Mould Makes the Grass seem Greener
Brian rushes over like a little kid that’s just been told off by his Mommy to collect Elena’s jacket.
I know I should walk out the door and forget about it, but I can’t fight the feeling to warn her. I know Brian, he’s not good for her. He’s a rich dick. If Elena knew who he was she wouldn’t be here with him.
I lean into her on my way out the door and tell her to be careful. That’s simple enough to get my point across without making me seem jealous or something.
And I’m not. That wimp. If I had to choose between being him or Beiber… Well I’d probably shoot myself, but I wouldn’t choose him.
I wouldn’t say anything if she was here with someone decent. In fact I would be thrilled. She seems so lonely, always alone. I hate to see that. But being alone is better than being around guys like that.
When I catch the nutty scent of coconut on her hair I immediately pull away. I can’t risk letting my memories fog up my mind, so I brush past her and head straight out the door. The fresh, piny air clears the scent from my lungs and knocks away the long forgotten comfort from being near her again. I don’t take much notice of the cold seeping through my skin, all I can think about is clearing my head.
I take a deep breath in and start to focus my mind. The breeze plays with my hair and the frost nipping at my scalp reminds me of a day, one that I’ve tried so hard to forget.
Any old memories grasping at the surface for a breath of air are drowned out by the hour hand on my watch. A sudden state of urgency hurls me into my beat up jeep and speeds me past every traffic light and stop sign on the way home. Sporadically, I glance back and forth between the clock on my dashboard and the whirling road ahead.
At this speed, one second of focus elsewhere is plenty time for you to miss a potential head on collision. I look up from the clock and a statue still rabbit appears in the headlights.
I swerve to avoid the suicidal Thumper and the car spirals towards a chunky oak tree on the side of the road. I yank down on the right side of the wheel, spinning the car in the opposite direction. The image of the tree flies to the left. The car jumps to a halt and the tree shudders when the back bumper whacks into it.
Silence replaces the screeching tyres and scrapping metal. But I don’t waste any time appreciating the sound of nature’s mercy on me, nor the anxiety that comes with a near crash, I just re-align my car with the road and continue my journey at the same reckless speed.
I finally reach my house and slam down on the breaks.
Shit shit shit.
I fling myself to the sidewalk, nearly twisting my ankle as I land. When I’m at the doorway I pause hesitantly. I brace myself and push the door open.
I flinch when I see him standing there. No emotion on his face, he’s just staring like there’s no one in front of him. And his arms are tightly crossed over his muscled chest, scrunching up his fitted tank top. My hands start to shake as the sweat drips from my palms and I try to shut the door behind me. His fist slams into the door right beside my head and the door clicks shut from the force.
“What FUCKING time is it Evan?” he roars like a bear and knocks me back into the door sharply when I open my mouth to defend myself.
He looks down and wipes his fingers over his stubble, something that he does not when he’s calming down, but when he’s so mad that he can’t even think straight. I can feel the dampening of a tear at the corner of my eye and I fight against my fear with the many mantras that I’ve come up with over the years.
“This is just a moment, moments pass,” I say to myself.
I take in a deep silent breath to attempt to steady my panicking and try again.
“I will get away. I will get away. I will get away.”
“If you’re late for another training session, I swear to God Evan you’re not sleeping for a month,” he growls, clenching his fist in the air. “My father gave me the belt when I wanted to box and my mother sent me to sleep in the goddamn rain.”
I grab my duffel bag from beside the hall lamp and rush to head out the door, too panicked to take in a word of the daily lecture.
“Do you thank me?!” I slam the door on his grating scream and march to my car with my anxiety clenched inside my fists.
By the time I get to the gym, my rage is so hyped up that adrenaline has overtaken every chemical in my body. I storm past the changing rooms, through the basketball court and down the stairs to the basement of the gym. I advance straight up to my opponent for the day. Carlson cuts off his instructions and turns his authority to me.
“Evan, you’re twenty minutes-“ my instructor starts before I interrupt him with a riled up roar.
“Are we doing this or what?”
He gives me an uneasy nod and takes a step towards the gloves in the corner, but one step is all he gets in before I throw my bare fist at the person in front of me. I didn’t even take a second to notice the fear in his eyes before throwing the next one… And the next. I stumble back when the instructor steps in but I knock him back and throw yet another rage fuelled punch at my partner’s faceless head.
“That’s enough Evan!” He knocks my harder this time and I fall back into the punching bag. It flies towards the ceiling, swings forward and rams into my back; collapsing my legs and slamming me to my hands and knees.
And that’s when I see the pool of blood coating my fist.
I follow the trail of droplets up to his face and what I see drops my chest.
It’s just a kid.
Probably one of his first sessions and the only thing worse than the sight of his swollen mashed up face, oozing blood like it’s a broken ice cream machine… Is the look in his eyes.
Pure horror, pure fear, pure innocence that’s been taken away by one person’s careless disregard for constraint. My fists hold me up and I stare down at the floor with a clenched jaw. Instead of my guilt overwhelming me like it should, instead of me asking for forgiveness or rushing to tend to his wounds; instead of pity rising from my stomach, I turn to something far easier to deal with and another spike of fury is what pricks inside of me.
I spring myself to my feet and tower over the concerned Carlson who is crouched down with one arm over the kid and the other being used to inspect his most likely broken nose.
“Why the hell is he even here?” I explode, sharply gesturing to the weedy 15 year old. The instructor looks back at me, his forehead wrinkled in disapproval. “Where’s Matt, or Graham? Hell even Brent could take a punch to the face better than that.”
“I thought that you were the best student to train with,” he retorts. “I picked you because you don’t pull this kinda shit!”
I turn my back and storm out of the room, the musky metallic smell of blood and sweat disappears with my dignity, as I leave two innocents to deal with the gunshot that I pulled the trigger on.
I get outside and fume away from the building and then back towards it. I slam my palm into the brick wall, my head boiling with the blood rushing to it, and then drop down to the ground. I lean my elbows on my knees and tilt my head back against the wall.
The frozen air burns my scrapped up hand and my head flinches forward. I turn my palm away but then all I can see is my knuckles stained with the blood of both a victim and a ruthless. I grab onto it and hold it in my other palm, so that all I can see is my shameless, undamaged wrist. The anger seeps out of me, leaving nothing but regret and anguish to fill my hollowed out shell. My senses blur with the concrete beneath my feet.
I don’t know how long I stare down at the ground, peering through the triangle made by my legs and uninjured arm but by the time my head is clear, the full moon’s glow is bright enough to awaken the wolves.
There’s a part of me that it awakens also, a part of me that’s slumber is snuffed out by the stolen light of the moon. Night is a filtered version of the day. It’s the pure form of the world and it’s what I thrive on.
My anguish floods into the overflowing box I keep at the back of my head and I lock up the prison holding my demons. This is my time to bask in the tranquillity of the darkness.
I leave my car to collect in the morning and head through the bushes to the empty alley ways that I walk each night. I walk fast enough to enjoy the rush of walking at a good pace, but slow enough so that I can take in the refreshing breeze and every piece of art sculptured by Mother Nature.
I only stop when I reach the unfortunately named trollop road.
The guys always say the best lays come from here. I don’t laugh along, only because Millie Thompson’s entire high school reputation has been destroyed by that joke. And not sure if it makes me a pussy but that’s not really something that gives me the kicks.
I search around and I start to worry when I see no one in sight. This is our usual meet up time; I don’t know where she could be. She’s never late.
I hear a clatter of trash cans and whip my head to the break in the alley to see that familiar infectious smile come plodding around the corner.
“I was worried about you Nate,” I chime as she drops a present by my feet. I kneel down and ruffle her patchy multicoloured ears as her head writhes inside my hands.
“What’s this?” I say, picking up the old chicken wing she must have found rustling around in the garbage. I put it back in front of her and continue to rile her up with cuddles.
“You’ve got that wag in the bag ol’ girl,” I say playfully.
I never smile like I do when I’m around her. I stand up and smile again, sweeter this time. Her tongue is still rolled out of her mouth and her bottom is still waggling uncontrollably, but my enthusiasm has wavered.
I have to get home by midnight and it kills me to leave her behind. She tries to follow me like she does every day and I have to coerce her back into the shadows.
“A pet is a distraction from my responsibilities,” is what my father would say if I tried to bring her home. And he’d probably get her put down, I can’t risk that.
I walk the rest of the way alone.
I wouldn’t do this any other day but after tonight, I can’t resist the urge. I take a short detour down West Edge, which coincidentally happens to be Elena’s road. I’m not a stalker or anything; I’m only going to walk past.
As I get around the col de sac and reach the prison thick fencing that surrounds her house, I notice a car parked outside.
It wouldn’t be so strange if there wasn’t someone camped out in there, fixated on Elena’s bedroom. I take a step to investigate but then I see a strand of Elena’s hair falling into the window frame, as she fails to attempt spying discretely. I jump backwards and press my back against the wall that separates her house from the next.
Standing here, hiding from Elena at 12 in the morning, I feel nothing but stupid. I turn in the other direction and make my way home the usual way, the way that doesn’t make me a creepo.
Thankfully, my Dad is passed out from the pirate’s portion of rum missing from the bottle. I get into my room and even though the day I’ve had should have knocked me out by now, I don’t go to my bed.
I ease my door shut and turn to face my old wooden desk. I pull on the rusted golden handle the shape of a horse shoe and rummage through the mess. At the bottom of the draw is a book. It’s not special, or something I go near often, it’s just a material guide that I got in shop class a while back. But that’s why I keep it inside this.
I flick through the pages until I reach page 103, inside is a flattened cherry blossom. I delicately pick it up with my thumb and forefinger. In my grip I hold a memory of the third of October. The day of the frost of fall dance… The day I turned on Elena.
It may seem like a memory I’d want to forget, but despite how painful it was, it was the last time I saw her smile at me, the last time she held my hand.
She had just stepped from her mother’s car and time almost started to move in slow motion as I took in her every feature. She was wearing a vibrant violet strapless dress, it was always her colour. Her hair was plaited in an updo and it freed her face to fully show off the sparkle in both her dark eyes and bright smile.
I went to get the cherry blossom I had put in my pocket the week before so that I wouldn’t forget to give it to her, but then a painful reminder from my bruised ribs stopped me.
The day prior was a major junior boxing event, but that wasn’t where I got my injury. I was supposed to win my match. Everybody thought I would.
But I lost.
Maybe it was because I was so excited for the dance, it was basically going to be our unofficial first date.
My dad said that was the reason anyway.
He told me I was getting too distracted, that I wasn’t reaching my full potential. I said it wasn’t her fault and that only made him angrier. He threw me onto the kitchen table, grabbed the rolling pin from the counter and whacked me until I swore I would do what he told me to.
So instead of whipping her into my arms, asking her to dance, and spending my night with the one person I had to care about; I stood neutral and stayed silent.
She skipped over to me, clasped my hand in hers and sweetly pecked my cheek. Then she told me I looked dashing with a giggle and her mood altering smile.
And I, well I looked her dead in the eye and with a cold, heartless tone I said “get some new friends Elena, you don’t have any anymore.”
She stood wordless, devastated. And I left feeling the same way.
Not only was I her only friend, she was mine. We both had acquaintances, people we would talk to at school, but we spent too much time with each other to have any proper friends of our own.
And that was it, two people separating at the blink of an eye. The faded lyrics playing from inside the walls of the school gym, making sure I couldn’t walk away without a tear.
“You were standing, I was there. Two worlds collided. And they could never tear us apart.”
*********Awesome song, if you don’t know it please check it out! It’s by INXS. anyways thanks again for reading! I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this chapter so please don’t hesitate to comment :) Next chapter due 3/07/20***********