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"Two people come to the end of their lives, but can they find a new one?"

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They turned and looked at each other and both knew they were thinking the same thing. She put out her hand for him to take it into his. Then, together, they stepped off the ledge.

He’d seen people like it before. On a seat in the street or a shopping centre, at a beach, on a train and at lookouts like the one he was at now, it doesn’t matter, he knew who they were. People so disconnected from society by grief, drugs, or misfortune they may as well be ghosts, fading in and out existence with only a few people noticing, swearing they’d seen… something.
As Marks’ steady gaze reflected a grey cityscape and a blue horizon, he wondered if he was becoming one of them. Lately he felt like he was drowning in his thoughts, he had so many questions and so much sorrow that he doubted he would ever escape, even if he wanted to. He realised now that he had begun to understand the mentally ill, they really were helpless. Once they were gone they would never come back by themselves.
He looked at his watch and sighed. Who gives a shit about the time? He thought. He glanced at his watch again. It was a beautiful silver piece and quite old. His father had passed it down to him when he became a lawyer. His father, bless his soul, was a strong man, so strong in fact that from the outside it looked like he was overly hard handed when bringing up his children. Mark knew this was wrong though. His father was always fair and was never angered without reason. Mark knew he would never have worked so diligently if not for his father’s influence. His mind drifted back to his current predicament and thought his father would be disappointed. No, he knew he would be disappointed. David would have classed this as the supreme weakness; he always picked himself up, no matter what. Mark shook his head, he wasn’t his father. He took his watch off and laid it on the ledge. “Sorry Dad,” he murmured.

Then he felt someone next to him and turned to look. 
Holy shit ! Thought Mark.

As Tracy made her way to the top of Green Point lookout, she convinced herself nobody would be up there. Why would there be? She thought. It’s as high as Mount Olympus and so overgrown there’s barely standing room, why the fuck would anyone bother? She herself had only been there once.
She had watched the street for a full ten minutes before she told herself that it didn’t matter how many people looked at her or bumped into her, not today anyway. Besides, she wasn’t a paranoid basket case. Lately though she felt like she’d begun to understand the mentally ill. Her nerves were stretched tight like an acrobat’s wire, she’d had a couple of panic attacks and she sympathised with those who locked themselves inside their house for days at a time.

She took a deep breath and hurried up the last few steps. She felt sick as she saw that someone was standing at the lookout. Oh Jesus, thought Tracy.

Mark was standing, looking thoughtful. Tracy joined him, crossed her arms and glared at the view.
She was astonishingly pretty, with long blonde hair and eyes that glowed so green it was like they were radioactive. She had a face that was intricately beautiful. She was slim but certainly not flat where it counted. She was a woman men could dream of but she hid herself away in a dark overcoat that made her look pale.
He was dark and handsome with an ageless face that looked 30 but could easily have been ten years older. He was powerful and it showed through the simple black t-shirt that he wore. His silver watch was the only hint to his former job as a high-flying lawyer.

“Hello”, said Mark.
“Hey”, said Tracy, glancing quickly sideways then back to the view.
“What are you doing up here?” asked Mark.
“I’m sorry?” she said, both annoyed and surprised.
“I said why are you-”
“Is that really any of your business?”
“I’m curious.”
Tracy shrugged and said; “It’s an escape.”
“How often do you come up here?” he asked.
“When I need to.”
“I haven’t seen you up here before.” Half-smiling Mark was now had his back to the outlook with his heels pressed against the small concrete barricade, focusing all his attention on her.
“So?” Uneasy, she wrapped her coat more tightly around her.
“I come up here a lot.”
“What are you escaping from?”
“That’s a personal question.”
“I’m curious.”
“Of course you are.”
“I’d like to know” he said gently. “I like to know the reasons behind things.”
“So I can understand why it happened.”
Tracy relaxed now as she became interested. “Why what happened?”
“Something which made me different.”
“Have you found your reason yet?”
“You probably won’t” she said bitterly.
“Because some things just happen.”
“In response to something else.”
“Exactly and so and so on, you’ll never be satisfied.”
“I’m not satisfied anyway.”
“Look! Don’t you get it! It’s called life, things happen and you have to react any way you can, you can’t spend time wondering why.”
“I can see that’s working out well for you,” he said, angry now too.
“Shut the fuck up! You don’t know me.”
“I can see you’re scared, angry and vulnerable.”
“And you’re sad and lost.”

Minutes of silence followed as they both breathed deeply. Mark turns to face the sea again, looking down, regretting what he said. Tracy curls and uncurls her fists as tears blur her vision. She wipes them away as Mark tries to ease the tension.

“We’re hopeless.”
She laughs without humour. “Yes, I am.”
“No you’re not.”
“Neither are you,” she replies.
“Tell me what’s wrong” he said.
“You first.”
“Look” he said steeping up onto the concrete ledge, and she followed. “You see that playground down there?” he said, pointing. “Why do you think they built it there and not closer to some shade or toilets?”
“It doesn’t matter, you’re not telling me.”
“Why do you flinch every time I move my arm?”
“I said you first.”
“I lost something, a while ago now.”
“And you can’t get it back?”
“No” he said sadly. “And now I’m thinking I probably can’t live without it.”
She sighed. “I was given many things, a few years ago now, and now I have nothing.”
“Is it too late to make things better?” He asked.
“Tell me.” he said.
“You first.” She replied softly.
“Oh shit! And the guy never stopped?” she asked. Mark shook his head slowly.
“Nope, nobody even got the number plate.”
“When you said you lost something I thought you meant a job and money, not your family.”
“Well, that too, but I did that myself.”
“I’m so sorry you lost them.”
Mark was crying now, emotions spilling out from something which he hadn’t talked about to anyone until now.
“I used to call them my angels, now I guess they really are.”
“I’m sorry. It’s not fair.”
“Me too.” He wiped his face and looked down into her eyes. She nodded.

“He can’t have got away with that.” Mark said. “Someone would have noticed.”
“He was careful.” Replied Tracy. “No one is going to hitch up a little girl’s school dress to check out her ribs.”
“But why didn’t you tell anyone?”
“I told my mum but she was too scared, told me I was being silly and to be quiet.” She ducked her head in shame. “I was scared as well, hitting wasn’t the only thing he ever did.”
“Christ that’s not right, look what it’s done to you.”
“I know.” 

Mark thought about Tracy. She was so vulnerable, like a rabbit always looking out for the hawk, and she was so beautiful. He felt things stirring in him that he had long thought dead, he had an urge to make her feel safe again, but he couldn’t even look after himself anymore.

Tracy kept glancing at Mark. He seemed so gentle and she got the impression that inside of him was a well of kindness that would be almost bottomless. But she looked at his toned body, how could she trust anyone again? She knew the damage a body like that could do.

As they stood side by side on the ledge of the lookout, they both felt a connection that neither had felt for a very long time. The feeling of shared pain, pain that is so real it rages around inside someone like a rabid beast. Only those in the midst of it can truly understand. At the same time they felt so overwhelmed by what their lives had dished out to them, they didn’t know what else to do except give up. Hopelessness poured down on them like a monsoon and they weren’t sure if they cared if they washed away by the tide. After all, that would be so much easier.

Looking down to the ground way below Tracy asked; “Do you ever think about jumping into oblivion?”
“Yes,” he replied. “Do you?”
“I was thinking about it today.”
“Do you ever think of starting again?”
“Sometimes, but I don’t know how. You?
Tracy turned to face him. “I’m glad I met you.”
“I’m glad I met you too.”
“Do you think we could do it together?”
“Yes, I do.”

They turned and looked at each other and both knew they were thinking the same thing. She put out her hand for him to take it into his. Then, together, they stepped off the ledge.

Mark looked at Tracy. “You know, I’m happy we both stepped in the same direction, I wouldn’t have liked one of us to be down there,” he indicated the ground below.
Tracy smiled. “Me too.” She moved closer and they hugged, Tracy was hesitant at first but let herself sink into him. Mark said, “I know this great café just down the street.”
“Oh you do?” she laughed.
“Yeah,” he smiled back, “I think you’ll like it.”
“Well come on then,” she turned towards the stairs.
“You go on, I’ll catch up in a minute.” Mark picked his watch up off the ledge and put it back on. “Maybe there’s more of you in me then I thought.” He took off his wedding ring, kissed it and looked at the sky.
“I’ll always love you guys, but it’s time for me to start something new.” He slipped the ring into his pocket and headed after Tracy.

Written by ittakestime19
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