This is the first story I am publishing of my Short Stories of Doom series. I have had the idea laying around for a few years, but now I am able to make them a reality
I Missed You
It had been 2 months since my last cigarette. At the age of 33 after spending the past 15 years of my life smoking cigarettes I figured it was as good of age as any to quit. I had simply handed my cigarettes to a man sitting on a parking bench and walked away from it. It doesn't go without saying that god I miss them. I miss that small filler of time during a boring day. The replacement of nothing with something, even if you knew it was bad for your health.
All the while it was still empowering to know that I was happy I could be the master of my own destiny in quitting. Quitting had freed up so much for me. Mainly my ability to breath, and a sizable allotment of free cash. Always being a loner it felt as if I was waiting for an opportunity to try the dating scene.
That leads me to where I stand right now, on this corner of 7th Avenue and Santa Fe in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I'm waiting on my first date in 7 years. I haven't had a lot of dates since I got out of the Navy. I just really never felt any need to have human interaction. Most of my day was spent working data entry for a regional pharmacy chain. I often took extra hours just so I did not have to go home. I really don't like not working, so when I quit smoking, I had many voids in my life that needed to be fulfilled. Finding a girlfriend might as well be one of those fillers.
She was a few minutes late, and it took us a few seconds of awkwardly looking at each other before we realized that we were here to meet each other. She wore a plain black v-neck shirt, and a pair of jeans....plain, just what I like.
"Hello, Jan?" "Yeah! Are you Paul? "I am, how are you today?" "Not too bad, enjoying the day, lots of sunshine"
It was a pretty day. Not a single cloud in the sky, yet there was a booming in the distance that sounded like thunder. It sounds like the baseball game is getting out down the street, and we won. That`s good news, will make for some great radio on Monday.
"Whatcha thinking about?" I need to stop wandering, or else she will think that I am a weirdo.
s get into Carlenes and get some food"
We walk inside, I half-assedly open the door for her as I remember my manners at the very last second. She walks around under my arm as I hold the door open.
"Hello, welcome to Carlene's, would you like to sit inside or outside this afternoon?" A nice young waitress asks us. She looks 19. Must be going to the junior college around the corner from here. Probably your typical psychology major.
"Outside please and Thank You."
We sit down at a table outside, and she smiles at me. It`s truly a fantastic smile. Today is a good day, I have not felt the urge to smoke at all.
"What do you do for a living?" She asks. "I work for a local carpenter, I have been installing handmade furniture for 8 years." "How about you?" I ask with good intentions. “I work on 3rd Ave at the Safeway in the produce department."
There was a plane going over our heads at a lower altitude. It was pretty common in this part of town as it was it was in the direct flight path of the airport. This also meant that rent was cheaper in this part of town which led to a lot of places for younger folks to congregate and live. There seemed to be many planes in the sky today though, a bit unusual.
I had lived in the district for 4 months. I really enjoyed moving here and, the way things look business was going to be booming at the wood shop in the next few months. I was really looking forward to things taking off!
The waitress came and took our ordered. I ordered a glass of water with some lemon in it. Jan looks up from the menu and smiles at me. I' trying to figure out what her deal is,and what she is doing in this city. She was clearly too old and too educated to be working at the local Safeway.
She reaches into her purse and pulls out a pack of Wiinston Lights, and lights up. I turn a little bit in my seat. Seeing a person smoking was not typically a big deal for me; however, seeing someone I was seeking romantic interest with smoking was another story, Jan noticed.
"Do you mind?" She asked. "No, not at all..." I left the thought trailing.
....A flash of light. A memory of no control....I hurt....pressure. Light, darkness,light,darkness....it all begins to blend together....oh the pressure.
I'm standing, blood is in my mouth, I must have bit my lip. I am in the middle of the street, but I'm not quite sure how that happened. Carlene's is ruined, it looks like the entire front has fallen off. The chair I was sitting in no more than 40 seconds prior is twisted metal beneath a good portion of what used to be the 2nd story brick wall of the restaurant.
....I see it, but I can't believe it. There is a lot of madness, the entire street has been reduced to rubble. Where once hundreds of people were living their life, now there is a small amount of survivors....groaning, holding stumps where their appendage used to be. Rolling on the ground clutching their stomachs where internal bleeding has yet to claim it's heavy toll.
Then she catches my eye......the only part of her showing is her head above all the rubble. Jan, our story could have been so bright, I could still piece together the hope that was forming as we had sat there only moments before. Now it was fading away as the look of shock on her features began too slacken.
She looks so lovely, this would have been such a great day. The cigarette she had just lit is still burning, it's laying right there.....I pick it up and I take a drag.....
...I missed you