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The Missing Piece

by Abigail Jean Jacques 5 months ago in Short Story · updated 5 months ago
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Smooth jazz, warm lights, vintage furniture and good vibes. I live for spaces like these.

Art by Abigail Jean Jacques (Artist name: Moonzy On The Moon)

Ahh, New Year’s Eve. The one time of year that Moonlight (myself) gets to escape all the other family-holiday shenanigans and can just get some quiet time to herself. The bartender knew my face by now, I had been to this same Rustic Lounge for three years straight.

Photo by pinterest.com

"Alas, the twenty-two to my forty-four.”

Scratch the quiet along with the time to myself.

"Excuse me?" I replied.

"I see you here every year. You always wear your hair up, like a pineapple. You also have a tattoo of the number 22 on the right side of your neck."

A mysterious man, I've seen him here before.

With my face flushed, I quickly covered my tattoo. Though I didn’t really know him, he was right, I’ve seen him here for 3 years straight, yet I’ve never seen him anywhere else. I never knew who he was and certainly didn’t pay much attention to it until now.

"And I suppose you have the number 44 tatted somewhere?" I asked.

As opposed to replying verbally, he leans in towards me a little and proceeds to lift the sleeve of his shirt to show me his tattoo of the number forty-four (44). It sat on the center of his shoulder with font strangely similar to mine.

“What’s your drink?" He asked.

"Something sweet. I suddenly feel like it" I replied.

Photo by bayridgewine.com

We talked for most of the evening. He told me his name was Magic, I didn’t believe him though. Rather, I thought it was a very corny line.

As we inched closer to midnight, conversations with this newfound "friend" continued to deepen. Admittedly, he qualified for more than a friend. Until…

"So basically, you write poetry every day and do nothing with it?"

"I mean I share it sometimes, but some pieces of any art form are meant to be kept sacred. Like you. I like the gems on your necklace by the way. " He replied.

"What are you? Some kind of artist? You seem like you pay attention to detail. " I asked tauntingly.

He chuckled and replied;

"I guess you could say that. I pay attention to enough details to see that you’re here every year because there’s something you’re running from."

Defensively, I picked up my glass of Moscato and splashed it all over his shirt. This wouldn’t normally be my response to a statement like that, however, it was 11:57PM and I was unusually tipsy by this time.

"Now I know why we never said anything to each other for three years straight." I said furiously.

As I left the lounge, I felt a little upset. There was truth to what he was saying. My family wasn’t all that bad. Actually, they weren’t bad at all. Having an unhealthy relationship with my job has caused me to distance myself from them overtime. Not even just for New Year’s Eve, but most of the other holidays too.

The clock strikes midnight, and I roamed the nearby streets. Fireworks lit up every corner of Miami. Suddenly, my mood began to feel oddly alleviated. I guess that was the last glass of Moscato kicking in. I looked up to the sky and watched as the fireworks popped from every corner. As time passed, some of them began to resemble shapes and strangely enough, animals.

Photo by shutterstock.com

"Yeah, okay. You’re drunk. " I intoxicatingly said to myself.

I began to make my way back to my condo and noticed that most of the buildings in my neighborhood now had distorted symbols on them. I also noticed that the street was now… purple?

"Ooooh." I whispered, as I followed the road.

Photo by shutterstock.com

I wasn’t sure when Downtown Miami had gotten a purple road, but I was drunk and determined to follow it. I guess that was the Moscato giving me energy too. As I continued roaming the road, I noticed a holographic puddle about 15 feet away from me. Under the influence, I slowly moved towards it with the intention of jumping in. It had been a long year; I was seeing double and the nostalgia of jumping in a puddle from the previous rain was calling out to me.

I began to jog towards it, my heart raced as I took a big leap! Then suddenly-

Black?

And a horrible ache in my back. I couldn’t see, just hear. Faint voices, faint sirens? I’m confused.

"Can you hear me?"

I’m tired.

"She’s awake!"

I’m… awake?

Photo by pinterest.com

Waking up in a hospital bed with no recollection of what happened the night prior certainly wasn’t a New Year’s resolution of mine. My head felt funny and there were scratches on my arm. Did I fall? Did I ever make it home? What happened last night?

“You were blessed to have him be there for you.”

“Excuse me?” I replied.

Déjà vu much?

“How are you feeling?” the doctor asked.

A woman in a suit stood next to him.

“Okay, I guess. What happened last night? I replied.

The doctor took one last look at my chart, assured me I was okay and then proceeded to leave the room, leaving me with the woman who was there. She pulled a chair and sat next to my bedside and then explained everything to me.

“Hi Moonlight, I'm detective Anne. Someone slipped a hallucinogenic substance into your drink last night. Upon investigation it, turned out that that someone was Tim, the Rustic Lounge’s head bartender. He was arrested last night and will certainly be put behind bars for what he did. He has a history of inappropriate behavior as well as violent outbursts in the workplace, it’s unfortunate that he managed to acquire a job like that. We would’ve had to figure out who would commit such an act on New Years Eve, but your friend, Magic, made it so much easier by explaining everything. He saved your life.”

“Magic? Saved my life? I don’t understand.” I replied.

She continued;

“When you left the lounge last night, you had already consumed the beverage which was most likely drugged by Tim. As the hallucinogenic effects began to intensify, you stumbled upon the ledge at the edge of the Bayfront and was about to jump into the ocean while intoxicated. Magic explained that he noticed that Tim clocked out instantly after you left and began to follow you out of the building. That was when he knew he needed to do something and that you could be in danger.”

“I thought it was a puddle…” I faintly whispered to myself.

“Where is Magic now? I have to thank him.”

“He left for his flight early this morning. He doesn’t reside in Miami. Good news though, your family is out there waiting on you. They’re happy to know you’re okay.”

Shocked that this happened, but grateful that I was given a second chance, I greeted my family with an open heart. We talked for some time and eventually reconciled with each other. Though it certainly wasn’t the conditions I had wished for, it was a blessing in disguise to be able to mend the relationship with my family. Even though I stayed away for so long, they were there for me. There was no doubt that they loved me. While taking in this beautiful moment, I knew there was one more thing I needed to do.

I waited 364 days.

Vintage furniture turned into modern chairs, warm lights turned to cooling blue hues and familiar smooth jazz played as live poets took the stage one by one. The Rustic Lounge was now The Safe Space. Under new management with new safety measures. It was New Year’s Eve, and I ended up here again. This time, not with the intention of translating my worries into glasses of Merlot, but to thank an old friend for saving my life.

I entered the lounge and scanned every corner of the space, but no Magic. After sipping my cranberry juice and listening to poet after poet, it was 11:30PM and I decided it was time to leave. I got up, put my coat on and began to go towards the door.

“Alas, the twenty-two to my forty-four.”

A familiar, sweet sound.

I turned around to see Magic with a bouquet of Sunflowers in hand.

“You know, it was really hard to find these, they’re not in season all yea-“

Before he could continue, I rushed towards him and gave him a warm embrace.

“Magic, thank you,” I said, with tears in my eyes.

“I knew from the first year that I saw you, that I had to know you. I knew that I had to learn you. I knew that I had to protect you. I’m just happy you’re okay Moonlight.” He replied.

As he said these words, the clock hit midnight and the fireworks began. I felt it. Missing pieces of my life were now here with me. I felt the most loved, fulfilled, and protected than ever before. My life was tested and then transformed within 365 days. I couldn’t wait for the year ahead.

Photo by milwaukeemag.com

Short Story

About the author

Abigail Jean Jacques

An architectural alchemist with a passion for all things artsy! ✨

Also, a plant mom. 🪴

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