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Sometimes you try and try and it just doesn’t work no matter what you do, you learn this lesson over time. Most people call this experience over-extending yourself, or just poor luck. I say that I have failed. Perhaps I should start by introducing myself, I am a 19 year old, Caucasian male of no unusual circumstances. I am an American child of divorced parents whom most call James and some call me Mr. Indigo. At this current moment in time, I am looking out of the window of my 15th story apartment at the shattered corpse of my best friend, Jessica. I can’t even describe to you how I feel; all I can do to make you understand is to take you back to the beginning.

Three months ago, a torrential downpour sweeping across the upper part of north central Texas struck Dallas with vengeance. I, in my apartment prepared myself to ride out the storm with textbox casualness, I personally like the way the rain makes the air taste, it cleanses all of the dirt and grime out of your breath and makes everything appear sharper, more solid. The high winds and frigid temperatures that came with this storm however, I was sure were going to sling something hard and icy into my already dilapidated, 94’ Plymouth. But because I didn’t have a choice I shrugged it off and sat there reading a fantasy novel, a personal crutch of mine, until I fell asleep as usual in my most beloved chair.

I jolted out of my chair and lurched forward trying to figure out what had awakened me. Hearing a noise I stood up and checked the clock. It flashed 12:00 at me with impudence. I said out loud “the power must have gone out for a moment”. Then I hear the noise again and realize that it is the telephone ringing. I start blindly groping towards the phone in the stark blackness of the night. Lightning strikes somewhere nearby, Illuminating the room and I grab the phone, looking at my watch as I bring the phone to my ear.

“Hullo?” I say in a somewhat groggy voice,

“James? Thank god your there.” I recognized the voice of Jessica over the howling winds immediately

“Where else would I be, why are you outside at this time of night?” I asked, the tone in her voice snapped me awake even at 3:25am.

“I was driving my baby sister back to my parents and my car broke down, and I left my baby sister inside so that I could find a payphone.” She sounded on the verge of a panic attack.

“Where are you? I’ll come get you right now.” I asked hurriedly not wanting her to wait in the storm.

“I’m in front of the Change and Go tire and oil change, please hurry!” She yelled over the wind.

“I’m headed out the door ask we speak, try to find someplace dry and call me on my cell phone if anything comes up.”

I ran to my bathroom and grabbed a handful of towels and a blanket from the hamper and ran out of my door, almost forgetting to close it. I ran into the elevator and pressed the first floor button and waited. The agonizingly slow time it took for the door to close and the elevator to start gave me plenty of time to cycle through my enormous vocabulary of swear words. I’m sure the security guard behind the camera who heard that was amused but I sure wasn’t. When the elevator hit the first floor, I waited once again for the door to open and bolted through the lobby and into the parking lot with my jacket held over the blankets and towels I brought and unlocked my car.

My car started with no problem, and I was fairly relieved. She was an ugly brute but she got me where I wanted to go and didn’t waste gas over it, so I approved of her. I sat the towels I was carrying next to me in the passenger side and took off like a bat out of hell. I wasn’t a particularly good driver at that time but I managed to keep on the road even at 85 miles per hour so I made record time to pick up Jessica. She was standing outside of the building wearing a black evening dress soaked to the bone. Her red hair was plastered to the side of her head and the morose expression on her face was a cross between unwavering hatred and utter relief. She bolted for my car and got in cursing more than I had ever thought possible. I handed her a towel and a blanket and waited till she was in a condition to tell me where her car was. She toweled off rather quickly and wrapped the blanket around herself; she however, was still noticeably shaking.

“B… Bridge just up the way.” She managed to get out

I turned the heat vents of my car towards her and drove toward the bridge, noticeably slower, not wanting to plunge Jessica into the raging river and not wanting to hit her car. But as we arrived, I saw no car parked anywhere, just the water surging over the bridge and a spot down the way where the rail had been broken.

I spun around to her and said, “Is this the place where you parked?” I hoped to god I was wrong, but there were not very many bridges nearby.

The look of utter incomprehension on Jessica’s face however told the entire story, “It was just right there. Where is it?” Then a stark look of terror broke into her face and she began to hysterically sob and thrash the insides of my car with her fists.

“Jessica!” I screamed, “You have to calm down. Maybe the fire department can do something we should call the”

My sentence ended there as the streetlights went out, I gaped in bafflement as I realized that the power had gone out to the entire city just in time to seal the fate of Jessica’s little sister. She looked around and came to the same conclusion I had and fell across me sobbing hysterically. We sat there for a long time, with her crying and me not saying anything. What could I say? There was nothing to say that could make any of this any better. I sat there with her sobbing and pounding on my chest until she finally passed out from exhaustion sometime after dawn.

I drove to Jessica’s house carried her inside and placed her into bed then went down to the police station to report what had happened. They were baffled by the fact that I was making the report instead of her but after I explained it fully they understood and decided to come down to her house at 5:00 to get her report. We both knew how hard this was going to be so we didn’t feel the need to tell each other. I walked out of the police station and drove back to Jessica’s house. I grabbed a couple chairs from the kitchen and quietly dragged them into her room and sat down on one and put my feet across the other and waited for her to wake up.

I woke up to the sound of Jessica swearing and sobbing and I silently berated myself for falling asleep. I turned to see her sitting in the corner of her bed on the phone. I tried sitting up and failed because of the knot I had tied into my back as a result of me sleeping in a couple of kitchen chairs. I finally managed to stand under extreme pain and listened to what she was saying. All I managed to pick up was her saying “it wasn’t my fault. I promise” over and over again. I walked around the bed and quietly sat next to her.

She finally hung up the phone and turned to me and said, “My dad is going to see if he can press charges against me.”

I grabbed her around the shoulders and whispered into her ear “It will be okay, I already talked to the police and they should talk to you soon. There isn’t going to be a trial or anything like that, you’ll be okay.” I held her for a while and finally stood up to make something to eat. At first she said she wasn’t hungry but when I brought her her food, she ate it abnormally fast. I thought that was a fairly good sign so I left the room again to put the dishes up. That’s when the police came. Their visit was rather short and was only to verify the story I gave them, so then they left.

I stayed over and her friends one by one came to visit her to try to cheer her up and by the end of the month she was almost back to normal. I got a couple strange looks from some of her friends when they learned that I was staying but the look I gave back dispelled any comments they would have made.

Then the police department found the car underwater a ways away from where it had washed off the bridge and Jessica and her father were both called to identity the car and the body. That was probably the turning point for Jessica. She went down to the station and took one look at the car and lost it. Her father identified both her car and the remains of the child and then proceeded to tell the police station that his surviving daughter was the murder of his child because was too damn stupid to save the child’s life. Every time he said anything it would be laced with condemnations toward Jessica and every time he spoke Jessica cried a little louder. He only said three or four things about her though because after the first couple I punched him in the face. I we fought for a while before the officer broke us up. Surprisingly I didn’t spend the night in jail but her father did which made me all warm inside.

Life after that was all but normal. Jessica stopped talking to anyone about anything. She started coming around with dazed looks on her face and long lacerations down the length of her arms. I moved back in with her without comment from her friends and stood watch over her. But still she wouldn’t talk to me. The only way I would know if she was having problems that day is I would listen by her door for sounds of her crying. I then would come in and hold her in complete silence. Not to say I didn’t try to talk to her but it didn’t work. Nothing worked. Her friends came over and she didn’t recognize them, she stopped combing her hair and it snarled angrily at the ends. The only reaction I got was when I told her I was going to call a psychiatric treatment facility. She cut me short on that idea right away. We actually talked about that, well rather I told her about my idea and she threatened to kill herself. She stopped working so I had to move her into my apartment. I wasn’t working either but I had money saved away for a vacation and my boss understood. Her friends called me to see if I had made any progress and I always had the same answer. “Nothing as of yet, I’m still trying though.” No one ever tried to help; they all thought that if anyone could do it, it was me. I lost control of myself several times. I cut myself; I broke my hands on the walls. I lost control sometimes, but I was always brought back by the fact that I had to help her.

Then one day I woke up to the sound of the shower running. I snapped out of bed and thought, “is she trying to drown herself?’ But then I listened closely and I heard her singing! I was too removed from how normal people act to see that something was seriously wrong so I got out of bed and got dressed and waited for her to come out so I could see her. She came out wearing a towel and all the snags had been combed out of her hair and she was smiling. She calmly walked into her room and shut the door. I was still baffled but if she wanted to play the dress up game I would do it to. I went to the bathroom and cleaned myself up. When I came out she was cooking dinner in an absolutely stunning dress. I was amazed so I sat there in silence and waited for her to finish.

She turned around at looked at me and told me to leave the kitchen and she had a surprise for me. So I left and she came in about an hour later and told me to come in. The food she had cooked was on the table looking absolutely amazing, a steak of some kind cooked amazingly. The lights had been dimmed and there were candles on the table. She took her seat at the small table and I took mine. We ate and talked for several hours.

Then she told me that what I was doing for her was the most amazing thing that she has ever seen and that I deserved much better. She stood up, walked across the table and kissed me full on the lips. I was completely taken off guard by that so I was still stuttering when she told me she loved me. I choked on that for a while then I told her I loved her as well. She kissed me again and walked across the kitchen into my living room. Then she walked over to the window and slid out while I was still stunned. I screamed and ran to the window, kicking over the table in the process and looked out.

This brings us full circle. Know you know the whole story. You should also know that I’ve secretly loved her for several years now. But that really doesn’t matter now. I failed, I tried everything I could and it wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t good enough. I put everything I had into trying to do something and now everything I am is splattered there on the concrete below. I’ve always been chasing Jessica, making sure everything was all right, fixing her bike when she was little, protecting her from the jealousy of high school. She has always been one step out of my grasp until now. But now I join my Jessica forever.


------
...with all the words you say



Comments

The following comments are for "The Price of Failure"
by FallGlimmerSparkleandFade

ihfdhfz
How is no one reading this story, it's your best one!

( Posted by: ThwanCondu [Member] On: December 17, 2004 )





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