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Story Title: Hidden
This morning, tried to shrug it off again. I grabbed my winter coat and strolled out into the November chill. Snow had already started to glitter through the air as each flake began its lazy drift towards the empty streets of Newcastle. I walked along the sidewalk, listening to my footfalls as I walked to the office.
I used to love winter. There was a beauty about it that the other seasons somehow lacked. Sure, spring had flowers and fall had that amazing spread of orange and red everywhere, but that crystalline tack of winter... that held breath... nothing else could compare.
My favorite winter was 5 years ago. I had loved every moment of it. I had finally gotten the offer and moved out of my parent's place to get a place of my own.
Only one thing ruined it.
That was the winter I killed Graham Martin.
I came down to the bus stop after a few other minutes. Normally I would walk the entire way down to the dockside but since the snowfall was beginning to thicken and my coat was not suited for that kind of heavy snowfall I decided to take the bus.
A man, dressed in a a thick jacket, brown trousers and earphones was standing close by. Apparently he too had decided to take the bus. His head was moving in rythm to the music in his earphones and although he stood slightly angled and I could not se his entire face he reminded me of a friend from university. Perhaps because he looked quite young.
Or maybe because I felt old. Has it really been 5 years since I moved here?
That was another thing I used to love about winter - the nights. Curtains closed, everything shut out, and fully in control of my indoor environment. Then bedtime, and the soft warm safety of my bed. Back then it was a refuge, a blissful retreat from the daily treadmill.
Would I change things? Did I have a choice? These questions revolve constantly in my mind, especially at night.
Then I awake and carry on with faking yet another day. Now the winters feel long, bleak and lonely. I look again at the man at the bus stop and find that these accumulated days of solitude are conspiring to make me want to approach him.
I looked around but it was early in the morning and him and I were the only one waiting for the bus. It was so dark and the only light source was the streetlamp which was placed directly over him thus creating a natural spotlight.
For a moment or two I felt I was the audience of a lonely but strong one-man show and I started laughing because I really enjoyed his dancing.
He turned around, stopped and smiled at me. He took of his earphones and his dark hair was framing in his quite beautiful face. Then the bus came.
The door cranked open and the driver leaned out, a glazed look plastered to his face, although whether it was awe about the falling snow or simply boredom I wasn't sure. I gestured to let the man board first.
"No, please. Ladies first."
Almost trembling, I boarded the bus and sat down, the plastic seats cold to my bottom. The man boarded just after, and lurched slightly as the bus began moving again, winding its interminable way through icy streets.
The man staggered a few steps and found himself standing right next to me. He smiled again, magic almost as wonderful as the crisp night.
"Hi," he began. "I'm Graham."
His name was Graham, his and my eyes were looking into each others. I continued to smile and pretend everything was fine but my heart was sinking. Sure it was just a name and Graham is nothing special but surely it could not be a coincident...
Graham Martin (my Graham I was thinking) would probably be older than this young man in front of me. Hell, this guy can´t be much older than me and on that winternight almost 6 years ago Graham Martin had already has some grey around his temples and a short goatee with some silver-colouring in it.
No...It waws just a freak occurence. Can´t be anything special about this except that I have feelt awful more and more sick these weeks and that I just can´t shake the feeling that something is wrong.
I continued to talk about nothing special with the man in front of me but inside my head I was far away. I had almost forgot where I was going when my stop was coming up.
"This is my stop," I said, pasting a smile onto my face, "Sorry."
"What a coincidence! This is mine as well," Graham replied. His face glowed and he got off the bus.
"That's wonderful," I responded, a small amount of bitterness in my voice. I just wanted to go home, why couldn't I just go home? I quickly stepped off the bus and the cold air hit me. It was snowing even more than before, making me pull the drawstrings to my hood.
"I have to go. It was nice meeting you, hopefully we can hang out sometime," Graham said, turning away from me. I nodded, then made sure he had left. After I saw Graham turn the corner, I sighed deeply.
How could his name be Graham? Why, of all days, did I have to remember that winter from so long ago and suddenly have a guy named Graham meet me? The guilt formed a rain cloud in my head and I took a few moments to settle down.
The anger in me had been let loose that day, I could not let it be unleashed ever again. It was my fault. A decent judge and maybe an expensive lawyer would convince people of the opposite but I would know the truth and that was enough.
“They can´t catch me” I whispered defiantly as the car finished it´s turn and then accelerated down the cold windy street. Once again I was standing in darkness, my head and thoughts were always black these days so I felt good to finally be surrounded by what my mind consisted of. Cold, dark snow and beneath it, the hard soil and the promise of a final restplace. Tired, so very tired.