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Brink

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October 15, 2028

Lola and kitten. My name and my dad's favorite nickname for me. Also two things I absolutely loathe. Of course he's leaving, space is his only true love. Had he known that he would be able to go into space again, I'm sure he would have never married my mother or had kids. He would have sat around, looking through his telescope at the fabulous “oblivion” he loves so much. Not that it is much different now that he has a family. He still sits around daydreaming through his telescope, and he still leaves for part of the year to keep his astronaut training fresh, “Just in case those bastards in DC decide to take NASA back from the rich freaks.” Well you got your wish Dad, and guess what.




Us normal people still prefer the freaking ground.

It is bad enough both Mom and I have to work all the time to help support his fantasies, and that Christopher can't get the special needs tutor afterschool because our money for that goes toward his space training. You better find something great Dad, something that will make us rich so Chris can get the help outside of school he needs and I can go to a college far, far away.

Like Elphaba, I'll fly from corruption, even if that means I become the bad guy, the little devil. I'll leave my father just like she left hers, because both our fathers are always chasing their own dreams and leaving their families broken in their wake. Leave the fathers that left us with something deplorable. For you, Elphie dear, it was your green skin. For me? My putrid name. Lola.

Seriously? That is about as sugary sweet as it gets. I'm not sugary sweet, I'm not sappy. I don't even like sappy movies. I read political comic books for God sakes. My friends are skater kids and the only thing that makes me cry is the book or movie Of Mice and Men.

My mother however, has been crying since Dad packed his bags and ran off to his precious shuttle. I think she would cry less if he was cheating on her with an actual women. At least another human being would be easier competition than the “endless oblivion of adventures” that awaits him in space. That is his common epithet for space. He probably read it in some corny sci-fi novel.

“Lolaaaaaaaaaaa! L-let me in!”

“I'm coming Chris, just hold on.” Closing out of the e-mail, the slender girl glided over to the door, opening it just enough for her younger brother to squeeze through.

“L-lola, Mommy s-says I have to go to the y-yucky teachers room during ex-exporatoys b-but they they are not nice Lola and I don't want I I don't want to go...”

“Shh, Chris stop talking so fast, you know its hard to understand you when your mouth and your head aren't going the same speed. We can't afford your afterschool help so you need to go during school whenever you can. They just want to help you Chris. You're nine now, you have to act like it, okay? For Mom and me, you have to go and you have to try hard.”

“But I always t-try hard L-lola but it its not fair they udder kids m-make fun of me and it its worse w-when I go durin' exporatorys!”

“We've talked about this a million times, you know you still have to go. Just ignore those other kids, they are too dumb to understand.”

“They... they tell me I'm dumb L-lola. Am I d-dumb?”

“Don't listen to them Chris, they are dumb for saying that. Just go back to your room, okay? I need some alone time.” The young boy pouted and tottered through the array of items on the floor before taking one last angry look back in towards his sister on the bed. With another wave of her hand pushing him out the door he moved the whole way across the threshold and blundered back towards his own room. The dark-haired girl sighed and scooted back over to her desk, opening her laptop and stretching back in one fluid feline movement. Her eye caught a missing boy sign on a nearby tree, illiciting a snort from her mouth.

“MISSING BOY: $5000.00 reward!” How can you even put a price on a human being? But to the Cards I guess everything is material, even their only son. He was just a trophy to them anyways, smart, handsome, charismatic; a dream son. Except he wasn't. Behind his perfect facade was a victim, a soldier. A kid always at war with the world, and his parents were the opposing admirals. He didn't go missing, he flew the coop. Couldn't they see? Or did they just choose not to see? He always made big plans about putting this town in his rear view, except in his plans, I was with him. For two years we shared the same dream of setting off into the unknown, and he left without me. It was always hard to say with Jeremy, he always was a dreamer, always seeking something he couldn't quite grasp. Always pushing me away, then letting me in closer.

Leaning forward to right herself against the desk the clack clack of keys sounded through the quiet room, making way for the muse that was occupying her head.







Warchild

Denouce me from your throne, almighty boy,
Thrust me from your land.
An admiral without a cause.

Restrict my flight from almighty you.
Call me back like you always do,
Exchange what's left in our bloody games.

Take me lower, almighty boy,
allow me to reach your star.
Future and past crashing into one.

Bring me our old souls, I'll leave our young forms to almighty you.
Wheel in and out, the direct connection,
Soaring and roaring through our shadowed sky.

Halt for me your royal decree, almighty boy,
Trifle not with your darkened realm.
Crude Triton with a torrid tounge.

Pierce me with the flaming pires of almighty you.
Hallowed halls serve the battlefield boundries,
Where shallow punches draw no hurt.

Release in me the coils, almighty boy,
Ghost back between my walls.
Another Liberal charge in your nonesuch war.

Entrust to me the weapons of almighty you.
Warchild return, and lay your arms to rest.




I'll be a fool, your archangel once again.


With a sigh she rested her hands on the keys, staring with morose at the final stanza.

“Yoo-hoo! Is anyone home? I have a surprise for you guys! I absolutely must be let in! It is frigid out here.” Oh dear God. Here she is. With another feline-like movement Lola darted from her chair and hopped through the empty spaces of floor before sliding down the hardwood stair railing and into the kitchen.

“Moura this really isn't the time I-”

“Oh nonsense, I just came by with some carrot cake, some carrot cake is all. I heard about Darren's departure, I am just so sorry, so sorry, it must be tough for you, him being up there so far away, who would have known he would get the chance to be an astronaut again? Anyways, this is a carrot cake from Stop and Shop, it is a tad old, expired a couple weeks ago, but besides the funny smell im sure it tastes fine, just fine.” A now pear shaped woman of 45, Moura stood much like a little hamster with a caffeine addiction in the Ainsley's kitchen. Tit-tatting back and forth across the tile, she went right over and opened the fridge, grabbing a soda.

“This c-carrot cake look f-funny, Lola, smell da carrot cake, it smell funny too L-lola.”

“I'm all set thanks...”

“Moura I really think you shou-”

“Fine just fine!”

“I really dont want to smell the-”

“Moura please I really just need to-”

“SMELL DA CAKE LOLA.”

“Chris shh, we will deal with-”

“If you need anything dear, anything at all, you just call me right up and-”

“Yes Moura, thank you, but I won't be needing you, you are my husband's...”

“Mama Lola won't s-smell da cake, it look an' smell funny, hehe.”

“You are my husband's ex-wife Moura, I really don't need you in my family's business.”

“Chris, stop the incessant talking, can't you see Mom is trying to talk?”

“L-lola shud up you bein' mean!”

“Chris stop-”

“Well then, well now if that's how it is...”

“I don' wanna stop! Da cake smell f-funny.”

“Chris, seriously...”

“Yes Moura, that is how it is. You move into the town away from us, you refuse to change your last name... Just please, it's very kind but it is better if you leave...”

“Tell her Ma!”

“Moooooooooooooooom Lola bein' mean!”

With a clack clack of heels and the slam of the front door, silence.



January 21, 2029

“Today marks six months since the disappearence of Jeremy Card, the only son of our own Dr. and Mrs. Card. The young man was last seen...”

“That's enough of that...” With a flick of her hand to the left Lola shut off the volume then rested her hand back on the bottom of the steering wheel, glancing quickly over to her two best friends in the back seat.

“Ditching is totally an option you know. Dorkface and I over here would gladly skip school at your expense.” Janine Wuthers, Lola's best girl friend, tossed her long blonde hair behind her shoulder and smiled over at the third musketeer, Peter Fret. Tall and handsome, the young man was far from a dorkface. Lola turned into school as she caught Peter casting a sly grin her way.

“I know that face... What is it now? You look like the Cheshire Cat, Peter.” He just grinned and averted his eyes to a form pulling in the parking space next to them on an all black street bike. The guy on the bike revved his engine at them before taking his helmet off and winking at Lola.

“Good mornin' pretty girl. Love me yet? I'll treat ya better than that rich boy ever did.” Janine and Peter giggled at the usual comment before stepping out of the car to greet the figure sliding off the bike. Janine sidled up to him and casually fixed his messy hair.

“You're a mess, Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Handsome-Bad-Boy-on-a-Bike. I think you need a woman in your life to keep you in line.” A snort and a wry grin came from the bad boy, while he leaned on his bike and looked up to the sun; a lion at ease on his favorite rock.

“You offering Janny?” Peter and Janine giggled simultaneously once again, each patting him on the back before all turning and walking towards the front doors.

“I'm only offering if I can give my date to Lola. Wouldn't want to get in the way of true love, right Peter?”

“Unfortunatly...” Lola just rolled her eyes and walked on ahead, ignoring her friends pokes about the motorcycle riding goody two shoes walking behind her.

Why he is our friend, I may never understand. At least with Jeremy around he backed off a little. Now nothing stands in his obnoxious way. Ugh Brett Rizal, why couldn't you have just stayed back in Arkansas where you belong? Ever since freshman year you've wormed your way in with my friends and into my classes. Some bad boy, hes a straight AP class kid, whip-smart, who hasn't had a drop to drink or smoke in his life. And that “southern charm?” Ugh. Yeah, a real gem.

“La la la lie, lie lie lie. The space man that can't get high, I'm comin' back to my girl by July...” Lola's familiar ringtone broke her silent soliloquy, and she angrily slid it open, pausing outside the door to the school.

“What Mom? I'm just going into...” A pallor broke out over Lola's face and her blue eyes squinted in worry.

“Yes, this is her daughter. Why do you have my mother's cell phone?” Janine and Peter kept walking, oblivious to their friend's worried look.

“No I was not aware I was one of her emergency contacts. Yes my father is an astronaut on duty right now. No she has no siblings. Her parents have passed away. Uh huh...” Brett leaned against the doorway in much the same lion-like fashion as with his bike, except a flash of concentration and concern rolled across his face as he listened in to his friend's conversation.

“I... Yes. Well I'm walking in now, I would have to explain the situation to the principal; no she wouldn't want me missing school but I understand, yes, yes of course, I'll be there right away.” With just a turn and a pounce up the stairs she scampered to the main office, leaving the southern boy to cast a worried look at her fleeing back before moving quietly toward his locker.


June 6, 2029

“Mom, they say there isn't anything they can do. They won't allow one to come home and jeopardize the mission. They won't even let him know. They say they are on the brink of a discovery. I tried Mum, they won't listen to me! It's like they don't have souls. They just gave me an empty apology and re-directed me to the next person.” The middle aged woman sitting on the hospital bed grimaced and closed her azule eyes.

“You did your best. They could be up there for who knows how long... Why is he always gone when we need him most? I can't be home, you have school, you have to work to support us. And Chris, it isn't good for him to spend so much time in and out of the hospital because of me. I just need my husband to be grounded for once in his life!”

“La la la lie, lie lie lie. The space man that can't get high, I'm coming back to my girl by July...”

“Hold on Mum. Stay in here Chris with Mom okay?” With a rush from the room she anwsered the number she didn't know.

“Hello? Who is this?”

“Meet me in the lobby, Lola.”

“Who is this? Hello? Hello?”

Pouncing back into the hospital room she offered to grab food for the three of them and ran off to towards the lobby, moccassins padding softly against the squeaky clean tiles of the hospital.



Well look who's back. The relief she thought she'd feel if he ever came back dissipated into a bitter anger, tounge on fire with the remarks she suddenly wished to catapult at the young man grinning at her.

“Well look who's back from the dead, Jeremy Card, the one and only.” His grin only briefly faltered.

“I deserved that. Glad to see you are as sassy as ever, little girl. Good news, I came to save you.” She snorted.

“You realize everyone thinks you went missing, right? Like your parents have a reward on you?”

“You didn't believe that did you? Look, I'm really sorry to hear about your Mom. Leukemia, right? That's a tough break, especially with your Dad away and all, and Christopher being such a handful. Look, I got a job at a newspaper now, and I'm doing really well. I bought this little house, its on a hill next to this old abandoned light house. Real great for writing, you know? Well I came back to take you away, so you don't have to deal with it. Like I need someone else to help pay rent, and I miss you and all. So what do ya say, Lola? We leave end of the week? How much longer do you need with your Ma?” Lola just stared with incredulation at him, focusing on his curly brown hair blowing slightly when the doors would open and let the warm breeze in. She felt the fire rising up in her throat, igniting her tounge with the cutting remarks she wanted so badly to say to him.

But he's my Jeremy, and he came back. He just doesn't understand family, it isn't his fault. He wasn't gone so long, I guess. He came back, unlike Dad. Maybe I can make him wait.






and away.




up



up


You wanted to fly

So I wait on the



brink.

Do I
go,
or stay?




float
If I go, will I
or






sink?



No. What am I doing? Not this time. He just needs someone to help pay the rent. He's never been on his own a day in his life. I won't be his servant anymore, I won't do it, can't do it. Mom and Chris need me. Epespecially without Dad, acute lymphatic leukemia isn't something she can go through on her own. And Chris needs me more than ever too.

“Not this time Jeremy. Don't you get it? My Mom needs me. Chris needs me more than ever. My father is off in space, with no way to contact him. My mother has leukemia and none of the treatments are working. We can't afford the house without my mom working plus all the hospital bills, not to mention I still have a younger brother with autism who doesn't get nearly the help he needs because we can't afford it. I'd love to run, but I can't. I have to be the grown up here, I can't live in some fantasy land where if things go wrong I run to Mommy and Daddy for some money to get eme by before I go missing again. I think you should just leave. I'm not being used by you again Jeremy, you weren't good for me back then and you aren't good for me now.” Step, step, breathe. Step, step, breath, Step, step, breath. Step, push the elevator button, breathe.

After all that I never even got the food.


October 3, 2029

It's been 3 months to the day since I lost Mom. It's been two that Brett and I have been together. He was with me through the whole thing, along with Janny and Peter. After I found out my Mom had leukemia, I saw him in another light. He was there when I needed him, whenever I needed him. He was right, he does treat me better than Jeremy ever did. He even went to her funeral with me, held my hand through all the planning, when I had to speak. I wanted to wait until Dad was home, no matter how mad at him I was. But when I tried to get through to him again, they said they would be up there at least another 6 months. They had made some big discoveries, apparrently. I hope that makes up for the time he lost with Mom. It isn't his fault really, its not like he can help what happened, or how long he is up there. Doesn't mean I'm still not mad. We'll get through it, but it's going to take some time I think, having to go through this without him. Mom's aunt from Virginia came up to help with the funeral. We had never met. They hadn't talked in years, just grew apart from each other I guess. But she came up anyways. It was a nice to have an adult figure around. So nice actually, that she stayed. She recently got divorced and needed a change of pace. She's sweet actually, and I needed an adult around. She had some money saved up, so we can keep the house. She even already has a job up here. Chris is getting the extra help he needs, and I'm applying to colleges. It's my senior year, and I wish I could have my Mom for advice on stuff, or even my Dad at this point, but I'll figure it out. I always do. I don't feel like I'm on the brink anymore. I finally have my feet on the ground.





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