John Matthews-Life and Times

John Matthews is sitting in his bedroom with a headset on backwards and upside down and the cord wrapped around his face. Don't you wonder what led up to this? He's not just some LARPing nerd with a collection of video games in the order they came out in his closet. He's so much more than his abusive father's son. Just...who is John?

"Where's Daddy?"

Johnny tugged at his mother's bright red sleeve. Vanessa was propped up on one of the armrests of the couch with her slender fingers wrapped around the cordless phone, staring away into the distance. As Johnny hopped around to face her, she wiped her face with her sleeve, and it grew dark as she let the drips fall onto the fabric.

"Mommy?" Johnny pawed at her hand.

"Hi, Johnny, sweetie," she said with a decided sniffle and a smile. She rose and reached for a tissue to dry her watery eyes for a moment. "Daddy's on a business trip, honey."

"Why?"

His mother sighed and smiled--without her eyes. "Daddy has lots of things to take care of, and he won't be back for a long time."

"Oh." Johnny plopped down on the off-white carpet in his plaid shorts and thought. "Is that why you're sad?"

"Mmhmm," she murmured, fluffing his dark locks.

Johnny knew his mom. He knew that she was lying, but he didn't know why. His father was always out doing his job; what job it was he didn't know. There were a lot of things Johnny didn't know about life. His friends all made fun of him for calling his mom 'Mommy', and they taunted him and called him a baby. Johnny didn't want to be a baby anymore. He had a little sister and a Playstation and nobody was going to tell him that he was little anymore.

"Johnny?"

He paused. "Mom," he choked out, not used to that word in his mouth, "call me John now. Johnny sounds like a baby name."

"Oh, okay, John," she replied, clearly amused at his growing up. "You're a big boy now."

"But, Dad..." John made sure not to add the childish -dy onto the end, "when will he come back?"

His mother began to tear up again. "Um, John? Dad...isn't coming back."

"Why?"

"He-" She was cut off by Tori's wailing in her crib. "I'll be right back, Johnny-I mean, John. Play with your Playstation for a little bit."

"Oh, okay." John scooted over to the television and plugged in the wires. He stared at the TV until he stopped thinking about his father and where he could be.

The End

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