Scabs

Sorry for the delay! Here’s the second part to the last post!

Scabs

I decided to finally try during one of these races. I was off to a good start, but I couldn’t keep my balance as I flew down one of the hills along the bike path. I felt my handlebars shaking and knew I was going to go flying. I hit the front break by accident and went right over the handlebars. My friends said I slid at least ten feet on the asphalt. I screamed as loud as I could when I saw the blood dripping down my arms and legs. My elbows and knees were completely scraped up.

When I finally got back to my house, my mom freaked out. She yelled for my dad and frantically asked what happened. “I fell,” I said. She rolled her eyes. “Again?”

My father heard me sobbing in the kitchen all the way from his bedroom down the hall. “Come,” he said. My cries grew even louder. I’d been down this road before. He had a bottle of peroxide in his hands.

“You’re going to need gauze strips.”

“But, Dad!” I yelled!

“Regular band aids won’t work, Nick. You really did it this time.”

“But, Dad! It’s going to hurt when you rip them off!”

I was a big cry baby back then, but my father was right: the cuts on my arms were filled with dirt and rocks that needed to be cleaned out. I would have rather dealt with the infection. The stinging was unbearable. My father always told me to be careful, and I would listen, but every time I didn’t, I paid for it. Every part of this process hurt.

Ripping the gauze off was next. As soon as I started feeling good, that was when we knew it was time. “Take a deep breath,” he said. I feel partly responsible for his hearing issue.

Darius

School’s starting up soon. One week from today. I’ve been really focused on finishing the last book of Ferrante’s Neapolitan Series lately, and naturally, forgot about writing. So to start, I’m writing about one of my fish. He’s a little pleco that can never eat his algae discs in peace. Definitely not my best work, but it’s already made someone smile, so that’s good enough for me. I’m going to try to post every day until school starts. I hope I can stick to it. Enjoy!

Darius

All the others know he’s different, and treat him as such. Every day, they do something new to ruin his day, and make theirs. They’ll go around laughing amongst themselves.

“I stole it right out his mouth,” laughs one.

“Watch him try to sneak up on us,” says another. “How does he not know we see him?”

“Does he really think it’s just for him?” a third asks.

They won’t let him eat in peace. They have their own food. They all eat well, every day. They’re not hungry, they do it to laugh about it later. And they do it over and over.

He tries every day, though. He doesn’t worry about how he looks or what the others think. He knows they know he’s sneaking up on him. They don’t know he can find food elsewhere. Maybe one day he’ll show them where to look, and maybe they’ll want to be friends with him because of it.

They’re not interested today, though. They don’t even realize they’re fighting amongst themselves, chasing each other around, kicking up dust, saying cruel things to each other. It’s no longer a game, they lost themselves.

But he wakes up every day, despite the circumstances, knowing he won’t be phased by the others. They’ll laugh at him and make him suffer, but it’s only for a little while. He treats every day as if it will be the day things change for the better, for good. Each day they prove him wrong, but he keeps swimming regardless.

I Know You!

It feels really good to be back. It’s incredibly difficult trying to stay focused on my writing right now. Huge waves of emotion crash into me constantly throughout the day. I could easily let them knock me down, but I know writing is the only way to keep me going. Even if it only takes a half hour to write these stories, it’s a half hour where nothing is on my mind but the next word. Writing always has been, and always will be, my escape. I’m forever grateful. All I can say about this story is that it comes from a prompt. Enjoy.

I Know You!

I was walking down the road on the way to the store when I saw her. She looked like someone I knew, so I slowed down to get a good look. She looked up and smiled when she saw me looking at her.

“Hi,” I say.

“Hey,” she says back.

“You look like someone I know.”

“You do too,” she replies.

She has short brown hair. Not the type I go for. I like blondes. Long, blonde hair. Blue eyes. Dark eye brows. Only one in a million look like that, but they’re always beautiful to me. Her eyes are green, but familiar.

“How do I know you?” I ask.

“You’re from around here, right?” she asks.

“Down the block,” I reply.

“Oh.”

“Where are you going?”

“The store.”

“Me too.”

I’m cooking dinner tonight for my father’s birthday. He doesn’t like gifts, but he has to eat, and I know what he likes, so it all works out.

“I’m picking up beer for a party later,” she says.

“Where?”

“You know Derek?”

“I do.”

“Maybe that’s how we know each other.”

“Probably.”

The sun is beating down on us. All the trees on the block were cut down last year. There’s no escape. As we walk over an overpass, a truck underneath lets out its exhaust. We laugh at what an asshole he is, and how unlucky we are.

“How do you know Derek?” she asks.

“We went to school together. I used to hang out with him all the time.”

“Me too,” she says.

I can’t believe I don’t remember who she is. It should be obvious at this point. We finally get to the store. I have to get food, so we split up for a little bit. When I get to the beer aisle, she’s still looking for what she wants.

“Are you a craft beer person?” I ask.

“No, hipsters drink craft beer.”

“So get something cheap. It all tastes the same anyways.”

“I’m leaning towards Twisted Tea.”

“Really?”

“I hate beer,” she says. I remember her liking it.

We go up to pay and she invites me to the party. It starts later, so I would be able to cook dinner and go after. I tell her I’ll be there. She asks if we could go together. I tell her yes. She gives me her phone number and address, we hug, and go home.

While I’m cooking dinner, I realize I never got her name. I look at my phone: Danielle. I knew it.

“Come get me at 10,” she texts me.

“You got it,” I reply back.

I walk to her house, and follow her to Derek’s. I know he lives close by, but I never hung out with him outside of school. When ever I’ve gone to his house, someone else was driving so I didn’t have to pay attention to where we were.

“Are we close? I don’t remember it being this far away.”

“He’s on the other side of town, but we’re close.”

“Wait. I thought he was actually the other way.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

“Derek?”

“Yes.”

“F.?”

“Who?”

We’re not talking about the right Derek, I suddenly realize.

“What school did you go to?” I ask.

“This one, right here. Same as you, right?”

“No.”

She knows now too. All we can do is stare in disbelief. I start laughing hysterically. Danielle looks horrified. Nothing makes sense, but it doesn’t matter. We seem to be getting along.

“Now what?” I ask.

“I don’t know,” she says. “I might just go.”

“Don’t. Let’s go to this party. We’re having a decent time. If I was a creep, you’d know by this time.”

“This whole situation is fucked.”

“It is, but maybe it’ll turn into something if we let it.”

We let it happen. It turns out to be a great time. Everyone thought we knew each other, that we were even dating. Couldn’t be further from the truth, but we acted like we were. Only half way into the party, when everyone was wasted, did we mention that we had no idea who we were. But we were having such a good time.

I still have no idea how it worked out. All I know is that it did, and I’ll see her later today.

From Nothing

Now that I finally have a computer–I couldn’t wait any longer–I can start posting everything from my writing notebook. We’ll start with the first decent story. I just made up the title now. All I had was the date: 6/2. Enjoy.

From Nothing

He didn’t know how to tell her he didn’t love her, so he chose to say nothing, hoping she would get the hint. He didn’t realize you can’t get something from nothing. You get nothing from nothing. And when you have nothing, you are nothing. Without him, she is nothing.

That was how she felt. She loved him all her life. They were best friends ever since they were little, when they first moved to the neighborhood. Even when she moved away, they kept in touch. Each time they spoke was like the first time. The time in between was just a little too long, so they had nothing to hold on to but the past. Neither realized they were constantly moving forward.

When they’re together, people come up to him when she’s looking the other way and say they make a great couple. All he could do is laugh. “We’re not dating,” he’d say quietly. A part of her seemed to die inside every time she overheard. She never said anything, though. Sometimes, he’d purposely say it a little louder, hoping she’d hear. He hoped she would just say I love you, but that day never came.

Sometimes he’d be bold, “grow a pair,” as his dad says, and ask her out. She’d scream yes on the inside. It was everything she ever hoped for. “I can’t,” would come out. Her anxiety always won. She always had an excuse. It wasn’t her fault, he understood. She didn’t have it easy when she was younger. She can find a guy without an issue. She’s truly beautiful, not just in his eyes, everyone’s. But there was something about her that just let people take advantage of her, like it was tattooed on her forehead. She fell too hard for everyone. When you’re in love like that, when that person is your entire world, the only reason you wake up in the morning, you can’t possibly think that they could do any wrong. It has to work out because you can’t imagine living the rest of your life without them.

Each relationship always ended badly–he would watch from the sidelines. She’d find out through a friend of a friend that he was seeing someone else at the same time. And she would do nothing. She tried to avoid any kind of conflict. It made him sick to see her with these guys. When she would call him and talk to him all night, he couldn’t even pay attention. He was too busy trying not to choke on the tension building up in his throat. He was good at hiding it. It wasn’t hard. When you’re a guy in that situation, you’re nothing, invisible.

He battled through very tough episodes of depression. There was no reason for him to get up in the morning. He tried again last night, and again, was blown off. Why get out of bed? Why wake up? If you sleep a little longer, you won’t be able to feel sad. That turned out to not be the case. He was haunted by her face in his dreams. They would hug, hold hands, kiss, sometimes make love, but he never felt her warm skin on his, he never got the taste of her lipgloss on his, and he never felt them become one in bed. He was no longer happy or sad. He stopped caring. He felt this way for a month.

One day, he woke up. His mind took over. His heart knew to step aside, that it would be better in the long run. It surprised him. He went with it, though. Baby steps. A step forward is always a step forward. The size of the step doesn’t matter. Those steps brought him around the block. They helped him to his phone, so he could turn it on, and call his friends. They were good to him, and he was always thankful for that. Like with her, he could go to them and they can act like nothing bad ever happened. They never judged him, to his face, at least.

The day before was a very productive day. He wanted more, and went out of his way to get it. He went for a drive down to the beach during the golden hour. The light dancing through the tall grass on the sides of the road and in the dunes energized him. He had to call her, to tell her how beautiful everything was., how he wished she could be with him. No answer.

He called his friends and asked if they wanted to get a drink. “Sure,” they said. “We’ll pick you up at ten.”

“There’s someone we want you to meet,” they say.

“I don’t know if I’m ready.”

“No one ever knows when they’re ready beforehand. You only find out after.”

“What’s her name?”

“Go ask.”

“Jen,” she says. They hit it off right away. They talk about their majors, who they hang out with, typical small talk. Turns out they live relatively close to each other. He suggests they go out again. She says sure, and gives him her number. They hug and go back to their groups of friends.

He turns around and sees her from across the bar, visibly upset, empty shot glass in her hand. She was watching the entire time. Her boyfriend noticed and took off. She didn’t even realize. He doesn’t realize either, that tears are slowly dripping down from the corners of his eyes. His friends don’t understand why he’s upset. They assume he blew it with Jen. When they go up to him to comfort him, he walks away before they could pat him on the back.

He tries to hug her and she brushes him off. It’s too much for her, for both of them. He wants to kiss her. He sees she wants him to, too. Their lips lock, but nothing’s there. She smiles at him, and he looks at her in horror. The realization of spending so much time obsessing over that moment, and having the moment be nothing like he ever expected, was funny to him. He hugs her again, tells her that it won’t work out, and finds Jen.