The Final Goodbye
The wind caught her golden hair and brushed it back from her lamplit eyes. It was a cold night but no different than any other. The moon, the stars, the ocean lapping over itself and crashing thunderously upon the beach. It might have been pleasant if a single tear had not dropped from her eyes. Slowly traversing its way down the nose to culminate in a drop just before dropping onto the wooden planks of the dock.
"No tears this time, Kate," I said with a husky voice. There had been many goodbyes between us, too numerous to count. I strike a match and bring it to a cigarette strategically placed just on the edge of my lips. Breathing deeply to hide my sigh of discomfort, I begin to form the words needed to cut the imaginary umbilical cord between us. Pulling the collar of my tan trench up against my neck I move forward and grasp her shoulders in my hands. "You knew this day would come eventually. Why waste all that emotion on a hopeless case like me?"
"You sell yourself short as usual," Kate wipes her eyes with kerchief and wrings it between her red gloved hands. "I love you, you know that right?"
"Of course you do," I find myself replying before I realize it. How arrogant of me. Nevertheless these are the words I need. Another notch in the cord. "That isn't enough anymore between two old dogs like ourselves. We already learned our tricks together. Now is the time for moving on"
I take a couple more drags off my cigarette and put it out as she turns away from me to hide her tears. Her red skirt billows in the wind and appears to be made of the softest silk in the moonlight. I bought her that skirt, the red blouse, the black sweater, shit even the underwear she's wearing probably. Hard to believe that all I can think about now is what I have bought her but when it comes to the end this is what comes to mind. The air get colder and colder with every second of silence between us and it isn't just the wind doing it. Glad to see I'm not the only one trying to cut through the bonds.
"You know, we could've made it work," with a sudden start she turns back towards me, fists clenched, and looks into my eyes. Her own are full of tears and big, like two puddles of brown. I should feel some pity, but I don't. "It wouldn't have been hard. I know you are away all the time what with the job keeping you busy and all but dammit something could've saved us."
"Kate," I sigh as I know this is the last long strand connecting us. The last thing she never knew. "It has been a great two years. There were good moments, there were bad moments. Thats all they are now though, is just moments. The thing you never realized was that when I left back home on my job I was actually..." At this I stop. I can see her realize now. The wheels are spinning. For all her act she actually is a bright girl. She knows.
"The whole time I was your job," she sinks to the dock, her knees making a dull thud on the decaying wood. Her sweater hangs off her right shoulder revealing the shoulder in the moonlight. I resist every urge to lift the sweater back up. We were beyond that. I had cut the last one. "They sent you. The one person who could wiggle inside my strength to my past. The one person tying me back home. They sent you."
"No hard feelings, Kate," I try to hide my nervousness. I had never felt this way about a target. It was like trying to reach for the fork with your left hand when you are right handed. It just doesn't feel quite right. "It was just a job."
"There's no boat coming for me is there," a sob wracks her lithe form and she buries her face in her delicate hands. I notice a ring I had bought early on in our.....relationship. I wonder how much I can hawk it for.
"No, no boat is coming," I grin in spite of myself. It had been a pretty genious plan after all. I had gained her trust by letting her believe that I was an insurance salesman back home. In reality I made my weekly reports. The mistake I made was eventually letting her believe that I was in love with her. Shit maybe I was. In the end I had my boss send her a letter to let her think they were on to her. Being the "heroic man" I am, I bravely volunteered to ship her off while I faced them alone. She really must have felt for me if she believed that bullshit. "The time's come Kate. I need to do what I came here to do."
"You won't even kiss me one last time?" She looks into my eyes hopefully. She must've been hoping, without any real sense of accomplishment, that she could at least tie us back together long enough for her to survive. Or maybe she really thought what we had was real and could be saved. Shit maybe it could be, but it's too late now. No matter. I lead her on.
"One last kiss for the old days," I smile that grin that had caught so many of my prey while slipping my hand inside my coat and feeling the cold grip of metal inside. Many other hunters worked with brute force. Not me. All charm here.
When our bodies and lips press together I start to feel a little twinge of guilt for her. She had put so much faith in me for so long. Maybe I'm just getting old. The wind picks up just a bit as we pull apart, eyes locked together. Her last words echo in the silence of the cold night with deadly intent. "Shouldn't have trusted a dame like me." With that her hand on my hip jerks into my abdomen and I feel a burning sensation creep into my throat. I begin to wonder whats going on when I get dizzy. Where are we again? At the port? The world spins one last time as I drop to the deck feeling the knife jar in my chest. Damn women. No matter. My own fault. Maybe I'm just getting ol.......