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J.A.M.

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The rain started to sort of drown out the hum of voices in my head. I gazed out my little brother’s window on the second floor of our downtown apartment. My mom and her boyfriend, Don, were in Busco because Don’s grandmother was very ill. Dylan was across the street at his friend, Michael’s house. So I was basically jenking his computer for the day to listen to Noe Venable’s Simple Song on repeat. The hum of her voice and the drizzle of rain drummed into my mind; I didn’t want to, but I found myself remembering a time when things were different. Suddenly, I could practically hear his voice echoing through my mind…

“Hey June Bug, you awake yet?”
“Mmmm….bbb…wke.”
“Was that even English?” His sultry voice thrummed into a deep, husky laugh. He knew that I knew that he knew I was faking grogginess. “You have to get home soon, remember? Or do you want today to be the day your family finally finds out about us?” That caught my attention; I sat bolt upright and started gathering my belongings, which had strewn all over the floor from sometime in the night. I glanced over in time to see his face knit over with hurt.
“Oh baby? You know I’ll tell them someday, but honestly, how do you think they’d react to a twelve year old and a seventeen year old? My dad would kill you, and my mom? Well, she’d probably do worse; it’s just not the right time yet.” Our relationship was not at all, even in the slightest, sexual. I came over to his house at night to avoid my own. And yeah, I slept with him, but that was it. Neither Jonny, nor I was even slightly for that level of commitment.
I will admit, Jonny was gorgeous, and I had thought about the future for us, when that type of relationship would be possible. Five foot eleven, thin, but well-toned, and this deep mocha shade of skin, he was my version of a god. Our skin melded in such a way as was literally intoxicating, and his scent, peaches with just a hint of aftershave, created my own personal safe haven. It was the kind of scent that wrapped me up and warmed me from the inside out.
Lips touching I pulled back to peer at his large, luscious mouth searching for te remnants of an upside down smile. “I’ll be back in a few hours. Mom’s got to work and Don is going over to Jason’s. Dylan’s cool, he doesn’t care where I go, so long as I’m back in time to keep him from having to lie for me.” He cocked his head and frowned at me.
“I don’t like having to be hidden.”
“I know, soon, I’ll tell them soon.” I heard my mouth form the words, but I couldn’t make my heart believe them. I tried not to let it show on my face. He kissed me again and I had to bolt out the door to his car. I noticed the rain was seriously cold on my feet and immediately thought I’d stepped into a puddle.
“Hey, you forgot your shoes.” I turned to kiss him on the cheek, but he coldly pushed my shoes into my chest and got into the car without even looking at me.
I stepped up to the gorgeous ’87 red, convertible Mustang and waited at the door. I wasn’t going to get in until either he told me what was wrong, or I died of the cold. Ok, so I was being a little dramatic, but that’s to be expected, I was after all, only twelve. “Get in.” My reserve broke because my feet were so cold, so I got in.
“What’s the matter Jonny? Why are you so upset all of a sudden?” He put the car into reverse and started out of the complex parking lot. We drove for almost ten minutes in utter silence.
“Skye, I’m God-fearing man.” That was an understatement of the year, “I can’t keep lying like this. Give me a day. A date, give me a date telling me exactly when you’re going to introduce me to your family.” I thought about that for a minute.
“Tell you what, on our three year anniversary, October 8, 2008. I’ll tell them. I’ll be in high school, and I will have been with you long enough to know that you’re not going anywhere. Is it a deal?” I stuck out my hand expectantly.
“Two years from today, is that right?”
“Yeah, two years from today.”
“Deal.”

I woke up, breathing heavily. The song on my little brother’s computer was starting annoy me, and my back hurt from falling asleep perched on a window sill. I sat up and stretched, arching my back carefully, trying not to pull my muscles apart to quickly. The front door downstairs slammed, “Hello?” It was my little brother, Dylan. He was probably home for food. That’s normally one of the only reasons he comes home during the day is to eat. I scrambled to shut off his computer and rearrange his bed to make it look like I hadn’t been here.
“Yeah, I’m here Dyl. What d’you need?” I started down the stairs as he was peeling off his wet sneakers.
“I just came home to make a sandwich, but I’m going back. What were you doing?”
“I was about to draw a bath.” Not a total lie, I had been planning on doing that, just not yet.
“Mmkay… just stay out of my room. Alright?”
“Why would I wanna go in your room? It’s basically just Star Wars and Spiderman anyways.”
“Not true, I have the Green Lantern in there too you know.”
“Oooooohhhhhh…my bad.” Sarcasm ignored.
“You gonna go over to Andrew’s?”
“That’s actually not a bad idea, I’ll go see if he’s awake. Stay out of the ham, mom’s using that to make the ham salad that she’s taking over to Trina and David’s cook out tomorrow. Mom knows I don’t eat meat, which leaves you.” I smiled.
“Whatever, I don’t want ham anyway, I have my sandwich from Wendy’s in the fridge still, I saved it.”
I walked back upstairs and grabbed a towel out of the linen closet. I have to stay true to my word at least a little. I walked into the bathroom and stripped. I wasn’t a beauty by any standards, but I did look kind of like a woman. I had a perfect hour glass figure, but I didn’t fit into it yet, I still looked like a little kid. I was fifteen, but I had the face of a ten-year-old.
The water steamed up the bathroom and I put up what little hair I had left. After Jonny passed, I chopped all my hair to scalp. I call it my form of mourning; obviously I don’t really care what anyone else thinks. My mom tells me all the time how horrible it looks and how I should have kept my “gorgeous hair.” My dad tells me all the time he likes it better this way, and Kitty says it’s salvageable. I don’t really care. It served its purpose, now I can grow it back out if I so choose.
The water was scalding, just the way I liked it. I sank down and let the hot water drown out my resurfacing pain. I turned the radio on and listened to that new singer, Taylor Swift belt out some dorky, girly song. I got the gist of it. She was in love with a boy who didn’t know she even existed, so she vied for his attention. Wahoo. I sank down to bottom. I always drew the water so that I would always be fully submitted except my face. It was how I could sleep underwater.

The car ride was a blur of motion and the sirens kept blaring in my head. I had no idea what was going on, but I refused to let them take him unless they took me too. The guy in the ambulance didn’t look even happy that I was taking up his time. The only thing I could see was Jonny on a stretcher. His face was really grey compared to his natural mocha skin tone, and he had wet his pants.
I wanted to sweep my hand over his forehead, and brush his bangs out of his eyes, but the ambulance guy wouldn’t even let me closer than holding his hand. I had no idea what happened. We were at the park during a birthday party when he suddenly collapsed. Luckily, the man, a squat, balding man in his early forties, had a cell phone and called 911. He promised to pay for the ambulance ride because he just couldn’t drive Jonny to the hospital himself. I ushered myself into the ambulance and forced my way into the bustling, crowded emergence room of Parkview. I refused to give out my name in case they tried looking up my parents; I just kept saying I was a relative. I’m pretty sure everyone there knew I was lying.
My heart raced when they told me that I had to wait in the Waiting Room. I didn’t want to be separated from him. Not for the world. I was numbly led to a white room that smelled heavily of antiseptic and old people. I tried not to notice. There were few other people there; a small, white-haired old lady, a fat, balding young man in his early forties, and a small girl in a corner. I sat down next to her. I wasn’t about to work up the nerve to ask her if she was okay, especially since I was having major issues of my own. Somehow, however, the words formed of their own accord. “Hey, girl, are you okay?”
She looked up at me with a tear-streaked face and glared maliciously and I felt my jaw drop. This little girl, who couldn’t have been older than seven, was covered in tiny white scars. I averted my eyes and pretended she didn’t exist. Instantly, I realized my pocket book was still in the meager bag I called a purse, and I pulled it out. I flipped through it at random, hoping I could find something that would hold me up, but all I found was one entry in the very back that made me want to hold on.
The Chosen Wind
I hear you blushing through the trees.
Blundering gracefully over unspoken words.
And though I wish I could see
The path you chose for or against the paths of the birds
You chase my coattails and the balls of my feet
Lifting my hair around my face and tears
My heart burns a hole, literally through the Earth
I feel you still between the hours and my sheets
Whisking gently my ebbing fears
That have haunted me since my forgotten birth

My home creaks quietly through a molten world
You uplift the sadness that has increasingly sunken in
My heart uplifts, brightens, and lovingly unfurls
Like a habit worn too long; far too broken in
But I sense you’re leaving sometime soon
To chase a spawning storm
And so I try to hide myself inside you
I gaze into my reflection in the spoon
Wondering why I can’t follow the days
And the sadness that attacks me turns my heart black to blue

I hear the phone ring and the machine pick up
His voice fills my ears but I don’t want to hear him
Vodka and orange juice fill my cup
As I ignore the sadness his voice distills throughout the room
Why won’t he leave me alone, let me be free?
Forget the love he thought he once felt?
Learn that his world no longer revolves around me?
I try to drink but I cannot for fear I weep.
I hear his voice and remember the sting of his belt.
Sometimes I wonder if you’re the only one who really knows me.

Shards of my past destroy the drops of present,
Stabbing through my line of sight.
All I thought I was, all I believed I was just isn’t.
The win of the war, the loss of the fight,
So why can’t I ignore the past wrongs?
Why can’t I live alone?
Have I always been the one to follow the footsteps of his feet?
But now the world has around, my hope all but gone.
I’m a starving dog without a bone,
Broken for you, dancing with you to an unheard beat.


The poem reminded me of the parts of my life I had wanted to forget, but slowly, I realized, that’s not what life’s really about. A couple of doctors passed through the room, one after the other bearing no news for me to hear. I ended up sleeping for a few hours; I didn’t really know how long. All I knew was that when I woke, the Waiting Room was empty. I stood up and stretched, when I turned around, he stood there like he was waiting for me. “Jonny! Are you alright? What happened? How long were you in there?” He didn’t answer.


“Aaagh!!!” I woke with a start! “Skye! What are you doing?!?” My mom had somehow lock picked her way into the bathroom and was being hysterical. I guess she thought I was attempting suicide for the third time that year. She grabbed a fistful of my soaking wet hair and yanked my head up out of the water.

“Mom! Stop that hurts! You’re hurting me! Let go!” I managed to get her to let go of my hair and I shoved her away from me. I looked up into her eyes, I knew that look instantly. Her teeth were gritted and her face was deathly pale; she had her tiny hands in death grip fists and her whole body trembled with fury. But her eyes scared me the most. Her naturally blue eyes were rigid with fury and stone cold hatred, her lower eyelids were up just enough to give the appearance of the loss of total self-control. I knew that look meant I was in for it.

I felt it before I saw it; her whole fist collided with the backside of my head and a sharp dagger-like pain spiked through my thoughts. “YOU DO NOT TELL ME WHAT TO DO! If I wanna tear you’re hair, I’m going to $%^&#*& do it! You are not the boss of me! That’s not how this works, I brought you into this world and I can take you out!” I felt the jolt of several more blows to the back of my head and the sting of my scalp as she jerked my head around by my hair.

I felt my hands trembling and knew I’d had enough. Somehow, I’d dug up some form of courage enough to push her away from me. Adrenaline coursed throughout my entire body, I was going to do this if it killed me, which, if it did, might just be a bonus. “STOP HITTING ME!!!” I screamed through clenched teeth. “Take one of your precious moments and look at yourself, look at me.” I turned to look in the mirror. I realized I looked worse than I felt. My lower lip was bitten through where she made me clack my teeth together somewhere in her tirade. I had a clear, red imprint on my left cheek and a cut above my right eyebrow where her ruby ring snagged my skin. I looked back at her and saw her for the first time, really saw her. She sat on the toilet seat, soaking wet; her hair in shambles around her face. Her shoulders sagged and pulsated with her racking sobs. I realized she’d hurt herself more than she’d hurt me.

“Why… why do you want to kill yourself? Is it something I did?” Her voice choked and I almost felt bad for her. I grabbed a towel and covered myself, situating myself on my knees in front of her. I let her cry for a while and I tried to clean up the steady stream of blood that flowed forth from my forehead. I put my finger, covered in some of the blood, in my mouth. Jonny doesn’t have this anymore, he can’t feel pain. So I have to feel it for him. “I just don’t understand… what’s wrong?”

“Mom, there’s something I need to tell you about. No, scratch that, someone. It’s important, and maybe you’ll understand.


I stood crying as I watched him fall, I couldn’t bear this sadness anymore, I wanted out. I wanted to run but my feet were glued into place. The rain had stopped mid fall, the people running froze, and my heart raced. Cold gripped me faster than the bullet had moved. All this time, I thought it was the leukemia that was going to kill him, not his brother. I closed my eyes and fell, my world went black, but the pain didn’t go away.
I opened my eyes to see him, to really see him, lying on the ground, blood surrounding his face and this great canyon in the middle of his forehead. What was I supposed to do but scream? Jonny was dead.
I guess it was one of those scenes where, I knew I was screaming, I just couldn’t hear it. Everything moved around me in slow motion. Erik was walking towards me, Robyn was yelling at me to get off his body, as if she owned it. She wasn’t the one who had gone to all his chemotherapy sessions. She wasn’t the one who found him crying beneath the statue of a lion that day five years ago. She wasn’t the one who had sealed that permanent bond of friendship with blood. No, she hadn’t done any of those things. She'd been with him, gotten pregnant and considered him her property. I was going to kill her.





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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

Lacer said...
Jan. 22, 2011 at 9:26 pm
I love it! Despite my dislike for M/F relationships, I actually enjoyed the drama of this girls life, and the creepy ending. :3
 
Phina This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 25, 2011 at 1:27 pm
Thanks guys, but this piece is a true story. I knew the girl that went through all of it. And yes, she's still living
 
AngelForeverBleedingLove This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 18, 2011 at 12:18 pm

THIS IS REALLY GOOD :) I love it! You did great, and I am looking forward to more great pieces from you!

-Angel

 
Phina This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 16, 2011 at 10:10 am
thx Angel. You're really nice.
 
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