Sometimes words are just that, words. They coexist on the idea of passing messages along. At other times they can be little blades that cut and rip at the tissue of your life.
The trail is packed down from too many feet before mine. I feel winded and sweaty as she hollers back to me. “Hurry up, you’re going to miss it!” the sky burns of crimson and goodbyes, I remember this sky, I remember this trail. We used to go here when we were closer, this, now, felt more like a formality than anything else. Earlier in the day, my phone rang waking me up from a dream I didn’t really want to be woken from. We made plans, to go here, to talk again, but I can’t say I had much talking in me. I laid in bed staring at the ceiling, lost in a paradox of thought of things misplaced and forever gone. Of course, I wanted her back, but wants can be tricky little things. Some dirt is kicked up and I close my eyes while I walk, I overstep then over correct. I am soon on the packed ground where gravity put me. I hear a gasp but I just laugh. Sitting there laughing and probably insane. “This will do I guess.” she sits down next to me as I pick the stickers from my arm. The sun slowly swoops below the horizon but gives the sky a fire orange. The monsoon clouds in the distance, nearly everything perfect, nearly.
It’s pretty much sinister when we get back to our cars, with the black clouds hanging over our heads. I scratch at my arm as the tiny stab wounds begin to itch. “I know this is a bit short, but, my parents would like, I wouldn’t mind, do you want to come have dinner?” She asks. I chase after the right words to say like I couldn’t or I didn’t think it was a good idea. But somehow the only thing to come out of my mouth was yes. “Fantastic, they’re at my old place, do you remember how to get there? Don’t worry about it, just follow me.” She gets into her car before I can’t even mutter another word. Like a switch once the door to the car clicks the rain pours. The wipers rhythmic screech is the soundtrack as I follow her to a place I could find with my eyes closed.
She parks and I right behind her. I sit with the car running as she turns her lights off. The wonder, the pleasure of leaving races through my mind. Looking back she tilts her head and waves a little hello. Like a stray in need of food, I listen. I turn the keys, click the lights, pull the handle, and push the door. I feel my shoes slip on the wet asphalt as I step out into the summer night. “Hurry up!” She yells back as she runs up the steps, skipping one or two on the accent. I make my way up after her. She puts her keys to the door and the magnetic lock releases. Again she races up the stairs in double time. With half time I make my way after her while I try to come up with things to talk about, I can’t remember the last time I read a paper or watched the news. Before I knew it or wanted to I am at her door, it’s wide open as she’s already spinning around the apartment. God, it even smells like it used to. Her Mother is the first to come and greet me. “Red or White?” She holds the bottles up like we just saw each other yesterday. I point to my selection, she smiles and gives me a half hug. “It’s good to see you…” She whispers as we part. “You too.” I smile a dumb smile, but an honest one. Her Father digs himself out of the chair in the far corner and walks over as I awkwardly remove my shoes. “Karl my man! It’s good to see you, and you don’t look like too much shit today!” He chuckles and slaps me on the shoulder. I never can say I felt comfortable around him, he walked like a government man and talked like a government man. His wife gives him a look and his posture changes. “Come sit down and leave them to it.” He leads me to the seat next to his. I give out a cry for help with my eyes, but no one caught them or thought I was about to sneeze.
I slide my fingers across the arm of the couch as her Father goes on about what the current president could be doing right if he was somebody else doing things differently. His phrasing is acute and chosen, possibly rehearsed. I nod on the points that needed nodding and smirk at those that needed smirking. Soon the food is ready and we take our seats where the rest of the possible night will begin to unfold.
I eat like I’ve never had a home cooked meal. Soon the conversation wine is gone and the rebuttal wine flows. I try to jump into the conversation, but like a fly knocking against a window, I can’t quite grasp an opening. I excuse myself and slide the glass door onto the balcony. I hope for a cigarette as I lean against the rails. The street below shines from the recent rains when the door behind me opens but doesn’t close. “Is everything alright?” She asks as her parents laugh in the background. “It’s just odd being here, I don’t know if I should have come.” I put my finger to my lips but there’s no cigarette to be had. She leans against the railing next to me, and in a volume that would be considered too loud she asks “Bet you kind of wish you could just go back in time and never come to dinner huh?” I try to blankly stare off into the distance. “I can’t say it didn’t cross my mind a time or two.” there’s a short second where there’s nothing but the sound of the city below, but it is broken as her Father clears his throat. He stands there in the doorway with a pleased smirk on his mischievous face.
Her parents leave, and I soon follow suit. I tussle with my shoes as I balance myself on the wall. “Are you sure you don’t want a cab, you can just wait here for a little while.” Being alone with her was the last thing I wanted to do. “No I’m fine, it’s not a far walk.” I feel my foot slide into my shoe, a small victory. “Well be safe.” We awkwardly shake hands and I make my exit. The walk is brisk but welcoming as I turn the corner towards the direction of home. The street is quiet and lonely when I feel the want for a cup of coffee. I take a right towards a hole in the wall that stays open far longer than it should. As I turn down the street I feel the need to check my phone. Before the screen goes bright there’s a small reflection of the man behind me. I pick up my pace and cut a right down an alley. I shuffle through my pocket and grab my device. I hear his shoes squeak faster on the wet sidewalk as I disappear.
I watch him as he turns down the alley and looks behind the dumpsters. After a few minutes of kicking cans and flipping lids, he gives up his search and starts walking in the direction of the hole in the wall. His black coat and raised collar hides anything important as I walk parallel to him stealing glances across the street. He soon ducks into the café as I follow.
The yellow and brown is almost stomach twisting but I sit facing his back. He orders and the waitress walks over to me. I was about to ask for coffee when he removes himself from his bench and sits at mine. “He’ll have a coffee too hun.” giving the waitress a wink and a smirk, I feel small and give a nod. “So, there’s a lot of things you might want to ask, and need answers to, but I could give two shits about that.” Her Father says.
We sit there in silence as we wait for the coffees. The waitress arrives and he thanks her again in his arrogant tone, she smiles and walks off to dream about days where she doesn’t have to see fucks like him. Taking a sip from his coffee he removes it from his mouth and speaks “Damn that’s some coffee, can’t drink it at home, though, the old lady doesn’t like what caffeine does to me.” I open my mouth, to speak, but he quickly follows with more. “Have you ever wondered, did it cross your little mind, that I wouldn’t try to check on my own daughter? Poof two years, not a trace, not a single one then she’s back, with you, with you…” He shakes his head and takes another drink from his coffee. “It is a wonder that you live so openly, but yet oblivious to what the world really is. That isn’t to say you haven’t been clever with covering your tracks, but we, oh we have hundreds of clever twats like you. It didn’t take them long, oh no it didn’t take long at all to find you. Being that it was a little disappointing when it turned out to be you. I can say that it is, however, a bit amazing that you weren’t accidentally killed in that little car stunt of yours. A shame really. But forgive and forget right…” He stops to take another drink from his mug, in a foolish behavior I slap it out of his hand, it knocks against the table then falls on the tiled floor below. “Well that wasn’t very nice of you, I reckon you need some more manners on you boy, maybe one in the leg will teach you.” I feel the end of a pistol push against my knee. “Anywho- we’ve sort of developed our own machine but haven’t quite seen the results that you so describe in your filthy little blog. Which in itself is something else, you continually chase what you believe to be your idea of happiness but yet ya recklessly demolish any chance of it. Fuck’en asinine if you ask me. Or better yet is how you think you’re special with that little toy of yours like you’re the only one in this day and age. Are you familiar with the ideas of a hive mind, like how one person can have a great idea, and poof someone in China has the same idea moments later. The reason being I say this is how is it possible that you alone think that you made something amazing like what you have there without someone else out there making the same damn thing? That’s not a question that I really want to ask you. The thing is, how is it in the light of everything that you’ve done and gone through that you just let my little sweets go?” I feel the pistol remove itself from my knee as I move around my tongue for answers for the only question that mattered. How did I?
While I slide my finger around the rim of the coffee cup the waitress brings him another as he apologizes for the mess. Once she walks back to her dreams he continues on his scattered thoughts “Well- believe me when I say this, I want you dead. There’s only one thing in this world I want more than you to be six feet and some change in the ground is for little sweets to be happy.” I forgot maybe too many times that’s what he called her, not so much in the name but the perfectly fitting description, sweet. I nervously tap my fingers across the table, as in a hope for an answer would come from the rhythm. I take another drink from my coffee when I feel the tube of the silencer against my knee once more. I want to say the reason, but I feel embarrassed, fooling, in all folly to hell, I would die before admitting a thing. He presses harder against my knee. More seconds pass when he speaks again “Well I guess she’s just better off.” He taps me on the knee with the end of the gun and I stand. Throwing some cash on the table he begins to usher me outside, away from the eyes and ears of the innocent. We’re soon back in the alley as he fishes everything out of my pockets and throws the contents on the ground. “It’s a shame really, I was starting to think you might grow some balls on you, but I guess she’s in a better place without you existing.” He pushes me to the ground and I cower next to a moist brick wall. I may or may not be a crying man, but the sound of the hammer coming back and him raising the weapon to my head let me bawl like a child. “Oh- come on have some decencies…” He says as I try to swallow my tears as the silencer is pressed against my temple. A second passes, his finger tightens as my I try to catch the words, the words. I love her, I shout in my head, again and again, the screams go. Before I realize they’re no longer confined to my thoughts. “It’s because I love her, I love her, I didn’t want her to be with this, this coward, this nothing of person!” I am crying and insane. I wrap my fingers around the smooth metal of the gun. “Just go ahead, fuck’en do it!” He tries to pull the gun away, to take away my closure. “This isn’t your decision!” He yells back as the gun slips away from fingers and returns to his pocket. “One day, maybe soon, you’ll realize that you’re not such a fuck up.” his shoes squeak as he walks away.