Through the Blue Door and Out

29 Jan


This story was written for the DP weekly writing challenge. “Write a story behind the picture provided.”

This was my take.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I took the picture. Hell, I took several- he just wouldn’t let go. My stomach was churning. I took note of an aluminum streetcar and pointed my Nikon in its direction and snapped away. It reminded me of a futuristic homage to better days.

A rounded man in a striped shirt struggled up the stiff and shiny cobbled steps. He reached out with his left arm and latched on to his wife’s, who seemed to have a little more vigor in her step. They were most likely going home for an afternoon siesta. Siesta: that’s all it seemed people did around here.

We were walking down a narrow sloped hill with beautifully crumbling buildings on each side, separated only by those challenging staccato cobbled stone steps, and by tram lines going up the middle of the ‘street.’ I took a moment to soak it all in- I finally felt like I was in South America.

“Did you get it? Did you get the shot?” It was Michael. They had finally stopped hugging.

“Yeah, I got it.”

“How did it turn out?” he asked.

“Just fine,” I replied. I looked at Anna who gave me a half-hearted  glance and looked away. She was wearing her red floral sundress. The one that always lifted ever so slightly with the breeze and made me wonder whether her little frame would one day blow away altogether.

“Good,” said Michael with a big grin. “It’s just down the steps and to the left. You guys are going to love it.”

I stopped holding my camera and let it hang around my neck and adjusted the straps of my little backpack. Michael was already three steps down while Anna still hadn’t moved.

“Come on, what are you guys waiting for?” I could see her looking at me from the corner of her eye. She continued down the steps and so did I behind her. When she reached Michael he took her hand.

“You tired, Tony?” he asked.


“You look a little tired or something. Doesn’t he look tired, Anne?”  She looked up at me, still holding his hand.

“No, I don’t think so,” she said, producing the faintest of smiles.

“Are you jet lagged? You can’t still be jet lagged?”

“No, I’m not jet lagged Mike. I’m fine.”

“Alright, alright! Sorry, man. I’m just excited. I want everyone to have a good time. The tequila will help! Come on.” He pulled Anna down with him and like always I followed behind.

He was living here. Walking the cobbled steps and riding trams up city streets built on burning rolling hills. Michael moved here from Ohio for med school. He couldn’t get in anywhere stateside and heard about the school from one of his father’s colleagues. This was the first time we were seeing him in three months. Anna and I flew in together the night before.

Descending the steps and out of the shade into the testing sun, a fuller woman stood in black pants, white sleeveless collar, with her arms crossed, seemingly bored and completely unbothered by the scorching heat; presumably waiting for patrons to arrive.

“Ola,” said Michael, with his American accent. The woman rolled her eyes and responded with an, Ola senior.

We walked through a tight blue door and I gave the broad woman a nervous smile that resulted in more eye rolling.

The bar was a dimly lit hole in the wall. There was lively ethnic music on in the background and a soccer match played in the corner above a wooden bar and dusty bottles on an ancient TV.

“Didn’t I tell you,” said Michael. “Didn’t I tell you it was authentic? We come here at least once a week to get away from studying. There’s a guy Ernesto here who’s the-” and before he could finish his sentence a white swinging door opened revealing, “Ernesto!” shouted Michael, and he and the man embraced. I smiled and looked over at Anna who smiled too.

“Ernesto, they’re here! They made it. This is my best friend Anthony,” said Michael, grabbing me by the shoulders. Ernesto and I shook hands. “And this Ernesto- this is my beautiful girlfriend, the love of my life, Anna.” My stomach churned. Ernesto took a moment and looked her up and down and then pulled her in for a hug and kissed her twice on both cheeks.

We sat at the wooden bar and pounded back tequila and rum and cokes. Ernesto laughed at the sun burn developing on my nose and forehead, and complemented Anna’s already beautifully sun kissed skin.

“To the three amigos,” cheersed Michael. We drank.

“To my best friend Tony boy coming all this way to see me,” cheersed Michael. We drank.

“To my beautiful and loyal girlfriend Anne, who I miss so much. Salud!” We drank.

“Excuse me,” said Anna and stepped outside through the blue door, a burst of light sobering through.

“I should go check on her,” I said. As I stood, Michael pulled me back down.

“You been taking care of her like I asked?”

There was a long pause.

“I have.”

“Good boy,” he said. “I have to piss.” And he left for the bathroom.

Outside and a little bit further down the slope I found Anna crossed armed, her one leg bent behind her, leaning against a stores façade. There were trails on her soft cheeks fading away. I nearly stumbled past her down those damn steps and she caught me with a hug.

“Are you ok?” I asked.

“I don’t know how I’m going to do this,” she replied.

“It’ll be alright.”

“He’s good, he really is. But he’s absolutely clueless.”

“We bought the tickets before any of this even happened.” I hiccuped and she laughed.

“I’m drunk,” I said.

“I know. Me too, a little.”

“I like your dress.”

“Thank you.” She nestled her head against my chest and I kissed her sandy hair.

“We still have five more days to tell him.”


35 Responses to “Through the Blue Door and Out”

  1. The Great Surge January 29, 2013 at 5:52 am #

    good story man, you should give mines a read if you get the chance

  2. factorymaid February 1, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    VERY nice! So unexpected that the storyteller is the one SHOOTING the picture! loved it!

  3. Andy P February 1, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    Reblogged this on Freshly Pressed.

  4. Beyond Back Creek February 1, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    Beautifully written. The sparseness of the words are perfect with the characters’ reluctance to speak. So brief, but each character is complete.

    • nikprose February 12, 2013 at 3:07 am #

      Thanks! I really appreciate the kind words.

  5. lynnettedobberpuhl February 1, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    Good tension, nice story. Congrats on Freshly Pressed!

  6. Feit Can Write February 1, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    I enjoyed the spin you put on this. My version focused on somebody in the background dealing with a different set of issues:

  7. vandammetienne February 1, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    Is that a true story ? the picture and the narration related to the picture make it look like so real, but it would be a bit too romantic to be true.

    • nikprose February 12, 2013 at 3:20 am #

      The story was written for a competition based on the picture of the two people hugging. The story is completely fictional along with the romance in it. I hope you enjoyed it!

  8. Grace @ Cultural Life February 1, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

    I really enjoyed reading this. Your prose is very striking, especially when the characters interact. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

    • nikprose February 12, 2013 at 3:21 am #

      Thank you! That means a lot.

  9. krjarabelo February 2, 2013 at 12:23 am #

    Reblogged this on From Zero to Hero and commented:
    Nice Story

  10. abichica February 2, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    woow1 Nice story.. Im a little sad because i think i know what is going to happen, Anna is going to break up with Michael, and why couldnt she just do it over the phone.. great story none the less.. 😀

    • nikprose February 12, 2013 at 3:23 am #

      Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do even if they are difficult and uncomfortable. I’d like to think Anna is a better person than that!

  11. n February 2, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    “Ernesto laughed at the sun burn developing on my nose and forehead, and complemented Anna’s already beautifully sun kissed skin.”

    Just perfect.

  12. Ritu KT February 2, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    Most of the people chose to tell this story by being in it. Loved your take on it.
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    • nikprose February 12, 2013 at 3:25 am #

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  13. segmation February 2, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    Looks like you have 4 more days to tell him! Hope it goes well!

  14. SheWhoOftenPostsDrunk February 2, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    Awesome read. More please. 🙂

    • nikprose February 12, 2013 at 3:26 am #

      Thanks, I’m glad you liked it!

  15. mullberrywhine February 3, 2013 at 2:33 am #

    Ooo, yee-ouch! A great, rough yarn. And FP’d no less – congrats!

  16. Soniya February 4, 2013 at 10:25 am #

    loved reading this…

  17. elliotclaire February 4, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    What a romantic story and looking at the picture is already wonderful romance itself. Congratulations on being FP! :=)

    • nikprose February 12, 2013 at 3:29 am #

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story!

  18. ajeenaalex February 7, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    awesome story!!! 🙂

  19. Tonia Lowry February 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    i love reading this article.. very romantic..

  20. Tida Destidation February 8, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    So romantic .. lucky me I came across this post 🙂

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