A Short Story About a Reunion

(From previous blog, unedited)

After flicking through some of my old stories from school, I decided to start posting them here. They are titled after the questions from past papers, so here’s the first one I’ll be posting.

Write a short story about a reunion.
I find myself reliving the same dream over and over again. Birds flying behind white, puffy clouds in an azure sky on a bright and sunny afternoon. I alone occupy a park bench placed in the green area behind the smooth, grey pavement. I sit, patiently waiting as joggers pass by, some in tight, usually black bicycle shorts, others in either dark tracksuit bottoms or grey sweatpants. Each one keeping to themselves, too engrossed in their music to take care in their surroundings.
 I can’t help shake the feeling I made a mistake coming here. I think to myself “What am I doing? Why did I agree to this?” unsure whether or not I should get up and leave. I don’t. I say to myself “Just another five minutes. Then I’m leaving.” I repeat this sentence once every five minutes, each time I frantically turn my head left and right, then return to my original composure and shift my eyes from left to right wildly, looking for a sign that I haven’t just wasted an hour of my life sitting alone on a park bench waiting for someone who’s probably not even going to show like the fool I am. “Why not just call or text me to say she’s running late?” I think to myself, bewildered.
 “That’s it. This time no regrets.” I slowly push myself up from the bench and assume a standing position: back straight, shoulders broad, legs a bit numb. I turn left and start walking, trying my hardest to let go. I stop and turn. I see a hand waving in the distance. I squint my eyes, raising my hand above to shield them from the intensity of the sun. My eyes beam with excitement. “That’s her!” I hoped, dashing her way as she hurried mine. I then suddenly bring myself to a halt, my face losing all sense of elation. There was something off, something wrong in the air. Then it hit me. She was gone. One minute she’s running my way with the most cheerful smile and innocent blue eyes and the next thing I know she passes through me like a warm summer’s breeze.
 I quickly come to the horrifying realization… none of this is real. It’s a dream, possibly an obscured memory. My mind can never seem to distinct between the two. The scene rewinds as though it were a movie and plays right where she enters. “Am I in control now?” I wonder. “Or is my mind turning against me?” I contemplate, frightened by the notion. I observe her more carefully this time. Pale skin glistening in the sunlight, dark brown hair rendered bright by the sun, and that infectious smile…
 She passes through me again. The scene replays. “What am I missing?” I feel too anxious to focus properly, but I take a deep breath, close my eyes, exhale and take in my surroundings. “Okay.” I am filled with clarity, my mind pulsing at the opportunity to test its newfound power. I rewind the scene manually this time and play where she enters. Things are becoming clearer now. The blue denim jacket over her pink hoodie. The dark yoga pants with white vertical stripes descending to a seemingly new pair of white runners, laced, clean.
 I rewind and play the scene one last time. Her hair – long, wavy, maintaining its sleekness despite the occasional strong gust of wind. Her neck – tender, bruised, scarred. A heart-shaped locket hangs around her neck – “genuine gold” she once told me. A gift from her grandmother, she said. I pause the scene just seconds before she reaches me. I examine her neck more carefully. The scar runs all around and back to the origin point as if she was… then it suddenly dawned on me. This wasn’t a happy reunion. This wasn’t a dream or a memory. No, this was much worse. The scar around her neck could only mean one thing… she was… gone.
 A single tear runs down my face and hits the pavement as blood. Suddenly, she rewinds and fast forwards as though possessed by some demonic entity or outside force. I turn away and see everything change. The trees fluctuating their leaves through all four seasons at a supernatural rate, the clouds and sky constantly varying in colour and weather. I turn back and she’s gone. Everything becomes still. Time has stopped. I look down, stupefied by the events that just occurred to discover a box with my name on it. I find myself holding a knife in my right hand. I cut open the box and take a deep breath before looking inside. One glimpse. That’s all it took to drawn all the life I had left from my face. I was in shock. I had no idea what to think anymore. Up until now, my dream seems to have been reacting to my observations of the world, now I feel like it’s guilting me for something I have no recollection of…
 Her head lays severed in the box and I can’t look away. “Why? Why can’t I look away?” I become tense and distraught with anxiety and fear. My eyes lock onto hers. There is an ominous feeling in the air, but I am too far down the rabbit hole to care at this point. Her eyes burst open with terror and I remember everything.
 We were to meet at this exact park bench but she never arrived. I waited and waited for hours, each moment becoming more and more infuriated and self-conscious. It wasn’t until it started raining that I walked home, only to discover she had been in an accident. I can remember the tears, the stillness of that moment and the bitter emptiness that came with it.

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