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1988  

Posted by Scott Wilson

1988
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 879

David’s soul was stuck in 1988, the final year of high school and the first year he’d tried to kill himself. He couldn’t seem to move on from this point in time, even though 1988 was over twenty years ago. The music he listened to every day was released prior to this year, his memories and thoughts seemed to stop registering after this time as well. Even the books he read were printed before his final year of high school. Nothing new seemed to appeal to David, and it frustrated him to no end.

“Sorry sir,” the barmaid said. “I’m afraid you can’t smoke in the pub.”

David entered the current year again and put his cigarette in his near empty beer glass after looking around for an ashtray and not finding one.

“Sorry, ma’am,” he said. “I was daydreaming. Must have forgotten where I was.”

The barmaid knew David as well as anyone else. He came in after work and sat in the same chair at the end of the bar, except for Friday when the bar stools were removed for the crowds to have better access to purchase their drinks. She occasionally chatted with David when the bar was empty, but it was kind of awkward now. A few years back David took her friendly flirting as a sign of interest in him and asked her out. Since then, he was embarrassed as was she.

“Here, give me the glass. If anyone see’s that butt, we’ll both be in the poo.”

She quickly tipped the dregs and cigarette down the drain and washed away the evidence.

“One more for the road?” she asked.

“Yeh,” he said, rummaging through the coins in his pocket for enough change to buy his seventh beer for the evening.

Under the Milky Way, by the band The Church came on the music channel and David turned to watch the film clip. It was okay to listen to as it was released towards the end of 1988. He sighed. He didn’t know why he liked to listen to music that triggered his depression; it was like an addiction that he had no control over.

As the music played, David drifted back into the past, remembering the girl he had a giant crush on in his Art Class, Paula. She was a Goth and showed no particular interest in him at all, but he couldn’t stop thinking about her either back then or now. It was this desire to be loved by Paula that eventually led to his first attempt at suicide.

“You’re not going to light that!” the barmaid said.

David snapped back to the present and realised he had another cigarette in his hand. He sculled the beer and slowly stood up.

“I think I’d better go before you kick me out.”

David staggered out of the bar and towards the Myer Centre bus station, thinking that he might go back to the freeway overpass near his high school and finish what he tried years ago. He was drunk when he walked out of class, planning to jump off the overpass to kill himself in 1988. The same overwhelming feeling of loneliness swept over him again as though in were only the next day and not years later.

On the way to the bus he put his iPod on and listened to some more tunes from the eighties, Guns ‘n Roses, The Cult, Def Leppard, The Smiths and U2. His emotions tossed and turned with each memory the music dug up like a grave robber, stealing any joy or happiness lingering around his heart.

By the time the bus reached Garden City, David was well and truly in a morbid state and sobered up somewhat, making things worse. Without the Dutch courage, he knew he wouldn’t follow through with his plans.

“Well,” he mumbled. “Guess I’ll just have a look at the old school while I’m waiting for the next bus home.”

David lit a cigarette and wandered down the walkway between the overpass and the high school, to where he passed out in 1988. He sat down next to an old tree and pondered his wasted life.

“You’re a selfish bastard!” a voice said.

“Who’s there?” David said.

“You are, or I am. I’ve been stuck here for twenty years.”

David looked around, but could not see anyone.

“I’m here you fool,” the voice said. “And I’m taking back my life.”

David felt a pulling sensation like a thousand fish hooks ripping at his soul. The pain intensified and a blinding light flashed in his head. He fell backwards.

“You can bloody well hang around here now,” the voice said.

David blinked trying to clear his sight. Walking back towards the bus stop, he saw his body. It was giving him the bird as it hurried away.

“Who are you?” he yelled.

David began to chase after his body, and whoever had stolen it. He passed through a tree and shuddered.

“What’s happening?” he said.

His body turned back and smiled.

“I’m the part of you that you left behind. The part of your soul that wants to live.”

THE END

This entry was posted on Monday, June 1, 2009 at 10:29 PM . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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