our feet. I could not see his face, only his long black hair that dangled over his cheeks. He had pale skin, as if he hadn’t seen the sun in years. He lived in a dark corner, his own dark corner.

“And it was going to kill me.”

I had no immediate words. I struck a brick wall, a mental barrier. I could react with fear and disgust, but he needed something more than that. This kid was on here on this dock under a full moon -- about to inject a lethal dose. Silence consumed us for a few beats until I posed the question that ate at me the most.

“How did you know about this place?”

I think he was glad I didn’t ask what he expected to hear. I approached him with nothing more than an open mind. Very much accustomed to hearing the judgement of others, he was thrown off by my selfish curiosity. It was my spot on the dock, the place where I find myself happy and secure. He brought a level of intensity to the customary calm of evenings on the dock. I wondered why he didn’t feel at peace here.

“I like to wander. I found this place last night, and there was something special enough about it.”

“Special enough?”

“To deserve the end of my life.”

“Listen kid, I know you might not believe it, but there’s good in this world.”

He looked further down into the water, as if searching for something. Some force of energy from the depths of his demons to spit out and come to terms with. He was looking for a way out, a gateway into something more pleasant. Clouded by insecurity, he was convinced that self-induced death was the answer. He spoke.

“Do you know what it’s like to lie to everybody you know?”

“Why?”

“Because I need to.”

He continued the deep stare, adding layers to the thickness of the dark silence. I could feel a calm breeze beginning to take root over the water. Boats rocked up against their slips in the dock. He finally lifted his gaze from his own eyes in the reflection to the horizon, where a steady morning glow was building.

“I come here to find peace. Can you do me a favor?”

He turned his head toward me, and I looked into his eyes for the first time. Dark, brown, beady, pupils wide, eyelids low. His shaggy hair hung in bunches over the bright skin of his quiet face. The needle in his hand still trembled with the emotion that overtook him, filled the substance that governed his life.

“When that sun rises, look for the hope in it.”

There was an increasing glow over the edge of the sky. First just light through the trees, the half-circle of flaming energy shot its first beams of morning onto the reflective body before us. His jaw dropped as the new day rose higher past the long night. The syringe in his hand dropped down into the abyss, sinking and sending ripples out from the point of impact. They extended in all directions, glistening in the pending sunrise. It sank down, on a perpetual spiral toward an empty floor.

“4-9-5-4”

“What’s that?”

“It's the code to unlock the gate.”

He stood up then, and turned around. There was a slight grin at his cheeks as he started a slow strut away from the dock, the place where he was going to make his final stop. He walked off, his shadow extending as he made his way toward the gate. He left the dock to wander some more, taking one step at a time toward new days, finding his hope in the sunrise.

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