I am working on an A-Z challenge, this one featuring short pieces of fiction. Today’s letter is Q for quarry.
We were parked a few hundred feet down from the quarry, and had gotten out of the car, and ventured over to the water’s edge, just as we had done so many times before. They said that it was a bottomless pit, but that was hyperbole. There was a bottom; we just couldn’t see it. The water was as cold as the ice water which refreshed us in the heat, as we walked in the blistering sun, determined to get to the back side of the pool, where the rocks, towering overhead, provided the essential shade needed to make the whole trip worthwhile.
The quarry, quiet and somewhat mysterious, had been our go-to spot, ever since we had gotten together, more than a year before. I was with my girl, Sonny, short for Sonja, and we were not there to talk. If we had wanted to talk, we could have stayed back at the school where we both attended. No, what we wanted was privacy, even if it meant clambering over rocks, maneuvering our way back and through some treacherous spots, to reach the little alcove about fifty feet up from the water’s edge. There, miraculously enough, we would find a little oasis from the hard granite surface which dominated the quarry, in the form of a tiny grassy niche, just big enough for six or eight kids to congregate, when the heat got to the unbearable stage. Only there weren’t six or eight of us; there was only Sonny and I.
At least, that was my plan. I was hoping that it was Sonny’s plan also, but from the way she was chattering, I was beginning to have my doubts. After all, a person tends to prattle on when she is uncomfortable, not the other way around. Companionable silence only accompanies those who are ready for it and that takes time. Settling into our little spot, I felt that things were going just the way I had planned, so I put my arm around her and gave her a lingering kiss, one intended to shift the environment from casual chatter to the sounds of silence.
But no sooner had I planted that intention, firmly in both our minds, than we became aware that we were not alone. A distant car door slammed, as we surfaced for air, and we held our breath, as we waited to see what this might mean. We didn’t wait long. Below us, another young couple moved into the arena, walking gingerly amongst the boulders strewn throughout the quarry, making their way, right to the water’s edge.
“Are you sure this is what you want?” we heard the young woman inquire of her partner.
“Yes,” he responded emphatically. “This pool is bottomless; no one can see what ends up on the floor. I’m tired of being up all night, every night.” The young man, probably no older than I, seemed anxious to complete his mission.
He held a bundle in his arms, seemingly caressing it, as he stood at the water’s edge. For my part, I was highly agitated. What was in that little bundle?
“I know what you mean; maybe we’ll get a decent night’s rest, for once.”
The bundle was weighted down by a heavy chain, ensuring that it would plummet to the floor of the pool, never to be seen again. Of what were these people trying to rid themselves? I was getting very angry.
The young man spoke again. “At first things were great and I felt I could handle it, but lately all I do is think about what it used to be like.”
Listen buddy, I thought to myself. You better get a grip on reality; you don’t just dispose of your responsibilities so frivolously.
“Tell me about it,” the young woman replied. “The racket is intolerable, and I feel so drained every morning. This is best.”
Sonny was clutching my arm. “Do something!” she hissed at me. Great. I was supposed to be the hero here.
“Maybe there’ll come a time when we’re better ready for this, but I think it’s obvious that the time is not now. We both need to be able to focus on our jobs, and that can’t happen with...” The young woman’s voice trailed off.
“So, you don’t think this is too extreme?” her partner asked?
Well, I thought it was too extreme. I jumped up and hollered out, “Stop! You aren’t alone here, and if you throw that tiny bundle of joy into the pool, I will personally make sure that the whole world knows what you’ve done!” There, I had done it now. What next?
Startled, the couple stared up at me in bewilderment. From the expressions on their faces, I realized that I had just stepped in it, big time. “Who are you?” the young man demanded, “And why do you give a rat’s backside what we’re doing?”
I was beginning to have serious second thoughts. For them to react so self-righteously, there had to be a misunderstanding. I responded, “Because I care, and I can’t let you get away with it,” I blurted out, and then stopped. “What’s in the bundle?”
“Not that it’s any of your business, but it’s my ten-speed blender. I don’t need this in my life, right now.”
Damn! Neither did I, but I sure needed a drink. Make it Jameson on the rocks, and go ahead and dump that blender into the pool. I won't tell a soul...