Categories > Original > Drama0 Reviews
Love just isn't meant for me...no matter where it comes from.
My father helped me take my bags out of his trunk as my mom and brother stood outside on the porch. Dad looked drained as his brown hair fell over his brown eyes. Mom looked worried. Her green eyes were filled with nonstop tears and my brother, June, looked sympatric which was hard to take in. I mean, all my life, I’ve grown to understand that June is the coldest boy I’ve ever met. But the day I lost myself, he has held my hand from a distance and watched me cry silently. One day, he came around to hugging me and telling me he loved me. I think that was the first time he told me he loved me.
Once dad got my bag onto the porch, June helped me take my bag inside as dad left to park the car. June and I dropped my bag in the living room and he tied his shoulder length, brown hair into a ponytail. He’s my older twin brother with dad’s brown eyes while I have mom’s green eyes. Everyone loves my eyes. Everyone…
I sat down on the couch with a clouded mind and tear covered eyes. My insides twisted in turned in ways I didn’t think they could. Although it has been several months, it still hurts like it was yesterday. I looked at my parents who walked in the door together. They were relieved when the court pledged me not guilty. Now they stare at me as if they are anticipating the destruction of the walls I’ve tried to build and maintain. They’ve already witnessed the crumbling of my spirit. It caused them grief they vowed to never speak of.
I would have saved myself from a world full of pain if I would have never placed myself in “Cougar’s Creek” as an English major. I wasn’t even sure, during the following summer, if I wanted to attend college right after high school. A break seemed very appealing to me until my mother inspirited me with her plays and stories. She made damn sure I focused on literary writing in college. Deep down, I knew it was something I never wanted to do but I didn’t know how to break her fragile heart. My mother is the only person I hate disappointing.
I sat in class like a good child and took my notes. I participated in class discussions and excelled in essays because my private English teacher lived at home with me. My teachers placed me on the Dean’s List after the first semester and second semester was the same until third semester rolled around. I wasn’t sure if it was the circumstances I was placed in or the simple fact the fingers kept landing on me. Eyes followed me in the halls and my first thought was to snap; yell and scream and ask why each moist eye ball landed on me until I read the newspaper and saw that someone said, “James was the last one with him,” James…James Everett, who is often referred to Jamie, was holding hand in hand with a painful memory. I landed back into reality when my mother asked me if I was hungry. “I have a stomach ache,” I said. She swept a tear away and nodded. I got up to make my escape.
It’s been really hard to look individuals in the eye without feeling like they are searching for the memories I’ve buried in the deepest spot of my mind. A big part of me wants to become like June—a hardass who’s hard to penetrate because I feel like it’s the safest way to deal with shit. However, I clearly know it’s completely unhealthy. June closes himself up and pretends everything is ok. It used to make me want to scream but I see that is his pride doing that. He doesn’t believe in shattering into a millions of pieces. He believes in striving to survive. He forces himself to understand that shit happens and it’s completely out of his control. I, on the other hand, won’t accept it and I think that’s why everything hurts so much.
On my bed, I lay motionless and listen to the sounds of the rain falling softly onto my skylight. The drops slide on the plastic top to clear the view and make room for more drops to come. The gray clouds block the sunlight poking through to light up the neighborhood and motivate people to walk outside. The clouds are like giant clouds of smoke that cloud the atmosphere the way pain clouds my mind. June’s heavy steps make the stairs creak as he drifts to the other side of the hall and gently closes his door. Soft murmuring is taking place downstairs as my parents discuss about my state of mind…well, that I’m not certain of but the way they were looking at me gives me the idea they chat privately about me.
I turn to my side and face the nightstand that wields pictures of someone I’m trying not to forget or remember. I close my eyes and try to dull the pain that’s slowly overtaking me. I open the first drew and see a t-shirt that was a precious gift to me. The scent hits my nose and had awakened the beautiful love I shared with the person who owned it. The tears come as I move my fingers over the soft fabric and tangle my index finger into a loose thread. I close my dresser and suck in a breath to shake off the dizziness. How can I honestly proceed with life feeling like this?
My father didn’t force a conversation. That was a quality he had that I deeply appreciated. Mom hates awkward silences but dad didn’t mind them and if he did, he never voiced it. He stopped at a red light and I focused on my surrounds. It wasn’t raining anymore but I’ve clearly concluded that it’s raining inside my head. My dad lid a cigarette and that alarmed me. “If Marie finds out I’ve started again, she’d slap me into the New Year. So, keep a secret for your old man.” He pleaded lowly. “Why are you smoking?” I asked. He didn’t look at me and said, “Jamie, I lost you and that’s hard to deal with,” I looked away from him. I guess love wasn’t the only thing that died that day.
I stepped into the clinic and walked slowly to the waiting room. It had white walls and scratched vases that carried the burden of dead flowers. Old and crumbling magazines occupied the wooden table in the middle of the room as dad sat next to me on the nearest sofa. A nurse came by, ignored the wedding band on his left hand, and winked at him. He ignored her and drifted his attention to the rundown magazines that looked too horrifying to stare at. When they called my name, dad and I stood up and he smiled sadly. “Call me when it’s over. I’ll pick you up,” he said. He ruffled my hair and kissed my forehead—completely ignoring the fact that I just turned 20. Well, in a lot of ways, if he wasn’t affectionate before he left, I would have caved and truly believed I’m alone in this. It’s the small gestures that really matter…
I walked down the hall and stopped in front of a room that was decorated with terrible children paintings like my mom did to her office on the other side of town. June and I have begged her repeatedly to take down our childhood horrors as she proudly displayed what 6 year old children did. However, it was funny when Angel, my oldest brother, stopped by her office and noticed a painting he made in second grade. When I noticed it too and looked at his face, his cheeks were red and his eyes drifted to mom’s. “Mother, you do know that I’m almost 25…right?” She would giggle after that.
I closed the door and sat in the chair in front of my therapist’s desk. She was a small woman with wild blonde hair and coffee colored eyes. She was probably a decade older than me and smiled kindly. This is the second month I’ve placed myself in Dr. Moore’s office. The very first time, I was nervous and when she began to press delicate buttons, the tears came. She let my cry and I spent of the session trying to recollect myself. She said crying was the first step to healing but crying makes me remember what is causing the pain. That’s what I’m trying to forget.
Our eyes finally met and she leaned back into her hair. “How are you feeling, James?” She asked. I pondered on how I should answer this but decided to be honest. “I’m hurting really bad,” she nodded her head and leaned into me. “Felling like this is normal. This person was very important to you. Now that you and I have gotten to know each other, I want to hear what happened. I want you to start from the very beginning…I’m here to help, after all. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t help,” She said. She attempted a smile but failed. I shifted a little in my seat. I looked down. I wasn’t going to talk and she knew it. She started to look frustrated and said. “Call your dad, James,”
We sat at the table to eat dinner. Everyone picked at their plates and stared at me as if I had some serve acne-outbreak on my face. “Dr. Moore complains about your refusal to speak…why is that?” Stern dad was back into gear. Mom looked at him and June stopped playing with his carrots. “I’m not ready to talk,” I said. Mom’s eyes bounced from dad to me and then back onto dad. It was almost as if she was straining to understand a foreign language. “Jamie, sweetheart, if you plan to get better, you’ve got to be honest. That’s the only way you can properly heal. Burying your pain will make it worse and it hurts me to see you suffer like this…” she sniffs hard and the grief finds its way to June’s and dad’s face. I feel completely stuck; trapped in the weight of this sadness. I excuse myself from the table and hide in my room. I can’t handle confrontation right now.
Morning came and I’m not even aware that I fell asleep. I moved sluggishly out of bed and press my bare feet into my carpet. It feels soft under my feet as I slide into the bathroom for a shower. The hot water traces my muscles and rinse of the stress my body is enduring. It relaxes my spirit and comforts me in ways other things can’t. Once I step out, I feel refreshed and dress myself. I sit on my bed to think. I think about these last few months and slide around the painful memories. Underneath all that rubble lays a secret so dirty that it’s forcing me to keep quiet about what happened. Inside my heart, I hear the scream for justice but inside my brain, I hear the screams of fear. Fear is a feeling that conquers the human’s mind majority of the time and forces them to both act and think irrationally. That’s how it’s been for me these last few months.
I evaporate these thoughts and listen closely to the sounds downstairs…laughing? People are actually laughing again? I poke my head out to listen well. People really are laughing. I walk down the hall and the steps to see Angel standing in the living room and Dante standing next to him. Angel’s sandy blonde hair is hanging just over his shoulders and his sapphire eyes focus on me. Dante’s green eyes focuses on me and he runs a hand through his long black curls. Dante is my mother’s cousin. They have similar features but he hangs around Angel. It’s only because they are the same age.
I waved to them when they noticed me and Dante smiled brightly. Once upon a time, I use to have this insane crush on Dante. He’s gentle person with a soft spoken voice which made me want o kiss him all the time. I use to imagine how it will feel to wrap my fingers around those lovely curls and see his pale face flush up from pleasure. His green eyes would be slightly parted and his full lips will be rose red and swollen from kissing. The imagery was so vivid, I stopped myself from seeing him on a daily basis…besides, he started seeing his neighbor, Giovanni.
Dante walked to me and embraced me. Angel followed afterwards. Everyone has been like that over the last few months…touchy feely as if I’m going to break if people don’t love me properly. At first, I use to think that maybe it was guilt motivating them to hold me because they ignored me most of their lives. It’s like once I waved the distressed signal, suddenly everyone hugs me and kisses my face. I don’t know whether I should be grateful or angry.
“How are you?” Dante asks softly. His soft voice makes my heart feel really tender. I feel the familiar sting in my nose and eyes and try to formulate words that could illustrate my feelings correctly. Instead, I’m lost with words and the sadness strikes me again. He embraces me again and this time, for a much longer time. Pity, sympathy, or whatever, I do know that it feels great to be recognized. Angel offers a sad smile and rubs my back. I guess everyone is lost with words.
The guest room use to be my room when I told my parent’s about me moving out. However, since I’m home, the guest room was demolished and morphed into my room again. This troubled both Angel and Dante. They understood that it was way too late and dark to hover around the shadows on their brief journey home—especially if they came on foot. Dante looked at my constantly as if he was silently probing me to choose him to spend the night with. I looked away from each time as June and Angel coordinated the sleeping arrangements.
“Maybe we can have the twins together and Dante and I will take one of your bedrooms,” Angel stated. Again, Dante’s eyes burned into me. “June kicks too much. I don’t want to sleep next to him,” I said which was true but not the reason why I said no. June frowned which made Dante smile. Angel looked at Dante and nodded. “Then, Dante can stay with Jamie and I’ll snuggle next to June,” He said and placed an arm around June’s shoulder. June rolled his eyes and walked to my parent’s room to get extra towels for them. Dante grabs my wrist and pulled me close to him which made me freak for a moment. Urgently, he whispers, “I want to talk to you,”
I lay a way in my bed that allows me to hear the shower running in my bathroom. The night sky is clear through my sky light as my eyes trace the outline of the full moon. My heart is frantic in my chest. Dante’s words sent a load of mixed symbols that supplied me with possibilities. I didn’t know which ones to rule out and which ones to accept.
The last time my heart was crazy like this was when I decided to lose my virginity. I sat on the bed feeling anxious as Susanne Carly was searching for protection. I watched her pale limbs move vigorously through piles of junk and underwear. I was shirtless and 16 without a clue of what to do with the opposite sex. She smiled when she caught me checking her out and kissed me tenderly to tease me. I thought I was in love with her during high school. Now that I think about it, I realized I was clearly in lust with her and desired her enough to give her my precious gift. I don’t regret it but I wished I waited a bit longer.
I didn’t hear the shower go off but saw Dante walk into my room wearing my clothes and began drying his hair. His skin was flushed from the heat of the water during his shower. When he flopped onto my bed, I got to see his flat belly and the downy hairs that lead into his underwear. “The shower was relaxing,” He said softly. I wonder who taught him how to speak like that.
Dante sat up and looked directly into my eyes. He pulled his knees up and hugged them. However, his eyes never left mine. “When Angel called me and told me Jody died, I started to cry,” He said just as softly. “I cried because I really loved Jody and I know how it feels like to lose someone you love,” He paused for a moment, silently debated if he should proceed and then said, “ You see, even thought I physically have not lost Giovanni, I’ve lost him in a way that is beyond me. Giovanni is damaged and what makes this worse is realizing I cannot do anything about it. I tell him I love him all the time and it feels like it doesn’t sink in… he’s still hooked on drugs,” He paused for a moment before saying, “I never told anyone this. However, I’m telling you this because I think you will understand. Giovanni is addicted to Crystal Meth and he doesn’t know how to rip himself from it. So, he does stupid shit to get away from it all,” Dante stopped and frowned deeply. “Giovanni died and there was nothing I could have saved him,”
I watched Dante for a moment and expected him to choke, sob, sniff, cough, and moan over the fact he lost someone dear…well, in theory. However, he didn’t and I understood why he would tell me this secret. He is deeply upset but he doesn’t realize that in his scenario, as thin the chances may be, there is still hope. Giovanni can recover but that’s his choice to make. And if Giovanni really dies…I just pray that Dante will push past that and continue to live…perhaps I should imply that on myself.
For comfort, I turn over and placed my hand on Dante’s as he relaxed himself to sleep. When I woke up the following morning, our hands were still entangled into one another. I’m shocked our hands stayed like this the whole night. I loosened my fingers and let Dante sleep as I made an attempt to leave the bed. The feelings Dante’s shocking story left are still harboring as clearly as the morning sun and it makes me not see Giovanni as the same lazy ass person anymore. Giovanni is depressed and ashamed. He should have auditioned for Korn when Brian Welch left. He would have made the Korn cut perfectly.
I walked to June’s room and saw Angel sitting on the ledge of June’s bed as June snored next to him. Angel noticed me and smiled. “How are you?” He asked. They are many different ways to take that questioned but I settled for the “I’m alright”. I was, honestly, feeling alright for the moment. He offered another smiled and I drifted out of the room. When did talking to Angel seem so hard?
Right before Dante and Angel left, Dante hugged me tighter than he did his whole life. We’re 6 years apart but equally have a hope in our hearts that everything will be ok. I closed the door behind them as they set out on their journey home. I slithered back into my room and felt my mind scream with all kinds of questions. You know what, Jamie? You think too much. All the time you are trying to solve the mysteries of life which, at times, can get really annoying. It makes you seem really boring. Please, for the love of God, learn to let shit go!
As if it was really that simple.
June laughed in the car while I dragged my bag out of the trunk the day I stepped onto Cougar’s Creek for the first time. It had just finished raining, so big nasty puddles laid on the steepest parts of the campus’s grounds. June’s laughter irritated me. I couldn’t find what was so damn funny. Mom sent herself into boss overdrive and forced June to help me. That was when it was my turn to laugh.
We made it to the dorm room quicker than I imagined. Our sneakers squeaked on the tile floor and sweat covered our bodies as we traveled up the unnaturally hot stairwell. My roommate was a small guy with black, straight hair which touched his shoulders evenly and black eyes. That was bizarre…I’ve never seeing black eyes before. His skin was fair and he wore plastic rimmed glasses to read the book he had in his hand. He took off his glasses and said, “I’m Jody Min. Which one of you is my roommate James Everett?” he asked. It was like Jody to be so straight forward. It was something I realized from day one. June pointed to me and I waved. “I’m James Everett,” He nodded after I said that and looked at June. “Julian Everett…his older twin brother,” June said. Jody nodded and sat on his bed. “Make yourself a home,” he said and returned back to his book.
June helped me unpack and abandoned me once all my clothes were out of the bag. He patted my back and left. Affection was his weakest point. I closed the door and began to find places to put my clothes. Jody just watched me unravel dressers and closets. I managed to stare directly into his dark eyes and saw that they shun like black gems. Each dark pool reminded me of a void; a black hole—deep, intense, bottomless. I looked away and sat down on my bed as his eyes still focused on me. He was making me feel uncomfortable.
Eventually, Jody placed his book down to devote his attention to me. “How old are you?” he asked me. “18,” I said. He looked at my clothes and then back at my face. “So, you just came out of high school? Lucky you. I took a four year break before going to school,” He returned to his book and didn’t share anything else about himself. I was left with the assumption that he was either 21 or 22. He was small and childlike but shaded with something we call wisdom.
First day of classes started with a BANG and I honestly mean that. Some stupid junior decided it was funny to scare the hell out of the freshman with firecrackers. They were going off in front of the main building and during the transaction of walking to class on a quiet morning. He succeeded with scaring most of us and his jackal laughs gave him away. Apparently, he’s not so bright which is perfectly fine. It would piss me off if he got away with it.
I sat in the middle of each class and felt like a complete alien in this territory. The only person I could talk to was my roommate and we didn’t have class together. When someone worked up enough nerve to speak to me, they quickly decked me when Jody found me and pretended not to know me afterwards. What an asshole.
Jody came to me to say hello and kept moving with a crowd of people that looked like him. Well, they didn’t look like him genetically, but they did wear the dark clothes, have dark hair, and dark eyes. Most of them wore contacts and dyed their hair. The others were genuine like Jody. They were the most abnormal click I’ve ever stumbled onto. I wasn’t even sure what the point of their dark mood was.
I called mom, like I promised her, after my first day of classes. She asked about my day and if my roommate was nice. “He’s alright. Doesn’t say much,” I said. She continued to talk about her day and wondered if I made friends. I told her I didn’t. It was either the color of my skin that terrified them or the click that walked behind me silently. When it comes down to the skin part, I realized I was the only caramel skinned person while a few darker shades lingered but wasn’t enough to feel accepted. I know this sounds utterly ridiculous, but I honestly believed people were prejudice and racist on my campus. Living in the south all your life does this to you.
When I eventually did start making friends, none of them believed I wasn’t from South Carolina. I didn’t have the southern accent. I guess this comes from visiting my extended family in both Boston and New York. My family also traveled to Brazil to see my grandparents. When June and I are down there, we walk the outskirts of the Amazon Rain Forest. We silently and privately dream of one day traveling through the forest and becoming one with nature before it’s ripped down completely. I’ve heard tales of the forest from my grandfather but it’s just one of those things you must experience to understand. It’s similar to sex…expect there isn’t an orgasm in the end but, its equally pleasurable if you love nature, though.
When I went back to the dorm, Jody wasn’t there. I decided to shower and text a few of my high school buddies. Most I missed while there were others I could live without. When I got out of the shower, Jody smelled like booze and laid on his bed with a lazy smile on his face. I greeted him and realized he was falling asleep. I didn’t want him to sleep in his clothes but I was afraid to touch him. I left him alone and tried to ignore the stench of booze. The last thing I needed was another complication in life.
Mom knocked on my door to ask if I wanted dinner. I snapped out of my reminiscing and told her no. Eating is becoming a challenge these days. She frowned and quietly left my room. I think, at some point, my mother will turn into boss mom and force food down my throat. She’s known for her demands and force applied to get the job done. It makes me nervous to think about.
My mother is the heart of my family. Her hands move faster than her lips and you never see them coming. She never stumbled into the territories of domestic violence and child abuse but she’s laid down the law. The only one crazy enough to cross the lines is June. He’s really stubborn. She would have thought several smacks to the mouth and a slipper tossed to his face in one day would slow him down in his rebellious tracks. She thought wrong. However, I thought it would until mother caught him smoking marijuana the very next day.
My mother is guilty for smacking my father a few times after getting me or June. He doesn’t have much of backbone when it comes to her and when he does get one, (a temporary one), she rips it right out with her teeth. Mother is vicious and domineering. Usually children fear their fathers…especially when they did something wrong. It’s completely different in our family. We are usually on our toes to make sure she doesn’t turn into a beast. It works most of the time…well, until June fucks up again.
I got out of bed to use the rest room but in the process of leaving the bed, I kicked my nightstand. A book fell onto my floor and I picked it up. The book was called The Book of Secrets. It was my journal that I bought in the middle of freshman year that harbored secrets I kept. Most of the secrets weren’t mine and the last one in there gave me nightmares. I considered the idea of adding a new one to the long list but I put the book away instead. The last thing I need is to look inside the book.
Jody’s click wore a necklace to, I assume, represent whatever they stood for. The necklace was silver with a butterfly charm. The stones were pure onyx to match the black clothing. Jody wore his at all times. I guess he used it as a symbol to show he did not stand alone while the association with him made me stand alone. The only person that stuck by my side was a lesbian named Kerry Stevenson. Kerry had short brown hair and brown eyes. She had a nice frame that was often covered in exotic clothing. She took a liking of putting beads in her hair and often claimed that she once had dreads. I wasn’t even sure why.
Kerry took pictures for a living. She worked down town and took photos of everything and everyone. Her favorite times to take pictures were during moments when people where perfectly engaged in them. Moments like when Jody screamed when he saw a rat or when a folk of birds flew around me. She said something about our facial expressions or body movements that showed we were engaged in the moment. She said it’s something you don’t find ordinary pictures of individuals. In ordinary pictures, people are too preoccupied with looking good rather than focusing on the scenario at hand. After a while, I began to agree with her. Ordinary pictures didn’t carry the same essence…as a matter of fact, they didn’t carry any essence at all.
Kerry took pictures of Jody’s necklace a lot in many different angles. The charm itself seemed beautiful and mesmerizing. It was almost as mesmerizing as looking into those onyx pools of darkness he called eyes. The darkness was like the gateway to his soul and the horrific secrets he had. He was impure and his eyes were the perfect representation of that. For some odd reason, it began to really dazzle me. Perhaps it was because they seemed bewitched to me. I wanted to know everything about Jody. It was a goal I set for myself.
One afternoon after English, I walked into the library with Kerry and found an empty table to prepare for our math exam. By this time, it had gotten really cold. Reading over our notes, I asked the question finally, “Why do they call this place Cougar’s Creek?”
“Because cougar’s run this place and there’s a dirty creek nearby…a.k.a. the Sex Spot,”
Kerry said. She was flipping through her note book and I sighed. Great. Now I’m stuck in a university filled with women who take an interest in younger men.
Kerry went to go meet up with a girl named Cindy, (who was part of the Black Crew), who turned out to be her girlfriend. I didn’t know they were dating until I saw the two of them deliver a kiss and wonder off the campus to grab something to eat. This made me retreat to my dorm.
Jody wasn’t in there. I started to undress until he burst through the door with someone holding his hand. I looked at their hands and then the boy’s face. He had messy black hair and blue eyes that looked familiar. The two of them were laughing as their necklaces dangled loosely from their necks. Their hands separated and their eyes landed on my semi-naked torso. I blushed and pulled my shirt down. That was an awkward moment for me.
“Hey, James,” Jody said. “This is my best friend C.J. C.J., this is my dorm-mate James,” I shook C.J.’s hand and he looked deeply into my eyes. “Are you related to Dante Malavez?” Duh. “Yeah,” I said. “He’s my cousin,” He smiled and nodded. “That’s awesome. I see it in the eyes and hair. He’s dating my cousin Giovanni and is the coolest gay guy out there,” He said. “Not to mention the hottest,” Jody chimed. I blushed some more. At least I wasn’t alone in that department. “We use to go to high school together,”
“So, how old are you guys exactly?” I asked. “25, this is our junior year. We took a long ass break before we started school,” C.J. said. I nodded. I got my clothes ready for a shower and the two of them sat on the bed and began to talk endlessly about too many things. I left for my shower and that’s when it hit me. That was the first time I saw Jody seem so animated about anything. It made me realize that even the coldest are alive.
I tried out for track because Kerry wanted me to join her. Apparently, her girlfriend was on the team along with some of my secret admirers. I began my warm up stretches and a girl named Kathy Daniels approached me. She was fair skinned with soft brown eyes and a charming smile. Kathy giggled before saying, “Hello, James,” I said hello back and she looked over my body boldly before drifting away. I understood her message.
Maybe I should’ve waited until I knew her better but my hormones got the best of me. Inside her dorm, we made out like wild animals. She slid her hands underneath my shirt and caressed my torso carefully to arose me. I’m a person who is very experience in sex so my confidence was high enough to take her on without a care in the world. She opened her nightstand and fetched a condom which made me believe I’m not the first to trample into her territory. She ripped it open and giggled a lot more. Sex was sex to me back then. What could I have possibly gained…no, what could I have possibly lost?
I went back to the dorm to shower and saw Jody making out with one of his crew members. Everyone called this guy Sam. I eventually discovered that his name was Samuel Greene and his hair was originally red. Jody moaned softly as Sam worked his way down Jody’s neck and onto his torso. I coughed loudly and both of them stopped but made no effort to separate. That was going to take a lot of getting use to.
“Sorry, I thought you were going to stay out tonight since I saw you leaving to Kathy’s room,” Jody said. Well, that concludes the obvious fact that Kathy’s a whore, “What? Did you do it once with her and got tired?” I rolled my eyes but I wanted to say how difficult it is to feel good with the girl refuses to help out. She just laid there while I worked my hips a little too hard. She loved it more than I did. I thought she was a lazy whore and a selfish bitch.
I waved my hands at them and walked out the room. My hand motion was an indicator to tell them they are free to continue. I walked off the campus and decided to take a walk around. My mom suddenly calls with perfect timing.
“Hey, baby! What’s up?” She asked.
“Hey, mom. I’m alright. How are you?”
“Trying hard to not kill your brother. He skipped school today,”
“Mom, he’s in college now,”
“But I’m paying for it,”
“You win. How’s dad?”
“Tired lately. He’s been working very hard. How’s college?”
“Pretty entertaining and a bit challenging. I think I’m alright,” I said. I continued to wander around until I came across the dam. It had a large tunnel connected to it and was cleaner than Kerry said it was…unless it was a different creek she was talking about. I sat by the rim of it and noticed the metal fences on the other side that said NO TRASPASSING. I wished my mother goodnight and hung up the phone. I was beginning to feel homesick.
When I got up to walk, I noticed C.J. with a few other people who were a part of Jody’s crew. They were all smoking pot and giggling. I tried to walk pass them until C.J. noticed me. “Hey, man. Have a hit,” He said with a smile on his face. “No thanks, man. I’m not into that,” I said. He frowned and then shooed me away. I walked away from them and shook it off. I hate the way marijuana smells, anyway.
When I returned to my dorm, Jody was in the shower. The room smelled funny and that made me blush. They actually did the nasty in there. I sat down on the bed and started to undress to get ready for bed. Jody came out with passion marks all over his neck and shoulders. He ignored the fact that I was staring breathlessly at them and turned to sleep. But, I couldn’t stop dreaming of being the one to give him those marks.
Mom made pancakes in the morning which lured me out of my sleep. My appetite came back with an unnatural hit this morning. Something about mom’s pancakes made me hunger for them. But when she made pancakes, that meant her and dad were fighting during the night. It was how she took out her pain and frustration…making pancakes.
I walked down stairs after brushing my teeth to see my father engrossed in mindless television and June reading a book on the couch. I told them good morning and walked into the kitchen. Mother was a blaze. The fire was seeping out of her ears and making the kitchen a lot hotter than what it needed to be. I told her good morning and she looked happy to see me standing in front of her. “Hungry?” She asked. I nodded. This made her day.
We ate pancakes with strawberries inside in silence. Mom beamed as I sat next to her and ate something. It felt good to get something inside of my system. After a long silence, my father began speaking. “Detective Lender called. He said he wanted to come over to speak to you about something,”
“I thought that was over and done with,” June said. My hands started to shake. Not again. “Apparently they found something in the investigation. Lender stressed that it was something important and over looked…you don’t mind, Jamie?” Dad asked. I sighed. “I think it’s a little too late to say otherwise, dad,” He stared at me for a moment and then looked at my mother who looked royally pissed. She was siding with me. There wasn’t a need to go through everything all over again.
In the middle of the afternoon, the door bell rang. My heart was wild inside of my chest as the rest of us waited anxiously for the meeting. What information did Lender find? And why was it brought to table when everything was completely over? I raked my brain for small details I could have missed during the investigation until mother opened the door. I saw Lender and he looked the way I remembered. He was an Arabic man with a slight accent and curly, black hair he often ran his fingers through. He was as tall as I was. He greeted me professionally and I saw Kerry by his side. My heart thundered louder than it ever has its whole life.
Jody, C.J. and I were in the movie theater. It was one something in the morning and I had a class early the following day. I was going to wake up angry at these two for convincing me to see a late night thriller. I was hoping that the damn thriller would be completely worth it because if it wasn’t, I was sure that those fuckers were going to feel my wrath early.
I sat in between C.J. and Jody who each had a large soda and nachos. I settled for some candy. They teased me about it until the movie started. After the first 20 minutes, C.J. was comatose. I sighed and knew how much of a pain in the ass it was going to be to bring this big guy back to the dormitory. “He’s a really heavy sleeper,” Jody said. That piece of information deepened my frustration a lot more. I knew I should have refused these two regardless.
When the movie finished, Jody hopped out of chair and managed to get C.J. on his feet. Jody seemed experienced in this department. It was almost 3 o’clock and I was beat. There was no way I was going to go to that morning class. I helped Jody keep C.J. steady and often took breaks because C.J. was heavy. At that time, I’ve known Jody for three months and he still felt like a stranger to me. He had odd habits like the fact that he ironed his underwear and brushed his hair with his right hand although he was left handed. But, I grew use to it. Not seeing his weird habits would make it all weird for me.
Jody reached into his jacket and lid a cigarette. I watched him inhale its toxic and exhale it out of his nose. He offered me one and I shook my head no. “Man, is there anything you take?” He asked. Apparently not. “Smoking is bad for you. I don’t see the point in killing yourself with every puff,” I said. “People gotta die sometime in their lives,” He said. He started to pick up C.J. and asked for assistance. Jody seemed like one of the rare but interesting individuals who people crave to know all about because of the immense amount of complexity displayed. This was my moment—the moment when I officially decided to dedicate the rest of my days to knowing him better. I planned to start fresh the next day because I was too exhausted to hold a conversation.
After Math, Kathy called me into her room for round two. I shrugged my shoulders. It wouldn’t hurt to have a little fun. When I left her room feeling exhausted, I saw Jody walking into the dorm with books in his hand. I caught up to him and closed the door behind me as he placed his books onto his bed. “My brother sent me more books to read. This is a good thing because I just finished reading the last book I owned,” He said. I sat down on my mattress and asked, “What do you do with the books you finished reading?”
“Well, if I really like them, I keep them. If I don’t, I sell them. 5 dollars each,” I looked at his selection and looked at him. “Or, you could give them to me,”
While Jody did his homework, I was reading one of Jody’s many books. It was a part of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles…the book was called The Vampire Armand. Anne Rice had a funny way of portraying vampires. I personally am not a big fan of them but reading this book made me want to read how everyone else portrayed vampires. Anne Rice’s vampires had lives, emotions other than blood lust, abilities that I’ve never knew a vampire could have, and a history that made them the way they were; they were complex but human on an emotional and mental level. It made it hard to put the book down as Armand poured his heart to David, another vampire interested hearing the tales of the ‘old ones’. I fell in love with Armand in the end. He’s an incredible character.
Jody gave me the rest of the Vampire Chronicles and I placed them on my headboard. “You’re a big fan of vampires?” I asked him. He nodded his head. “Anything in the horror, supernatural, and sci-fi categories…I’m just a person who takes a great deal of interest in the terrifying and the unreal,” He said. He sat back down on his mattress and looked at me. I felt like this was a great moment to deliver my questions.
Question one to start the conversation: “Hey, where are you from?”
“Boston, Mass. And you?”
“South Carolina,” I said. He looked kind of surprised.
“No southern accent?” He asked.
“Slightly,” I said. He thought about it for a moment and agreed.
Holding a conversation was harder than I anticipated. There was nothing that we could openly speak about that would engage us into a conversation. We stopped attempting one and I hoped that maybe something would strike us one day to motivate us to learn about one another. I just didn’t understand why I hoped so much.
The next day, it began raining. I was alone in the dorm and I saw people, through my window, run away to the nearest shelter they can find as the drops fell from the sky and splash onto the ground. Jody’s crew began running to the dormitory and both C.J. and Jody are laughing and dancing in the rain. They were ignoring the fact that it’s already late October. They danced and laughed as the rain soaked them and thunder rumbled in the air. Those two were extraordinary.
I always thought it was kind of weird that two completely different people could be the best of friends. It reminded me of Angel’s cousin, Judith, who fell in love with a girl who was the complete opposite of him but managed to make it work. I heard that they had a daughter together and she resembles the mother a lot. I wonder what ever happened to the mother…Judith never talks about her.
C.J. and Jody finally began walking to the dormitory and I closed the blinds. It took them 15 minutes before they managed to make it upstairs. Jody opened the door, soaking wet and C.J. followed behind. They were in a really good mood. Their hair was flattened and sleek. They greeted me and Jody headed straight for the bathroom while C.J. stood awkwardly in my dorm. “I can lend you some clothes,” I said. He smiled and said, “Thanks. I’m starting to feel uncomfortable in my clothes,” I nodded and went through my stuff. I found a shirt and pair of shorts to give to him. “Do, you want to barrow—“
“I have my dignity,” He said. A moment later, Jody got out the bathroom and threw C.J. a pair of underwear. “That belongs to you. You always leave it when you shower,” He said. C.J. nodded and smiled. He went into the bathroom while Jody sat on his bed and dried his hair. Then it dawned onto me…why didn’t C.J. just go to his own dorm?
“Thanks for helping C.J. His apartment is a good walk from here and its pouring outside,” Jody said. He smiled lightly. That was freaky. It was almost as if he was reading my mind. We were silent until C.J. came out of the bathroom with my clothes on. “Perfect fit,” He said. I smiled. C.J. sat next to Jody and they began talking. I decided to lay down. “Hey, James,” C.J. said. I sat up and looked at him. “Calling me Jamie is fine,” I said. He nodded and smiled, “Well, you look really hot. Do people tell you that often?”
I blushed, “I guess,” I said.
“You’ve got nice green eyes,” He pushed. Jody started giggling.
“Thank you,” I said.
“You’re what I classify ‘adorable’ because of you shyness and your consideration of others. I love your body. You are so fit. And you nice and tall…wow, Jamie. You are really cute,” my cheeks were really hot. Humiliation is an emotion I can’t deal with properly. The two of them eventually started cracking up and I thought that was really mean. It made me mad at them as they held each other and laughed until their sides hurt. That was completely embarrassing. “Oh, Jamie! I’m just messing with you,” He said in between giggles. I only rolled my eyes.
Once they were silent they began to push a conversation onto me. The conversation clearly showed that I was completely different of those two. They were pushing and pushing until Jody asked “Have you ever performed on stage?” I nodded my head yes and explained I was a part of a band during high school. I can play the guitar extremely well. “I use to sing and C.J. was my lead guitarist. We were unstoppable together,” Jody said.
“What made you guys stop?” I asked. They looked at each other and looked at me, “Complications,” They both said. That didn’t explain much. But they moved the topic and asked me what songs I could play. I gave them a long list and added the few I was practicing like a maniac. I told them about embarrassing moments like tripping on stage or watching the lead singer puke on a girl in the front row out of nervousness. They were horrific moments that turned into terrible jokes. It helped me let go of it thus establishing a level of comfort and solace within both Jody and C.J.
We stayed up the rest of the night watching movies from the 80’s. Most of them were horrors, (which made us believe they were comedies), and lame romances. We spent most of our time laughing our hearst away until C.J. fell asleep. Jody cradled himself on my left side and naturally, I held onto him. Normally, I would have classified it as weird but I didn’t mind it. I stayed by his side as my eye lids grew very heavy. I believe that’s when I realized I had some sort of romantic feelings for him.
After my discovery, I cannot admit how confused I was. I thought that Dante was the exception in my life but it seems I added another…it made me really question my sexuality. I found two different guys beautiful and I couldn’t explain why. At that time, I’ve never been in a relationship with a boy and I knew it would be different. I also was aware that I might needed to acknowledge my feelings and should start being honest with people. I know I had to start with my parents after admitting how I felt to myself.
I woke up the next morning with Kerry hovering over my face and C.J. sitting on my bed. He looked blankly at me as Kerry took some pictures until she realized I was awake. She smiled. Jody was still sound asleep on my side and Kerry said, “You guys are adorable together,” I moved a little after blushing so much and Jody’s dark eyes opened. They were bloodshot to show that he was still exhausted. “Sorry,” I whispered. He closed his eyes and placed his head onto his mattress. C.J. tilted his head and stared at Jody and then me. He smiled but it seemed so fake. Was he honestly jealous?
Kerry rocked on her heels and looked at me as I tried to control myself. She looked as devastated as I felt. Lender was actually kind enough to rub my back as I tried to formulate a good lie for what happened to me. My heart was frantic. I couldn’t think of anything and I was going to go crazy.
For a moment, I tried to think. The scar came from me discovering something. I wasn’t supposed to survive the blow, though. I was so supposed to be buried next to my love. I didn’t want to start freaking out because it was going to make me look really guilty. Instead, I tried to remain calm and see how much Kerry told. What I want to know is why Kerry would ask for Lender’s help instead of asking up front.
I told her the day I was ‘mistakenly’ shot. And then, I saw Samuel. My head wasn’t in the right place at that moment. I can never forget the panic that filled his green eyes. What was he so afraid of? Kerry must have thought it over and over in her head until she connected the dots. I bet she’s so mad at me that it hurts. I went through hell and back trying to defend myself and it turns out I knew something the whole time. I just can’t bring myself to tell.
“I was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” I suddenly said. Kerry’s face twisted in anger and Lender sighed. “She assumed that you knew who had placed you in such an awkward predicament…I guess we were both wrong. I’m sorry to have wasted your time,” Lender said. I nodded and Kerry was spitting fire. Lender said goodbye to everyone and felt if we still needed him that we can reach him. Once he left, all eyes fell on Kerry as hers landed on mine. This was the beginning of World War III.
“What is the meaning of this, Kerry?” Father asked. Mom still looked just as furious. “I was suspicious about something and wanted Lender to check it out…I’m sorry for disturbing you,” Kerry said. Her eyes never left my face. My mother was in overdrive now. “You couldn’t consult this with us first?! What in your right mind made you think it was ok?”
“Lender said if I had doubts to reach out to him,”
“What the hell are you doubting then?” Kerry was silent.
June stepped into the battlefield by saying, “Learn to mind your business. Besides, the shit is already taken care of,” Kerry’s eyes drifted to his and the animosity she showed was visible for everyone to see. She shifted her glare back to me and promised to never do something so foolish again. My parents let it drop since it didn’t lead to anything. After it blew over, Kerry requested to see me privately. I nodded.
We walked into my bedroom and once my door was closed, Kerry slapped the taste out of my mouth. My cheek burned from the impact as she glared at me with a fierce entity. Her fury was breathtaking and complete unnatural. She rubbed her hand to show it ached and looked at me one final time before sobbing. “Why do you keep hurting yourself?” She asked in between sobs. Stricken with grief, I did not answer. I didn’t know how to because I too don’t understand it all myself. All I could say was, “I’m sorry,”
While I ran on track, Kerry took pictures and Jody stood by her side to watch. C.J. was smoking a cigarette from the distance. Mr. Seal, the couch, was impressed by my effort. I only pushed myself that hard because Jody was there. Once I slowed down, Kerry, C.J. and Jody began to walk to me. Jody focused his attention onto me and it made me feel good. However, it made the talkative C.J. silent.
Kerry took pictures of the three of us talking and focused on Jody’s and my face expressions. Repeatedly she pressed her buttons to take as many pictures as she could. I wanted to see how they looked developed and she clearly stated she didn’t have a problem doing so. When Jody moved forward to snatch the camera, he stumbled. I righted him before he fell down completely and he blushed which made me blush. That was when I realized our feelings were mutual.
As days continued on, Jody and I would catch ourselves staring at one another and even deeply into our eyes. His dark oceans dragged me in as I swam through them, trying hard to figure out who Jody really was. Sometimes, Jody would slide his fingertips over my cheek and lightly brush my lips. He was openly flirting and I was accepting it all. However, our audience was not.
Kerry often took pictures while C.J. began to distant himself. Jody was too absorbed in the green of my eyes to notice his best friend pulling away. I also noticed that other members of Jody’s crew were despising me. Everyone wanted a bite of Jody and I was proud that Jody decided to bite me in the end. However, this led me to believe that I was left with both Kerry and Jody. Everyone else either envied me or hated the fact that I was around Jody. Either way, it was Jody’s doing.
Kerry and I went out for lunch after our Math class one afternoon. Her brown eyes never left my face as she ate a slice of pizza and drank her soda. She was making me feel uncomfortable. “What Kerry?” I asked.
“Are you and Jody an item now? I didn’t know you were like that,” She said. I looked at my slice of pizza and thought about how I should answer that question. Instead, I went for the honest answer,” I don’t know and neither did I,” I said. She nodded and moved the topic quickly. I could tell she was feeling some sort of discomfort.
Kerry drifted to the topic of family. She asked if I had siblings, “Yeah. I have a twin brother named Julian and an older brother named Angel. What about you?” I asked.
“It’s just me and my sis. She’s older than me by four years,” She said. I nodded. “Do you fight with your brothers?”
“Yeah…specially with June,” I sighed, “And most of the time, it’s for no apparent reason. My brothers are bossy in their own ways. I’m the one that doesn’t say much because I don’t like confrontation and they use that to their advantage. June is bossy directly. He’s the kind of asshole you expect bossy types to be but Angel is bossy silently…he’s good with using tactics of manipulation and knows what to do to make you feel bad for not listening to him. It’s something he’s learned from my dad,” I said, “When I catch Angel doing that to me, I get mad and feel uneasy. We fight about that…it’s not the usual shouts like June and I do but more like a share of nasty words until one of us walks away. Angel’s just an undercover asshole,”
“That’s funny how you describe them. I can also see that you love both of them very much. It makes me wish I had brothers,”
“You can have those two if you want. What about your sister?”
“Well, she’s always out with her friends and when we do fight, it gets ugly. I just hate how she refers me as “Lesbo”. When I tell her to stop, she says ‘Well, isn’t that what you are? I’m not gonna sugar-coat it and shit. If you don’t like it that much than you can follow normal girls down the straight road.” Sometimes, I just wanna murder her dumbass,”
“She sounds like a real bitch,”
“That’s because she is. Does your dad run your household?”
“No. My mom does. I guess my dad’s a fan of the bossy types,”
“Oh, I thought your mom was a feminist. My mom is and she’s mean to men,”
“Interesting. I’ll ask my mom if she once was. It would explain why she’s so mean to my dad, my brothers, and me,” I said. Kerry began laughing.
“I understand that. My mom loves me and my sister, Cassandra, and dislikes any man that steps in her territory. My dad was a ‘cheata’…as my mom says. While they were married, he’s had his private fun. It all blew up once my mom called out my father for his disappearances. She’s been anti-men since,” Kerry said. I smiled. “I don’t blame her, I said.
When Kerry and I finished eating food, she pulled out her camera and began taking pictures of me getting out of my seat and throwing my trash away. Her moments to take pictures were bizarre and were really annoying at first. After almost four months of knowing her, I predicted it; braced myself for moments like that one. She showed me a lot of them developed and I told her my favorite ones were the ones when I was laughing. She and I both agreed that my smiles were genuine and that’s what made the picture excellent.
After lunch, we went for a walk through the park down the block from the campus where a lot of the students hung out at. Apparently, people called that park Cougar’s Valley because it was where most the cougars hung out at. Kerry and I strolled in the park and woman as old as my mother looked me up and down and licked their lips as if we were all in high school together. I thought it was completely weird. There was one that stood out and approached me. She had blonde hair and tight clothes on that revealed curves she lost once she gave birth to her grown children. She handed me her phone number after talking dirty and I tasted lunch in my mouth. Kerry and I left the park and shivered in disgust on our journey back to campus. That was a horrifying experience.
Kerry and I walked back to my dorm and we saw C.J. and Jody arguing in front of the door. Both of them were spitting venom onto each other which was so odd. I was use to the scenery of happy friend. I obviously ignored the fact that they are human and completely capable of fighting. I waved at C.J. when he noticed us and that made him storm off. I guess he was really pissed.
Jody ran a hand through his hair and looked at Kerry and I. His pale face was flush from anger and he sighed in pure frustration. I opened the door and he walked inside without saying anything. Kerry said she was going to her dorm and retreated. I think it would have been easier if she was there with us. I nodded and closed the door and Jody flopped onto his bed. Best friends fight…no matter how close they are.
I sat next to Jody and he sat up to place himself in my arms. He buried his face into my chest as I raked my fingers through his lovely, black, silky hair. I didn’t bother to ask why they were fighting but I loved that this was the outcome. If this was going to be the outcome for every time, then I hoped they fought a little bit more so that I can comfort Jody for as long as he wanted. Jody let me go and frowned. His hands were placed into mine. His pale skin looked brighter than usual next to my caramel skin. We leaned into each other and smiled for moment before embracing each other again.
“C.J.’s my best friend. He was my former boyfriend’s half-brother,” Jody told me,” Not too long time ago, I loved someone, you know? He was my absolute everything and was the reason why I sang in the band C.J. and I use to be in. He was the bassist and our leader. He was charmed by my looks and exotic voice. I was charmed by his eyes and pleasant smile. He had hazel eyes and blonde hair. I thought he was absolutely gorgeous…
“We use to smoke all the time together after rehearsal. That was when I met Giovanni and Dante. They were lanky teens with tennis rackets in their hands and sweat dripping down the cheeks. Giovanni looked a lot like C.J. and that how I found out they were related. Dante stared me down as if he wanted to say something to me. His hair was a lot shorter and his green eyes were just as vibrant as ever. He was what C.J. and I classify as ‘boy-candy’.
“Anyway, it turns out they were heavy smokers too. So, we’d all hit off and laugh until tears left our eyes. Lovely memory to share…,” He was silent for a moment before continuing, “We rehearsed one day and he asked me to have a walk with him. Elated, I joined him. We started kissing in a park and before we knew it, we were having sex behind the tallest tree…at that time, I was only 17 but dangerously in love with a man full of secrets. We dated for a year and that was the best year of my life...
“One day, I was walking home from school and C.J. calls me. He’s on the phone, totally freakin’ out and asks me to come to the hospital,” He eyes began to cloud up and his voice shook a little, “And I arrived to only find out that he was in this freak car accident and survive with injuries that could kill him. I panicked and when I found out he died…I died. I felt something inside of me shift. I closed up and closed off to the world. I was in so much pain and grieved for so long I honestly began to believe there is nothing that can shape me back to who I use to be,” A tear fell from his eyes and he swept it away quickly.
“I loved him, you know. And that feeling of losing someone like that is something I can’t really explain. The pain in my chest was so strong, it felt like someone physically demolished. I cried for a long time. But, C.J. was there, grieving for his loss, as we all hoped for better days. As time passed, C.J. and I grew unbelievably close and this is as close to being myself I’ve been in years. I know in my mind I can never be the same; things will never be the same. But to be so close to the point where you can taste it is incredible. It took a lot to make me feel like this,”
At the moment, I was shocked. I have been through heartaches but never imagined that death would rip me away from the person I loved. At that moment, I couldn’t understand, no, couldn’t phantom the pain and grief people feel after they lost the love of their life because of death. In my mind, I repeatedly pictured it; repeatedly thought of all the possible things someone could say or do but none of it made sense. I couldn’t picture it thus, made me stop picturing it. It’s one of those experiences you have to live through to understand.
However, now, I understand. I loved Jody. I loved him more than I loved anyone in my life in a romantic way. When I lost him, I didn’t know how to react. I was in shock. I couldn’t move or feel anything or anyone. I felt like I was stuck in this unrealistic reality or was experiencing the cruelest practical joke. I wanted to laugh at the horrific, unreal scene, and then I wanted to cry until I withered away. Instead, I sat on a bench with Kerry who was crying for me and tried sorting out all the emotions that were erupting underneath my skin. I don’t think I completely died that day because I still feel like myself. But, I do feel a sense of loss; an empty feeling that I fear will never go away.
When I looked at Jody after he finished telling me his tale, he smiled sadly. His lips trembled and more tears slid down his face. “It still hurts like it happened yesterday,” he said. I believed him. It saddened me to see him crumble like this. He closed his dark eyes and bowed his head. I leaned forward to embrace him and show him my sympathy. “What was his name?” I asked lowly. He was silent for a moment before saying, “Mason,”
I laid awake and wondered why Jody told me his tale that night. For a moment, I felt like it had something to do with the fight he had with C.J. Maybe C.J. was worried about Jody dating again. For a moment, just a moment, I thought it was out of pure concern but my instincts screamed the truth…a truth I didn’t understand. However, I was aware that concern was not even an aspect in that argument.
Kerry’s hair was long enough now to be placed in a ponytail. Her brown hair was a little over her shoulders in nice waves as her brown eyes focused on my blank T.V. screen. I closed my eyes and opened them to only see she was staring at me. She’s not crying anymore but my cheek still stung from her fury. She crawled onto my bed to lay on top of me and buried her face into my chest. I rubbed her back and shoulders for comfort. I didn’t mean to make any of this hard on her.
“A long time ago, you were sort of out of it and wounded in the hospital, you told me something that can completely change the path of the investigation. That was the first time I saw you shriveled up and break. It was almost like you were pleading because you are desperate to make it all go away and lapse back into your daily life. I think that’s the issue here.
“Sweetheart, I loved Jody too. Maybe not like you did but I did love him. I understand your loss. Everyone takes everything differently but I’m just begging you to take this burden off your shoulders and tell them what you told me; tell them about that burden that suffocates you at night. I know Jody, wherever he is, wants justice. You are preventing it, Jamie. You really are,” I was silent the whole time she talked. Not willing to interfere as she raised more than one valid point. I had that ability to change the future within my fingertips…but uttering the truth is a lot harder than I anticipated it to be.
When Kerry discovered my secret, I freaked and begged her to tell no one. She stiffened and looked at me as if I was someone she’s never seen before. Wounded, I laid helplessly in bed, swallowing chunks of my own fear as sweat slid down my temples and onto my pillow. She was holding my hand and suddenly, it felt cold from the shock. After a moment, she came back to life and promised to never tell…but I couldn’t trust it. She never looked into my eyes when she promised.
I wasn’t shocked to see Lender and Kerry together staring at me as if they figured it out. She didn’t tell my secret but told Lender my family she was suspicious about something. I hated, at that every moment, the fact that my dad gave Kerry Lender’s phone number. Silently, everyone stood in the hall as Lender tried squeezing information that would paralyzed me. If I was June, I would have cut Kerry’s head off. Instead, I dealt with the interrogation and wished that Lender would leave.
Kerry began to listen to my heartbeat as I felt hers on my stomach. Our heartbeats were in sync with one another—beating with a pace that showed we were calm and comfortable. I love Kerry but, I’m becoming confused about how I love her. Before, I use to love her like a sister. She was the sister I wished I had. Now, I’m not certain anymore. These last few months with Kerry changed me a little. It reminded me of Jody’s tale. In his tale, he openly said that C.J. was the light in his darkest hours. I wonder if Kerry is mine.
She’s come over enough to be considered a part of my family. We discovered some time ago that we live unbelievably close together. For the holidays when we were in Cougar’s Creek, we would drive home together. Depending on who came to pick us up or who let us drive determined who went home first. We would spend three long hours talking about everything that came to mind but pried away from personal information like our relationships and secrets. I guess it was a mutual respect we shared with one another. But now that I think about it, I believe we equally did not want to know about our relationships and secrets. It was just one of those things that are better left unsaid.
Right before Thanksgiving break, Jody showed me the ditch that became a creek. I didn’t want to ruin it and tell him I’ve already been here before. Instead, I smiled and nodded as he explained things. The water was a blue as the sky and had signs around it saying, “NO TRASPASSING”. It was like Jody to ignore signs and to show anyone the beauty of something. “The year before last, the creek was open to everyone. Now they closed it and built tunnels to bring this water from the creek to the school. It gets filtered there,” He pointed to a giant wall that had holes on the end, “And we drink it and bathe in it. Most of the people that knew about the creek graduated. So, it’s like a school secret,” I looked at the filters and they made a loud buzzing noise and saw the water splash up on the walls of the dam. I shifted my head to the right and I could see the university from here. The gray, cemented monument stood dully in front of a vibrant forest of green trees and wild animals.
Jody tugged at my shirt and pulled me away from the scenery. “I always come here when I’m upset. So, if you can’t find me, it means that I’m hovering around hoping for a miracle to happen,” He said. He placed his hand in mine as we walked out the forest together and up the road to return to school. We made sure there weren’t any cars on the high way as we crossed it and walked onto the campus. We noticed Kerry taking pictures of the boys wrestling on the garden and C.J. stood by her side. Samuel saw us and looked directly to our locked fingers. Kerry noticed and then C.J. as Kerry took pictures of us, C.J. glared at Jody and walked away. Jody only sighed.
I rubbed his back and Kerry smiled. “Item,” She mouthed. I shrugged my shoulders. Jody seemed oblivious. He began to talk to Samuel and I couldn’t find a fiber in me to get jealous even though they have had sex countless times. They talked casually made did not make any movement to reach out to one another. Samuel looked at me. His green eyes were paler than mine and I realized he had freckles. He smiled slightly and I returned it. Then I thought I should take his friendship a bit more seriously.
Jody drifted to me and we walked the dorm together after I waved both Samuel and Kerry goodbye. We walked in silence for a while until he began to lean into me and grabbed my whole arm. It made me smile. We walked into the dorm and sat on his bed. He turned his head and looked at me. “Tell me something about yourself,” Jody asked. He leaned onto my chest and waited patiently. I didn’t really think much about my response other than saying “I’m left handed… if that counts,” he pulled away from me and laughed. “So am I,” He said.
After a moment of our giggling, he said, “I want to know more,” I laid down on his mattress and he went down too. I thought about what to seriously say and suddenly, what I agonized over the most, popped in my head. I decided to come clean about it. “I don’t want to major in English,” I said. My body tingled. That was the first time I ever told anyone that. “Then, why is English your major?” he asked. “Because of my mother. She’s an English teacher in a local high school near my house. She tried to enforce her love for English onto my brothers and I so that she could connect with us better, I guess. My brother Angel didn’t take an interest in it and my twin brother, June—“
“June? That’s cute that you guys call him that,”
“Well, Angel calls him Junie,”
“That’s cute. But tell me more,”
“Well, June was already hitting his rebellious stage. So, that left me to be the only hope. It was terrible. My mother use to make me read a lot and write everything that came to mind. She did that all throughout my junior high and high school years and now it’s a habit. Besides, she made me promise about doing something that involves writing…I don’t know how to say no,”
“Other words, you let your mom dictate your life?”
“Pretty much. She gets aggressive when people refuse her offers,”
“You have no idea,”
After I waved Jody goodbye, Kerry decided to invite me on the long drive back to her house. Like I’ve mentioned before, she lived very close to mine. Her sister was driving us and Kerry forced me to sit next to her. What made it even worse was realizing that they refused to talk. Kerry focused on me and so did her sister, Cassandra. Cassandra had brown hair and brown eyes liked Kerry but the way they dressed was completely different. It was almost as if these two were from completely different planets. Cassandra looked like a normal valley girl while Kerry looked like she just finished performing in some anonymous rock concert…and these two are really sisters?!
Before the drive back home, I was on the phone with dad for a half an hour. He seemed a little bit nervous about me traveling with friends from school and knew we couldn’t keep this a secret from mom. We both knew that one of us was going to tell mom or she’d would flip if she found out. Instead of having dad deal with her in person, I spoke to her on the phone that way she could yell and be fine when I got there 3 hours later. “Hey mom. I’m coming home for Thanksgiving,”
“Your father hasn’t left yet. Hold your horses,”
“No, my friend Kerry wanted to drive me down. She lives very close to us,”
“Kerry, mother. I’ve been friends with her for a while,”
“Is she a girlfriend or something?”
“No, mom. But if you are interesting in meeting her, feel free,” I shot myself in the foot after that one.
“Well, alright. But don’t make this a habit. You know how I feel about you traveling with people I’ve never met. What if you get into an accident?”
“Mom, that’s ridiculous,”
“Ok, I’ll see you in a few hours,”
When Cassandra pulled up in front of my house, my mom was standing outside with plain worry printed on her face. I got out of the car and waved to her. She smiled and waved me over. I liked seeing her and I loved that she was quite. Cassandra and Kerry got out of the car and mother smiled when she saw Cassandra. Mom looked at me and I shook my head no and her eyes landed on Kerry. She frowned. Plain disapproval was written everywhere. Still, my mom strained herself by concealing her bitterness to introduce herself properly to both of them but she focused more on Cassandra. Mom is so uptight sometimes.
Dad came outside and greeted both girls with the same amount of enthusiasm and gave me a hug. “Mom’s not mad?” I whispered when he let me go. He looked worried but the smile was making his face look awkward. “She’s livid,” I could feel my face crease up the same way. We were in for it. Mom began to walk the ladies inside and placed them in the living room. She offered refreshments and named everything she had. I sat next to Kerry. “Your mom hates me,” She whispered. My insides shifted. “I know,” I whispered back.
Dad came in and sat on the couch while June came down stairs. His eyes fell directly onto Kerry and a smiled tugged at the corners of his mouth. I was getting excited about telling him she’s gay. June introduced himself while Cassandra sized him up. He ignored her and focused on Kerry and what lied in her low cut shirt. He’s bold and wasn’t afraid to show he was interested. “I’m a lesbian,” Kerry said flatly. June looked disappointed while I laughed. Kerry laughed with me and June glared at me. Priceless.
“So, you ladies live close?” Dad asked when June went to the kitchen. Cassandra nodded and Kerry said, “Just a few blocks away. We can honestly walk home,” Dad was charmed by her charisma which made me laugh. It was obvious that dad loved everything mom hated. It really made me wonder why they honestly love each other so much.
He continued to talk to Kerry and realized they had a similar interest in photography. He said he took pictures during high school and college but stopped once he met my mother. He admitted he focused a lot more of his attention on her and sort of began taking pictures when Angel began to walk. My brother was six when June and I were born. Angel was five when his real mother died. Sometimes, I wonder if he wishes he could have met her as a person because he often tells me he can’t remember her.
When I discovered that Angel was my half brother, I thought it was kind of weird. He looks a lot like us and I always thought he took after dad until I realized his eyes weren’t brown like dads or green like moms. But he had rich, sapphire blue that glowed even in the darkest hours. Angel also had sandy blond hair that dad didn’t have…nor did mom. I thought about it for a long time until I was realized I was old enough to understand what the story was. But, this never stopped him for calling my mom his mom.
Mom forced dad to take pictures of June and I when we were younger. He still took pictures of us now but I guess things change once you grow up. Angel was growing up and becoming painfully distant so the difference in attention didn’t bother him. Instead, it gave him time to focus on his beloved girlfriend, Victoria. Only I knew, up until Angel was 19, that they were having sex. I’m like the secret keeper. I took pride in it before but absolutely hate it now.
Victoria seems very odd to me. She’s pretty, with brown hair that’s often highlighted blonde and was curled professionally which shimmered down her back beautifully. Her eyes were a nice shade of hazel, and her petite size was charming to Angel. Her breasts looked nice in every shirt she wore, (which were usually platted shirts), and she often wore heels to boost her height. She loves beaded necklaces that flow over her breasts and makeup that makes her eyes pop out. She’s gorgeous…
The one thing I find extraordinary about Victoria is her personality. She has the hugest heart I’ve ever known a person to have but she was loud, bossy, laidback-ish, funny, and sarcastic. To me, regardless of the fact that she’s small, she’s tall where it counts. People fear her. Her spunky attitude brightens dull hallways. She’s full of life and is another woman mom hates but dad loves.
Maybe it’s just something in my family. I noticed the men in my family love bossy woman. Perfect examples are Dante’s dad Lance and his mom Luna. Luna, my great aunt, is unbelievably mean to her husband in a sense that makes you laugh. Their relationship is based on harmless, brutal teasing. But it’s teasing none the less. Another example is Dante’s twin older brother Gabriel. Gabriel was crazy enough to marry Giovanni’s sister; that psycho bitch Kassidy. Kassidy has too many issues and being around her even hurts my self-esteem.
Then there’s my mother and Victoria. I honestly think it’s a family trait. Maybe the men in my family are born spineless for women to ride them like horses. Well…there’s my brother but he’s single for having a spine. June’s spine is so straight and strong that it pokes out of his back and becomes his battle armor. I wonder how he got like that.
Cassandra and Kerry couldn’t stay for dinner but over all enjoyed my family. When they left, my mom stared me down. She looked directly into my eyes and then adverted her glare to my father. I wasn’t sure what she was looking for, but I could care less. We sat down at the table to eat dinner and mom didn’t say anything. It was unusual but about damn time.
When my eyes opened, the sky was lighting up and Kerry was up. She slowly ran her fingers in my hair and seemed at peace. Since the death of Jody, it was hard to see her like this. She’s usually tense and on her toes; afraid to show how she really feels inside. I often try to console her and realizing I’m doing it for myself. I was silent for a moment and then sat up to embrace her. She sank into my arms and breathed in deeply. Maybe she’s seeking comfort in me for her own benefit as well.
“Jamie, do you believe in lesbians turning straight?” She asked. I listened to her heartbeat and said, “I believe in girls who were never lesbians but thought they were,” She pulled from me and smiled. “Do you think I was ever a lesbian?” I was silent for a moment before saying, “Do you like a boy?” She was silent and smiled. I smiled back at her. I got it now.
I hesitated for a moment, debated in my mind if I should pursue what she was getting at. Kerry tilted her head and smiled. I decided to act on impulse and lean forward to place my lips onto hers. She kissed me back and slid her small hands up my shirt. “This is so different,” She whispered. She moved her hands along the lines of torso and smiled. “It’s hard,”
“That’s not the only thing that’s hard,” I murmured. She blushed.
“Oh, Jesus! You are such a perv,” She laughed. It was natural to talk that way when I felt like I was in the mood. Something I’ve developed over the years and strengthened when I discovered that Jody was a fan of the dirty talking.
We kissed some more and I started to undress her. She felt small and fragile…hot and moist. She squirmed but tried to keep quiet when she realized she were still in my house. She ran my fingers through my hair and closed her eyes. She reminded me of Jody. Regardless of the fact that he smelled different, felt different, looked different, the reactions were the same. He squirmed when I touched him gently and breathlessly asked me for more. Kerry’s eyes flickered with lust and she begged, “More,” I’d give her more…give her the world. But I thought of that scary question…if I fall in love with her, will she leave me so suddenly too? My heart can’t take another loss. I wasn’t even sure if I was up for love…
Kerry was still in my bathroom while I waited outside of the bathroom with a burning back. The sun went down with a mood. She’s an aggressive lover and I love that but her whimpering was getting annoying. She locked me out and cried silently in pain as I tried to convince her that first times are like that. It’s getting frustrating. She won’t listen and thinks I hurt her on purpose. In a lot of ways, I wasn’t sure if that was true.
After almost 40 minutes of being in the bathroom, she opened the door. She was still naked with beautiful marks on her breasts and tissue stuck between her legs. Her eyes were bloodshot and her face was flushed. “It really hurt, Jamie,” She whispered. “It was your first time with a boy,” I said. “Now, let me see,” She retreated and placed both her hands over the pubic hairs of her vagina. I was too exhausted to play these childish games. “It didn’t hurt a lot during it. I mean, at first, it really hurt but now, it’s just sore and the pain is strong. However, sex was pleasurable,” I smiled smugly after she said that. “I would never hurt you, Kerry,” I said. She smiled.
After a moment, she showed me. Her vagina canal was a lot larger than it was before sex. Little bits of blood lingered but it wasn’t enough to show real damage was done. Her hymen is somewhat obliterated. I closed my eyes and she moaned. The mood was back and she grabbed my hair. She panted and squealed; she was feeling good.
I walked downstairs with Kerry and June seemed in a daze. It was unlike him to drift off to his world in front of people. He usually did that in his room when he had too much on his mind. None of it he was usually willing to share but it all came to light eventually. He looked at Kerry as she spoke to my dad and then at me. I forced myself to not smile and knew what he was thinking of. I felt unbelievably arrogant.
My mother wore a suspicious look on her face. Her green eyes looked Kerry up and down. She sensed that something was different but couldn’t place what it was. Kerry glowed with a light men are familiar with. Getting laid is smeared all over her body. My father noticed it but tried to ignore it. Something about this aura makes her even more attractive.
My mom didn’t make breakfast but said she was running to the store. While she was gone, dad pulled out a pack of cigarettes and headed to the backyard. June sat on the couch and Kerry and looked for stuff to eat. “Everyone is looking at me funny,” She whispered. I knew everyone was and it made me really happy. I just kissed her forehead and smiled.
Three months had passed since I’ve been ‘dating’ Jody and not a single kiss was shared. Our moments were intense as we held each other at night, but affection didn’t get any deeper than that. In public, he often helped my hand and smiled. Kerry smiled a lot too and Samuel just hovered near. C.J. was always out of sight.
On one afternoon, Jody came to the dorm as Samuel and I studied for a biology test. I was struggling with that class and he was excelling in it. He agreed to tutor me and during these sessions was when I got to know him. Samuel had an accent I didn’t recognize and was the only child. He mother and father were divorced but both helped with tuition. We had a few things in common but I realized he’s the not-willing-to-talk type. He’s like my dad, doesn’t try small talk. It made being around him a lot more comfortable then Kerry and Jody at times.
Jody said hello to Samuel and they kissed right in front of me. Samuel blushed and Jody seemed unaffected. I couldn’t for some strange reason, get jealous. I just wondered how it felt to kiss Jody so casually. Samuel coughed nervously and I smiled. “Don’t feel so awkward. I’m alright with it,” His blush deepened. He probably found this as unusual as Jody did. Jody and I, during that time period, were not seeing each other. We were just showing people that we had a deep and similar interest in one another. It was not our declaration to start a promising relationship. I still slept with Kathy while he still slept with Sam. Besides, I didn’t believe in jealousy. If you are confident in your ability and in the people around you, why must you show a sign of insecurity?
Samuel was tense and Jody just completely shrugged it off. It was an awkward moment for Samuel as he tried explaining complex concepts in bio. He seemed weary and uncomfortable. I called for a break. Samuel asked to step out and smoke a cigarette. I guess there was more to it than I thought.
I attempted to follow Samuel but Jody’s onyx eyes captured me. He smiled and smoothed his hand over the spot next to him. I sat down next to him and naturally, he placed himself in my arms. My fingers slid into the silk soft, black hair as he buried his face into the crock of my neck. However, my thoughts stayed on Samuel. What the hell was his issue?
June refuses to leave his room. Mom glared at me as I threw ridiculous answers to the question, “What’s wrong with Julian?” “Don’t know, mom. He is your son,” My answers got her nowhere but she caught on to my sarcasm. She semi-smiled and said, “I liked it better when you cried,” Bitter bitch was back. I shifted uncomfortably in my chair as Kerry stared at mother with wide eyes. That was my mother, bluntly honest even if it hurt.
June was drowning himself in his grief. He, unlike I, really loves Kerry. I’m sure he heard her the other night. No one could ignore her screeches of pain. It was her first time and made me realize I’m very sadistic during sex. Her first time was perhaps a bit more painful than it needed to be but it was a lot more pleasurable than it has been for me. It never stopped her from curling up beside me last night either.
Well, I love Kerry but I don’t think I’m in love with her. At least, not like how June is. He can’t even function right and smiles a bit too much. He’s infamous image of being the ridiculous hardass is slipping every time Kerry takes a step near him. She’s noticing her charm and perhaps finds it ‘adorable’. If she fucks him, then she’s off my back. That’s how I see it.
Whoa, where did that come from? Bitter thoughts are honestly not my style. Maybe it’s my depression…it’s probably morphing. My lame ass therapist told me that changes will happen over the course of time. It’s all stems from the healing theory. It’s only a stage…a stage I’m not used to.
Mother came down the stairs and looked frustrated. June was not going to bulge. He placed himself into a little hole where he believed the world was made of darkness. His depressing moments are really annoying. I wiped my mouth with my napkin and volunteered to talk to him. “It’s the least I can do,” I said. Sounding convincing wasn’t my strong suit but mother hated tension inside of our house. She shrugged her shouldered and I looked at Kerry. She semi-smiled.
I didn’t bother to knock which bewildered June. He didn’t say anything but if he was feeling himself, he would have said, “Dude, what if I was jerking off?” Like it would be any different from seeing myself jerk off. I sat on his mattress after closing his door and looked at him. Our eyes didn’t meet until he finally gave up and engulfed himself into my green eyes. His dark brown ones looked over my face and placed them on my collar bone. A symbol of Kerry’s love was probably there. I wanted to break him, hurt him to the point where he was picking up pieces of himself off the ground as he sobbed his heart out. I’m not sure where that desire came from, but it was overwhelming me until he began to speak. “What is it?” He asked.
For a moment, before I answered, we were silent and heard his clock from the distance tick. The tension was heavy between us as he searched my face. I closed my eyes and smiled some. “I’m sorry,” I said. I opened them and he looked furious. “I’m sorry I took her from you,” “You asshole,” He growled. My insides twisted. His rage began leaking from his pores and demolishing the relationship it took us years to establish. My desire to crush him grew and being blunt seemed to be the only option. I stared at him and said, “I don’t give a fuck about her but I need sex. You want to fuck her, you are entitled to. I don’t give a shit anymore,” He flinched as I began to feel liberated. Maybe the pain due to Jody’s death was making me cold. It was like my heart went from lovable to stone…lovable to stone. My thoughts also sounded so different and feel so good when to voice them.
I closed the door to his room when I stepped out and let out a sigh. I didn’t even realize I was holding my breath. I didn’t bother to walk back to mother and inform her on the scenario. Instead, I just walked back to my room to lay on my bed. June will hate me for as long as I live and I am not the least worried about it.
I woke up to something breaking and giggling followed. I sat up and noticed that it’s a little after one in the morning. I got out of bed and walked to the bathroom to hear sighing and more giggling. It seems that June took my offer and Kerry seemed to enjoy it a lot more with him than with me. In a lot of ways, I felt better about circumstances because I knew that I was going to hurt her worse than she’s ever been hurt her whole life. After using the bathroom, I just went back to head and laid my wary head down. Now I can focus on the secret that lingers inside of me.
The following morning, Giovanni and Dante came over. Dante looked calm and Giovanni was too. What shocked me was how much weight he gained. I was use to seeing him looking anorexic. When I saw that he was full of muscle and a braid running down his back, I knew everything was better for him. He still wore the punk gear and was probably unhappy about getting everything a bigger size…I know I would if I was skinny all my life. Giovanni noticed me and didn’t bother to smile which made me relax. He wasn’t exactly empathetic but it didn’t mean he understood. From what I knew, Jody and Giovanni weren’t that close. And judging by the look on his face, I don’t think he was very fond of Jody at all.
“Hey,” He said. Even though he looked extremely different, at least his voice was the same—clear, boyish, strong. His blue eyes twinkled under the sunlight the squeezed itself through the semi-closed blinds. They use to be filled with a darkness I will miss. For some odd reason, it makes my insides tingle. I know his secrets, secrets Dante probably regrets spilling. At least I know why Giovanni doesn’t really speak.
“Hey,” I said back. Dante was quick to grab Giovanni’s hand and smiled at me. Insecurity? Fear? What made him rush to Giovanni’s side like that? I ignored the gesture as mom offered our guest drinks. Both asked for water. None asked for anything to eat. I took a step closer and Giovanni’s eyes landed on mine. “You gained a lot of weight,” I said. He smiled but it never reached his eyes. “Thanks to Dante,” He said. Dante smiled and obvious took pride in what he accomplished. That meant they were living together. That also explained the muscles both of them have. They must be having sex all the time.
I took a step back and Kerry came downstairs to greet them. Giovanni relaxed. He liked Kerry. I wasn’t sure why (not like I cared to know), but whenever she was around, he ignored everything and focused on her. He did the same thing to Gabriel. Now that I think about it, I have not seen Gabriel for as long as I’ve been home.
Gabriel and I were never as close as Dante and I are. It’s funny how they are twins and act so differently…I guess it’s the same with June and I. They share the black hair, green eyes, full lips, pale skin, and muscular frames, but I’ll say that Dante is a whole lot kinder than Gabriel. Gabriel reminds me of June. However, Gabriel knows how to make people laugh while everyone spends most of their time laughing at June. Life is funny sometimes.
After Christmas break, it rained a lot. Jody was on campus with C.J., arguing about something I didn’t bother to care about. As usual, C.J. would be the one to storm off. He walked right into the rain and didn’t say hello to me once he saw me taking off my boots inside. He just stomped hard and let the cold puddles splash onto he jeans and make himself shiver. It was pretty pathetic scene but I couldn’t help feeling bad for him.
I walked to my dorm and Jody was in the shower. I left his lunch on his bed and sat down on mine to eat my lunch. Jody came out with his hair dripping wet and a towel around his waist. “Hey, there. I thought you got lost,” He said. I smiled some and shook my head no. “I asked for directions. People are helpful when they want to be. I just saw C.J.. He seemed pretty mad. Is everything ok?” I asked. He shrugged his shoulders and began to get dressed. He never felt humiliated about the idea of being naked right in front of me. I scanned his boy and loved what I saw. He smiled, finished getting dressed and began to dry his hair. Out of thin air, he pounced onto me and showed me a profound amount of passion. Kisses lead to touches and touches lead to sex. I have never, at that time, had sex with another guy but I have come to the conclusion that it’s completely different from sleeping a girl…and an experience you have to experience yourself to understand.
When we stopped after our third round, Jody pulled out a book. This was weird about Jody. No matter how many times we had sex, he always acted as if we never had it. Anyway, he pulled out a book that turned out to be a photo album. It’s something like a year book since all the pictures were of him in high school. The only difference is it only involved a select few. I recognized C.J. immediately. Next to him stood a younger version of Giovanni. Giovanni was really thin with shoulder length, black hair and blue eyes. He looked a lot like C.J. but the only difference was Giovanni’s Asian features. Next to Giovanni stood Dante. Dante’s hair wasn’t so long. It was probably touched his shoulder blades in nice dark curls in these photos. His hair currently touches his hips. He didn’t smile much in these pictures as did Giovanni. Giovanni was all about smiles. Next to Dante stood Jody. His eyes were just as dark and his hair was the same. The only difference was the glint in his dark eyes. They shimmered in these pictures. “That was when I was with Mason. Can you tell?” He asked. He could tell I wasn’t fazed by it. I think that disappointed him.
When I left the dorm to meet up with Kerry, I saw C.J. peeling apples. He refused to look at me until I was close enough to say, “Are you alright?” He looked at me then and I could tell he was crying. This made me feel really awkward. I wasn’t good with comforting people when they were upset like this. Instead, I stood in front of him and asked, “Do you wanna talk about it?” His eyes widen a little and a smile crept onto his face. He shook his head no and I placed my hands in my pockets. For some odd reason, C.J. seemed kissable. I leaned forwards and placed my lips on his without a reason to support my actions. He accepted it and even entangled his fingers into my hair. Then, I knew what was wrong. I pulled away from him as he stared at me with swollen lips and a confused look on his face. “Hope that helped,” I said. He blushed and smiled brightly. This was getting worse by the minute.
After a moment, I started to walk away. C.J. loved me and did so for the longest. I always thought he loved Jody. I also felt like Jody knew. But, Jody wasn’t going to back down from this opportunity of being with someone who he considered ‘unrealistically sexy”. And C.J. knew that. I felt like I should stay away from C.J. and make it less complicated. Of course, that choice damaged our relationship but it was either that or play with his heart. And breaking him was the last thing I had on my agenda.
Kerry high-fived me when she saw me. She was taking pictures of Samuel without a shirt. He was shivering but it was like some sort of catalog that she wanted to create with the most attractive students at our college. “Jamie? Why not?” She asked. She moved her hand in a way to motivate me to remove my shirt and pose for her in the dead of winter. I rolled my eyes and told her that doing it in doors was my only offer. She nodded and got her stuff. Samuel dressed himself after I peeked at his torso and blushed when he caught me. I smiled and he shook his head. Maybe there is something wrong with me.
I took off my shirt when we wall walked into the dorm hall and Kerry decided to run her fingers through her hair. Jody walked out of the dorm and raised an eyebrow. “What are you guys doing?” He asked. Kerry explained it to her and Jody eyed Samuel’s naked torso. His blush deepened and his eyes drifted to mine as I pretended to engage myself in a conversation with the two of them. Not a speck of jealously aroused in me. Samuel and I began to pose for the pictures together and Jody enjoyed it. Kerry seemed to enjoy it herself. Samuel’s fire read hair was visible now and shined nicely in each flash. When the shoot was over, Samuel and I giggled about it like high school girls crushing on their sweetheart.
Kerry left us to develop her pictures and Samuel volunteered. Jody and I stared each other down in the halls and engaged ourselves into passionate kissing when we realized we were alone. Sometimes, when I lay in bed at night, I can feel his kisses on my lips and shifted into other areas in my body. My insides crawled with an unrealistic amount of lust a kiss can satisfy. It made me wonder if I loved him before I realized it.
Kerry finally went home and June decided not to waste his time with me while he spoke to Giovanni. Dante spoke to my father and my mother washed dishes in the kitchen. I slipped outside.
It was drizzling a little bit. The drizzle of the rain made the ends of my shoulder length hair frizz up. It made me laugh. I caught everyone’s attention like I always did and only the bravest females would express their interest boldly. I felt like a predator—not really wanting to love someone but use them for a much and for as long as I possibly can. If I wasn’t so moved by depression, I would have considered this desperate. Maybe I’m in denial about needing to be loved. Or, maybe I just don’t know how to accept that I am heartbroken. Whatever the issue may be, having sex made it a lot better. I didn’t think about my grief so much when I was lost in the heat of the moment.
I went to a local store to pick up something to snack on and stumbled into Samuel. He backed up away from me sharply and tensed when he realized it was me. He didn’t offer his casual hey, like I was expecting, or a sign to show he was pleased to see me like I was. His hair had grown down his back and tied perfectly into a ponytail The red was fire on the black. His green eyes were piercing. I wonder if he was always this attractive.
“Hey,” I offered. He seemed astounded and refused to exchange any words with me. The silence was getting heavier with each passing moment and soon, I felt like I was going to go insane. I took a deep breath and backed away from him. If I didn’t like something, I disconnected myself from it and try to push it in the furthest spot in my mind. I think it would have been a lot easier if he lashed out on me. But Samuel wasn’t that kind of guy. He kept it all inside, no matter how big it was. Under his intense glare, I saw no signs of forgiveness. I guess I have to accept that nothing will be the same between us again. Can’t say I didn’t try, though.
“My sister died of diabetes when I was young,” Samuel told me one day off of campus. We were sharing the foot long from Subway and I was astounded. “She was 5 years older than me and suffered from type-1 diabetes. My mother finally told me what killed her when I was 12. Before, she used to say, ‘Carly was really sick,’.” I looked at him and I could tell it deeply upset him. I rubbed his back and he semi-smiled. I did the same. “I guess all you can say is that she’s better and not feeling pain. That’s what my mom told me when my grandmother finally died. But what freaked me out was how remote my mom acted,” Samuel looked at me and I let my hand fall from his back. “She was so uptight and turned into Ms. Badass over night. That’s when I discovered that everyone takes death differently. But the feeling of lost is exactly the same,” Samuel nodded and smiled. I smiled back at him.
C.J. saw Sam and I together and rushed over to us. He smiled and said hello to both of us. C.J.’s eyes lingered a little longer on mine. Was he trying to seduce me? “I saw the pictures of you too. You guys look great,” He said. Samuel smiled nervously. He wasn’t big on compliments. Jody was walking with Kerry behind us. Jody’s face changed from something pleasant to something horrific as soon as he spotted C.J. C.J. rolled his eyes. The strong amount of animosity made my skin crawl.
Instead of indulging onto the fierce storm brewing in the air, C.J. left and walked until none of us saw him anymore. The sad part is realizing that was the last time I saw C.J. I didn’t know much about him but I did know that he was significant in my life. He was optimistic and humorous. He was also very mad at Jody for obvious reasons. I think he had enough of Jody’s shit. I seriously hope he’s doing ok.
Jody disregarded him and sulked himself up in my attention. He was so adorable and he knew that I could not resist his charm. Now that I think about it, I wonder if he ever thought of C.J. They were beloved best friends that instantly turned into devastating enemies. I wonder if he ever missed C.J. like the rest of us did.
When I got back home, my mom wasn’t home and Kerry was on the couch crying. I was surprised to see that June wasn’t trying to comfort her. But my dad stared at her and she hid her face in her hands and sobbed hard. Dante came out of the kitchen and eyed me with a sense of alarm that lid his face. Giovanni didn’t waste his time to turn around and face me. Lender was walking down the stairs with the Book of Secrets in his hand and a grim expression on his face. Kerry opened her mouth and I felt like breaking it. That bitch.
I sat on my couch and refused to look at everyone who stared at me like I was some sort of disease. I focused on Kerry as she calmed down and avoided my eyes. I wanted them to burn into her skull and melt her brain. Dante began to put on his jacket and Giovanni had the guts to stare at me. They left after saying rushed goodbyes; they left because Dante couldn’t take the truth.
My house seemed less animated and more surreal. Jody’s words burned in my mind as the memories tumbled around in my soul, trying to map out the obvious truth. It was a suppressed memory that I am deeply confused about. It was the one that my lame ass therapist was trying to piece together. I don’t remember giving her a hint and it makes me believe that this was the first time Kerry told. “You bitch,” I managed after a long deafening silence. She gasped and my father glared at me. Lender’s expression didn’t change.
“James, it seems that me that you were not telling the truth the whole time,” Lender said. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know what the truth was. I only told what I remembered but that didn’t seem to be enough. What was the truth? Only the person who’s dead knows; only Jody knows.
It was close to spring break and this elated Kerry. Her and Cindy planned on staying somewhere for the week we were out. According to Kerry, they’ve been saving their money for it. Kerry volunteered to take pictures at the kids at the Salvation Army for different competitions that were held there while Cindy worked side by side with C.J. Even she realized that he slipped off the face of the planet but never asked why.
I told my father I wanted to stay for the break to study hard. My father sighed on the phone and knew that it would irritate the hell out of my mother. Like the awesome guy he is at times, he backed it up for me as I rolled out my mid-term excuse. Jody seemed pleased to know I’d be keeping him company this break. I told my father goodbye and hurried back to the dorm while Samuel walked past. “You’re not staying?” Jody asked. We stopped in our tracks and Samuel blushed. I could tell that this was something he was never going to get use to. “Um, my mother wanted me home. It’s been a while since I’ve seen her,” He said. His eyes drifted from mine to Jody’s. “Then, we’ll see you later,” I said. He nodded and left. Jody sort of pouted but pulled me inside our dorm where our passion grew into something more.
During the evening, after our first night alone, Jody laid immobilized in his bed after I got out the shower. He moved a little when he noticed me and propped himself onto his elbows. He wore a lovely lazy smile and his black hair was all over the place. His dark eyes were so alluring. I crawled onto the mattress and kissed his lips. My heart thundered in my chest when he ran his fingers over my chest. For a moment, I felt like I could dedicate the whole universe to him. And then I thought: what is this feeling?
Jody parted his lips from mine and kissed my cheek and then my forehead. “I love you,” he told me. Between each kiss, he whispered he loved me. “I love you too,” I told him. It seemed to fit the moment, our relationship. And I was beginning to understand my feelings. I loved him. And it was the greatest thing and the scariest thing I have ever felt. It thrilled me and made the both of us smile. Love was something beautiful to me and it made me really shy.
Our second day was a lot like our first. We spent most of it having sex and deciding what we were going to do. By the third day, we left the dorm to go to the NO TRESPASSING area and feel refreshed by the cool breeze the dam was giving. We sat down on the muddy ledge and watched the blue sky cast beautiful hues on the water. It was romantic and what we classified as our first date.
On the fourth day, Jody drove us into the nearest town to pick up some stuff. We needed a new light bulb and lots of condoms. We picked up some clothes and more bed sheets. We were pretty much grabbing a lot of unnecessary items but enjoyed every moment of it.
We spent most of our days afterwards like this and making love in public. The most thrilling thing I’ve ever done. It made my heart hammer hard when the possibility of the two of us getting caught lingered in the air.
When everyone returned, we swapped tales. Kerry said that Cindy broke up with her because Cindy refused to meet her parents. So, they spent the time in the hotel getting at each other throats. I patted her back as she cried.
Samuel said he met a girl a long time ago and wanted to get serious with her. He hasn’t told her but enjoyed sleeping with her. This pissed Jody off but I just shrugged my shoulders. Samuel was deeply alarmed.
I told the two of them what Jody and I spent our time doing and that made Kerry really happy and Samuel feel deeply troubled. He couldn’t understand our relationship…no, he couldn’t understand me. I just shrugged again and he sighed. “I give up,” He said.
I rode in the back of the police car and was forced to stay in a cell for a night before Lender told me that the jury will adhered to my case. I was giving a date to look my sharpest and saw dad wait for me outside when I was dismissed. He was smoking a cigarette. I didn’t even bother to remind him that mother wanted him stop. We stepped into his car and he didn’t turn it on until he said, “You are my son and I will always love you. It doesn’t mean that I condone you for what you did but I don’t completely condemn you either,” shaking with grief, reality hit and it hit hard…like a wave of shock and sadness.
During the drive home, dad didn’t bother to speak to me. His mind seemed to be in as much as an turmoil as mine. Thoughts were jumbled up and incoherent. It was beginning to give me a headache. When dad parked the car, mom and June still weren’t home. Kerry was out of sight. I went straight to my room and thought of different ways to kill myself. Talk about your head being in the gutter.
When I left my room to use the rest room, I noticed that June’s room was cleaned out. The room was empty and looked very abandoned. Dust laid everywhere. I walked into the bathroom and noticed that everything that belonged to both mom and June were gone. This made me panic. I wanted to speak with dad but I felt right now wasn’t the best time. However, mom and June hung in my head like gold metals. Where did they go in less than 48 hours?
My parents stared at Jody as if he was a charm. Mom loved his cherub-like beauty. Dad liked that he was very small. June found him weird and too dark. Everyone could tell I loved him.
We’ve been dating for a good year until I said that he should meet my rents since his was off limits. I didn’t bother me. In actuality, what honestly does? Jody spoke clearly and used the correct words in his sentences which deeply impressed my mother. When she got up to get refreshments, Jody would crack a joke which impressed my brother and father. He fit in and seemed to love the atmosphere my parents gave. He was the first lover I ever had that both my parents approved of.
When it came down to who I dated, my parents were pretty open-minded about it. It stems from the obvious fact that my father once loved a man deeply before he met my mother and Angel’s. He told my mom the story and I overheard. My mom wasn’t too happy about it but she didn’t dismiss it. She respected his honesty and she too has a homosexual sister named Care. Aunt Care was someone we rarely saw. However, I did remember that her girlfriend was smokin’ hot and really young.
Jody placed his bag down in my room and flopped onto my bed. “Wow, a sky light!” He exclaimed. I laid beside him and he crawled up next to me. We looked through my sky light glass and talked about the possibilities of life out there. I felt, at that moment, like I was going to burst into a million of butterflies of bliss. I believed if it was going to remain that way forever, than I was willing to wake up every morning to it. I kissed his forehead and who would have imagined that 6 months later, my beloved Jody would have died.
Dante and Giovanni couldn’t stop hugging Jody. It had been years since they’ve seen him. They were all talking to fast and reminiscing about a past I couldn’t phantom. All they were missing was C.J. and they would have been perfect, complete. I offered drinks to them and they sucked each other into their own world as they spoke. I loved their energy. It made me feel at peace.
Mom made dinner and dad watched mindless T.V. while June cleaned his room. He was procrastinating for a long time about doing it and it was becoming dangerously obvious. June looked at me and narrowed his eyes. “You’ve got a lot of nerve to one day say, ‘hey mom, I’m gay’” June said. I rolled my eyes and ignored the comment. “Love doesn’t have a preference,” I stated.
“That’s complete bullshit and you know it,”
“Why are you so hostile about it? I love him. It doesn’t concern you,”
“You are my brother. Damn right it concerns me,”
“I said the same thing when I found out you had HIV, June. But it never stopped you from fucking the shit out of the girl that gave it to you,”
“Fuck you, Jamie! Take that shit back!”
“Bite me! You brought this shit onto yourself,” Anger exploded out of June and he pushed me hard enough to knock me and the door off the hinges. He pounced me and my father separated us. I felt like we were 13 again. “Stop it! Julian! James! What the hell is wrong with you?!” June turned his back on me and I let out a sigh. Hardass.
June didn’t talk to me much after that. He didn’t like talking about his ‘issue’. He knows he should have been smart about it and hates being reminded about how much of failure he turned out to be. He loved a girl who used shit we’ve never heard off. And he knew she was infected but loved so much, he put his life at risk. She broke his heart and gave him a disease that would kill him one day. I warned him. He never listened.
Mother openly stated that she would rather be a grandmother than discover that one of her boys was dying. She cried a lot and it shocked my father. June’s on treatment now and I use to feel sympathetic towards him about it. But, as time grew on, I grew very apathetic about it. I believe it was his mistake and something he should deal with on his own. Sympathy won’t make his illness go away. So, why should I act like I honestly care?
My father tied one of his ties around my neck one final time. This made his hands shake a lot. This is the second time I’m going to be on trail after I was proven innocent before. I hope Kerry goes to hell and burns when she dies. No, I hope she has HIV now.
Dad placed his hands on his chest and never hid his grief. I looked at his shaking hands and refused to look at his face. His hands left my chest and he coaxed me to follow him like he did when I was a kid. Every time he and I went out somewhere, he’d say, “C’mon, Jamie,” softly and I’d reach out to grab his large hands. His hands didn’t seem so big now but it didn’t mean they weren’t just as warm.
Angel was down stairs and he looked directly at me with a pained expression on his face. It made me want to smack the taste out of his mouth. Sympathy, pity, whatever it was, it was annoying the shit out of me. My dad smiled some when he saw Angel and Angel offered the smile back. Fake! My mind screamed. I only rolled my eyes.
Lender came out of his car and rushed to us. “They moved the case to a different location,” He said with his breath slipping rapidly from between his lips. I was shocked and felt relieved. He looked at me and then at my dad. “We did a little background check and something about Jamie was overlooked,” Lender looked at me and I stared at father. Dad closed his eyes to prevent tears slipping from them.
A year and a half of blissful love, and that terrible day came around. I woke up feeling sore. Maybe it was from the way I slept in my bed but I was feeling really sore. I got up and noticed that Jody didn’t return. He stepped out the night before to meet up with Samuel and never came back. I didn’t worry. He did that a lot.
I took a hot shower and the water burned. I looked at my arm and noticed that I had wounds their and dry blood. “What the…” I started and then stopped. I wonder if I went drinking the night before. I walked over to Samuel’s dorm. He opened it and said, “Good morning,” He let me inside and I sat on his mattress. His roommate was still getting dressed. “Seen Jody?” I asked. He shook his head no. I stared at Samuel and he finally locked his gaze onto mine. “What is it?”
“Jody said he’d be with you for the night,”
“I haven’t seen him since yesterday morning,” Just because I couldn’t get jealous didn’t mean I couldn’t worry. I was silent and left Samuel’s room. That was becoming bizarre.
I knocked on Kerry’s door and she opened it. She was developing her latest photos. Jody was out of sight. “Put your stuff over there and take of your sneakers. What’s up?”
I obeyed her. “Have you seen Jody?” I asked. She looked at me and then motioned me to go with her to the sink in her bathroom. “Can’t say that I have,” She said.
“He was suppose to be with Samuel but Sam hasn’t seen him at all,”
“That’s weird. He obviously lied. Did you try calling him?”
“Duh,” I laughed. “I forgot all about that,” I dialed Jody on my cell and his phone kept ringing until the voicemail came up. I hung up and tried again. Still no answer. “Nothing,”
Kerry turned on the faucet and no water came out. She switched it off and tried again. The same thing. “Weird,” she said. She opened her cabinet and saw that the pipes were aligned perfectly. “You had water today?” She asked. I nodded and then she stood up. I went to turn on the water this time and the water was red and thick. I closed it and turned it back on. The same thing happened. “That the fuck,” I murmured. Kerry swiped a tissue over the sink and noticed that the red stuff smeared. “This is blood,” She said. My heart thundered. “How do you know that?” I asked her. She narrowed her eyes. I blushed. “Sorry, I forgot,”
Kerry placed the tissue inside of her bag and we left to meet up with Samuel. Samuel’s roommate was out in the all with blood all over his hair. Samuel looked petrified. “I was wetting my hair to comb it and the next thing I know, the fuckin’ sink is bleeding!” His roommate said. He wiped his face on his towel and said, “I’m afraid to wash it out of my hair by taking the shower. My bathtub may bleed,”
“Maybe an animal got caught in the generator,” Samuel said meekly.
“It’s possible but it’d have to be a bear or something,” Kerry suggested. I was thinking of what to say until we heard Kathy, down the hall, screaming for her life. The four of us rushed to her room and she was crying. “Oh my God! There’s a finger in my sink,” She screeched. Her latest boy toy embraced her and out of curiosity, we went to investigate. The finger laid helplessly in the sink, close the drain. The fingernail was polished black perfectly and the pale skin began to turn blue. My heart was wild in my chest. I hope it wasn’t…
“We need to address this to the president immediately,” Samuel’s roommate stated. His watery blue eyes were clouded with worry and his blonde hair was turning brown because of the dry blood. I think his name was Kurt or Kyle. Whatever his name may be, I do know it started with a K. All of us agreed to this but my insides burned to know who the person, which got caught in the generator, was. Logically, going to the president would have been the immediate response. Curious by nature, I was desperate to know. I know that the Board of Education will keep this a secret to students who attend there if we did not see what got stuck for ourselves. We left campus and headed to the dam. We were all burning to know.
I helped Kerry over the gate and climbed up myself. I felt like I did this before but couldn’t place where or when. Déjà Vu moments scare me. Anyway, we managed over the gate and walked along the dam until Kerry screamed. “No, Jamie! No, don’t look!” She screamed but it was too late. Floating on the dam, I saw the love of my life in pieces. His limbs were still bleeding and my stomach was turning. “Holy shit,” Samuel whispered. I shivers run up my spine and Samuel came to my side. He said something to me but my heartbeat was too loud in my ears. I started to vomit.
The cops gave us blankets and some water. The president argued with the news cast as each of us wished to be home. I cried a lot that day. We all did but K. He wasn’t exactly close to Jody. Samuel spoke on the phone quietly and some students crowded around the scene. They began to ask us questions and understood that it was hard for me to speak. I really loved Jody and according to everyone’s story (including mine) I was the last person with Jody, thus, making me the first suspect.
Mom and dad stepped out of their car to embrace me. They noticed everyone was in deep distressed and when they learned the details, they stared at me. “How can my son be the first suspect?! That doesn’t even make any goddamn sense! He loved that boy and you place him as the first suspect?! I’ll get my lawyer into this shit!” Mother bellowed. Father tried calming her down and watched me swallow into myself. The cop only went by what the stories said and mother fought that logic. She knew that the cop was right deep down. It was futile to be in denial. I started to cry again and this made her focus on me. “No, don’t cry,” She begged. “Don’t…”
I woke up in a hospital bed and tried to understand why I was there. Kerry was by my side and wore a sad smile on her face. “You were shot,” She said. “More than once,” I didn’t have any memory of it. I’m sure people remember being shot. “What where?” I asked. My voice was raw. “Your shoulder and arm. Luckily, nothing was permanently damaged. Were you drunk when this happened?”
“What?! No. I don’t drink,” I said. But, I honestly couldn’t remember. The doctor came in and said I was doing ok. After he finished speaking, I thought about it for a while. I showered in the dorm and woke up sore. Where the hell did these gunshot wounds come from? How old were they?
“No! It’s all that I remember,” I said, “That’s what I classify as the truth,” Lender stared at me while I was on the stand and a different lawyer drowned me with questions I swore to answer honestly. I did and to the best of my ability but I hated feeling like I was lying. This annoying lawyer wanted me to explain my story to the jury one last time after making me tell it twice. “Jody and I got food from the campus cafeteria and he told me he was going to see Samuel,”
“At what time was this?”
“I don’t know, a little after ten?”
“And after he told you he was leaving to see Samuel, what did you do?”
“I went inside the dorm and called my father,”
“Because I saw that he left a message on my phone,”
“What did it say?” I thought for a moment.
“ I can’t remember. But, I do know that it was something irrelevant,”
“How long was this phone call?”
“5 minutes…something like that,” He was quiet for a moment before announcing that was it. I got off the stand and both Kerry and Samuel were willing to testify. Samuel stood up; his hair parted in the middle, red on black…lava on darkness. He smiled lightly before being addressed. And then, he was told to give his side of the story.
Something inside of me slipped. My best friends were willing to betray me. What made it even more obnoxious was realizing I was in the courtroom that dealt with the mentally ill. The guards wore a different gear and the Jury was shielded as well. I looked at the Judge and then shifted to Samuel. His green eyes never left mine.
“Mr. Samuel Greene,” My father’s lawyer said. My father sat behind me…his glare gave me goose-bumps. “Explain your relationship with James Everett,”
“We were best friends,” Sam said. Were...that word hurt.
“What he did,”
“I see. Where were you on May 14th?”
“I was in my dorm with my roommate Kurt,” So, his name was Kurt.
“What where you two doing?”
“We were reading a passage to a book we had to do for English class,”
“Where you too in the same class?”
“Yes, we only had English together,”
“What time did you see Jody that day?”
“The morning. It was a little before first period,”
“Did you sense anything unusual?”
“Did anything seem out of line?”
“What did you two do in the morning?”
“We said ‘good morning’ to each other,”
“That was all?”
This annoying lawyer kept on with the questioned and managed to get nothing juicy out of Sam. But, Samuel seemed very sure of himself…smug, even. And that was rare. But, seven months have passed so it is likely that he would act like an ass.
I stopped listening until I heard what Samuel said about me coming back.
“I woke up to use the rest room but heard someone walking down the hall. At first, I thought I was hallucinating until I heard someone curse. I opened my door and peeked down the hall and saw Jamie walking back in the dorm. He seemed different and moved sluggishly in front of his dorm. He was holding his arm and walked in. I didn’t think much of it but the image of him moving like that imprinted itself in my mind,”
“Can you state why?”
“It was unusual—completely unlike him. Other than that, I cannot state why,”
When Kerry got up I put my head down and admitted defeat. It would be pointless. She knew the details.
I went to trial after Jody’s funeral and was proven innocent. There wasn’t any evidence saying that I was a part of the murder and what they were looking for was a confession. But, no one wanted to confess because no one was a part of it. My mom was relieved but it didn’t shape my depression. During the first few weeks after Jody’s death, I felt like I was placed into the darkest hole in the universe. I couldn’t stop crying. As time grew on, my warm heart grew colder and I began to not care. The case didn’t make anything better for me. But it made me realized that I, as an individual, cannot trust anyone but myself.
I came home after moving my stuff from my dorm into my parent’s car. Jody’s scent still lingered and my heart ached deeply. June helped me with the boxes and didn’t say much to me. Samuel hugged me when I saw him and so did Kerry. They were incredibly supportive and I was grateful for knowing them…who would have thought that almost a year later, they would be the ones to betray me in the end.
I let my mind drift and hate that my last words to Jody were, “I’ll see you tomorrow morning,” He kissed me and jogged off. I walked inside the room and see that my father was calling me and left a voicemail. I didn’t have a bad feeling but hated that I could possibly spending my night alone. I was getting use to him being around. I miss Jody so much.
The walls were white which was so weird. My room is green and Gabriel’s room was white. Something about the color draws him in. I think it’s so strange to love a color that symbolizes purity when you are the most impure person ever. But, it’s his preference. So, who am I to judge?
The windows are barred and the bed isn’t so bad. There’s a dresser in this small room which fascinates me. I would have never thought they’d let something so destructive inside of one of these rooms…or maybe whatever amount of sanity I had left gave me that luxury. I don’t know. But I do know that it will be a long time before I have visitors. It’s hard to look at my father’s and brother’s face. At least he had enough balls to tell me where mom and June went.
During my stay in Cougar’s Creek, my mother divorced my father. As for June…he was never alive, never existed but someone I needed. With Angel gone and my mother slipping away from me, I created someone who can make my days better. Someone who can make me smile and tell me what’s right when I’m confused. My father was too distraught to do that, my mother only worried about herself, and my brother was caught up in his life. I guess that’s what happens when people we need are too far apart.
When I asked about June, my father seemed shocked. He asked, “Who is June?” I started to laugh and thought this was a game. When my new therapist, Dr. Scott, (who’s known as Scotty2by4), told me I suffered from both Dissociative Identity Disorder and Schizophrenia, I thought it made perfect sense. June was more than just my ‘brother’ but the other side of me that I acknowledge in a ‘brotherly way’. His personality was so powerful, that he became his own person. My schizophrenia made me lose my touch with reality, thus made me believe this person was real. It explained why we looked alike.
But, what confused me was the there were times when I felt like I was talking to someone and people acknowledge him. They kept saying that schizophrenia does that to people but I’m convinced he existed. I mean, our rooms were so close and we’ve touched so many times over the years. I wish there was something to explain it. Something to explain why I felt the way I did. It made me really think about everything. I honestly don’t know what the truth is anymore.
In this mental institution, I refused to make friends and didn’t like what they tried to feed me. I stared out the window a lot, trying to balance things out that did make sense. I knew I loved mother and June. I loved Dante and Angel, father and Samuel, Kerry and Jody. I really loved Jody. I know I am not that crazy to possibly not understand those feelings. I know what I felt and still feel. I know my love for people is real.
Someone who sat on the opposite end of the cafeteria caught my eye. Their hair was long and silky. Black and familiar. He turned over to look at me and his blue eyes shined in the light. Side of his face was disfigured but his blue eyes were just as vibrant as I remember. C.J. My mind wanted to know what happened but my heart told me to stay away. He’s obviously in here for a reason.
One day, we can swap tales and try to know each other better. Right, now, I think it’s not the best time. I’m not sure how I can speak to him…or how he would react. I doubt he’s in the right frame of mind. Hell, I know I’m not. His eyes left my face and continued to stare at the window. “That guy had a break down so bad that it shattered his mind. He’s muy loco,” The janitor, Angus, told me. He was a fat guy with no hair on his head. He liked chatting with the ‘sane’ patients. I wonder what broke C.J. into a million pieces.
After staying here three months, I’ve managed to make a two friends, Zoe and Jared. Zoe was molested as a child and Jared is a bi-polar maniac. Jared talks a lot and has freckles I like looking at. His brown hair is pretty short but the hazel in his eyes stand out. Zoe’s a small Asian girl who rarely speaks. I stick with her more. She makes me feel really comfortable.
Dad visits me and we didn’t speak much. Angel came a few times and tells me the progression of his life with Victoria. According to him, I’m going to be an uncle. When I told him I didn’t care he stopped visiting. I’ve discovered over time that, like father, Angel is a flake. One minute he loves you the next, he’s more than willing to turn on you.
After month three, for everyone who was well enough to function properly was forced to go on an excursion that is supposed to help heal ugly wounds…something about it being therapeutic. We were out camping and I hate the mosquitoes that attacked my arms and legs. Zoe hated it just as much as I did. We stopped moving because Zoe wanted a break. She started scratching her legs and looked frustrated. Her legs were unshaved and full of red blotches but they had a lovely look to them. The way the muscles arched themselves underneath her skin gave them a very divine look. She blushed when she noticed me staring and I helped her up again. “Embarrassing,” She whispered. “I know it’s been a while since I’ve shaved,”
“It’s alright,” I said, “My legs look the same,” She started to laugh and called me funny. I smiled and we continued to walk along side each other. We spoke about music and hobbies. Me moved from topic to topic but avoided the reasons why we are here. The wounds are still raw and it still hurts to speak about them. We met up with Jared, who was eating an apple, and decided to camp out where our doctor decided to rest at. There were only eight of us and we were pretty ok with each other. Zoe went to join some of the girls and Jared sat next to me. “I think she likes you,” He whispered in between smacking his lips while he at the apple. It irked me.
“I sort of figured. She’s cute,” I said back. He cracked a smile now.
“She totally digs the schizo, multi-personality crazies,” He said. I glared at him. Jokes over.
I walked along the riverside and let the breeze lift my hair. It has gotten so long, down my back now, in nice even curls. I had a faint goatee that made me look a lot older than what I really was. Maybe it was the sound of my voice or my energy that made people believe me when I told them I was 21. I spent my 21st birthday in this hell hole and I would have never imagined that I would. Life is funny sometimes.
Being by the riverside made me think of Jody’s special place. He loved being there so much and at least he died there. Something about the splashing of the waves and the color of the water calms the mind in ways many things can’t. Scotty2by4 sat next to me and smiled some. He was a pretty young guy…maybe a little over thirty and very easy to talk to. He reminded me of dad which made me miss him a lot more than I cared to admit. Scotty2by4 inched a bit closer and asked, “Are you alright?”
“I’ve had better days,” I said.
“I think we all have. You are progressing well, though,”
“Best news I’ve heard in a while,”
“Yeah. Quite encouraging,”
“ I remember you telling me the other day that Kerry knew of a secret. What secret was this?”
“She knew how killed Jody,”
“And who was it?”
“It was me,” I said. We silent for a long moment and realized I needed those words ti sink in properly. It was the first time I’ve admitted it out loud. “But the memory is foggy,”
“Maybe the alter-ego is responsible for killing the person you love?”
“Yeah, maybe that can be why I can’t really remember,”
“And what do you remember?”
“That I was walking Jody to the forest. I remember being mad about something,”
“Think about it. It’ll come to you,”
“This is the first time I’ve ever said this out loud. You knew it was me?”
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
“Because if I did, it would have never helped you recover,”
“I’m proud of you,” He said. I started to cry. “I’m really proud of you,”
When we came back after spending a day in the woods, I was told I had a visitor. I walked into the conference room and saw that it was Dante. He cut his long curls to touch his shoulders and he looked nervous. “Hey,” He said. I offered a smile. “You look like a man now. I was expecting the boy I know and loved,”
“He had to grow up,” I said. I took the seat in front of him.
“I guess,” He said. We were silent before he asked, “How are you?”
“I’m alright. And you?”
“The same. Are these people nice?”
“Generally. They have their days,”
“Of course. I’ve missed you. And keep you in my prayers often,”
“Dante, you are so gay, sometimes,”
“Perhaps,” He said after a chuckle, “But we are family and I want you to remember that. Just because of what has happened doesn’t change how I feel about you but affects the way I see you,”
“And you think I’m some sort of animal?”
“No, dangerous but not an animal,”
“At least you are honest,”
“Yeah. I ran into Samuel the other day. He wrote something to you and knew that you guys aren’t allowed to see each other. So, he wanted me to give it to you. He’s adorable,”
“He honestly is,”
“I’ll say something before I go. When I found out Jody died, like I’ve mentioned before, I was deeply hurt and cried a lot. But, when I learned that it was you, I wanted justice to be served. I wanted you to get the cold taste of death. Instead, I went to church and decided to have mercy on you. If God can forgive you, so can I,”
“I thought you didn’t believe in God,”
“Sweetheart, you’ve changed me,”
“Things will never be the way it use to be but don’t forget that I love you, ok?”
“Yes…” He stood up and handed me the letter. Samuel wrote my name on it. “Take care,” He said. I nodded and he slipped out of the door and I heard his boots click on the tile ground. I loved Dante for his honesty.
I sat on the ledge of Zoe’s bed as she panted. My mind was swimming with pleasure. “That was great,” She whispered. I caught her dark eyes and smile. Her eyes weren’t dark like Jody’s but they were beautiful. I kissed her forehead and told her I was leaving. I told Angus thank you for keeping watch and he smiled. I headed back to my room with Sam’s letter burning underneath my pillow. It has been 2 weeks and I still have not read it. To tell the truth, I’m scared of it. What does he have to tell me?
I woke up the next morning and it turns out that C.J. was leaving. I have not spoken to him for as long as I’ve been here but I knew that wasn’t the right thing to do. People spoke to him as if he was dumb and his brother packed his bag. He spotted me and I waved. He semi-smiled and C.J. locked his gaze onto mine. He let out a small smile which let me know that he has not forgotten about me. I smiled back and he walked with his brother. If that turned out to be the last time I saw him, I know I won’t have regrets. I felt forgiven and I wasn’t sure why.
The next day, Jared’s mother went to pick him up. Scotty2by4 spoke to Jared’s mother to enlighten her on the progress he’s made. “As long as he takes his medication daily, he’ll be just fine,” He said. His mother seemed pleased and Jared was happy to go. He hugged Zoe and shook hands with me. “It was nice meeting you, James,” I smiled. “I hope shit works out for your crazy ass,” I rolled my eyes and watched him leave. I was going to miss his crazy ass.
Scotty2by4 gave me a journal on Easter. Well, gave us all leather journals with fancy pens to get out what we need to say. Zoe liked that I was left handed. So did Jody when he was alive. He would try to mimic me and talk with a deep voice to pretend he was me. The memory made me chuckle. I don’t know what to do with myself anymore.
When I think of how I managed to get so ill, I thought of one person and one place. Mom told me she was pregnant with another man’s kid when I was 11 and I asked her why. She simply said, “I don’t like my old family anymore,” I wasn’t sure what she meant but I knew I didn’t like it. After long months of her pregnancy, she lost her baby and blamed the stress from her ‘old family’. She basically blamed my father who always blamed himself.
I thought about the child being a little boy who was going to be born in June. I thought it over and over until I reached 13 and realized that some mothers call their son June when their names are Julian or Julius. Julian appealed to me and like an angel from heaven, my brother was born.
For so many years I’ve lived in my mother’s shadow; creating a world that was only full of love. She forced her dream career onto me and pretended to support me because she wanted her dreams to come true. Maybe that’s why she refuses to show her face. It could be that she feels guilty. The pressure she applied on me bit her on the ass hard and fucked me over big time. At the same time, I’m not exactly excited about seeing her either.
I wrote a lot of these thoughts in my journal. I find it to be the way to understand everything instead of talking to Scotty2by4. He confused me a lot more and it was still hard to admit some things. However, I’ve managed to admit three things: I’m alone, I’m a sadist, and I killed Jody. The last one still hurts a lot.
In the hospital, we did a lot of exercises that showed we had control of our limbs. That is all what it’s about—control. If we, as human beings, do not have control of anything, we are likely to panic and do something crazy and outrageous. Maybe that’s what happened to me the night I decided to kill Jody. My biggest questions were why by the dam and why in pieces?
After dad’s visit one night, Zoe told me she was signing herself out. Her sister told her she’d come by to pick her up and I sort of frowned. I was going to miss her.
Our goodbyes weren’t as dramatic as C.J.’s and Jared’s. We were silent and embraced each other for a long time. Maybe I love her. I don’t know. I do know she makes me feel good about myself and I was going to miss her. Her sister came by and I introduce myself properly. “I’ll come to visit,” Zoe said. I believed her. And like she promised, she did.
“Samuel wrote you a letter Dante gave you four months ago and you still haven’t read it? What are you afraid of?” Scotty2by4 asked me. I sighed.
“I’m afraid of more animosity,”
“I think he’s past that,”
“He hates me,”
“It would be unrealistic not to,”
“That was rather harsh,”
“Just thinking in a different perspective for once,” He was silent for a moment before saying, “Why not read it tonight?”
“You are going to murder me,”
“You’re a funny guy,” He patted my back, “Your father will pick you up tomorrow,”
“That’s sweet of him,”
“You are truly one of a kind,”
“Jody use to tell me that,”
“I can see why,”
I came home and went straight to my room. I felt like forever that I’ve been in here. “Lender said that they stopped investigating. How are you feeling?” dad asked. I smoothed my pillows before saying, “I’m alright,”
“I’m not a guest. I can get it myself,”
“Alright,” And he withdrew. The house was unrealistically quiet and I haven’t seen June since I was admitted to the hospital. I guess that’s all the evidence I needed to conclude June wasn’t real. However, it’s still a mystery to me how he managed to stick around like a normal person would. I sat up and wrote that in my journal. June isn’t real. A heartbreaking truth. He did manage to leave a handful of pleasant memories.
I left my room and saw that my father was sleeping on the couch in the living room. I looked in the fridge and noticed that there was only water to drink. We also didn’t have much to eat. “He’s really going to kill me,” I murmured. I walked out the kitchen and paused in the hall. Dad looked really relaxed while he slept. The worried marks were clear under his eyes and forehead. His dark brown hair was graying at the sides and his slightly parted lips weren’t twisted in a frown. It made me feel bad. He should live his life happily instead he’s family-less. I wonder if he cries about it sometimes.
I stepped out and decided to take the bus up town. For what reason? I don’t really know. But I felt like I could use a small adventure and sank myself into the memories of being with Zoe so intimately. I spoke to her two nights ago. It was nice hearing her soft voice again.
A guy got on the bus with a smile on his face. He sat in front of me and enjoyed engaging himself in conversations with the fellow passengers. People seemed to not mind him. They even laughed with him. He had a funny accent and seemed like the kind of guy to pick his long nose. When he turned to face me and asked for directions to get onto a bus he wanted to transfer to, his finger was pretty deep in his nostril. It disturbed me and he smiled. I told him his directions and wanted him to turn away. That was going to leave a painful memory in my mind.
I got off the bus and realized where I was. Did I subconsciously want to come here? Perhaps. But, I think it’s completely bizarre to desire something without realizing it. I walked over to Giovanni’s apartment and Dante was walking into the car parked around the corner. Maybe he was going to work. He got in the car and drove away. I walked up the steps and knocked on the apartment. Giovanni opened it.
Giovanni said hello and let me in. Everyone in the family kept their distance from me and acted as if I was some infectious diseases. Not Giovanni. He was either good with hiding his feelings or didn’t care. He offered me a drink and sat next to me when I came back. “Why are you here?” He asked.
“Impulse,” I answered. It was the truth.
“You’ve got balls,”
“So do you,”
“C.J. saw what happened,” That explains the breakdown. “Since then, he hasn’t been the same,”
“What’s C.J’s real name?”
“Christian Jasper Reese,”
I went back home after staying a while in Giovanni’s house and thought about I was going to start my life over. Maybe not from scratch but enough to put a lot of things behind me. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it but I did know it was going to be done. I stepped into the front door and my father was attempting to make dinner but gave up when the smoke detectors started ringing. I saw a pizza menu and ordered immediately.
After dinner, I laid in my bed awake. I thought of Samuel and Kerry. I attempted, over and over again to hate them but it seems I couldn’t build up a fiber in me to hate them. We all know that what they did was the right thing. I wonder how they felt about…how they really felt about it. People put up a front but it made me curious—especially when it came to Samuel.
After handing me a glass of water I asked for, my father insisted on going fishing with him. I thought the idea was ridiculous. For as long as I remembered, he hated fishing. His father use to make him go and he would repeatedly tell me how much he hated it. However, he insisted and I had nothing else better to do.
We decided to fish by a riverside I’ve never been to before. He reeled up the fishing rod and looked at me. I sat on a huge rock and didn’t make an attempt to fix mine.
“Aren’t you going to fix yours?”
“Do I really look like an ass?”
“No,” He said. He placed the rod down and sat on the rock close to mine. “When your mom and I were dating, we use to come here a lot. We shared our first kiss her and our first sexual experience here too. It was here that she told me she was pregnant for you,” I rubbed my legs uncomfortably as I noticed the sadness reach to his brown eyes. He looked drained. Maybe he should be home resting instead of talking to me by some random ass riverside. “I really loved her but once you were born, she felt trapped. I thought if I push my love onto her, it’ll make her stay but day by day, I watched her slip away until she couldn’t even look me into my eyes anymore. So, I filed a divorce,”
I didn’t say anything and let this information sink in. When it hit rock bottom in my gut, I leaned onto him and heard him cry softly. I started to cry too. We loved mother in two completely different ways but hated that she left us alone. Angel didn’t make it any better. He was quick to grow up and surrounded his whole life around Victoria. Sometimes, I’m so jealous of her.
Funny…jealousy started to peak out. I always thought my nerves were steel and my heart was stone but being in the loony-bin made me realize that I am human too. I have faults…devastating faults but I am human. Dad started to recover some and so did I. We settled down, by the riverside, to grieve. Desperately, we held onto memories when we were a joined family and refused to face the harsh reality we live in. When I was a child, I use to hate that God hated me because the worse things would happen to me and the people I love. As I got older, I just realized life sucks and is really funny at times. However, I can clearly say that it sucks right now.
My father gathered the rods but then decided to leave them there. “Maybe folks who like fishing will take them.” He said. I nodded. We moved sluggishly into the car and I placed my bag onto my lap. Inside of it was the letter Samuel wrote me. Before my father made it to the car after trying to take a leak behind the bushes, I decided to finally read it.
Something seemed off that night.
I felt it in my gut, as you looked
Jody up and down before sneering
I regret not taking it seriously
As you waved you arms around
I knew you were mad
I just wasn’t sure about what.
I stepped closer and you screamed
My name. It erupted so loudly from your
Lips. I was nervous for a moment and then
Settled for the “Good Morning guys,” instead of
Showing you I was alarmed.
Jody relaxed and you were still
So furious. You grabbed Jody by the arm
And he growled restlessly. Out of fear, I silently
Followed and stumbled into C.J.
“A lover’s quarrel?” He asked
I nodded and he followed you guys
Along side me. You guys walked in the
Muddy forest and repeatedly swore
At one another. You’ve had enough and began
To repeatedly stab Jody and focused on cutting
Him to bits…to throw him into the demolished dam
And fill the water with blood.
I’m scared of you
For a moment, I didn’t know what to do or what to think. I guess I was jealous this whole time and like Scotty2by4 predicted, it was my alter-ego that diminished everything. Perhaps, that was where all my jealousy was at….inside of him. I folded the paper and watched my father walk back.
Friends…they break your heart whether they mean it or not. You always appreciate their honesty and feel that shocking pain when they remove themselves from your life. At least I got to know what was on Samuel’s mind while I can pretty much read Kerry. Her tears can symbolize a number of things but I can only assume that they stand for the fear she has of me.
I had the Book of Secrets in my bag and snuck out of my dad’s car to bury this book. He noticed me and I made up that pathetic lie of having to tinkle myself. “It just came to me,” I said. He nodded as I dashed along the riverside to bury this book. Behind some bushes, I dug a hole with my hands and place the book in it. I removed my name from the book before I dropped it inside the hole that way when someone finds it, they wouldn’t know it belonged to me. I placed all the dirt back in the hole and ran my fingers in the water alone the riverside. On my jog back to the car, each secret came to me in a random fashion…
I saw mom kiss another man
Dad and Lance use to date
Giovanni stabbed someone
Dante’s afraid of the dark
Gabriel’s a masochist
Giovanni’s mom is still alive
Dad hates Aunt Care
Grandma likes eating her soup with a spoonful of Lime-sol
Grandpa died of rabies
June has HIV
Giovanni tried killing himself
I enjoy hurting people
Jody masturbates a lot
Kathy does heroin
Samuel’s sleeping with C.J.
Kerry is not a lesbian
June isn’t real…but I believe he is
Zoe is pregnant
I killed Jody
I sat inside of my dad’s car as he started the engine and began to take us home. My dad spoke about Angel’s visit which is going to take place in a few days. I also said that I may have company over. He nodded his head and lit a cigarette. His brown eyes seemed clear. It made me wonder if he knew what I just did.
“What was her name again?” He asked. I shifted in my seat and said. “Zoe,”
“Do you love her?”
“I honestly don’t know,”
“Very,” I said. We fell silent for a moment. I suddenly had the urge to tell him I’ll be a father soon but something hit my gut. I knew right now wasn’t the best time. He inhaled the toxic from his cigarette and exhaled the fumes out the window. I began to look out the window and saw a group of friends walk side by side each other. It made me think of Samuel and his words. It made me seriously suggest the ‘starting over’ idea. I didn’t know how, when, or where but I did know it was bound to happen. In the meantime, I had to put those secrets, that book, that letter, Sam, Kerry, and C.J. to the farthest spot of my mind. I knew the safest way to live was to get those memories out of my mind.
I knew that getting Jody out of my system was going to be the hardest. His smile is still vivid in my mind and I can still feel the pressure of his body on mine when he embraced me. It felt great to love him and feel loved. I just couldn’t believe that something so stupid ticked me off enough to kill him. I wish it was something complex…something completely out of the ordinary for me to stab him like I’ve lost my mind…but…I guess I already did.
Dad pulled up in front of the house and parked. I got out of the car and unlocked the door to the house. Dad finished his cigarette and stomped it out before coming inside. “I won’t try to cook anymore. What do you have the taste for tonight?” He asked. He closed the door behind him and I looked at the menu to a local Chinese restaurant. “Chinese?”
“Alright,” He said. He headed straight for the phone and I sat on the couch. My mind loosened some and my eye lids grew heavy. I haven’t had a good night sleep in a while. My mind is always suffering as I linger memories that make me tremble. His soft voice coaxed me to rest while he ordered. He placed the phone down and stared at it. I opened my eyes a little more wider to give him a questioning look. “What’s wrong?” I asked. He smiled nervously and shook his head.
“Just thinking,” he said. I nodded my head. “I just remembered I had my clothes in the washer. I’ll be back up in a few. When the food comes, pay the guy and give him a tip,” He continued and handed me the money. I nodded and he rushed into the basement as I began to watch mindless television in the living room. After 20 minutes or so, dad still didn’t come back but the delivery guy came. Like dad instructed, I paid for the food and gave this guy a tip. He seemed pleased and jogged off the porch. I closed the front door and called for dad.
After a moment, I realized dad didn’t answer. I placed the food on the table and began to set it. “Dad!” I tried again. No answer. I sucked my teeth and walked down the steps to the basement and froze because of what I saw. Mom’s favorite wooden chair was knocked over onto the cemented ground. The creaks of the boards upstairs creaked because of the weight of dad’s body. I turned away, turned away from the sight of my father swaying back and forth with his head bowed and his body dangling from the basement ceiling. I didn’t want to look at his face. I didn’t want to remember his eyes that seemed so promising. This was not what I meant by starting over.
My body shook and I walked back upstairs slowly. I sat by the phone and tried to even out my breathing. I felt the sobs shaking in my esophagus as I trembled miserably. I guess dad had enough with life, with his grief. Mom leaving him and me going to insane wasn’t making anything any better. But if he felt like this was going to be the outcome, why not seek for help? Was there more to it than that or did his pride stop him? My mind was filled with questions as I tried requesting some help. I knew I was supposed to dial the 911 but I leaned towards family oriented help instead. I dialed Angel’s cell phone slowly. The first time, it rang until his voicemail came and the second time, he picked up.
“Dad?” He asked.
“Hey, Angel,” I forced out. My voice sounded unfamiliar to me.
“Oh, Jamie. I didn’t know you were home. Is everything alright?” My heart began to hurt. It felt like someone was squeezing the hell out of it. I tried to breathe evenly again and a tear slipped from my left eye.
“Angel, I have something extremely bad to tell you,”