The solid grained backdoor slams shut behind me locking the harsh autumn weather outside to wash away the mud, which has become my life. My still wet army boots tracking the wetness that falls from each step leaving a boot-sized track in its wake, tiny droplets splashing up off each stair as I take them two at a time running head first through the curtain that separated my room from the basement entertainment room. Stripping off my sweater and t-shirt heavy from the water collected on my thirty-minute ride home, I try to catch my own breath and smooth back the three inches of wet hair stuck to my face.
“Rod?” Benny’s voice echoing down the stairs as he closes the door behind himself, more whining than mad I think to myself. I can see his bike still collecting rain outside the small basement window. Its been raining for three days straight and still I feel unwashed by it’s relentless shower. I pull off my pants and throw them against the concrete wall making a wet thwaping sound that at the same time scares, thrills and encourages my destruction. I stand naked but my wet boxers locked in my space a mere curtain pull and yet Benny stands outside never allowing himself in.
“Knock fuckin’ knock?” in a way I wish he would. “Come on Rod I’m fucking soaked” He’s still out of breath.
“Fuck off Fag-nut” I pull off my boxers and slid myself into a clean and warm pair of Benny’s jogging pants, it’s normal for us Benny is like my little bro. He knows me better than anyone and I love him, he is the only family I have. Pulling on a fresh shirt and opening the curtain to let him in, he stands before me two years younger and about thirty pounds lighter.
“What’s your fucking damage?” He’s drenched to death in the same rain pooling from by discarded pants onto the floor.
“Your face asshole”
Letting himself in I catch a glimpse of the mud covering the back of his pants and elbows, I cant help but laugh did he really ride all the way home like that? “You really are an asshole you know that?” he begins to undress. “Oh and by the way next time you think it would be funny to throw someone ass first into a puddle, make sure they’re not carrying your FUCKING SHIT in their backpack” throws ten pounds of soaking school books.
I laugh picking at the mound of indecipherable wet paper. “Shit, Ward-and-June’ll have my ass”
“It’s your fuckin’ funeral” rummaging through the clean clothes I do have Benny stands before me bare chested and wet. I have been confused about this before. He pulls on one of the beaters we share kicking his shoes through the curtain and into the concrete area outside my room. The white beater clinging to his wet skin, he unlatches the large black belt holding up his soaked jeans, pulling at what used to be two white socks turned gray by the rain and dirt. He is my best friend that’s all, I love him like a brother.
“What the hell” he allows the pants to fall to the floor stepping out and throwing them in my hamper “these are not going in with my shit.” I feel strangely comforted by his confidently exposed presence. He sits, wet ass and all, in my chair feet across my dresser to warm against the heat blowing down from the ceiling. I sprawl across my mattress in the center of the room looking up at Benny as he speaks. “PS you should be fucking happy I covered for you last night, what time did you get back in?”
“Ah fuck em, Ward’s a pussy” turning on the Xbox I watch a bright screen light up before me.
“You should have more respect for my parents, they’re letting you stay here so you can graduate, hopefully in the next millennia”
“Ah, fuck off, wanna play?”
“No” getting up. “I need to get dressed and back up stairs before dinner. You better be there tonight”
As he walked out of my room I accidentally looked right up his shorts, turning quickly to avert my eyes. I wasn’t aroused yet I wonder if he saw me? I felt bad for looking away. Did that offend him? Was I supposed to be so comfortable with this?
My life has never been easy, after my dad left and my mom remarried Stan, I kind of fell off the face of the world, nothing I did mattered, my dad wanted nothing to do with me and I was old enough that my mom no longer needed to watch me. I was nine years old and alone. I guess I acted out, I was never really good at school and so my parents never expected much of me. They thought I was a loser, I told myself I was so I didn’t try, and I got tough to fight back I guess, it doesn’t feel cool to be the stupid kid. After I got kicked out of school number four in one year I had already failed twice my parents told me to hit the road in the fewest terms. I was seventeen, eight years later and still alone.
My only friend was Benny Harrison, he was in my classes and we kind of grouped together one day we hit it off. Benny got good marks I didn’t even know it, he was just cool I spent a lot of time at his house the last year and his family was really weird like hugs and shit, so when my parents kicked me out June and Ward took me in. I was useless yet the Harrison’s took me in, June even paid for programs and home schooled me for three months until my grades were good enough to get back into a self paced school, told me I could be whatever I wanted, his parents made Benny transfer to the new program too. When I moved in they said I had to try and I started to get OK marks, the teachers even knew my name it kind of feels good I guess.
No one taught me how to be loved before the Harrison’s took me in. But how do you keep that inside, how do you hold back the emotion when its good, I cant show these people they won, I win, I AM THE WINNER OF MY LIFE. Fuck them!
I throw the controller down and turn of the Xbox with my foot. I need to go for a walk, the rain has stopped but still this time I grab my a hat, throw on a hooded jacket, tuck my pants into my boots and steal my bag out of the closet. I leave without explanation for the second day I will miss dinner.