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Message in a Bottle
I slammed the door behind me, and I didn’t look back. I flagged down the nearest taxi and told the driver to take me to West 36th Street in Brooklyn. I didn’t know where that would leave me, but I needed to get away from the horrible brownstone building in central Manhattan.
In the midnight rain, it was almost like the rain would wash away all my problems and insecurities. Almost. But I knew that rain wouldn’t solve anything. Then again, neither would my tears, but they were there anyway, persistent in trying.
As I looked out the window, I avoided any thought of what just happened. I stared at the familiar New York sites as they raced past me. If only I could leave all my problems behind like the family I just ran away from. I knew it wasn’t possible, but I needed an escape. If one existed, I hadn’t found it. And it certainly wasn’t around the corner. At least, not that I knew of.
Finally, the taxi driver slowed to a stop. I paid the fair, got out, and walked away without turning back. I took a left, then a right, and somehow ended up at the dock, where several barges were parked. I walked slowly along the dock, looking at the boats around me. I don’t know why, but when I came to the end of the dock, I lost it. I broke down crying, and curled up into a ball. The rain picked up, and thundered roared overhead. The choppy sea was a gray monster, splashing me and soaking me to my already wet skin. I looked up at the sky, and screamed “I just want it to end!”
I don’t know how long I sat there, trembling and sobbing, but what could have been minutes or hours later, I heard a voice behind me.
“You know, ending your problems doesn’t mean they’re solved.” I sniffed and didn’t turn around.
“Who cares? At least it’ll be over. And no one will ever know what happened.” The voice was silent for a moment, then the person came and sat next to me. It was a guy, with shaggy hair and soulful eyes. He was tall and muscular but skinny and he wore a Beatles tee shirt. He glanced at me, and I lost it again. He hesitated, and then he pulled me into arms. I didn’t pull away, and he held for a long time. When I had pulled myself together, he stood up and pulled me to my feet.
“Come on,” he said as he started to walk. I followed him. He entered a 24-hour diner, got us a table, and sat down. I followed suit. “So,” he said, “tell me what happened.”
“I don’t even know who you are. How can I tell you anything?” I said, reluctant to open up. He pondered this for a moment.
“I’m Cole, I’m nineteen, and I’m a good listener.”
“I don’t know…” I did not want to tell him what happened. Nor did I want to keep it bottled inside, like I had for everything else.
“Just tell me what happened,” he said, looking straight into my eyes.
And I did.