At least now I could walk around without the fear of breaking a leg.
At this moment I was rummaging through my closet and throwing all my clothes on my bed. Most of them were too dirty to wear and the rest were close to that. I had to get everything washed before packing them. It was going to be the Laundromat and I for the next couple of hours.
I packed all the clothes in a large black garbage bag before trudging down the stairs. I stopped at the receptionist’s desk to get change and then continued to the Laundromat about three blocks away. I couldn’t really afford a cab and walked the distance.
Fortunately the place was empty and I had all the machines to my disposal. I put all my jeans in one machine and T-shirts in another. Everything else went together in a third washing machine. It would take about an hour for everything to be washed and I walked to the nearest Starbucks to get some coffee.
On return, I waited. When the washing machines were done, I put all the clothes in dryers and waited forty more minutes. Then I began my walk back to the apartment. Once there, I folded everything and stuffed them into bags – I was definitely not going to bother to iron them too: I’ll do that back home when I want to wear them.
I grabbed my backpack from the floor and stuffed it with my CD’s, I-pod and anything else valuable.
The apartment looked a mess to say the least. I used the bag I had stuffed the dirty laundry into earlier and threw all the rubbish and shit lying about in it and placed it by the door. At least now I could walk around without the fear of breaking a leg. I also threw out everything in my kitchen cupboards that had expired, which was almost everything. I was on a roll, even wiping the kitchen surfaces clean: my mom would have been so proud.
By the time I was done cleaning and packing, it was time for dinner. I walked to the nearest food stand and bought a really greasy hotdog. I watched some programs on my television and fell asleep on the couch.
I woke up with a start the next morning and remembered with a shock that I was supposed to meet Gerard at his parents’ house for lunch.
I rushed into the bathroom to take a shower and brush my teeth. I quickly showered and walked over to the basin to brush my teeth. I realized how little attention I have been paying to my appearance these past couple of weeks the second I looked in the mirror. My hair reached my neck and I had an at least two week old beard. I rummaged through the bathroom cabinet until I found my razor.
An hour later, I was on my way to a bus station. I took the first bus to Belleville, arriving at home a little before lunch. I headed to my house first: one – to drop off my things and second – to greet my parents. I walked into the house and found my mom in the kitchen. She looked up and was surprised to see me standing in the doorway.
“Frank?” She smiled happily and came over hugging the life out of me. “It’s so good to see you again! We’ve missed you!”
“I missed you too, Mom,” I replied, hugging her back.
“You look good,” she said truthfully.
My insides sighed in relief. I only shaved this morning and looked pretty much like my old self, except for the longer hair, but that didn’t bother me. My body didn’t change either – I didn’t lose weight or gained any, though I did gain a few more muscles, which was of course a good thing. I didn’t want to look like a schoolboy. Then there were also my lip and nose piercings and the tattoos: they were on my arms. Either my mom didn’t notice or she didn’t mind or she knew that saying something wouldn’t make a difference.
“You too, Mom: the new hair and clothes,” I smiled.
She chuckled, “Yes, I thought it was time for a change.”
It wasn’t a major change, since my mom wasn’t young anymore. She had only dyed her hair their natural color, covering the grays and bought some new clothes.
“You’re just in time for lunch,” she informed me.
“Sorry, I can’t stay for lunch. I have to meet Gerard at his parents’ house for lunch,” I said. “He asked me to join his new band and we’re going to discuss it.”
“Oh,” she said surprised. “I didn’t know that he was staring a band too.”
I smiled, “Yes, and his timing is impeccable.”
She nodded, “Yes, I’m sure you haven’t found a new job yet, since your previous band split.”
I noticed the worry in her voice.
“Mom, you don’t have to worry about me. I can take care of myself,” I assured her.
“As you can see, I’m alive and well. I won’t go down that easily.”
“What if Gerard’s band doesn’t work out either?” she wanted to know.
“Let’s just hope it does. If it doesn’t, I’ll just find something else.”
“I don’t want you jumping around from one thing to another,” she said.
“Don’t worry,” I told her again. “I’m sure things will work out perfectly. Now, I have to run or I’ll be late.”
I kissed her forehead and ran out the door. Hopefully the future ahead will be brighter.