The Bridge – Dan Lawrence

Melvin paralleled them at the river’s edge. Countless invisible foes charged him out of the mist, encountered his kung-fu sword, and floated silently away on the current. Adrianne worried that he might become cruel, the way she thought of Dale since Sheila had come on the scene. It was an effort to stop herself from reprimanding him for the violence of his play, for the flush of excitement it brought to his cheeks. She knew she was too vigilant for changes in them brought about by the separation. She took some consolation from the therapeutic anodyne that a child’s personality is formed by age three, though she didn’t really believe it.

They reached the bridge, which gave off a dull roar. Adrianne looked up and a bead of water shattered on her forehead. The dripping, roaring underbody of the bridge felt hazardous, so she lifted Paula in her arms. “Whee,” she said, bouncing playfully down the beach with her. Paula, cradled in her arms, stared up and back at the bridge, pointing at it with her bottle. She opened her mouth and left it open. “You like that bridge?” asked Adrianne, nuzzling her. “You like that big ugly bridge?” Paula kept staring at it with her mouth half open, then smiled slightly at her mother’s antics.

Melvin had run up and was tapping at his mother’s heels with his stick. “There’s a dead bird down there, Mom!” he exclaimed.

“I hope you didn’t touch it,” she said.

“Naw, but it floats!” He now beat the ground just in front of her feet as she walked.

“You’d better not hit me with that,” she warned. Melvin made a few particularly threatening slaps with the stick, flung it up the beach and ran back to the water.

The beach narrowed as they neared the bluffs. An enormous stump, bleached beige by salt and sun, sat upright above the seaweed line, its gnarled roots reaching up through the sand. It had been hacked at and carved into, and there were blackened areas at its base where fires had been lit, but the top was smooth and relatively flat. Adrianne placed Paula on it. The sun was obscured behind the bluffs. A plane of clouds, furrowed like a plowed field lay at an angle in the syrupy orange sky, and where the river opposed the sea waves washed over each other in an endless, vanishing progression.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Leave a Reply