Ivan William Jones

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My name is Ivan William Jones. I was adopted from Scottsdale Arizona when I was about ten. I like to think my adoptive parents, David and Ann, traveled long and perilous journey through the vast deserts of West Texas to retrieve their new traumatized son from the uncaring foster family that was taking care of me. I don’t really think my birth mom was white trash but Ann certainly does. She likes to spend the long summer days rocking softly in front of the muted TV telling me stories about her life before I came along. She would tell interesting stories about a wild and exotic girl with a fire for a heart who fell in love with a sweet talker with a 67 mustang. David would smile at that. Seems they’ve changed a lot since then.
I remember a lot about Scottsdale. It was a hot place. The sweltering summers were spent crowded around a window AC unit wedged between a shaky pane of glass and a pot covered window seal. Me and my friends would shake off our baseball caps and stand bare-chested in front of the white box of gold like dogs. We would ride our flat tired bikes down the dust covered road that surrounded our neighborhood’s duplexes and spend the whole day looking for scorpion holes while our necks tanned under the sun. There was nothing around my house, only houses, dirt, and scorpions. My mom was like most. She would spend the day working vigorously to churn her garden to life in the cracked earth until submitting to the heat. She could never get anything to grow in that bricked off area she called a garden. Ladies of my neighborhood liked to sit around a child’s play table with melting glasses of Ice tea and trade gossip and mom was no different. I wish I had gotten to know my mother before she died. They said she was the most intresting person they knew and that she could keep you enthrawled with a story until its very end. It’s a shame she wasted her ability by marrying my dad.

My dad was the kind of person who didn’t like to be wrong. He was a good father but dad was tough and had one hell of a temper. He would scream and push mom when things didn’t go right, but that was hardly ever since mom was really good at making sure things went as planned. One time I had dropped a whole watermelon on the sidewalk while bringing it in from the car and dad gave me a black eye. He came back that night and cried and apologized to me while I was pretending to be asleep. He was an odd thing really. Some days her would come home from his job at the factory and scoop me up in his arms and tell me of his day and others he would slug in without so much as a hi to mom and plop on the couch clicker already in hand. Those days were when you had to watch out. People said they knew something bad was gonna happen the day my parents got married but no one ever knows that. They think about things like that afterward and say “I should’ve seen that coming”

It was a day in late June. Mom had called me in from the street as she picked up her lawn chair from the Portman’s front yard and made her way across the half dead lawn. I saw dad’s beat up two-seater pickup truck shamble up the road and I bounded the steps to the front door with glee. Mom and I had made dad a cake for his birthday. We were never one for parties but sour cream pound cake was his favorite. Mom and I hurried to the kitchen and flicked off all the lights before lighting a fist sized Yankee candle in the middle of the bunt shaped cake. Dad stepped in the kitchen with hunched shoulders. His eyes looked deep and dark in the dim light but we yelled surprise anyway. He winced at our voices and shot us a hateful glare before slipping into his bedroom. Mom smiled her smile and assured me he was just tired. She blew out the Vanilla scented flame and chased after him. Mom was right; He was tired but not just from work. Dad was tired of coming home to the same thing everyday, to the dead grass, to the ragamuffin son, and to his homemaker wife. I was pushing my finger into the hot wax left from the candle when I heard it. I watched the milk colored liquid form around my finger and watched it harden to a opaque cloud. A gunshot. Their yelling had left an absent ringing in my ears. I knew that sound. Dad had taken me to the hiking trails many times to shoot the cactuses around the back of the house. He had always warned me of gun safety. My own breath seemed to echo in the room. I heard a door slam and my father’s heavy footsteps clomp across the dingy carpet. He past me with a sideways stare and a pistol in his right hand. No sympathy. No regret. He was shaking violently. I sat dumbfounded at the kitchen stool with wide eyes as I watched my father slam the garage door behind him. “Bye dad.” I said to myself.

I was hesitant to go into my parents room, they had always forbid It but I moved on anyway. I heard my mom moan a little. The door swung on its hinges silently and I saw her. My mother gasped with wide eyes from the floor. Blood pulsed from her chest and I watched her hand reach for me. I stood horrified and unmoving. I watched a single tear slide from her eye and into the pool of blood that now extended to her chin. I wish I had held her hand at that moment, or at least reached for her but I was to scared. There’s not a night that goes by when I don’t think of that single tear she shed. Her eyes relaxed and I saw her breathing slow and sputter with one final gasp and she was gone.





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