Back home, lounging on my bed, with my music turned up since no one is home, I try to keep awake, and that’s the hardest task today. My eyelids feel so heavy… My hand reaches blindly for the remote and I change the music from the beautiful and awesome lyrics of Death Cab For Cutie to more upbeat tempos of a Hip Hop band, or artist… it’s something Brandon gave me a while back. I believe it was for my birthday… Brandon always makes mixes for my birthday, he’s such a sweetie.
Doesn’t work, after that band… or artist? Well, Joshua Radin starts to play.
I can’t get to bed, but I’m really tired…
I’m really tired, and I’m in my bed… What’s the problem here?
Startling awake to my cell phone vibrating, someone knocking on the door, and the All-American Rejects playing, and not just in my head, I fall out of my bed and on my ass on the hard carpeted floor, my blanket wrapped around me like I’m some meat burrito.
“Ohh,” I groan. I hate waking up like this.
With the blanket around my waist, and my butt hurting like hell, I walk – or limp, down the stairs and open up the door, reading to bitch slap whatever Jehovah’s witness in the face, or the ass, depending on whatever hatred I have boiled up once I see the bitch, but when I open the door, I doubt this short, black gay guy is a Jehovah’s witness.
“Holas amigo,” Brandon says and then steps in, whisteling as he sees the place. “Exactly the same, wow, feels like it’s been a year since I’ve stepped in here,” he says, finding himself at home. Maybe if he hadn’t woken me up, if I wasn’t as groggy or just hell, pissed, I would have tolerance for this – for natural Brandon, him just waltzing in, taking his place of big brother.
I sit across from him in the living room, and stare at him for a second.
“Was it the flying dream?” He asks, because he knows me just so well. He knows how I’m terrified of trains, and how my worst nightmare is that I’m stuck on a train as a little girl, with my old brownies group, and that I cant get out, no matter how much I yell or scream, or shake the train, it’s just this constant irrational fear, and then… a few years ago, in junior high, once the group split up, a window opened up on the train, and I began to fly – and it became… peaceful.
The dream changed right after I had lost my virginity in the seventh grade.
“No,” I tell him, and hike up my legs so that I can rest my chin on something nice, like this blanket… “I have… this new dream, it’s scary.”
Brandon is the only person I’d ever tell my dreams to, because J.J. and Chloe would just laugh it off and probably tell me about their alien kidnapping nightmares, and how they love it because it doesn’t mean anything, well, both of their fathers are X-Files fans, and they aren’t – they despise that show with a fiery passion, because it always scared them. That and the show So Weird.
“What’s it about?” Brandon asks me, and I can’t help but wonder about him. He asks like nothing ever changed, we’re right on track with where we’re supposed to be. His hair grew longer, and now it has a purple streak in it, but he’s still the same – five foot ten, built like he could take a truck, or, maybe just a really pissed off white guy, and his eyes are the same. So far I can say his sexuality is not in danger, or at least his fashion sense.
“It’s about… It’s about me chasing this white rabbit, with the glasses and the pocketwatch and everything, and while I’m running after him, he just keeps on running, but I run in this… I fall into this pool, it just sort of magically pops up in the dream, and I get up, I can’t get out… Matt,” and his face, looking so transparent and blue from underneath the water flashes through my head, and I can see him drowning me with that lifeguard net that cleans the pool.
“Who’s that?” Brandon asks.
I look down, fidgeting with my fingers now.
Who was he? My older brother? The love of my life? My first love – My life? The reason my heart beats?
That’s all crap.
“I’m his runaway,” I say, because that was always Matt’s joke, that I’m his runaway.
“Your pimp… Okay, interesting enough – go on.”
“He wasn’t… He wanst like that,” I snap, because Matt was better than that. “He was better than that, nice and sweet and smart, he read a lot, wore glasses, was good with computers, didn’t have photographic memory, if he did he would have been a hacker or a doctor or something….. something legal,” I spit out. That was basically Matt’s own rampage about his brain.
“Ah…. Drug dealer, okay, I got you, now, continue on with the dream.”
Can I continue on? He doesn’t even get it, and now my head snaps back up and I look him in the eye, noticing him for the first time. Yes, he’s my best friend, but my best friend would know not to wake me up. Not a best friend quality.
It’s an alien….
“What are you doing here?” I ask him, not sure if he’s really here. Maybe this is all a dream… A dream within a dream. A dream within reality. A reality within a dream. Either way, it’s a dream.
“Just wanted to see you,” he says with a shrug, and I look at him some more, so much that I think my eye kind of squeezes shut, but whatever I do, it gets him going, and he takes a long intake of breath before going on. If I remember correctly, Brandon could talk. “So… I went to school and all today, and I’m changing my schedule for second semester, and you know my mom’s an assistant there and she told them some things… but it’s not what I want, and it’s nothing close to what my step dad had to say.”
Ah… Yeah, Brandon’s parents have a problem talking with each other. When I left, they had a hard time staying in the same room, and Brandon was their messenger, and he hated that, he hated having to repeat something that came out so hateful from their lips. They weren’t always like that, they were high school sweet hearts, but then Patricia married Brandon’s dad when she got pregnant at seventeen, and they were so sweet, always writing little notes and letters to each other… then he just, up and left, so randomly, it seems, and now…
She wants to compare Niall to Eric, but the truth is, you can’t compare anyone.
I don’t say anything, I know that it’s best for them to just keep talking, and all they want is for me to listen, and I can’t speak right away after they take a breath, that I know the exact time of space to be thoughtful and sincere, because I know how to be me. This is Lucy Carlisle.
“I mean… Ugh, I just – Like, I was hanging with my godmother this past weekend, in her house in Illinois, okay, so… It was this picture perfect life, and I come back to this,” Brandon says, leaning in towards me and then back into his seat, making hand movements to my walls.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I ask instinctively, only once it’s out, I know in my heart things are truly fucked up here.
“That our life is just crap – Lucille, my mom and Niall… ugh, either marriage counseling or a divorce will help them at this point, but they don’t have the time, effort or commitment to do anything like that, because if they did, this marriage would be back together by now,” he says, leaning back comfortably into that chair, looking away, he confessed it all. “I don’t want them to get a divorce…”
“I want them to go back in time and realize this was never a good idea,” he says, still looking away. “I’m seventeen years old… I don’t want to have to go through the messy divorce and shit, but at the same time… I can’t stand this anymore… Now I understand why my dad left, why you left, and I wish I could just leave.”
“You’d come home sooner or later,” I tell him and he looks at me shockingly, as if this is a fucking miracle of words out of my lips. “If your mom got sick, or if Niall needed help moving, you would still love them… just not as parents. If your favorite author was in town, you’d come see him. High school reunions, cause you at least want to graduate high school, bitch,” I say and that makes him smirk a little bit.
“For some reason I don’t think Stieg Larsson would come back from the grave,” he says, such a smart ass.
“For some reason…. I’m going to go boil some hot water and call it tea,” and I get up out of that chair and walk into the kitchen to make him his cup. I stand across from the stove, leaning against the counter, waiting as patiently as I can… meaning not at all.
“Is it just me or is it every single time we hang out, we end up gossiping like old ladies over tea?” Brandon asks, and I smirk as I turn around and see him walking towards me, on the opposite side of the counter.
“It’s our nature,” I say, and that makes him smile. “So… How’s everything been, here, where the – the wild things are,” I say, but as I say it, I get confused. I’m not sure where to begin, Brandon and I were always just…. friends, we never really did anything except enjoy each other’s company, and… talk, about everything.
“You mean my hair? Well, it’s been inspired by Claudia Donovan and Rayanne Graff.”
“Girls?” I asks, shocked of this new discovery.
“Yeah, well their better stylists than most guys, though…. There’s this new guy, his name is… his name is Melissa, yeah, weird right? Well, he’s dating this guy Tyler, and they’re really cute and sweet, and very – very stylish, in a weird, emo-punk way, and sometimes normal, when they – I guess when they feel like it.”
“What? They just… become normal when they feel like it? Wow, I would like to do that – to have that power.”
“The power’s always inside you, Luce, you just have to learn to control it.”
“Or just learn tricks?” I offer, but he doesn’t even look me in the eye, just looks sideways and thinks to himself for a while…. I wish I knew what he was thinking, and I’m always… wishing to know what guys are thinking, I always want to know what Matt, or Ethan, and Brandon are thinking, everyone else…. I don’t think about it as much, when it comes to everyone else.
“I should go,” he says, and grabs his bag, leaving his tea on the side table and gets up and leaves.