A crash, sound of rumbling, a bang. Galvin’s eyes opened as he lay in bed, the sweat running across his forehead.
“What was that?” he thought, bringing his hand to wipe the small drops of liquid from his body.
Another crash, he got out of bed quickly, stumbling to the window as he tried regaining his senses; the sooner he could do that, the sooner he could comprehend what was going on. His hands rested on the window sill, grogginess causing his vision to only make out blurs, his hands quickly moving to his face to shake away the slumber he had just escaped, a bright glow coming through the window from the world outside. It was then he truly realized what was going on; the heat was apparent. The flames of the building beneath him spreading, the screams of confused children looking for their families. He raced to his door, smoke sneaking in from beneath it. Out of habit he instinctively reached for the doorknob, the metal too hot to handle as he pulled back in pain, the flesh of his palm seering and singeing, a layer of skin being left behind on the metal; a howl escaping his lips in utter horror. Pressing against the door did nothing; it wouldn’t budge. He was 26 floors up, escaping through the window wasn’t an option.
“what do I do!” the thoughts racing through his mind as he slammed into the door once more. Then it hit him– this could well be his last few moments of life. Galvin had always tried to do the right thing, bringing happiness to everyone’s life before himself , all that hard work of living a small simple life, going down the drain in a terrible accident.
“Veronica…” the word leaving his mouth in desperation as his back pressed against the wall. Smoke filling his lungs, the heat beginning to affect his barely clothed body.
“Veronica.” Galvin said as he stirred from his sleep. His lover laying in bed besides him. He looked over to her, noticing the beauty that his lover was; how she could make him feel. His finger traced her delicate collarbones, feeling her paper like skin before touching her silk hair, she rolled over, their eyes met as their arms wrapped around each other and their lips touched.
“Morning Beautiful.” Galvin said as he embraced her more, loving the way their bodies touched and felt together.
“Veronica.” Galvin’s breath hitched before finishing his sentence.
“Veronica, it’s not your fault that the baby wasn’t strong enough.” the worried expressions clearly showing his disappointment in the situation.
“Maybe I just wasn’t strong enough, maybe this is just a sign.” she said as a tear rolled down her cheek. Though it was true that they had been together for quite some time and were trying to start their lives together, something just always got in the way.
“You know that’s ridiculous. Things just happen and we can always-always try again.” He said slipping his arms around her waist as she placed her head on his shoulder.
The glow from the flames grew brighter and the air thicker with every moment that passed. Memories flooded Galvin’s mind as he continued to lay on the floor, his gaze becoming cloudier. He shook his head.
“Got to get up. Come on– fight!” he thought as he managed to get to his feet, dizziness from the lack of oxygen only causing more trouble.
“Veronica.” Galvin slurred stumbling into his apartment.
“Veronica! I’m home!” the intoxicated man said as he tripped over his own feet, sending him crashing to the floor. Looking up from his fall he noticed the engagement band she decided not to take when she unexpectedly left. His life had changed since then, the past few days he’d drowned himself in his own sorrow, not remembering what was right in his world and what was fabricated. He felt he lost the greatness that made him thrive. That paperskin, silk hair and now he would lose everything from her, he crawled the rest of the way to the table holding the ring, reached up, grasped it with his finger and studied it.
“I don’t need this, I don’t need you.” Galvin said in a hiss as he pulled himself up with the support of the table and headed to the kitchen, dropping the ring down the sink and turning on the faucet.
His mind wandered on what the reason could’ve been that she was now absent. They both had stable jobs and although it turned out Galvin was the weak link in reproduction, they said they’d work through it. Maybe he was wrong, maybe the conversation had gone another way. Maybe he said we could work through it and she didn’t respond.
“Most of those conversations went that way” he internalized as he slumped back to the floor, feeling the kitchen tiles coldness hit his skin.
Waking up every morning without her now had become a routine. He woke up, went to the bathroom, looked himself in the eyes and said:
“Make it a good day.”
After this he would undress, shower, wash his face, his hair, his body, get out– dry off and get dressed. Same color shirt, same color pants, same color tie. He would walk into kitchen, toast the same type of bagel and eat it.
His life has become such a routine that all the color in his life was gone. Yet, he hadn’t noticed, realized or even assumed these things. He was content and for some unknown reason everything felt right.
Galvin had changed, he found no resolution, he had nothing in his world, except for his suit and tie.
He stumbled fourth, getting to the window, the heat causing the ledge to clamp onto the frame preventing it to open. Thoughts crossing his mind as he pondered a solution. He moved to his closet, grabbing the lone dress shirt placed neatly on the wire hanger. Only a few moments passed before the shirt was tightly tied around his hand, using this as protection he moved back to the window punching through it.
The sound of glass breaking brought Galvin back from his daze, the t.v was on and company was over. He looked over to the corner of the room to see a picture frame on the floor.
“Galvin! Sorry man! But you really shouldn’t have pictures of Veronica out anymore bud!.” Eric said picking up the remains of the once framed memory and throwing it in the trash.
Six months had passed since Veronica left him, his routine had changed and he finally awoke from his depression to become the person he once was.
“Hey Galvin!” Michael, his other friend said patting his back.
“Excited to lose another match today!” Eric said laughing from the other room as Galvin protested.
“You know you only beat me because of those Gorilla hands of yours!” Galvin said with a laugh.
His friends pulled him from his slumber without Veronica, his life was back on track and finally everything was for the better. He realized that though Veronica did in fact leave, he could do better. He could love himself and have friends that loved him for nothing more but their friendship– he was happy. He often would find himself staring at the front door, waiting for her to walk through, smiling, her small frame running to his, the love they once had re-igniting. Though this would never be a reality again, he knew it wasn’t something terrible to think of every now and then.
The flames engulfed the rest of the building as everything around began to fall. The smell of the burning wood, concrete and cherished linen filled the halls and atmosphere. The fire department had yet to get there– though it had gone past the point of no return.
“Help! Help! I’m up here!” screamed Galvin sticking his head out the window.
“They can’t hear me… I’m too far up.” he murmured as his gaze dropped down to everything below. His life was finally in order, everything was back to normal and of course something out of his control, like childbirth, would happen, yet again.
The bodies of the people trapped in the building would be mummified in ash and copper, death being too quick to escape.
Galvin refused to end that way, he moved back inside and quickly turned around. The heat was becoming too dangerous to stand, the flames now entering his apartment, the smoke becoming thicker and Galvin’s body becoming numb. He fell back against the ledge, his sight blurring and his judgement almost out of his grasp. He went to move, but only ended up going backwards, his now exhausted body slipping through the frame of the window.
As Galvin fell those 26 stories only one thing crossed his mind. The sight of her small body, her smile, soft touch and the laugh she exuded when everything was right. She was his soulmate, his one true love and though she wasn’t with him now, she was in spirit as he hit the cold concrete at the bottom of his journey.
“Galvin, wake up honey.” the white form said.
Bio: Doug Kolakowski born and raised in Sarasota, Florida– picked up writing at a young age. With the help of his parents and the guidance they’ve always given him, he’s been able to follow his dreams thoroughly and accomplish many goals set forth.