Fiction Friday!

Tess walked beside the track, just on the edge of the gravel, right where the grass tried to grow through. She crossed her arms, pressing her hands against her shoulders in an attempt to draw her sweater closer about her body. The weather had turned. The once sunny sky filled with clouds, the temperature dropped and a wind ripped through the pine trees on either side of the soon to be abandoned railway.

There’d be maybe one two more trains through town and then all the traffic would be diverted north on the new high speed rails. She heard her dad’s conversation with the mayor when she’d gone with him to the post office. The rail station would be closing, the last employer in town. Many of her friends had already moved away with their parents. She had hoped her dad would move to, that she could live in a city with boys her own age, or anybody her age for that matter. But no, he took early retirement and even then that wouldn’t be enough to pay for her college tuition. No interstate, no rail, and no chance she’d ever make anything at Charlene’s waiting tables.

The town was dead and at seventeen, she knew she needed to leave. She regretted leaving behind her coat, but she lowered her head into the wind, letting it bite at her cheeks and toss her hair. What more misery could a cold front add to her life that her town and parents hadn’t?

Tess could see the bridge now. Wooden trestles crisscrossed to span a valley with a dried up creek. Even during the spring rains the bed of rocks never amounted to more than a trickle. Her older brother had been down to the bottom before, with a girl, the neighbor. Both had moved away. Neither wrote, nor called. She imagined standing atop the bridge, looking down at her brother who would be nothing more than a speck, with his arm around another speck. Even from the distance she could tell that kissing was turning into something more. Something she would never experience.

Even in her own mind she couldn’t be sure tripping was an accident; her shoe catching a nail or a crag in the wood. Tess tumbled off the bridge, arms flailing at her side. The cloudbank lightened. For a brief moment, she swore she could see blue sky and sunlight. The wooden trestles rushed past, she started to count. One… Two… Three… How many years before this begotten remnant of history rotted and collapsed?

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