REAL ART

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Christmas with The Crank

Chapter 33: Christmas with The Crank

No one understood it; my parents, not even my sister. Whatever the hell was happening to me was driving me mad. The cars: the blues, the reds, the whites, and all the people that seemed to be staged. It didn’t make any fucking sense! Yet, it seemed so logical.

On Christmas Day, a red and white car was parked outside my house. Canada. Christmas Eve, it had been a red and blue one. Sad love? I had no idea and even looking at the makes of the cars told me nothing. They were just a bunch of standard makes: Ford, Dodge, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai.

My parents were becoming distant and I could feel it. Kaylee barely talked to me. From a conversation in early December, I heard that she officially had a boyfriend. But I never got his name and only heard this conversation when she was on the phone speaking to one of her friends.

Since the accident with my bike, my parents bought me a new one for Christmas. I didn’t even choose it; they just said that it was in the shed. And after I pushed clumps of snow out of the way I saw a brand new shiny red Trek bike. It was a Hybrid just like the last one and soon I wasn’t so angry that they had bought me a bike without my knowledge.

But none of the gifts really mattered; I still missed someone. When I was up in my room, the first song I played was “I Still Miss Someone” by Johnny Cash and when he sang “blue eyes”, I knew the next song: “Blue Eyes” by Elton John. And after that song finished, I was about to play “Wonderland” when “Alice” by Avril Lavigne began to play.

Poignant, I thought. No one seemed to be at all curious as to what I was doing in my room with the door closed and my music blasting. But it seemed everyone was letting me be alone like I had already been cast out of society. No one even asked me questions anymore and even Dr. Walsh felt that there was nothing he could do for me. I was like the patient you couldn’t cure.

Though “Alice” made me think of, well, Alice, it also made me wonder what the next song would be. According to Avril, “I’ll get by”. But I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to interpret it that way especially when the next song played: “Black Sun” by Death Cab for Cutie. If I had thought I knew Alice’s playlist, this told me I didn’t. What the hell did this song mean? It was so depressing, so eerie. It was as if I had no hope.

“How could something so fair be so cruel when this black sun revolved around you?” It was the line that kept repeating itself. Was I the black sun? I had so many questions and was receiving very few answers.

Maybe the black sun was I because of how I was ignoring everybody (even Rachel who had instructed me to get over Alice) and still going on this crazy journey.

I decided to research “black sun” and discovered it to be an occult symbol and that really, if I was reading this correctly, me being the black sun made perfect sense because of my inner secret. It was time to take another walk.

I created a Genius Playlist for “Same Mistake” by James Blunt which I thought was a fitting song for the occasion and once my iPod had uploaded the playlist, I was out the door. No one even asked where I was going. But it wasn’t like I was walking blindly into the dark. It was five in the afternoon so it was still light out.

Once outside, I played “Same Mistake”. I had no idea where I was going, but I didn’t want cars to lead me. I wanted to plan my own route so I took side streets in my neighbourhood. Of course, Alice still found me. Her presence appeared as I was walking down Wanless Avenue listening to “Crystal Ball” by P!nk.

“The cracks in the crystal, the cracks in the crystal ball,” she kept singing in my ears but I didn’t understand the meaning until I saw the silver spherical ornament. The ball had a hole in it and though it wasn’t made of crystal, I understood. I was the crack, the crack in the crystal ball. And that’s when I bumped into Rachel. I had noticed her bundled up in her black coat but I was shocked to see her. We usually hung out every day but since Christmas, she had told me that she needed to focus more on schoolwork so our hangouts had been limited. But now she was here in front of me and I was not ready for another confrontation.

“Art,” she said right away as if it couldn’t be someone else. Maybe it was very easy to spot me. My green jacket was like an orange vest of trouble.

“How’s your Christmas?” I asked her as I turned off my iPod.

“It was fine. How was yours?”

“Pretty great.”

“Why aren’t you with your family?”

“They’re out seeing a movie. I didn’t feel like going,” I lied thinking quickly.

“Oh,” said Rachel. She knew me well and I could tell she sensed the lie, which meant she wasn’t supposed to pry.

“Why are you out?”

“I was just heading to Mac’s to pick up some milk.”

We were already at the corner of Wanless and that’s when I saw a red Mini Cooper go by. Was I supposed to follow Rachel home?

“I guess you live close,” I observed.

“Yep,” nodded Rachel. “I’m just on the corner of Mount Pleasant and Wanless, more like Mount Pleasant though. You want to come inside?”

“Sure,” I agreed. I had never been in Rachel’s house before.

“Cool.”

“Aren’t your parents home?” I asked once she opened the door.

“Nope. They’re at some religious concert. I also didn’t want to go.” She said her last sentence a bit mockingly.

“Mmm…” was all I said.

“Art, are you sure you’re O.K.?”

“I thought we wouldn’t use that word,” I told her as we removed our snow-stained boots.

“Sorry. You just seem down. You’re not still obsessed about Alice, are you?”

I felt goosebumps on my arms and knew they might as well have appeared on my face. “Um...well...”

“Still Alice?” She couldn’t believe I couldn’t move on.

“Always.”

Rachel let out an exasperated sigh. “Art, you have to forget Alice. For you, she doesn’t exist anymore. Shall I bake you a heartbreak cake?”

I smiled. Rachel always knew how to cheer me up. “Thanks, Rache. That would be great.”

Rachel beamed. She loved to bake. “Alright. You sit in the living room and I’ll bake us that cake. What kind, cheesecake?”

“My favourite,” I told her.

She beamed, but I couldn’t pretend anymore. It was either Alice or Rachel and it seemed I couldn’t have Rachel so I wouldn’t be focused on Rachel but Alice. But I tried to not think about either girl as I sat in a brown chair with a white cushion in Rachel’s living room. I was about to turn my iPod on but thought against it. I had been listening to too much music recently. It was time that I listened to the sounds of Rachel’s house and of the outdoors.

There was a big window behind me where I was sitting and I looked out the window as the cars went down Mount Pleasant. I spotted some reds, some blues, and some yellows but it didn’t mean anything to me. And when the blacks and greys appeared, I thought less and less of the cars.

“Do you need help in the kitchen?” I called out after ten minutes went by.

“Nope,” said Rachel from the kitchen. I nodded and continued my window gazing.

“This is delicious,” I told Rachel as I cut another piece of cherry cheesecake. It was a small cheesecake so it hadn’t taken Rachel that long to make it and bake it.

“I’m glad you like it,” said Rachel as she placed a forkful in her mouth. We were sitting at her kitchen table, which was just to the left of the stove.

“Thanks for inviting me over. My house doesn’t seem inviting anymore.”

“Of course,” said Rachel, glancing at her watch. From the quick glance, I could read the words Kiss The Girl.

“Cool watch,” I told her as I glanced at mine. It was six in the evening. I undid my watchstrap and handed it to Rachel. “That’s mine,” I told her as she smiled at the Toy Story figures. She unclasped her own watch and handed it to me.

“I’ve had it since I was small,” she said as I looked at her Kiss The Girl watch. Ariel’s mermaid figure was all in black and it made me think of a shadow. The watch with its deep blue shell made the whole object seductively eerie.

“You’re still small,” I somewhat flirted.

“I meant smaller,” Rachel said, giggling a bit. “Your watch is cool. I think we both have a little Disney obsession though.”

“Pixar,” I corrected.

“Shut up,” she said childishly. “Still Disney.”

I laughed. “True.”

“Stay right there.” But it wasn’t like I was going anywhere. We gave each other our watches back before she disappeared upstairs. Soon she was back and holding a very large book with a red cover. I was just clasping my watch back to my wrist when she placed the book down at the kitchen table. “I want you to know that you’re not the only one that has thought they have found the one they were meant to be with only to then be disappointed. This book helped me get through some rough times.” Her red-nailed index finger pointed to the red cover.

One Hundred Great Poems of the Twentieth Century, I read.

One Hundred Great Poems of the Twentieth Century. It’s a great book and I find poetry really calms the mind. I want you to borrow it since I know you’re not meditating.”

I was about to object, but Rachel stopped me. “Trust me, I know.”

I shut my mouth. “Thanks,” I said as she handed the book to me.

“You’re welcome. Art, I want you to know that if you’re ever down and need someone to talk to, know that I’m ready to listen.”

“Thanks Rachel,” I said getting up from the table and hugging her. It was a long hug and her body was warm.

“Tell me what you think of the book. Now get out of my house,” she half-joked.

“Yes, ma’am.”

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