This week my creative writing class focused on dialogue. I love writing dialogue, but it has always been difficult – finding the right balance between reality and what I want to convey. Anyway, we were given a prompt to take home and write about, and here is what I came up with. I’m going to put the prompt “scenario” at the end of the post, as I don’t really want to ruin anything. Also, maybe it will be more fun for the reader to not really know exactly what’s going on!
BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER.
“I don’t understand you.”
“You’ve never understood me.” Her long black hair fluttered in the wind as she gazed into the fog void.
“I’ve always fought to be alive – to live. I’ve done so many things just for us to survive, and you, you’re throwing it all away because, because…”
“Stay back.” Her voice was cold, even, calculating. “I don’t expect you to understand. I’m tired. I’ve seen enough.”
“Can’t I say anything to dissuade you?”
“I’ve heard it all a 100 times. There isn’t anything left.” She didn’t even look at him as she said this – standing there with his fedora low on his brow, his trench-coat collar high on his neck to keep back the cold. He stepped towards her.
“Please. Please. I know we can work this out.”
“It’s too late. It isn’t even about you and me, us. I’m just…” She reached her naked arm into that white void, feeling the heavy droplets graze her skin – a gentle caress in these last moments. Peace.
“I know it’s my fault. I couldn’t protect you like I should have. I, I, I can’t even begin to explain, but I really did it because I thought it was best. I wanted to provide for you, for both of us. Can’t you see?” Pleading with her like he would to a child, his voice desperate and edgy, he continued, “I’ll make the bad things go away, I promise. I’ll come home every night; I won’t bring anyone home. Please come back with me.”
She twisted her hand around like a dancer rehearsing her moves, body bending in an articulation of beauty, standing on the thin railing. “John, you don’t love me. That’s fine. I don’t need to be loved anymore – I’m not your’s, or his, or anyone’s. I’m free; I’m going to be free.”
“You’re kidding yourself. There’s nothing, no way to be free in death. You can only be free if you live. Can’t you see? I’m trying to let you be free! Just give me a bit more time.”
“No! You’re wrong. How can I ever be free? To be passed from one household to another? To sit and wait patiently as my life is dictated by those around me? To allow my body to decay in time, old and unloved, until one day Death takes me for his pleasure?” Her voice caught, near hysteria, then grew cold again, “No. I’m not willing to be sit any longer. I’ve seen enough to understand that I don’t want to live in this world, dominated and alone. This, this is the only option.”
“…please. Don’t do this to me.”
“This isn’t about you! This has nothing to do with you. It never had anything to do with you.”
“Then why!? Please come home with me!”
“It will be different. I promise.”
“I refuse. I’ve had enough of promises that don’t last.”
“I love you.” A step.
“Don’t! You love yourself.”
“I’ll make him come back to you. I’ll apologize. I’ll give you everything you’ve asked for.”
“I don’t want it anymore. I don’t want anything.” She turned full face to him now, for the first time, the wind blowing strands of black hair across her eyes, as she smiled. “I loved you. I really loved you brother,” and the void embraced her.
So, as you may have already guessed, the prompt was about bridge suicide. The actual prompt went like this: two people are on a bridge, one is going to jump off, the other thinks it’s their fault. Write the dialogue and try to utilize as little scene set up, or even attribution as possible. We were supposed to focus on pacing, subtext, and provide tension! Anyway, I actually really enjoyed writing this. In fact, I had such back information on the characters in my head that I got quite upset about the whole thing and mad that she jumped at the end. I hope it provided you with some entertainment too!