The Black Truth
“Fuck! This isn’t working!” my fist slammed to the nearest wall and my eyes scrunched in pain. My head was spinning and I was staggering all over the room, hitting the furniture all around me.
After our talk and Blondie took off running, it was as if she took my sanity along with her. I couldn’t blame her for leaving though. I said some pretty shitty things to her.
I wanted her to leave me alone and that was what she did. But when I saw her took off with Blake in his car, for a split second there I wanted to bang my fist on the car window, telling her to get off.
But I had no right. She was way better off.
After she was gone, I was left with this void and anger. I was mad—at myself, at the world, and at everything. There was so much anger in me and I was desperate to numb the pain, so I headed over to Castro’s.
Castro’s was the bar that Max’s family owned. We hung out here all the time, and this was where Max would do business. In daytime, this place was just your typical bar. But at night, Max had turned the basement into an underground fighting ring. A lot of money an drugs were involved, and it was everything that a kid like Max and I ever wanted. He got all the money he wanted and I got all the highs—it was a beautiful friendship.
Our friendship began when I first moved back to Hawaii early in the summer. I was just riding through town when I saw some guys were harassing this redhead girl. No, I ain’t no knight in a shining armor, so I didn’t wanna get involved, especially after I told my ma I was gonna stay out of the trouble. But then, the girl started to fight back and she kicked these guy’s asses. I thought that was pretty badass, so I stayed and watched. The girl was Ava, and she was winning, that was until one of the guys started to pull a gun out. That was when I knew I had to step in.
I ended up saving her life that night. She told me about who she was and that her brother would reward me generously for what I had done. I didn’t care for all that reward bullshit, so I told her to shove it. But then she told me about Max and his people and all about the fighting ring. I thought the whole fighting ring stuff was pretty damn cool and I got curious, so I asked her to take me there.
That night, I ended up entering the fighting ring because I just wanted a good fight. I didn’t think much of it, but I ended up winning the whole thing. Little seventeen-year-old fucking boy from fucking nowhere got all the glory. Max was quick to notice my talents and he put it to good use. I’d beat up guys who owed him money or guys he’d want information from. Soon enough, I became Max’s second-favorite killing machine. The first one is his .45 semi-automatic ACP handgun. But unlike his first favorite, I never actually killed anyone. Yet.
I was in the back room of Castro’s, alone with Ava and I was downing all these pills, chasing some nonexisting high. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get her off my mind. No matter how many I took, the pain in my heart wouldn’t stop aching. So I got up and started raiding Max’s desk drawer. I knew that Ava always kept the extra stuff lying somewhere in here. She always did.
“You’ve already doubled your dose, Judah. Slow down, you’re gonna kill yourself!” Ava sounded worried. She swiftly put herself between me and the desk.
“I need something stronger!” I protested as I pushed her away.
After a good minute of rummaging, finally I found a packet filled with white powder stashed at the bottom of the drawer. When I managed pull it out, Ava was quick to snatch it away from me.
“No, you’ve had enough,” she said rather sternly.
“Give me the damn bag goddamnit!” my fist connected to the desk, making a loud thudding noise.
“Yo, Ava, what’s going on in here?” Max’s head popped through the door suddenly. His eyes widened in excitement as soon as he saw me.
“It’s alright Max, I got it under control,” Ava went to the door quickly, pushing him out, but Max wouldn’t bulge.
“Judah, man! Glad to see you’re back, it’s about damn time!” he smirked and shook his head, “When Ava told me you were quitting and started going to fucking school, I knew she was just bulshitting me,”
“Yeah, no. I had to do that for a while, but I’m back now,”
“For good,” I nodded and Max flashed me a victorious smile.
“Is there still a slot open for tonight?” I said again, referring to Max and I’s favorite pastime—underground fighting.
“Bro, that slot’s always been yours. I knew you were coming back. I never gave it up to anyone else,”
“Thanks,” I said and Max and I exchanged a knowing look.
“Max, I need a moment with Judah, please,” Ava interjected again.
“Alright. Y’all holler if you need anything,” Max paused for a second and he suddenly turned to Ava, “Don’t overwork him for now, he’s up in thirty minutes,” he said before he shut the door closed again.
Rolling her eyes, Ava turned to me and gave me a look—a judging look. I let out a frustrated sigh as I slumped down on the couch. Not long after, Ava followed and sat next to me on the couch.
“Seriously Judah, what’s going on with you? You’re coming here all of a sudden, acting all crazy. Whatever happened to that little blonde thing you call distraction? I thought things were going great between you two?”
The image of Blondie appeared on my mind again and I groaned aloud. When you were chasing a high you got from drugs, all you had to do was add a little more to your dose and you’d get it. But her? No matter what I did, I couldn’t ever reach her, or the feeling that she made me feel.
“This is about her, isn’t it?” she scoffed. “You guys are having problems and now you’re coming back?”
“Shut up Ava. Just shut the fuck up,” I hissed, directed at both Ava and my own damn brain.
It all started with just a kiss. How did it end up like this?
“Dude, I’m all for you coming back and all, but I’d rather see you alive and out there than in here and dead,” she rolled her eyes dramatically, but I could tell she was being honest.
“You wanna tell me what’s up?” she said again.
I thought of trying to describe how I felt and what made me do the things I did, but no words came to mind.
“I blew it. She was the best thing that could ever happen to someone like me and I blew it,” was all that I could say.
“What happened?” she pressed on and sighed.
“I told her to go with him. I told her I didn’t care. And so she left me,”
The moment she walked away from me, it was like my lungs had been punctured. I couldn’t even breathe, but I didn’t wanna let it show. I put on a tough act, even going as far as lying and hurting her.
“So she went with some guy? So what? You can just get her back,”
“No, I can’t,”
“He’s the one guy I could never beat,”
Ava gave me a puzzled look. She didn’t know what I was saying, obviously. And I didn’t wanna explain either.
“I don’t get it. You like this girl, don’t you?” she asked.
“And now she’ll never know,” I smiled bitterly.
“And why is that?”
“I can’t tell her. I have to save her,”
“Judah, come on, you’re not making sense. Plus, you’re the best guy I know,”
“Compared to who?” I laughed mockingly. “You can say that because you’re only hanging around here all day,”
“That’s not the point,” she sounded a little offended. “My point is; whoever this guy is, she’s stupid if she chooses anyone but you,”
“Nah, you don’t know the whole story,”
“Of course, ’cause you never wanna tell me shit,”
“All you need to know is that she’s never mine to begin with. She likes this guy and he likes her. And he’s clearly better than me in everything. He’s got the right to have her and I don’t,”
“Shit, you’re talking as if the girl’s some prize to be won. Do you ever think of what she wants? Maybe she has a mind of her own, do you ever think of that?”
“Why are you even taking her side? You said you don’t even like her,”
“Yeah, but as much as I don’t like her, you’ve kinda changed after you met her,”
“Yeah. You got better. I was actually convinced that you were never gonna come back here. I’d deny it if you tell anyone, but I was secretly happy for you. You don’t deserve to be here with the rest of us. You got a good heart, you got brains, you should be out there, livin’ a better life,”
“Nah. This is as good as it gets for me,”
Ava was quiet for a while. She took a deep breath and sighed, before finally saying, “You really think that you can’t fix it with her?”
“I don’t think I should. I’m a fucking mess. She’s better off without me,”
“That’s probably true,” she scoffed and I snorted a wry laugh. “But, you wanna know what I think?”
“I’ll tell you anyway,” she rolled her eyes and ellbowed me playfully, “the worst way of trying to protect your heart is to pretend that you don’t have one at all,”
“Psh, what do you know about having a fucking heart?” I tried to laugh it off, although her words did struck a nerve.
“You really like this girl?” she pressed on, her face was still serious.
“More than anything,”
“Just call her then,”
“And say what?”
“Tell her the truth,”
“I can’t do that,”
“Get over yourself and call her. You still have a chance to make things right and you need to at least try. I’ll give you the drugs if you still need them afterwards. I promise,” Ava held the white packet in one hand and grabbed my phone from the table with the other hand.
I knew Ava had a point. Of course I wanted things to be better. Of course I wanted to be better.
Blondie was the distance between the way things were and the way I wanted them to be. She was a drop of perfect in an imperfect world, and all I wanted was a little taste. And as soon as I had it, I was addicted to her.
At some point I was thinking that maybe she already knew how I felt about her. I’ve sent her a million letters that were only ever written in my mind. But the possibility of her wanting me back, I just couldn’t see it.
My mind was still wandering through the air as I reached for the phone and dialed her number, which was on speed dial, when all of a sudden—
“Hello?” I heard her small voice spoke through the phone and my heart had stopped beating.
Shit, she actually picked up. I did not think this through. What the hell was I supposed to say to her?
My mouth fell open but I couldn’t say anything out loud. I could hear her breathing on the other side and my thoughts went wild with all the things I wanted to say to her.
Blondie, hey… I’m sorry about what I’ve said. I could’ve sworn I was telling you the truth when I said what we did meant nothing. But I lied. I was an idiot. I like you, a goddamn lot. I mean, of course I do. How could I not? I was just too scared… I figured if you really knew me, if you really knew who I was, you’d want nothing to do with me…
“Taya? Who’s that?” the words running in my thoughts were suddenly cut short as I heard Blake’s voice on the other line.
My blood boiled instantly. I peeled the phone away from my ear, cut off the call, and threw the little device across the room. Maybe it broke, but I didn’t even care. Ava flinched at my sudden movement and waited for me to explain.
“She wasn’t alone, she was with him,” those words tasted so bitter in my mouth.
I could just picture it: him and her. Them. Together.Maybe they were kissing, maybe even more. Fuck.
My chest burned at the thought of it. I was spiraling again, sucked into the black hole of my mind’s own design.
I knew right then and there that I had lost the only thing that mattered to me. There was nothing else in my life worth going for.
What she was to me was a reason for living, not an excuse or a distraction. There were drugs, sex, and games—and then there was her. And now there was no more of her. And no matter how much I tried to replace her, I couldn’t.
“Give me the damn bag,”
“Judah…” Ava was about to protest some more, but I had already grabbed the packet from her hand.
Leaving Ava in the back room, I made my way into the small cramped bathroom stall and shut the door shut. Sitting down, I looked up to the ceiling and let the needle found the spot on my arm.
As the white liquid found its way into my bloodstream, all I could think about was how much this all fucking sucked. Love like this won’t last forever, I knew that of course. I knew about it ever since we started this deal in the first place. But I didn’t mind it. I didn’t think it would suck this much.
But if I had known how much it would hurt… I wouldda take it back.
Take this pain away. Take me to the night we met, under that full moon, below that window. Maybe I would have done things differently then…But nah, it wouldn’t make much difference. Because actually I had already fallen for her, long way before that.
“It’s gonna be okay, I’ll be your friend. I’ll protect you,” the soft little voice said to me.
“You’re not wanted here, you piece of trash,” the harsh voice spoke louder.
A mistake. An abomination. A total fucking mess.
Maybe it was best that she never knew. It’s not fair for her to get dragged down by me and my mess…
Blondie, I’m sorry for whatever I’d done and for what I was about to do. I did all that, knowing I could never have you. Shameless, I know, it was my last ditch effort. I just wanted you to remember me, to always miss me and the way I kiss.
Goodbye my friend.