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You Found Me

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He clenched the old bottle of whiskey in one hand, the half-smoked cigarette in the other. Sighing deeply, he threw back his head and took a swig from the bottle. He flicked his cig into the ashtray on the stained, wooden table next to him. He poured the rest of the whiskey into the tray and the cigarette's heat was doused with a small hiss.

He cradled his head in his hands, sobbing uncontrollably. His chest convulsed with the pressure of too many tears kept in for too long. Wiping at his eyes with the backs of his hands, he stumbled to his feet and shuffled to his living room. “Oh, God...why? Why would you do such a thing? Answer me!”, he shouted to the ceiling. He leaned against the wall heavily, and nearly fell when the telephone rang. He ignored it, but when it when to voice mail and then rang again, he answered.

“Hello?”, he croaked. His throat was sore, and his voice was barely a whisper.

“Hello. You called me? I'll be at the corner of First and Amistad, midnight,” and abruptly hang up.

He didn't want to go, but did he have anything better to do? Did he even care if he went or not? Was it worth the energy? He craned his neck up at the the antiqued clock hanging above him; eleven forty-five, on the dot. He mulled over the fridge, another drink or another cigarette? Then, grabbing his overcoat, headed out. First and Amistad was at the other end of his block. He glanced down at his watch, eleven fifty-five.

It was chilly outside, with a brisk wind snatching at the ends of his coat. He huffed out his alcohol-stinking breath over his hands, picking up his pace. Though he had no clue who called him, especially that late, he felt compelled to meet him.

That man's voice was like liquid silver, like the finest silk, like the softest velvet. It was irresistible.

Finally, he reached the corner. The rusted, chipped sign post stood in it's usual place, and there was no one else out at that time of night. Everyone was at home, asleep or falling into sleep. All, that is, except the man who called.

That man leaned against a fatigued apartment building, taking a long drag from his cigar, then flicking it into the gutters. He unhitched himself from the wall and turned to face the lonesome drunkard, hardly making a sound. He pulled off his hat and swept into a bow, straightened out, then said, “Well, Adam. It would appear that you've reached then end of your rope, hasn't it? Though I'm sure you've been thinking about hanging yourself with what's left. Was Eve worth the pain?” The stranger spoke with a voice like velvet, flowing, smooth, grand and noble sounding.

“Adam? My name is not Adam. And how could you possibly know anything about me, or what I think of?”

“That matters not, as Adam suits you. You remind me of him. And your dame, Eve? She erred, but it was your choice to follow her into her despair.”

“I asked this once before, now I say it again. Who are you to know this about me and my...Eve?”, Adam whispered harshly. He began to shake, as he knew very well just whose business it was.

“You already know that, do you not? I did not make you to be a fool; you have more sense than that. Besides, you called on me. You asked for answers, and answers you shall get. Be forewarned, you will not like what I have to say.”

Adam shifter his weight from foot to foot, thoughts worming through his subconscious as he tried to think of who the stranger really was through his sluggish, buzzed mind.

“You have been blaming me for everything that has gone wrong in your life. From the time you broke into your own mother's house as a foolish adolescent and was caught, up to yesterday's events with Eve. She was predictably selfish and self-idolizing, but you loved the way she made you feel, so you went with her even when she blatantly used you. You cursed my name then, too.

“And through all that has happened in your miserable life, you never once stopped and asked for help from anyone, ever. You had such a self-confident mentality that you could handle anything life threw at you, and you didn't need anyone. Even when things went right for you, however rarely, you did not stop to offer praise or thanks to anyone who tried to help you. You are a deplorable excuse for a human being, and have done nothing in your lifetime but push everyone who cared about you away, then complained about them leaving you. You scorned your parents, and have not bothered to offer so much as a whispered condolence for your family when your mother passed away recently. You wallow in your bad fortunes like pathetic swine wallow in the mud of the world, for that seems to be the only place you stick. Still, you have been forgiven by so many people, only to abuse their trust, or let them abuse yours.”

He paused in his narration of Adam's life, carefully studying Adam's expression, which was as blank as the clouded over-night sky. Sighing, he waited for a response for several minutes.

Adam lowered his head, speaking to the dirty cement under his feet. “Who I am, who I'm not, and who I want to be are none of your concern. As for...Eve...I couldn't know how long she would be with me. I just wanted to be by her. Losing her, she was the only one who's ever really understood me. She's just a part of my past, like everyone else.” He reflected upon his own words, then persisted with his point. His voice grew thick with emotion, and he grimaced in pain. “In the end, everyone ends up alone.”

“No, not everyone. Just the ones that choose to.”

Realization dawned inside Adam, and his visage darkened with anger. He had a thought as to who it was addressing him in this manner. “You,” he packed such resentment in that single word. “Why'd you have to wait? Why? You knew all my perils and mistakes, my shortcomings and wrongdoings, so where were you, huh? I tried, so many times, to call for you. I begged for your help, and you never left me so much as a voicemail to answer to, or a letter explaining yourself. You've got some kinda nerve taking all I had...” His voice trailed off, and his simmering rage diminished into self-pity and sadness.

“You need change, and this you have known for a very long time. Come back to me, my child. I will always care for you. I have given you and all others like you the ability to choose for yourselves the destiny you want. It's your time to choose.” He rocked back on his heels, whistling a faint tune and string intently at Adam.

“I...I...,” Adam was lost for words, and fully comprehended everything said to him. They pierced him to his core, unsaid secrets exposed in such an abrupt way. “You're too late. I'm no man worth saving, worth changing, worth rescuing.”

“I am never too late for any child of mine.”

Adam lost any semblance of self-control, and hot tears poured down his face. He fell forward, embracing the man. He thought of all the times he felt lost, alone, depressed, abandoned. Untouched emotions racked his body with spams of pain as he remembered everything he'd ever done, every sin, every crime, everything. He sighed with relief as the man hugged him back, and a feeling of warmth and happiness overcame him.

“You found me.”




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