I looked at the clock, and it read nine twenty p.m. I still remember the conversation that took place tonight. Amie and Mark asked questions about him. He was on my mind, I cannot shake him off. He was like leech. Curiosity clouded the room, and I answered each question with great accuracy and detail.
Six fifty p.m., Amie was silent when our encounter with him. So was Mark, he was shocked as well as me. After entering my room, Mark and I started to clean up the mess.
“Umm… Sorry about this,” I said hesitantly. My voice was shaking; I did not know why it was. Was it the fact that I have a girl in my room or was it the fact that the man who I have thought been dead for five years has arisen like a zombie to haunt my very existence? Maybe it is both, because both scared the living hell out of me. Well, having a girl in my messy room was more embarrassing than scary.
She stood right in front of the door, even after the floor was empty. I had to insist her to sit down on the desk chair, and she did. “So this is your room?” she asked incredulously.
“Yes? Where do you think we were?” I stared at her. She stared back.
“It’s nice, a lot bigger than my room,” she complimented. Where was she living, under a rock? This room is a two hundred by two hundred feet. The bed basically filled half the room already.
Silence filled the room. The light was on and the fan spun above displaying large armed shadows which cycled the room continuously. Mark grabbed my guitar and started to tune it. Light sounds echoed the room. She leaned forward, put her arm but so that the elbow landed on her leg and her forearms sailing straight up. Her head was cushioned in her hand and she glanced at Mark.
“Play a song, Mark,” I said.
“What should I play? He asked. He looked at us both, “any suggestions?”
There was more silence. The encounter with him has permanently muted us until death. Eyes raced the room trying to think of the perfect song to play. Mark began to strum the E chord. The pattern was a generic style for any guitar player. He began the second chord, C Shard. Then I knew he what he was playing. Mark looked at me and gave me a head gesture; he wanted me to sing. Mark was only at the intro and then began the first verse.
“You can’t sell me incense, my world smells good enough to eat,” I began. Mark played a little slower; my singing was not all so great.
“So let's not eat, just smell the good and longing
We'll circle like insects
Incensing the grieve liquored herd
Have you heard an encouraging word from them
To be so above it all
Or so they would have you think
I think, no one thinks at all
You might show some interest
You're world looks good enough to eat
I see he ghost of a better world
Living in the disbelief in ghosts
Everyone tells me they're crazy
Well crazy people aren't so fucking boring
Wake me when your through being cool, cause I'm snoring
To see you beside yourself
Show me the rose stuff of you
Do it for yourself
Or for me
We both need a change
Your fear or normalcy is hardly strange
Let's be freaks, plain clothes police
Let's be deliberate, because it's obvious to me
Weird is pretty obvious
So color me obvious
I just want to be happy half the time
And blue only when I have the time”
It was a very good run, perfect instrument play and flawless pitch. Amie clapped, very loudly I might add. She smiled and laughed. “That was really good, are you guys in a band?” she asked us.
“No,” Mark answered, “We just play and sing to our favorite bands.”
“Mark do you have a teacher? I swear, you look like a professional,” she commented.
“Aww, thanks,” he said.
“The world needs more people like you, people who explore and commit to life as something other than a rule or law,” she began.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, first off, you Mr. Decent. And secondly, Mark over there,” she explained, “You too experience life as a ‘must’. Other people spend their lives as a ‘have to’. I don’t know, but you guys are so much… Umm, different than anyone I have ever met. What I mean is, you guys are one of a kind, in your own ways.
It was a completely understandable observation, however, how did she get all that from us covering Jawbreaker? A girl’s intuition and natural ability to solve men, she answered. She was too unique, but I never would have the guts to say it. She got up and sat between Mark and me on the bed. She turned to me. “What happened to you and your father?” I did not answer that question.
“How long was he gone?” she asked.
“For the better part of five years,” I answered.
“Why did he leave?” she asked again.
“I don’t know,” I replied, subtly.
“How did your mom take it?”
Rumbling came from her bag. She unzipped the top and reached inside. A cell phone was ringing on vibration. Its energy actually shook Amie’s arm. She clicked a couple of buttons and put it next to her ear. “Janice? Yeah, sorry. I’ll be home soon.” She put it down and said she had to leave. We both walked her to the door. A very heated conversation came from the living room. She left, walking, turned around at the end of the house walkway and waved good bye. We waved back also and she disappeared from our sight. We made a new friend today, and she stuck with us for the rest of our high school years.
Footsteps crept up the stairs; I turned around to look at the clock. It read eleven. Mom and he have decided to rest early today; all this meant was a pity fuck. For being gone five years, Mom let him in like some kind of whore. It does not matter. I heard laughter and giggling coming from the other room, three doors down. How sickening, I thought. But I guess it was natural. Someone that you love gone for five years, and now suddenly he is back, she missed holding onto a man’s naked body for five years. I could not blame her; her sex life has been stalled until he showed up, now she can give out an orgasm every night. Odd and sickening as it was, noises started to echo through the upstairs hallway. I remember when Mom used to hate that man. Where did that go? Maybe it was because the actual loss of the man for five years. The flashback:
I was half a year older, half a year wiser, half a year dead. It was summer; I came home from bloody summer school, clearing classes up for the eighth grade was a tedious process. The cull de sac was a desolate place during the summer. All the neighbors took their annual vacation to who knows where. I noticed a dog pissing on the fire hydrant. “Pleasant.” I said out loud. The house seemed quiet, the neighborhood was noiseless. As I opened the door, a gust of war had exited the building. The bickering became louder as I entered the house; it was coming from the kitchen.
“I don’t know how we are going to do this,” mom cried. Dad walked around, in a circle. He had his hands clutching his head.
“We don’t have to do anything, we will just wait until they call,” he planned, “this wouldn’t have happened if we spent too much time on the kids.”
I left the eavesdropping to the wall, which heard every single conversation from day one when we moved into the house. They have been arguing more frequently and he disappears late at night and does not come back until around three or four. One day he did not come back home until nine in the morning. He always claimed it was work. I was not exactly sure what he worked for, he always said he was a business manager. Whenever I asked what his business was and he always responded, “Global works,” Whatever that meant.
One day during the summer, I went back to the house to get my wallet because Ingrid, Gerard and Mark wanted to go to the fashion district. The dry, hot weather exhausted me, so I went into the kitchen to fetch a cup of water. I heard voices from the living room.
“The kids! The kids! The kids! Is that all you say?” Mom yelled.
“Well, all our attention is to them! Why can’t we have some time for ourselves?” he bellowed at her. I forgot about drinking to quench my thirst and I started to eavesdrop on the argument.
“What good of parents are we if we do not care about our children? They are our future!” Mom reasoned with him.
“I don’t care about them,” he muttered. He turned around to try to pace around, but he noticed that I was at the kitchen entrance to the living room. He looked shocked; I think his heart rate increased by twenty points. Mom put her hands over her mouth and started to cry. I looked at Dad again, his skin’s pigment turned pure white, literally. “Son…” he whispered. I darted out of the kitchen, up the stairs and slammed the door to my room. I locked the door, I really did not want them coming after me. All I could hear was light talking from then on. I remembered about Gerard, Mark and Ingrid and I quickly searched the room for my wallet. I found it under the bed, where my favorite white shirt had been and the homework to last week in English class. I unlocked the door and jumped down to the first floor.
He was at the doorway. They way he was positioned made me halt in my steps. He was like the guard to the exit of a jail, standing and waiting. “Son, what did you hear from the living room?”
“Well... Nothing,” I lied.
“Nothing? Are you sure about that?” he insisted.
“Yeah, I did not hear anything,” I said, “I’m going out with my friends, I’ll be back later.”
“When will you be back?”
“Around seven. I love you Dad.”
He did not say anything, not even a “Yeah”. He just sighed and I left, feeling rather stupid about myself. That was the last time I talked to him. I walked to the bridge, where back was, since that was where we met up. We crossed the bridge and entered the fashion district.
“Ingrid, stop being such a bitch,” Gerard complained. She was trying out a million and one different shirts, and a million and one different sizes. She looked annoyed as she turned back towards us. All three of us were sitting on the bench right in front of the dressing rooms. She locked herself in the dressing room to try out her brand new outfit. Tacky, underdressed and it looked like the shirt had vomit on it, she showed us her attire and spun around like a princess for observation purposes.
It did not matter for us, Gerard bought a watch and Mark and I just settled with nothing. Ingrid held about three bags full of clothes, gallivanting alongside of us.
“Wow these outfits are the best,” she smiled. We all gave out a terrifying moan. Whenever she says those words, the next day she would return them. Five hours of horrendous lines and people who do not know what deodorant is, and the sixty year old women with make up, and the sixteen year old boys trying to sneak their way into the girls’ dressing rooms; would be all for not. Coming back, the bridge was living in anxiety. The river was overflowed with running water from the endless overcast. The sky was dark and gloomy; nothing in the world could make the everlasting mood go away. It was about to get worse.
A figure loomed on the bridge; it was dark, blurring everyone’s vision. I appeared to be a man; tall, slim, and he was clutching onto the railway which separated the edge and the sidewalk. He was on the edge, not the sidewalk; there were no cars. All I could hear was the bustling of the winds and the quickness of the river.
“Who is that?” Ingrid blurted out. She looked puzzled as to why a man would do something like this. He must have heard Ingrid’s broadcast, because he looked at our direction.
“Dad?” I shouted. He didn’t call back. Everyone stared at me, shocked, confused. I was too, was it him?
“Dad, is that you?” I shouted again. He didn’t respond that time either, we got closer and the man put his head down. I knew the very moment he was about to jump. The current would tear him apart; no one was around except for us. “Someone, call the police,” I ordered to my friends. I kept starring at the man that was about to jump. I heard Gerard’s footstep steadily walk away, and as I looked he was heading towards the phone booth. I started to run towards the bridge. Shouting, waving, crying; my heart pounded so hard, like it was going to explode. Everything started to turn black and white and grey. The concrete and the sky remained the same dull color it always had. The trees’ branches turned black, the leaves turned a light grey. The houses omitted a whitish color, and the birds, from afar, bloom a black cloud.
The bridge seemed too far, I couldn’t run anymore. It was like an endless walkway, a treadmill, a path straight to hell if I ever finished. I stopped to catch my breath, nowhere near the bridge. The man let go of the handle bar. Everything transformed into a slow moving action video. He looked at me, his falling body drifted off the bridge edge. He looked back down, falling, diving, showed no emotion whatsoever. The only thing I saw from him was the remorse of something like committing a crime. I screamed. Nothing came out; it was like my voice box no longer existed in this slow-moving dimension. I watched as he fell farther down. He did not make a splash when he hit the water, he just disappeared. He did not even recur either; there was no trace of him after that.
I found my self at the very same spot that man had been on the bridge. I do not remember running onto the bridge, I was just there. I grabbed the fence which separated the sidewalk and the edge and tried to jump over it. I was about to successfully climb over it, but I was suddenly pulled back by someone. I fell down, right arm hitting the concrete sidewalk. Mark and Ingrid pulled me off the road to hell.
“Fuck man!” I screamed, sobbing as I did. I got up and tackled Mark. “Why did you do that? He needed me to save him! Why did you do that!?” I couldn’t stop myself; I knew why they stopped me; because the current would have swept me away as well.
“Simon, stop that, it’s not Mark’s fault,” Ingrid screamed. She was trying to separate the fight between Mark and me. My fists did not hurt Mark, as for what my dad did had killed me inside. I got off him and laid on the ground, arms wrapped around my head. I cried, for the longest time. My friends just stood there and tear up too. The loss of one is a loss for us all; thank god I had such great friends.