Turn (9)

Coral feverishly chewed her thumb as she waited for the nightmare to cross over. She saw a figure running over the bridge, and she ran out onto the sand covered hiway to get a better look. Coral was both releaved and disappointed to see that it was just her other self, the Alisa that lived in the day to day world. The two had often met up this way but it usually just naturally happened in deep sleep. Coral could see the tears in her eyes and asked nervously “are you alright?”

“NO.” it was that simple.

Coral’s other self looked broken in some way, and it worried her. “Can I help?”

“YES. Get your ass back over that fucking bridge. It’s your turn now. I’m done!” she said with vehemence. “It’s MY turn to serve drinks and conversations to the wandering and the lost and it’s YOUR turn to do the other. I can’t anymore, I just can’t.”

Coral nods her head like a nervous twitch, “ok, ok, ok” she says as the two exchange uniforms. She can never remember Alisa on the other side until she has crossed over, and when the women are done changing she says “Ok then, I guess I’ll see you later” and she reluctantly walks across the asphalt and steps onto the bridge.

“Later, how about never?” the new Coral whispers to the back of her receding self.

The wind carries her words through the desert, over the plains and the mountains, and gets caught in the spanish moss waving at a group of children in an old cemetery, an alligator records the words, and cares not.

.

.

I stumble over a stuffed animal in the middle of the bridge. I lean down and pick it up, it’s Jumpy, my old bean bag frog that
I used to sleep with as a child. I smile when I remember the love I had for him and the comfort he gave me in return. I absently flop him from hand to hand as I cross over. It’s my turn now, and something tells me I will be in need of this frog.

Somewhere in Louisianna an alligator closes his eyes for just a moment, just long enough to add another chapter in the history of human failure.

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