Merry Christmas to all! Don't know what possessed me to write this, but inspiration struck, I wanted to write, and so I took my old idea 'Chained Dove' and turned it into this. Enjoy!
He was there again.
Ellen sighed, and shifted her bag on her shoulder as she neared the boy. Every day, at the exact same time, Scott, a boy from her year, would be leaning again the bridge railings, staring into the distance, watching the sunset.
He'd become a landmark on her way home from her part time job. Once, on a day off, she had actually lied in wait to find out just what he did. He always showed up about fifteen minutes before she arrived, and left only as the sun vanished on the horizon.
It was hard to believe a guy would spend so much time staring at something so…un-guy--like. Then again, she'd heard he had medical problems of some kind. And he rarely hung out with most of the louts that made of the male population of her class. Nobody really knew him anymore than they knew . . . well, Ellen.
She walked past him, and lagged a few seconds. What she really wanted to do, was ask him why he was staring. But she was so used to staying silent, blocking out everything, that she always lost her nerve before she could open her mouth. Every day, she would hesitate, then leave. Today was no exception, and she began her steady pace again.
"It's Ellen right? Why do you always stop just then?"
Ellen halted, casting a glance over her shoulder. Scott had stopped his staring contest with the sky, and turned to look at her, a half smile on his face.
"Every day, you halt a few seconds, then leave," he said. "I was wondering why?"
Ellen stared, but turned and took a few steps towards him. "I just wonder what you're doing, that's all."
A brief smile. "Then why didn't you just ask me?"
Ellen just rolled her eyes and shifted her bag. Thankfully, the guy seemed to catch the hint, and turned back to the horizon.
"I'm watching the sun set."
Ellen sighed, but found herself slumped against the railings beside him. "I figured that much. I just wondered why?"
This time, the smile looked pained. "Its beautiful."
With a reply like that, Ellen couldn't help but come up with a sarcastic quip. His next words however, stopped her in her tracks.
"When everything goes black, I want to go with the most beautiful thing I can find in my eyes."
"Goes . . . black?" Ellen asked.
Scott just kept looking at the sun, a beautiful semi-circle in the sky.
"My eyes" he explained.
Before she could ask, he continued. "I was born with bad eyesight. At first, I barely noticed it, but recently . . . my vision's been temperamental. Turns out that in a few months, my eyes are going to give. Everything'll just . . . go dark."
He sighed. "In a month or so, my family's sending me overseas. There's an operation that might save one of my eyes. But the odds are against me."
Ellen looked away, eyes dark. "Sorry" she said, though it didn't quite sound like she meant it. "Didn't know."
Scott shrugged. "Nobody but my doctors and family did before now. But I knew I could tell you."
Ellen's defences reared up. "Oh?"
A smile. "You can't see colours. You never could. You know what its like."
Ellen growled. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Oh please. First year? Art? That fiasco in the classroom?"
Ellen didn't bother to reply, and just stormed off, ignoring Scott's cries. How could he have figured it out? Nobody ever figured it out. One accident didn't add up to his conclusion.
Scott however, didn't seem to care too much, he didn't move from the bridge.
"How did you know?"
Scott blinked, and turned to see Ellen, standing at the end of the bridge.
"You're early" he mused. Normally, the girl didn't show up for another ten minutes.
"The store was quiet, so we closed shop early" Ellen explained, not really knowing why. "How did you know?"
He smiled, staring at her. "In first year, we had that art class. You were always a model student, so the teacher chose you to be his assistant, and asked for certain colours in paints. For a few seconds, you looked petrified. In a minute, you'd started an 'accidental' paint war with some boy in the class after picking up the wrong colour. Then you started to skip that class a lot."
Ellen shrugged. "Your point?" she asked. "Maybe I just don't like art."
Scott smiled. "Then why get so angry?"
Ellen blinked, running through the conversation.
"Wait a minute . . . you GUESSED?" she shouted; glaring in part anger, part horror. He'd guessed her biggest secret; something that was her problem and hers alone . . . and she'd let him?
Scott laughed. "Hey, its not like its that big a deal. A lot of people are colour-blind. Doesn't stop them from living life to the fullest."
Ellen soon found herself slumped against the railings, staring at the sunset with him.
"I don't know how," she muttered. "The glass is always half empty when living 'to the fullest'."
"What makes you say that?"
Ellen gestured to the sunset. "Take that fiery bauble for instance. To you, it's beautiful. To me . . . "
She sighed. "To me its just . . . grey shapes. There's no wonder to it. It's just the same as everything else. Part of the décor."
But Scott shook his head. "But what you see isn't its beauty, its what you can't see."
Ellen glared at him. "Rub it in my face why don't you!"
She made to leave, only to find a hand on her shoulder.
"Hold on" he started. "Before you storm off again, let me explain."
She didn't stop glaring, but stood still.
"When I look at the sunset" Scott began. "I don't see the pinks and reds and oranges. I see the end of the day, giving birth to the night in all of its wonder. I see the sun rise on the other half of the world as it fades from this half. I see life."
He smiled at her, his hand still on her shoulder.
"That is its true beauty."
Ellen stared at him, and finally, a smile crept to her lips.
"You're full of it. But . . . "
She stared at the setting sun.
"You mind if I stick around?"
For the better part of a month, the two would meet on the bridge, sometimes spending the entire time staring at the sky; others would be in constant arguments on differences in opinion.
And sometimes, the bridge was so heavily used; they would leave, searching for solitude in their gazing. All the while, counting the days till Scott's departure.
Until the date arrived . . .
"Guess this'll be the last time I see you for a while," Ellen said, leaning against the railing. For once, Scott wasn't staring at the sun, but instead, was leaning over the railings, and down at the river underneath.
"Hey, have you got my E-mail" she continued. "I'm sure I gave it to you but-"
"I'm not going."
Ellen stopped, and turned to Scott. His eyes refused to look at her.
"What? Why are? What are you talking about?"
Scott shook his head. "My parents would sell their souls to the devil if they had to, but I know that they can't afford to pay for this, we'd be in debt for years. And there's no guarantee it'll even work. Besides."
Scott smiled, and looked up at her.
"I want to spend what little time I have left looking at the most beautiful thing I know. Something I come down here every day especially to see."
Ellen growled. "You moron!" she shouted. "The sun sets all over the world! You'd be able to see it no matter where you are!"
Scott was still smiling. "It's not the sunset I come to see."
Ellen bit back the rest of her tirade, blinking in confusion. Did . . . was he . . .
"True beauty is so hard to find," he continued, closing the gap between them. "Because its never on the surface. It can't be seen with the naked eye, and you need to look so deep to find it completely."
He cupped her chin, and she leaned forward, almost hesitantly.
He gave a faint smile. "My eyes will fade, but I will always know this:"
The last sentence was barely a whisper.
"You are truly, beautiful."
Ellen wanted to reply, but his lips quickly stole anything she may have had to add.
Sunsets are a symbol of an end, the final curtain.
But whenever there is a sunset, a sunrise is beginning . . .