(Author’s note: I was off last week as it was my birthday week. I had a lot of things to do, so I got to them. Now that things are starting to calm down, I can get back to more regular writing. Keep an eye on this website for possibly more longer-form stories. Otherwise, here’s today’s fictioneers… Note: The song is very important. Listen and enjoy.)
Auf Immer Und Ewig (Forever and Ever)
by Miles H. Rost
A craving that could never be sated.
Nick gazed out towards the horizon, passing a glance over the ocean as though it wasn’t there.
Every month, he’d come to that very spot, and look out. It was a therapy, his father would say, a way to heal from the scars of the past.
“I always go there,” he said to his best friend one day, “because I want to go back. I left her back there, and I want to be with her just once more.”
It was all he would say about his tour back in Vietnam.
(Author’s note: Was gone last week, due to issues related to work. I hope to be a bit more consistent when I finally get myself into my own place again, instead of having to drive 45 minutes from work to get home. Anyhow, here’s special music to go along with today’s Fictioneers…)
The sun was setting in the skies off the coast. The bright yellow of the sun sunk below the horizon, the sky starting to turn a firy orange with twinges of red. There were no clouds in the sky, the winds were calm, and the surf was very mild. It was exactly like a picture, frozen in a moment in time.
Paul Bernal sat top a set of rocks close to the ocean’s edge, looking out at the seas. He had come there for solitude, to calm the raging beast within himself. He looked out at the ocean, and felt the soothing splashing of the waves on rocks farther out. This was his place of refuge from the rest of the world. This is where he was able to do all of the things he needed to do. He was along the waterfront, right where he needed to be.
The rocks he stood on had a roughness that was pronounced. However, one spot seemed to be perfectly cut into the rock pile where it was smooth. The rocks formed two cylinders, which allowed for ease of kneeling when praying. And it was in those grooves that Paul put his legs, and knelt in prayer.
As he prayed, he thought about all that had happened in the day and even days as he prayed, the situations recounted in his mind as he brought all those cares up for prayer. The images from the computer screen that triggered his inner beast were being addressed in prayer, and how much he struggled with images that were more erotic and stimulating. While it had been a few days since the last time, he knew that he had to continue being in prayer and putting forth all the things that he could not keep inside.
He lifted up his troubles at work, dealing with all of the stresses of being a financial aid counselor. Hearing the hard luck stories and not being able to do much didn’t help his psyche at all, and lifting those cares up helped ease the pain that he felt.
For nearly 20 minutes, as the sun continued to descend beyond the horizon and twilight started to show it’s beauty, he continued praying. As he finished his prayers, he stood up on the rocks, and climbed down from them. Landing on the soft sand, he looked down and smiled.
“I’ll be back again, tomorrow. Be ready for me, Lord,” he said, staring out into the darkening skies and ocean. He turned and walked back towards his car, ready to head home and face another night alone.
Klaus started to stir, as the winds gently caressed his face. He sat up and rubbed his eyes. He looked around, and found himself on a beautiful windswept beach.
The sands were like salt and pepper, dark and light waves of sand coarsing across the entire beach. He saw the ocean’s waves crest and fall, the tide coming in and going out. The sky was a beautiful blue, with the sun overhead as though it was late afternoon. It was, in his mind, the perfect time and perfect place. It was where he wanted to be for his entire life, and he was there now.
He started walking down the beach, letting the waves lap at his feet as they lazily came and went. He breathed in the sea air, the scent of salt and marine life wafting like a gentle perfume into his nostrils. He walked for what seemed to be a long time, when he saw someone in the distance.
He continued walking as the figure in the distance got closer. He was happy that he wasn’t going to be the only one on this beach. He kept walking, kicking piles of sand and leaving his footprints behind on the soggy sandy shoreline. As he got closer to the figure, he noticed that it was decidedly feminine. And she had a familiar look to her. He got closer, to the point where he got to see her face.
He blanched, because what he saw could not be true. He was looking at his own mother, who had passed on many years before.
“Mom?! Is that you?” he cried out.
She walked over to him and smiled.
“It is me, Klaus,” his mother said.
“But, I thought you were dead.”
“My body is dead, but you know that my spirit lives on.”
Klaus took a nervous breath.
“But, if you’re not here, is this a dream?”
“It very well may be. However, I am here to offer some help.”
He looked at her, and gave her a look of wonder.
“You have been having trouble with your life, and where you want to go.”
“That is true, mom. I have been wanting to do something that is my passion, and the world seems to want me to go a different direction.”
His mom chuckled.
“Do you remember what I told you when you decided to go to business college?”
“I remember. You told me, ‘Don’t do what you want to do for money, do it because you love it.'”
“That’s right. Now, are you doing what you love to do?”
He looked down at his feet, and shook his head.
“I’m doing what I can to survive.”
“Then, my son, you should change it and look at doing something you love.”
He looked at his chestnut-haired mother, smiling cherub-like.
“I still wish you were around, Mom. I could use your help at times.”
She smiled back at him, and bowed.
“My darling son, I’m always around.”
She suddenly disappeared.
It was then that Klaus awoke from his slumber, in a sweat. He looked around the darkened room, at the alarm clock that signaled 4:30AM. As he turned himself over to go to sleep again, he mused at what he dreamed.
He looked at a picture of his mom, sitting on top of the nightstand.
Gordon “Pete” Stack would normally have been happy to see his grandchildren on this birthday, but he just was not very happy. He had all that he would have needed: a wonderful wife who had been with him for nearly 45 years, three great children who were credits to his family, and now he had a few awesome grandchildren who were becoming grandteenagers.
This day, his 69th birthday, he was just not pleased with anything.
He sat on the porch of his nice estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and studied the world. He saw what he remembered and what the world had become, and he was quite displeased by all of it. And it seemed to all land in his mind on this very day.
Two of his grandchildren, 12-year old Sasha and 14-year old Mariska, came out to the porch and sat down on a swinging rocker next to him.
“Grandpa, you don’t seem like you’re very happy to see us today,” Mariska said, looking over at him with concern.
“Bah. It’s not you,” he grumbled, as he shifted his weight in his chair, “I was just thinking back on my life a bit, and seeing where I’ve been. There were many things I missed, but many things that I also took delight in. Those days are gone now.”
He looked over at them, and it was like someone clicked the detonator on a time-travel bomb.
“Well, let’s see. You have in today’s world some singer who sings like a boy, looks like a girl, and can’t spell beaver right…”
Sasha snorted at this, finding it a little funny.
“You have people who tell you lies and market it as the truth, while the truth from your ancestors becomes lies to be disbelieved…”
Mariska just sighed at this.
“…And you have a bunch of spoiled brats who aren’t willing to take care of their own families, expecting the world to give it all to them, all while they smoke weed. Do you know what I had when I was young?”
Sasha and Mariska looked at him, and leaned forward in anticipation.
The kids looked at him like he was from another world, but still fascinated.
“Let me tell you. Things were much different, and in my opinion, much better. We had a lot more of the desire to create and build things. Big things, great things. Now, it’s all small stuff like microchips, processors, and other such junk.”
“But, Grandpa. You’re not old. You’re just an advanced teenager. You’re still young, you’re just still young with a different time period in your mind.”
Pete finally cracked a smile at this.
“Well, let’s just say that I have some things that your parents don’t know, and I’m willing to give you some of my wisdom. It’ll be my birthday gift to you.”
His smile became a wily grin, as Sasha and Mariska moved closer to hear what he had to say. Just as he was about to say something, one of his old friends started walking up the walkway. He turned his head towards the old friend, grabbed his shotgun, and walked up to the edge of the stairs.
His old friend started to say hello, when Pete yelled at him
The Santa Monica Freeway was known for traffic. And especially going into Santa Monica proper, it was always going to have some congestion. For some reason, this Saturday evening had very little traffic. And as Dennis drove down the freeway in his BMW z3 Roadster, he smiled happily at this development.
He passed under La Cienega Boulevard as the sun started to dip in the horizon, and turned on his radio. As per typical, his keen sense of musical timing allowed him the pleasure of listening to one of his songs from his time in college. As the opening strains of America’s 1984 hit, “Can’t Fall Asleep To A Lullaby” started wafting from the four speakers, he looked at the horizon in front of him. It wasn’t totally clear, but he saw the bright orange skyline, an indication that the sun was in the process of setting.
The winds that blasted past the vehicle whipped his hair as he traveled down the freeway.
He thought about the road ahead, and about how much he loved to drive. This was the way that he decompressed from the daily stresses of his job and from his past. He recounted the things that happened over the past week, and mused about how much they were going to change his life.
As the chorus of the old song played through, he passed under the 405. By this time, his thoughts moved back to the beautiful orange sky and the sparse number of taillights in front of him. It seemed even this night would not have the cops bothering him on this road. The picture in front of him was exactly like a dream he had in college, and he was going to relish it as much as he could.
His thoughts were interrupted by a thought about his charge, the one who he was helping at this time. He knew that she was going to have a rough road ahead of her, and she had so much to work through. He only hoped that he would be able to help her properly, and give her the freedom to do great things for the people of Los Angeles and the Basin.
The second run of the chorus started to play as he blasted under Cloverfield Boulevard. His favorite part was coming up, and he looked again at the horizon in front of him. The wind in his hair, the beauty of the landscape, all of it brought a grin to his face again. It was, for all he knew, the most awesome experience he had up to this point in time. And he loved it.
The saxophone solo sounded out from the speakers, and he kicked down the accelerator as he approached 14th Street in Santa Monica. He drove his engine as hard as he could until the solo ended. By the time he ended, he was right at the curve where the Santa Monica Freeway became Pacific Coast Highway.
He slowed down as the roadway became a four-way with very few stoplights. He prayed and hoped that he would be able to continue without stopping. As he progressed up the road, he looked out at the ocean and the beach. The sun was just starting to disappear under the horizon. About 3/4 of it was still above, and he was entranced by it, as he drove. With luck, he was able to keep going as the stoplights all appeared to be green and happy.It seems that his drive was, in fact, a blessed event for him.
As the last chorus blasted through, he punched the accelerator again and blazed his way up the PCH through Santa Monica. The chorus ended as he streaked a turn onto Chautauqua Boulevard. He went up the hill a little slower this time, and made a turn towards the ocean onto Corona Del Mar. The song just ended as he pulled into his house, and turned off the key. He was home, and the night was absolutely awesome. This was a blessed night, and he would spend the rest of it listening to America’s Greatest Hits, and watching the sky darken from his patio overlooking the ocean.