Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tattered Hearts

My heart was pounding in my ears and mouth was hanging open. I couldn't believe what I had just seen. It was a narrow miss. Such a close call. Adrenaline was pumping through my veins.

She walked across the pavement with the sway of an alcoholic, except that she didn't drink. Her hair was a frizzy gray, and brown cat eyed sunglasses sat on her nose. Her dark green camo printed maxi-dress was stretched around her belly and neon orange flip flops were on her calloused feet. 

A look of triumph crossed her face as she turned to me with wild eyes and whispered, as if she were telling me a secret.

"You saw that, didn't you? He's going to say that it was my fault, but you saw it happen. You tell him what he did."

I nodded my head in shock as I met the angry glance of the portly man riding the blue bicycle. I wanted to say something, anything to let him know how sorry I was about what had just happened. But he quickly passed by, glancing back and shaking his head in disgust. 

I was surprised that he didn't stop, or react more passionately-- after all he had narrowly escaped being plowed over by a large SUV driven by an aging man who had failed to look before he backed up. And just like that, the man and the bicycle disappeared from sight, as if nothing had happened.

The suburban jolted in front of us. He grunted as he climbed out of the driver's seat and limped over to us, his collared navy shirt hanging over his belly un-tucked from his worn out blue jeans.

"You don't even know what you did, do you?" she asked in an accusing tone. "You almost ran over a man on a bike!"

"Oh, hush. You don't even know what you're talking about. Just get in the truck and be quiet," he growled.

She looked at me. 

"Tell him," she said in excitement.

I paused. 

"She's right," I said cautiously, "You almost hit him."

"Well, if you weren't being so crazy and getting me all upset...," his voice was rising.

"No, you have to admit it. You can't tell me it's my fault this time because she saw it too," she said with a look of superiority.

He took her arm and helped her down the steps. She could barely move, her legs were swollen, and she was unsteady on her feet. 

She reached up and ran her hand through his silver hair. 

"You used to like it when I ran my fingers through your hair," she laughed. 

He growled, mumbled something under his breath, and said "Why do you have to act like this?"

He turned to me, "Do you want her?"

I didn't know what to say and so I just smiled. He laughed, as if he was trying to explain her craziness.

He helped her climb up into the truck and made his way to the driver's side. I could hear their arguing as they pulled out of the alley and continued on their travels.

Did they love each other? Sometimes it seemed like it. Did they hate each other? The tone of their conversations sure sounded like it most of the time. 

If you were alone with one of them, each one would tell you how terrible the other was. Actually, they were more than willing to share that information no matter who was around. They were unashamed of their lack of respect for one another.

But yet they stayed together. They argued, and yelled, and drove each other crazy-- quite literally. He couldn't live without her. She couldn't live without him.

 It didn't make logical sense, but somehow they depended on each other. One broken soul patched to another broken soul--the edges frayed, rips and tears over every inch of their tattered hearts. Yet they remained together and they always would.

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