ma’am for allowing us your time.” Eric’s words broke my daze.
“It was a pleasure boys, hopefully my voice shall be heard.” The old bag smiled.
We’d sat in on the interview for over an hour; my back ached from stone aged chairs.
I don’t know how Mrs Laveda conned us in, another one of her pointless rants. I was grateful to Eric. When we were scheduled a meeting at the Laveda residence, he opted in for the talking. I’m surprised he managed to follow her nonsense; something about too small footpaths.
“Did you get all that down?” Eric muttered as we left the doorway.
“Yes I managed to stay awake.” I gave a wry smile at Mrs Laveda as she waved.
“Heh just making sure; unless you want time with the boss?” Eric chuckled.
I lightly punched his arm. He mustered a laugh before the car doors closed.
Eric adjusted his spectacles before he revved the engine. He liked to show off the Mercedes; its yellow paintwork matched his blonde hair.
As we drove back to the office, I began to
memorise what I could from my notepad. Subconsciously I clicked the pen from my
jacket. Eric glanced at my frustration, switching of the pop radio to hear me
“What’re you stressing for?” he asked.
“Huh, I’m not stressing,” I retorted.
“You’re clicking that bloody pen again, what’s up,” he replied. My thumb stopped.
“Ugh…it’s nothing really. There’s just someone I can’t be bothered with right now,” I sighed.
“Let me guess, your mother right?” he frowned slightly.
I almost groaned; any mention of that woman ticked me off.
“She’s been at me over the phone for weeks. Why can’t she just piss off?” I sighed.
Eric indicated right down Marde Street. Rural housing changed into city scrapers.
“Well I know she’s done a lot to displease you, but ignoring her just makes her more persistent. You need to talk.”
I bit my lip as he spoke, my mind rewinding through old memories…
Four, that’s how old I was, my hand
pale from my mother’s grip. The rain sounded like hail from under the porch. Greenish
water escaped gunk filled drains. Dad emerged from the front door: spiky white
hair that matched my own, eyes a dulled green.
“Mummy I don’t want to go, why can’t I stay here with sis?” I wailed, trying to wrench myself free from her grasp.
“I’m sorry honey, but we can’t stay here anymore,” she uttered from her coat hood.
“Rel…you can’t do this to him; he won’t cope without his sister,” pleaded my Father.
Mum whirled around inches from his face.
“Don’t Rel me you prick! I’m sick and tired of holding together this family. If you hadn’t been a drop-out then you might have got yourself a decent job.”
Dad remained silent. I tried to reach for him, but taxi headlights pierced the darkness…
daydreaming again? We’re here,” I was startled by Eric’s voice.
He’d just pulled into the car park, a familiar blue building several storeys high.
“Sorry, I know you’re trying to help but I just can’t…” my voice trailed off.
“Suit yourself then. I’ll let you cry on my shoulder,” he joked.
I couldn’t help it if I blushed. When I came out as being gay, Eric still accepted me as a friend. Though since we were housemates, I often had the company of girls he brought home.
The main lobby hadn’t changed from last time; wooden floorboards and untouched blue walls. I noticed Kaori was still at the service desk, her expression bored as she tapped idly on the keyboard.
“Not long now Kaori,” I cooed as we walked past.
Kaori acknowledged us with a laugh, fixing a loose strand in her orange braid. Eric lead the way into the elevator, doors closing as three glowed under his thumb.
opened at the Journalists Office. Its walls were blue like the lobby, yet black
carpet replaced humble timber. Eric and I parted towards our separate desks. The
layout something akin to a maze. Momentarily I reached my own desk. It was
plain compared to everyone else’s; the pin board bore no photos to share.
“Oi Spencer.” I winced at the voice behind me. A woman: short red hair, dyed no doubt, notably curvy beneath her black jacket.
“Can I talk to you for a moment?” she asked, beckoning me to follow.
Jade Millen wasn’t the most brilliant of bosses. Eric mentioned she yearned for the younger man. Thankfully I’m gay. I reluctantly followed to a room with Head Office on the door.
“You want me
to what?” I stuttered abruptly.
Jade leaned back in her chair, arms crossed under her breasts.
“I would like a solo story on the Ernest Dog Racing,” she repeated.
I felt myself drop. Dog Racing was something I had gone to with my father, but I hated it every time. Did Jade get inside my head and find the worst possible idea?
“Isn’t there anyone else? You know I don’t do well solo,” I muttered at the floor.
Her grey eyes narrowed.
“I’m well aware of your insecurities, but I’m afraid you need this for your record.”
She took out a clipboard from the drawer. I went pale at the sight.
“Your editing skills are superb, though your communication is lacking.” She slammed the board down.
I flinched in my seat. “So if I don’t do this I’m fired?” I whispered.
Jade inched forward, coldly staring through rough makeup.
“Yes Eli, you will be fired…”
After Jade’s declaration, she’d let me clock off early. I’d briefly nodded at Eric before the elevator closed; I needed sleep. As I greeted the lobby once again, I froze. By the service desk stood an older woman: grey-black hair, fur coat, mirrored blue eyes: my mother.
I tried to
storm past, but she stopped dead in my path.
“Eli…” she smiled
“What do you want Relena?” I snapped
“You haven’t answered my calls, so I came to see you,” she replied wearily.
I glanced at Kaori. She noticed and left for the bathroom.
“Heh, well I’m busy right now so…,” Relena halted me by the arm.
I glared straight into her eyes, glossy from early smoking.
“I’m your mother Eli, it’s my job to check on you,” she pleaded.
I stifled a laugh, my arm escaping her grasp.
“Tell me something Mother, do you feel loneliness?” I asked sorely.
Her lips pursed into a frown.
“Didn’t think so, otherwise you’d know why I hate you.”
My hands curled into fists.
“Listen, if this is about your fath—”
“No Relena, it’s not about him. Do you know what day it is?”
“What, Tuesday?” She arched an eyebrow.
I shook my head, looking at her sadly. I couldn’t bear to be around her, so I left her there.
It was Ava’s birthday.