Categories > Celebrities > Metallica > up all night

neon knights

by josiebelladonna 0 reviews

after she and joey had found their way into the quiet place, they develop their friendship

Category: Metallica - Rating: G - Genres: Humor - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2020-08-13 - 2327 words

There was no doubt in my mind that I missed Lars, but Joey proved to be more than the substitute for me. It was that first day when the sun started going down when he offered to walk me home. He almost shuffled about the sidewalk like a baby horse: his skinny little legs quivered and wobbled with each and every step. Even though they had pumped quite well during our little run together, he seemed to struggle as we made our way back towards the curb. In the waning sunlight, I could make out a little round shape underneath his shirt. He was such a thin little boy and yet he still had a little bit of baby fat: there was a part of me that wanted to touch him and keep him warm, but I couldn't.

We walked home together and I realized he lived about a block away from me, right down on the corner. I examined the full shape of his face and those large brown eyes as they gazed back at me from the incoming twilight, like two big dark marbles. He showed me a sweet little smile and that was when I realized he had a cute little cleft in his chin.

I thought of Lars and his chubby cheekbones, round and plump like ripe little apples, but Joey was like a soft little mask, the face mask of an Iroquois boy.

“Will I see you tomorrow?” I asked him.

“Of course,” he replied. “We'll meet up at the quiet place if I don't see you.” He kept the shy little smile plastered upon his face: in the dim light, his skin looked so smooth and delicate, like the top of a mug of hot chocolate.

“Good night, Joey,” I said to him.

“Good night, Hannah—how do you say 'good night' in Danish?”

“'Godnat,'” I replied. “'Good night and sweet dreams' is 'godnat og drøm sødt'.”

“'Godnat og'—whatever you just said,” he stammered, to which I giggled at him. He kept the shy smile plastered on his face even as he ducked back into the cute little house on the corner; and then I doubled back down the block towards my house.

The next day, I saw him again in class, still with the side profile of his face in my direction. Where Lars made me think of the full moon, Joey was still like the mask from a little Indian boy. A little Indian boy who often flashed glimpses in my direction and bowed his head away from me so he would return to his school work. He did have a little roundness to his face when he smiled but it wasn't like a ripe apple. And yet he still made things a bit more rosy there in class.

When we walked home together later that day, and the rain was about to come in, he led me to the quiet place this time around. We lingered back from the latchkey group once again and then he bowed towards the grassy area. I hitched up my jeans and my school bag and I followed him over towards the hockey rink.

He sank down behind the bushes first, and I followed suit right there right next to him. He shivered and took a glimpse up to the darkening sky overhead.

“Why over here, I wonder?” I asked him as I rubbed my shoulder against his.

“I'm a hockey player,” he said once he had cleared his throat. “I've been playing since I was real little—and my dad and my aunt are both saving up to get me a mask.”

“My best friend back in Denmark was a tennis player,” I told him.


“Yeah—one time he told me he was going to follow in his dad and his grandpa's footsteps. And right before we moved, the last thing he and I did was go to a concert together.”

“Who'd ya see?”

“Deep Purple. Everyone made a joke how the two of us were dating but we both brushed it off.”

“Was he into the Beatles at all?”

“Oh, yeah. Right before we left, he really started getting into music. I remember when we walked out of that concert hall, he had this big goofy grin on his face and he told me he was in love.”

Joey cleared his throat.

“I'm not only a hockey player but I like to sing and play drums, too.”

“Oh, really? The singing hockey player who likes to hit things.”

“Exactly!” he laughed at that. He shivered again and I put my arm around him.

“How'd you find the drums?” I asked him.

“Looking in the Sears catalogue. My grandma had a copy in her bathroom and out of curiosity, I took a peek into it. That's another thing we're saving for, too—at least I hope so.”

“A drum kit?”

“Yeah. Just a li'l one, too. Nothing too spectacular.”

“I never found out what your last name is,” I confessed.

“Bellardini,” he replied. “How 'bout yours?”

“Ellsberg. Not as interesting as yours, though.”

“Nah, yours is pretty interesting…”

He then rustled the lapels of his jacket and then he tucked his hands into his pockets. I looked on at his little tummy and he looked down at it, too. I watched him set his hands on the thickest part of his waist and give himself a little pat.

“You know what I love?” he started again.

“What's that?”

“Pasta.” He showed me a big grin. “I love pasta on a cold night. Pasta and cannoli from both my mom and my grandma. My mom told me we're gonna have homemade ravioli tonight, like my grandma's gonna come over soon enough and serve it once my parents get home from work. And I think you can tell by how chubby I am.”

“You're not chubby,” I insisted with a pat on my stomach, which wasn't so flat itself. “I'm chubby.”

“You're a skinny girl compared to me!” he declared as he arched his back and stuck out his waist. “I'm gonna have a big potbelly from all the food I eat.”

“But you said you love it, though,” I pointed out.

“I do... I love it so much.” He kept his hands there and I wanted to know what he was feeling. “I'm hungry, too. Like I really want something to eat right now. Something to eat and then dinner. I love feeling full and warm on the nights when it's especially cold here.” He peered up again at the dark sky, which hung low over our heads and warned of rain. I peeked over the edge of the rink wall to find a cool gray mist emerging off of the surface of Lake Ontario.

“Do you think we should get home?” I asked him, to which he nodded his head. We both climbed to our feet and made our way towards the curb again. I felt the wind picking up once we made our way down the sidewalk towards the corner. It was going to get so cold that night: I could feel it as we hurried towards our neighborhood in unison. Lars and I were penguins but Joey and I were the ones seeking solace away from the cold. Within time, our houses entered our view. But we had to hurry because I could smell that earthy crisp smell of falling rain among us: the soles of our sneakers padded in unison down the sidewalk.

“It's gonna rain,” he said with a shiver down his spine and a shake of his head: his jet black curls fluttered about like streamer ribbons. “It's gonna rain!”

“Go home and fill your tummy with lots and lots of ravioli,” I told him, out of breath. “With lots of sauce and butter on top.” He darted ahead towards his house: those skinny legs pumped so hard, I never would think he had such a prominent tummy. And I doubled back to mine just in time before the rain pounded down on the roof. I hoped he got there in time himself as I set my things down on the couch and sank down on the furthest cushion so as to catch my breath. Another day in the quiet place, only to find myself with a gaze up at the ceiling and the sound of the rain on the roof filling my ears. I was alone in the house: it would be another hour or so before my dad returned home from work.

I thought about Lars and the promise I had made to him before we moved. I would make an effort to call and to write to him. But I figured that, since I was hanging out with Joey, I would have little time to do either, given things were only going to get more difficult at school as well. I had two boys on either side of me, one back home in Denmark and another right down the street from me. One knew about my artistry, the other I had yet to introduce it to.

I needed something to write on. Something to write with.

I opened up my book bag and scrounged around for some blank paper. All I had was loose leaf notebook paper but I knew that would do the trick. I took out a pencil and crossed one leg over the other.

I held the tip of the pencil over the paper. I felt my face growing warm at the thought of Lars. I nibbled on my bottom lip. I felt my heart hammering inside of my chest and I felt a soft fluttery feeling inside of my stomach.

Those people joked around at the Deep Purple concert that it was a Valentine's Day gift from Lars to me. Supposedly his girlfriend. I could still recall the look on his face when someone pointed that out to us. He had raised his eyebrows at me and that warm blush bloomed across his round face, right within those chubby little cheekbones. I could still recall the soft skin of his face the last day I saw him. Soft and milky, like the moon at night.

There were several nights there in Copenhagen where the moon would be big and full and light up the sky as much as the neon green curtains making up the aurora. I imagined Lars with a blanket draped about his shoulders and cuddling inside of a cozy space. A quiet place, much like the quiet place Joey and I had vouched out for.

I touched the tip of the pencil to the paper.

Lars' round face makes me think of the moon and apples, I wrote it out. I shook my head but it was good to write that out. There was something to drawing that made my mind wander about, and yet there was something more about writing it out.

I pictured Joey right there next to me, cuddled close to me. I pictured him with a big bowl of ravioli resting in his lap: he stuck one big bite of it into his mouth. He loved feeling full on a night like this. I wondered if he was going to cuddle up in bed afterwards. I nibbled on my bottom lip again. But then I held the tip to the paper once again.

Joey is soft and sweet, I wrote it out. That almost felt like a release. He was. He was in fact soft and sweet. That side profile and that little tummy, even though he ran so fast. But I kept going.

I like these two boys—but I don't know if I like them as my best friends or as something more.

I almost grimaced at the thought of that. I didn't understand it. Two boys I was friends with, but I didn't see them as… something more. I didn't want to see them as something more. And yet I felt it. I felt it at the sight of Lars' face. I felt it at the sight of Joey's tummy.

They were so ready to slide in closer to me. To keep me warm. For me to keep them warm. Lars was ready to share with me, and Joey was ready to share with me, too. I didn't want to see them like that.

But I lifted my pencil again.

A soft place. A quiet place. A quiet place to crawl inside of and stay up all night with, was all I could write. The sound of the rain overhead filled the following silence. I closed my eyes and leaned my head back against the couch cushion. But then I was startled awake by the sound of the front door opening again and my dad striding into the room.

I shuffled the paper about my lap and turned it onto its written face down, even though he was too far from me to read it.

He closed the door and peeled off his coat. I watched him hang it up on the hook next to the door for a second; then I slipped the paper inside of the binder and returned the binder back into my book bag.

He turned around to look at me.

“Hi,” he greeted me in a soft voice.

“Hi,” I returned the favor.

“How was school?”

“Good. Did a lot of writing today. I'm hoping we'll be doing art tomorrow.”

“That's good! I know it's quite the adjustment here from Danish school, but that sounds good, though. You're like a sponge anyway.”

“I clean things!” I declared, to which he laughed. I had a thought lingering in my mind, one that told me I should keep my thoughts about Joey and Lars in the vault. There was no way I could reveal to my dad, or my mom for that matter, about the two of them. At least, not yet.
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