Freezing breezes nipped at his appendages. Teetering at the apex of a remote bridge, Marshall sat on the wrong side of the guardrail contemplating the existential purpose of his being. Chapped lips quivering, he couldn’t find a reason to continue breathing icy air into worn out lungs. He was six inches away from ending his life in the glacial bay below.

    Once upon a time he was somebody’s husband, somebody’s father, and shift manager at the foundry. Now he was reduced to this pathetic scene; a fitting conclusion to a cautionary tale for the naive.

    He’d finally put his finger on the specific moment when everything changed. A year ago, to the day, Marshall’s job was deemed replaceable by machinery and he was sent to the unemployment line. For the first time, his skill wasn’t enough to warrant a paycheck. There were only so many opportunities in his vernacular for a forty-five year old man who’d spliced metal since his teens, and none of them belonged to him.

    A few months later Karen came to him with a revelation. She’d be leaving him for her boss; a man who had sat at his table and dined with his family. A man he’d called “friend.” They’d worked together for ages, and apparently they’d been in love just as long.

    Their marriage had been a facade she kept up for their son’s benefit, but Brandon didn’t need Marshall anymore. His ever-growing stature had evolved into that of a young man who’d lost all respect for his gainless, uneducated father; a man who couldn’t even love his wife well enough to keep her. He’d gone willingly to his new home and never looked back.

    Marshall braced himself for the fall. As he prepared, he shut his eyes and fell upon visions of young, vivacious faces and how beautiful Karen had looked in her wedding gown. He thought of how baby Brandon used to put his fingers in his mouth and drool down his tiny arm. It had made Marshall’s twenty-something-stomach turn, but the memory strengthened his forty-something-heart.

    In that moment he realized that if he took the plunge, he’d never have the chance to win back Brandon’s favor. Karen may love another man, but that didn’t mean Marshall didn’t still love her. He couldn’t imagine causing her heartache intentionally, no matter what she’d done.

    “What am I thinking?” he stated aloud. He meticulously placed his hands and pulled himself to standing. As he turned to the guardrail and lifted his leg to climb over, a bright flash of light made him wince. The screech of faltering brakes on black ice filled his head. The inevitability of his predicament became painfully clear. 

     As his battered body plummeted from the bridge, he envisioned his son, and hoped to God that he be careful what he wish for in the years to come. If only Marshall had been less rash, he might have lived long enough to teach Brandon what he’d learned.


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5 thoughts on “Marshall

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  1. I like seeing Marshall through Brandon’s eyes. You added a lot of character development in that POV change. The story is mostly telling at this point. Perhaps focusing on showing the one moment things changed for him (there seems to be two though: losing his job and losing his wife) would evoke more imagery. The moral at the end didn’t add anything to the story for me. The car accident happening when it did conveyed the moral to me loud and clear.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Felt like the moral was whatever you think, decide and feel, fate has its own treatment charted out for you. Maybe it’s because of the weeks worth of bad news from Mexico City and Las Vegas, I just felt a positive ending might have suited this story better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea I’m not a big fan of the moral at the end of the story being so blatant either. I originally wrote it for a 500 word story that had to have a character learn a lesson from a bad mistake. I submitted in the wrong format and got dq’d, so I decided to post it here to see if I could make it better. I appreciate all of the concrit!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You describe Marshall and his predicament well. You provide just enough detail to let me insert my experience and make him real. This is certainly a cautionary tale, but I wonder if you could weave the lesson in a bit more. The second paragraph and the ending both seemed like a different perspective. Marshall’s reason for changing his mind seemed a bit off to me – maybe it need more development or less.

    This is a great piece. Thank you for sharing.


  4. This was such a great tidbit: He thought of how baby Brandon used to put his fingers in his mouth and drool down his tiny arm.

    It was that line that brought me into the story. There was a lot of lovely imagery but it was distant from Marshall (appendages for example seemed a lofty word) and I wanted to hear his voice and feel what he was feeling physically. I liked this bit too: a man who couldn’t even love his wife well enough to keep her.

    Liked by 1 person

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