Monday, June 1, 2015

We Were Once All Commuters: Chapter Four

Laddie and Jake had just made it over the third bridge and arrived at the barrier islands.  The two friends rolled onto the small lawn which wrapped around the lighthouse and laid their bicycles beside the stoop that lead to the front door.  Laddie was exhausted and flopped onto the grass.  He placed his hands over his eyes to get a clear look at the beam of light emanating from the top of the beacon while Jake stood tall and looked backward at the three bridges they had just crossed and proudly declared, "We survived one hell of a ride.  I really thought," he continued, "that we would turn back after the boom box fell into the tank and that semi almost crushed us."

Laddie just groaned.  He rolled over and sat up on his knees.  He turned around, looked at Jake and said, "I'm not sure this was such a good idea.  What do we do now? Go home?"

"No way," Jake replied in an exhilarated voice.  "We go to the beach, hang for a while; maybe we can explore the dunes a bit.  This is awesome!"

Laddie rose to his feet, grabbed his bike and started to ride for the bridge.  He had enough excitement for the night and wanted it to end.  "I'm going home."

"Lad, you can't leave now.  We just arrived.  There is way to much to do.  The Beach?  What about hitting the beach,"Jake asked.  Angry and disappointed, Jake said, "I am not leaving; you go if you want, but I'm staying.  This is way to cool."

The two friends didn't see eye to eye.  Laddie pedaled off and left Jake standing at the foot of the lighthouse.  Jake called out to Laddie a few times, but Laddie kept pedaling.  Jake didn't flinch.  He held his ground and stayed behind watching his best friend ride over the bridge til Laddie disappeared to the bridge's opposite side.  Laddie was gone.  Jake stood alone in the dark.

As Laddie made it to the foot of the bridge and started riding across the bay in low gear his legs shook with fear.  He could not believe he rode away from his best and only true buddy.  As Laddie rode up onto the bridge, he heard Jake's last words, "I am not leaving..."  He was too far to hear even the echo of what Jake had shouted.

The wind picked up and the sky was pitch black except for the bright light whirling around the top of the lighthouse.  Jake finally moved.  He reached out for his bicycle and hung his helmet off the edge of the handlebar.  He threw his right leg over the top tube and quickly started to pedal.  He didn't look over his shoulder; he crossed over the small patch of grass  separating the lighthouse from the road and safely made it to the beach.  He sat motionless upon his saddle and listen for a few minutes to the wind blowing passed his ears.  He felt the cool breeze of ocean mist strike his face.  Jake smiled as he looked deep into the darkness.  He saw some breakers reach the shore; he saw the stars and the moon shining bright, but the moon was a rather small crescent.  He dropped his ride in the sand and flopped down next to his bike.

Like all kids, even the older teens, and adults for that matter, he kicked off his shoes, pulled off his socks and stepped into the water.  It was cold as the ocean typically can be up north.  Jake thought for a moment, "I wish Lad was here."

He spoke to himself and pretended he had been marooned on an island.  He rolled his knee length shorts slightly higher and splashed the waves with his hands.  The young man, free as a bird did not see what was coming and fell into the depths; he saw nothing but blackness.  He could feel the grit of the ocean floor slapping against his face. He panicked.

He screamed out while his lungs filled with water.  Jake was taking his last breath as his head poked through to the open air. He gasped and went under for the last time.

As Jake struggles for life and Laddie rides home, I will see you on the road.

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