The Bridge – Dan Lawrence

Adrianne gazed out at the ocean and deflected the momentary impression that she was at the edge of a barren desert by focusing on Melvin, who crouched over something at the water’s edge. It made her uneasy. “Melvin!” she shouted. He turned his head and she waved him up. He made a few more motions over whatever it was that held his attention before running toward them, kicking up enormous sprays of sand. He ran past the stump as Paula, sucking on her bottle with a look of deep consternation, watched him go with her eyes.

The orange glow had turned nearly purple. If she waited much longer it would be dark by the time they got back to the car. Adrianne lifted Paula off the stump and took her hand. Melvin had found another stick and was poking around with it in the sand. They approached him, clothed in a silence as enveloping as the bruised light. Adrianne fought a hopeless feeling that she didn’t really know them any better than she had known Dale. The whoosh of the waves and of the occasional car seemed to be swallowed whole by the air. Melvin was tapping on a patch of something blue and shiny. Near it, what could have been some strands of kelp fanned out on the sand. “Look Mom,” he said, enlarging the patch of blue with his stick. “Somebody lost their coat.”

Adrianne reached down and plucked a stained and crumpled piece of paper with some writing on it from the sand. ‘Ears are perfect for ripping off somebody’s head,’ she read at the top, ‘even your own ears, like with that artist.’ The printing was simple but uneven, as if it had been written by a child on a train. The next entry read, ‘See Teenage Slut Girls, Pony Girls in Bondage.’ Adrianne dropped the paper in disgust. She felt that her hands were unclean. Melvin was working toward the edges of the coat with his stick. “Leave it there,” she admonished. “It’s time to go.”




Perched on the edge of the bluff, silhouetted against an enormous gullet of sky, the town looked fragile. Some lights were just coming on against an encroaching darkness so vast that to see the lights oppose it was touching. It was a quaint town. People there seemed bent to the common purpose of discovering the right way to live, which seemed quaint in itself. Gom had moved there several years before, soon after Adrianne’s father died. It had taken Adrianne by surprise. She’d thought Gom would settle further into her suburban life in the house where Adrianne had grown up, surrounded by the parents of Adrianne’s childhood friends. She and Dale had bought a house nearby soon after getting married. When Gom left, it had felt like a slap in the face, and the first time Adrianne had come to visit she’d resisted the place, the people, and her mother. Before long, though, she’d had to admit that her mother seemed more at home here, and the town itself was easy to love.

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