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5th May
posted by amber

At the Edge

At the edge, Patricia leaned on Marcus, and Eddie suddenly knew. Suddenly the day lost some of its brilliance. Suddenly the pain in his right knee from the fall he’d taken earlier was nearly unbearable.

He looked away from the two of them, across the incredible vista of rank after rank of red cliffs. Two seconds ago, it had been the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. Now it was dulled, blurred by angry tears.

“Something wrong, Eddie?” Patricia asked.

“Just a piece of dust in my eye.”

“I can pour some clean water on a cloth for you, if you like.”

“No, that’s fine. I got it out,” he said, scrubbing away the stupid tears.

The real injustice was that this trip had been his idea, he’d gotten the permits to camp, he’d planned the itinerary, he’d paid – god damn it – for everything, including new tires for her bike. Did she think he did that merely out of friendship? It was stupid, he now saw, to become friends with a woman when you were really hoping for more.

Well, of course, the friendship suited her. That’s why she thought it was perfectly fine to invite along this Marcus, this new guy she’d met, this guy she thought Eddie would ‘really like.’

“Let’s get back on the bikes,” he declared, standing up suddenly, “we’ve got a lot of miles to put in before we make camp.”

And he was off, before they even had a chance to pack up their lunch leavings. For the rest of the day, he kept far enough in front that he couldn’t hear what they were talking about.

Naturally, she was furious when he finally stopped. “What’s the matter with you, Eddie?” she demanded. “We could barely see what direction you were going. What if we’d gotten lost? You have all the maps.”

He walked away, leaping over the small stream beside the camp ground, heading up the gritty trail to the top of the next mesa.

“Wait here, Marcus,” he heard her say, then she was running, catching up to him as he walked out of the valley shadow into the apricot sunset. “Are you mad that I invited Marcus along? Don’t you like him?”

“Well, it’s obvious that you like him. You met him, what – two weeks ago, and now you can barely keep your hands off him.”

“What?” She grabbed his arm, spun him around to face her. The tears were back, but he didn’t care any more. “That’s not what’s going on. Eddie, I brought him along for you.”

“For me?”

“Yes, you need someone in your life. You’re such a great guy. Why are you hitting yourself on the head, Eddie?”

The prompt from StoryADay for May. 5 was to take inspiration from a photo on Flickr’s Explore page.

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