Cold Haven

Cold Haven

The bridge was quiet, a haven of solitude; flowers – white, red, yellow and purple – clung unto tendrils that hung down from the stone arches which curved over the length of the bridge, arches that had been overgrown with crawling leaves; each leaf swayed in the gentle, yet biting rush of cold wind.

He shrugged out of his leather jacket and hung it over her shoulders, and began to shiver in his T-shirt, rubbing his palms together to keep frost bites from eating off his digits.

She smiled and looked at him with big, bright, brown and grateful eyes which preened with lashes; she thanked him with a kiss which she hoped would warm him up. She’d left her jacket in the truck – deliberately – to angle for the gentleman in him.

He would do anything for her, even freeze to death, and soon would if he didn’t do any vigorous activity to warm himself up. White steam shot out of every hole in his head. Crazed with cold, he climbed unto the stone railing of the bridge, and told her he would jump into the stream or her.

She replied that she was already on the bridge, needing him not in the river, but by her side, to hold her hand and kiss her temple and her neck.

He was past hearing; the cold had plugged his ears, having frozen his drums. He jumped.

She was aghast at first, but calmed herself when she heard him shout, over the raucous rush of the river,
“I jumped for you,”
which made no other sense to her than that he was putting his love for her on display. She looked down at him bobbing on the water with his hair plastered against his face. She palmed the railing where his feet had jumped from, loving him, loving his bravery.

He had been in mid air when he remembered that the stream was always cold in November. He had splashed his volumes worth into the air, resurfacing after a few seconds, turning around, seeing her, and telling her that he’d jumped for her. Yet he thought in singularity of words,
“Help! Help! ”
He screamed in his head, and his jaws ached as his teeth chattered, and he began beat the water in an attempt to swim.

She could not swim, and could not read his thoughts of alarm. She saw in him the king of swimmers – the cat fish, the shark, the whale – and giggled like a child, loving him, loving his bravery.

He was buffeted by a thousand torrential wavelets fresh from under the bridge, and was tossed in a thousand directions until he faced her, but being fluent only in gulps of water jumping unto his face and into his mouth, he waved for rescue.

She, though wondering why he was swimming farther away, waved back at him, excited, smiling, loving him, loving his bravery.

He is carried into the first of – one two three four five and eight and nine – nine tributaries, and the currents kept coming back for more of his frenzied breaststrokes which only enslave him more to the turbulence of the riven flow.

She lost sight of him, but held onto the thought that this was one of his practical jokes (he had once convincingly played dead one evening at her apartment; she’d have given him an Oscar if she hadn’t been distraught – it was a joke in bad taste, for all the boys she’d previously dated had died by one mystery or another; it was a mystery to her why she’d stayed with any of them for more than six months; none of them had a sense of humour, and none had ever popped out from behind her, to startle her, as she was expecting him to do anytime soon.) She loved him, she loved his bravery.

He clutched at a handful of straws, having drifted to the edge of this tributary; they snapped. His heart was racing as fast as the thrusts of the river were throwing him. He said a fast prayer, his eyes wide open, searching for fast answers, firmer answers that wouldn’t snap in his clutch.
“Darned straws!”
he spat through gritted teeth that yet chattered, his nostrils flaring, as fumes shot out of them and into the cold water that yet tossed him on, affording him no breath to waste on cursing innocent straws, dragging him to deeper flows, to where there were no straws to clutch – or to curse.

She clutched her purse, pulled out her phone, and dialed his number. She couldn’t get through. Suddenly cold, she put her hands in the pockets of the jacket she was wearing – which was his – and felt, at the tips of her fingers, something hard and cuboid. She dug out the box and slowly opened it, but didn’t look inside; rather, she scanned the vicinity to see if he was looking at her from a place of hiding. When she looked back down at the box, there wasn’t a ring in it, but a note spread at the base of it:
“Will you marry me?”
It was written in beautiful calligraphy. She looked up slowly and scanned the area again, eyes glazed with tears.
“Yes! Yes, I’ll marry you. Please, come out now!” she cried as the cold wind carried her voice in every direction, and brought it back to her in reverberations that cancelled one another. She had become worried, though she loved him more.

He felt his muscles begin to stiffen, and slid his right hand into his trousers pocket, and felt the ring – platinum, with a diamond stud –and tried to smile, but his facial muscles had atrophied. He thought of her, of how he loved her, of how they’d met, of how he’d won her heart, of how they’d made love, of how they’d planned a future together, of how he would never see her again and hear her say yes to his proposal. Salty rivers flowed from his eyes, yet he was too tired to weep, let alone swim. He sank.

She began to pace the length of the bridge in quick, unfeminine strides, loathing his bravery, his foolishness that had kept him playing this prank for almost an hour.
“Maybe he’s not joking,” she thought.
“Maybe he’s hurt and needs my help.”
She bit her fingers. She raked them though her hair. She climbed a step up the railing. She hopped down.
“Help,” she whispered.
“Help!” she screamed.
With eyes round and pupils dilated, she looked around, but the bridge was quiet, a haven of solitude, with flowers and tendrils, and leaves and arches, and a cold wind. She was alone, and he was gone.

36 thoughts on “Cold Haven” by Admin2 (@admin2)

  1. This is why playing pranks is not good.

    1. #
      I disagree.
      ‘Pranking’ is not bad…until somebody dies from it.
      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a line of your thoughts.

  2. What loving foolishly can do! The guy is a fool.

    But when I read this part, I was alerted: “for all the boys she’d previously dated had died by one mystery or another”. It reminds me of Ihuoma in Elechi Amadi’s “The Concubine”. Ihuoma was the wife of a jealous Sea-King who could not bear the sight of seeing her with another man.
    In this kind of narration, the sequence always follows that the tragic hero or heroes, as the case maybe, must be marked for destruction at the point of meeting with the woman in question. And whatever he does, his action and or inaction would eventually lead to the same tragic end because what he is struggling with is always something more than man.

    Now in this narration, our hero, haven been overtaken by his tragic fate, jumps into the cold river without blinking his eyes. The tragedy of it all is that he died at the verge of getting married to the woman he so love and could do anything for. The woman in question loves him for his bravery and sees him as more than man, more than any other man she had been with. But unlike Ihuoma who later found out about the Sea-King and her marriage to him, and that the spell could be broken if certain rituals are to be performed properly in the hand of a seasoned diviner, the woman in this narration is unaware of the Sea-King or her marriage with him. She is just the everyday woman we see who craves to love and be loved. What she does not know is that such union is not possible with any mortal man. Her love, is a forbidden love.

    My bad! I’m almost writing a project on this. Well, it’s because I find it interesting.

    Well done and keep writing… This work opens up rooms for multiple interpretation, and is qualified in every sense of the word to be called a LITERARY WORK, such that should be recommended for NECO and WAEC schemes of work.

    1. #
      I haven’tread that book, but your writing on it has given me a taste of it’s beauty.
      Thanks for the diploma.
      And thanks for thinking of recommending this piece to NECO and WAEC; I am honoured.

  3. Sad!…well done.

  4. Damn…. This was beautifully written.

    *Take note, its ‘Jaw’ not ‘Jaws’


    1. #
      Thanks for the compliment.
      And about the “jaw/jaws” matter, it is debatable.
      We have the “upper jaw” and the “lower jaw”, and just because the upper part is fixed/immovable, does that make it any less a ‘jaw’?
      Unless you are trying to say that the maxable and the mandible are parts of one jaw, which is the debate in question….
      Thanks for dropping by. Do come again.

  5. *shivers* Poor them. This was well written…deserves an A.
    Chime’s comment about the Sea king occured to me too.
    Very good job, Harsh. Well done. $ß.

    1. #
      Still don’t vividly remember reading that book.
      Thanks for the A.

  6. No shitting. I reread this the 2nd time, it’ absofuckinglutely beautiful!
    The descriptions are vivid, the language is fluid, simple and poetic. Then there is that refrain that is repeated thrice or more. I dig sad stories and this left me stumped.

    1. #
      I’m guessing ‘stumped’ is a good thing.
      Thanks again.

  7. Thumbs up Harsh.
    I like.

    @hymar check this out.

    1. #
      Thumbs up back for dropping by.

  8. Oh..what a delicious read! Poetry and love, rock!

  9. mendel martha (@ihenyengladysusile)

    quite sad, she needs spiritual help..nice piece

    1. #
      Na you sabi o!
      Thanks for your comment.
      Do come again.

  10. Nice. I like the descriptions.

  11. @HemingBird, awesome work.
    Good crafting Stag.
    You will love ‘The concubine’ when you read it.
    I think it inspired a poem when I read it.
    This is so beautiful, I won’t be forget it anytime soon.

    1. #
      I am going to look for The Concubine right away.
      Thank you for your comment.
      I’d love to see that poem of your inspiration, Please.
      Thank you.

  12. With Stag, poetry’s gotta reflect. Good job man.

  13. this is quite good, bro. like @sibbylwhyte i dig (and find that i wrote more of) sad stories, but i found my weepy part wishing that some hand would come out of nowhere and grab the dude. *taping cracks in my heart*
    The beginning shaa, if the weather was really that cold, it’d have been cruel for the lady to intentionally leave her jacket behind wouldn’t it?
    And how come none of them remrmbered that on earth, a freezing weather comes with death-chilly waters?

    1. #
      “When a maaaaaaan, loves a woman…”
      When love – infatuation, foolishness, ‘the it’ – takes over a man’s mind, he attests to the truth of the lines in many a love song, e.g., ‘Love is stronger than reason.’ I can’t remember who sang that song, and I quite frankly don’t know why the guy jumped into the water; a writer can’t control everything his characters do. As soon as I started writing, that guy – the lover boy (I don’t even know his name) – decided to be the author of his own destiny, as are we all, and he deserved that right, that freedom, and I gave it to him. Behold, ‘the bitter taste of liberty.’

      About the lady’s wickedness, as you called it, you know her reasons. There are worse ladies out there; not that I’ve met any. But a writer hears things.

      The guy would have been saved were this a Nollywood movie, even if a hand had to come from under the water and saved him into the water he was not to drown in.

      LOL. I kid.

      Thanks for your comment. Lovely to read your mind.

  14. Amazing Story @HemingBird
    I felt sorry for the dude playing pranks. I wished he had survived.

    1. #
      I think you need to quit wishing and start praying for the dude.
      A miracle may yet happen.
      Thanks for dropping a line.

  15. Nna…which kain stupid love be this one?

    It sounds like an ‘I can catch a grenade for you’ love mentality. Too bad reality bites too hard.

    The girl is definitely jinxed…all her boyfriends die mysteriously? I just wished you had made this an African setting and not a foreign one. It would have sent readers’ mind into a vortex of thoughts on what could be behind the jinx.

    Still its a good read.

    Well done.

    1. #
      It would be African if you heated the river with your mind.
      I get a lot of comments about the jinx on the girl, and I hadn’t thought twice of it while writing the piece.
      Thanks, ‘Nut.

  16. @Mimiadebayo, thanks for tagging me, tis a good one.

    1. #
      It’s both a pleasure and an honour to know you valued the tag from the Stag.\
      Thank you back.

  17. You are awesome in this place. I am going to start putting my own thoughts down. This is inspiring, @HemingBird. It is.

    Hush Hush Newbie.

  18. The guy for yarn say e won commit suicide. Anyways, this was an interesting read.

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