The chilling evening breeze gently shook his short, brown hair as he sat down. The wind on the bridge was strong, but Johan knew the most sheltered spots, so he didn’t feel it too much. The surface of the water far below twisted and turned like wet dough under the wind’s rough touch. It was a familiar sight to him – he saw it every day, having spent a lot of evenings staring at the shiny, distant surface.
His glance was mimicked by another cold gaze, that of the figure sitting next to him. An aura of coldness surrounded this uninvited stranger. He was wearing a black robe, his identity hidden by a hood that casted an unusually dark shadow on his face, though Johan still knew who he was. For the most part he just ignored the figure, not even looking at him in-between blinks directed towards the water below.
This is how the days passed by. This is how the weeks passed by. Every evening Johan would sit out onto the bridge, staring at the river with the dark stranger by his side. But today was different. After months of this same situation, the same thoughts… the stranger turned his head towards Johan.
“Why?” he asked in his raspy, withered voice.
Neither of them was in any hurry, so almost thirty minutes have passed before he spoke again.
“Why haven’t you done it yet?”
Johan finally moved, turning towards the figure. He didn’t say anything at first, just stared at him for a few seconds before he turned back towards the water.
“Is that what you’ve been waiting for?”
“Naturally.” the stranger said. “It’s why I’m here, after all.”
“But you haven’t said or done anything yet.” Jonah questioned him. “Isn’t it a waste of time to just wait?”
The stranger shook his head slowly, the hood gently flowing with the motion. “It’s not my job to convince or force you.” he said, then tentatively added. “But you’ve been sitting out here for the past few months, every day, sometimes for hours. Isn’t that a waste of time?”
Another few minutes of silence fell on the two before Johan finally answered. “I guess not.” he said. “Every day I sit out here and contemplate it. How hard life is… how much debt I’m in now that I finished school. How hard I work at my new job, for how little payment, and how much I hate doing it. How many things there are in the world that I’d like to do, but probably never will.”
Another few minutes of silence. Then the stranger began speaking, but Johan interrupted.
“But each time I think about it…” he said, “I always think a step further. I’m in debt because of school, but without school I wouldn’t even have gotten this far in life. I can barely pay rent… but on the other hand, I still manage to pay rent. I might hate my job… but it pays, and doesn’t put me in as much personal danger as other jobs could. There are things I’d like to do that seem so out of reach right now… but I’m only twenty-three, I still have a lot of time to get there.”
They fell silent yet again, but this time, an air of contemplation surrounded the two. Finally, Johan added: “There’s no point throwing it away. At least not just yet.”
The hooded stranger turned towards him again. “Then why do you sit out here every day?”
Johan hesitated to answer, then stood up. “Just as a reminder, I guess.”
As he walked away, the stranger stood up as well. “No matter what, you will have to face me eventually.”
Johan stopped for just a moment to turn back. “Sure. And I will, when the time comes. But it’s not my time yet – I’m not done here yet.”
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