May 23rd 2015
I stayed at the docks with them for well over an hour, making it closer to 5 P.M. when I stopped crying. By the end of this little ‘episode’, my eyes were so swollen and red to the point I was having problems seeing anymore. Michael was worried when I tried to get into my car, even though I said I’d be fine. Darrian shook his head and gently took my keys from me.
“Austin,” He said with a quiet firmness, “One of us will drive you, you’re a mess and I don’t want you to get in an accident.”
Lily nodded and then the question of who would take me came up. I watched as Michael immediately sprang up and almost took the keys until Lily attempted to snatch them as well. The argument then ensued on who was more capable of a driver, and who had my best interest. The two giants raged for about fifteen minutes with Darrian being stuck as the referee.
“You know what?” Lily said, exasperated, “We’ll settle this the old fashioned way: Rock, Paper, Scissors. Best two out of three wins and gets to take him home.”
Michael nodded and they began patting their fist against their open palm. Lily won the first round, shooting scissors while Michael shot paper. She won immediately afterwards with paper against rock.
“What can I say?” She gloated, snatching the keys away from Darrian and moving towards me, “I always win.”
“Ugh,” Darrian muttered aloud, “Who’s gonna drive your car since you’re taking his?”
“You can have second prize kiddo.” Lily said, tossing the keys to Michael, “Follow me over to his house and pick me up there.”
Michael nodded and got into Lily’s car with Darrian while Lily and I got into mine. We drove wordlessly for a few minutes, my eyes still blurry and swollen from all the crying. I leaned my head against the dashboard of the car and sighed with contempt. Contempt for my father, contempt for my childhood, even a little bit of contempt for my mother, for letting him just walk in like he apparently did.
“So he was just there when you got home?” Lily asked, choosing her words carefully.
“Yeah.” I responded, not putting too much interest into the conversation.
“Thirteen years is a long time for a conscience to eat away at someone,” She pondered, half to herself, “I wonder what made him decide to come back now?”
“What’s it matter?” I snapped, “He wasn’t there when I really needed him. He never helped me or my brothers when we were growing up. I don’t want him to come walking back in like he can make everything okay.”
“Would you prefer if he came back as a corpse?” Lily asked.
This took me aback a bit. Lily was known for making comments that messed with my conscience, made me think. This one was a little too personal though. I wish she hadn’t made me look into myself for that whole minute, because when I did I declined the truth and put out the tough act I had been using the last few minutes.
“Yeah,” I growled, “At least if he was a corpse I wouldn’t have to deal with him, hear him talk all his bullshit.”
“Hmph.” Lily snorted a little but didn’t make any other comments. I guess she knew I was too thick headed to admit to anything I may have felt inwardly about this.
Dad’s car had left the front of my house, and Sean was sitting on the front porch swing, swaying back and forth with his arms crossed over his chest. Lily pulled in behind my mother’s and put it into park, making sure to hit the emergency brake.. I expected her to get out and immediately head for her own vehicle not far behind. However, she chose not to, instead she walked up the concrete steps and sat next to Sean, pulling her legs up and down in the same rhythm as him. He looked up at her and gave a grim smile, she returned it and they just sat there, lost in the bliss of perpetual motion.
I heard a car door open and felt Darrian’s presence behind me and then Michael’s. There was no response to them, my skin was cold and I moved to open the door, smacking face-first into Zach after it had opened.
“Good,” He said, rubbing his sore nose, “We were just about to go look for you, you had us pretty worried...”
“Where’d he go?” I said, trying to sound disinterested.
“Back to his new house.” Sean grumbled from behind me, “He just bought it a few weeks ago. Apparently he was trying to get moved in before your graduation.”
“Close enough I guess.” I murmured, trying to push past Zach, who grabbed my arm and made me look him in the eye.
“Are you okay now?” he kept his voice low, trying to keep the conversation as private as possible.
“Yeah, seeing Lily helped.” I said, trying to give him a confident look.
That clearly failed though when he gave me a doubtful look and shook his head at me. I wasn’t in the mood to discuss my feelings anymore though. They’d been released once and then bottled back up like the venom they were. I didn’t want anyone seeing anymore than they already had. Especially not Michael.
I finally brushed past Zach, leaving him and the rest of the group on the porch to talk or swing on the swing and catch up. I moved through the living room, regarding the chair where he had sat with an icy glare before padding along the hardwood and up the stairs to my room.
Posters of bands littered the wall and CDs were stacked in neat rows in my shelf. Everything from pop-punk to rap to metal. The walls were an electric blue with a tint of black mixed in for some variety. My guitar was next to my little black desk with the laptop I had bought over a year ago, and the webcam I’d told my mother I just HAD to have.
I grabbed my guitar and flung myself onto the greenish brown waves that covered my bed. I felt like letting some of this all go, and the best way I knew how to was to strum a few chords until I felt strong enough to sing, and then go from there. My fingers felt and looked like pale spiders as they climbed up and down strings of the instrument, making a sweet noise.
I fiddled with this for a little while until I finally decided on what I wanted to sing. The notes for the song sounded similar to rain beginning to fall. gently at first and then slowly turning into a downpour. Melody and substance hanging in the air with a melancholy sound, my voice sounding reminiscent of a solemn nightingale singing a lonely song, one no one would ever care to hear.
“But I threw you the obvious,
just to see if there's more behind
the eyes of a fallen angel,
eyes of a tragedy.
Here I am
Expecting just a little
too much from the wounded.
But I see through,
See through it all,
Oh well, nothing.
Apparently I’m nothing at all.”
My trance was interrupted by a quiet knock on the door. Lily, My brothers, and my other guests were standing at the door awkwardly.
“Mom wanted us to come check on you,” Sean said, moving through the door and sitting next to me, “Wasn’t expecting another free concert Austin.”
I blushed at this and put the guitar down, facing my head towards the window and clutching my arm in my hand. I didn’t enjoy people walking in on me like that, yes I enjoyed singing, and wanted to do something with it, but these private sessions were too sacred to me. They shouldn’t be interrupted.
“You never told me you sang.” Michael murmured, cocking his head a little.
My cheeks grew red and I pretended to dodge the question as best as I could, staring blankly at the walls and hoping that maybe they would soothe the situation.
“He’s been singing since he was two.” Zach piped up, trying to break the silence.
I looked over and nodded, hoping that seeing me make no sort of attempt to communicate would make them leave. Apparently Lily was the only one who caught on though.
“Let’s go guys,” She said, tugging on her sleeves awkwardly, “I need to get home anyhow.”
Michael and Darrian nodded, both coming over for a brief embrace before leaving. Michael’s fingers felt like cold steel as they touched my back for a brief moment. Lily was the last one to touch me, and she her fingers felt warm and soft.
They left without another word. Leaving my brothers and I alone to deal with our predicament.