STITCH: A Risky Stitch by G. Ackman

Word Count 428 words
A Risky Stitch
by G. Ackman

We heard it on the news a few hours before the phone rang, so the call was not totally unexpected, although definitely unwanted.  
“Can you come?  The usual place.  Midnight.”
Without a word to each other, we prepared to leave.  I took a long look around the apartment, wondering if I would ever see it again.  If things went badly tonight, I probably would not.
The street, dark and shiny from the rain, mocked us with its apparent infiniteness.  Normally an hour and a half drive during which we chatted lightly or sang along with a CD, this time the car was filled with a palatable silence.  The trip seemed both interminable and over way too fast.  His hands gripped the wheel so tightly that I could see the white of his knuckles in the red glow of his cigarette.  He smoked one after another.
I played with a strand of my hair and stared at the errant rain drops chasing each other down the window.
What did he hope to accomplish?  Did he know he might be throwing his – no, our – lives away?  Of course he did.  He has somewhat of an excuse.  But what about me?  What’s my excuse?  I understand the risks – and the stupidity of doing this.  Oh, but the things we do for love.
The final bridge loomed in front of us, our destination just a half mile down the road.  He reached down and switched off the headlights.  I turned to look at him, but said nothing and soon returned my gaze to the window and the darkness beyond.  The narrow bridge over the muddy Wabash River incited a bit of anxiety on a clear, sunny day.  To traverse it in the dark, with no headlights, and expecting the worst at any time should have had me paralyzed with terror.  Instead, I remained calm, fatalistic even.  I signed on for this and would see it through to its conclusion, whatever that may be.
Three hours later we were back on that same bridge, but this time with headlights on and heading in the opposite direction.  Strangely enough, my palms were sweating more now than they did on the eastbound journey and I noticed his cigarette consumption was just as constant. We neither talked nor sang, each of us lost in our own thoughts.  
Two weeks later, when he was recaptured, my husband’s brother remained silent on who stitched up the long gash in his head he got from climbing over the prison’s outer perimeter fence.  We have never spoken of that night.

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