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This story is not a happy one. It began with a man and a woman. Their names do not matter, for in this story they are called mom and dad. They made a child together while they were still relatively young and were not ready to have one. They kept the little boy and named him Gabriel Jamin, and for a few years they were happy until the unthinkable happened. Gabriel’s mother died and his whole world change for the worst. His dad became an alcoholic, drinking a few bottles of whiskey a day. Because of this obsession with alcohol, Gabriel’s dad spent most of his time at the local bars, coming back late into the evening, staggering to his bedroom then passing-out until Gabriel had to wake him up for work.
In this drunken state, Gabriel’s father told him that the death of his mother was his entire fault, and after a while Gabriel thought it was true. Years grew on and Gabriel grew more independent from everyone. He became alone with no friends that would play with him, no family that wouldn’t blame him. Everyday, every person who walked by him, with people surround themselves, he couldn’t help but to fell envious and angry. Throughout his early school years, Gabriel would be beaten by his father, but he did nothing to provoke him and nothing to stop him. He would walk into school with burses all over his body, from his father’s drunken rage. Gabriel would fall and there was no one to help pick him up, no one that told him it would be ok. Pain engulfed his heart and he ran out of tears long before.
High school wasn’t much better for Gabriel. He tried to talk back at his father but all that he received was a punch to his eyes or a powerful slap against the back of his head. Gabriel tried to defend himself but then his father fought back harder and more powerful. He swore to himself that after high school he would leave and never come back. He was going to leave everything behind and start over, even though it wasn’t much, it was all he knew.
Finally the day came in his senior year, the last day of high school. With his father at work, who did not care about some little graduation, Gabriel knew that it would be like this for the rest of his life. With no friends and no family there to cheer him on, he was surprised that anyone knew his name. But what he didn’t know was that there were people who knew his name, people who wanted to get to know him. It started with one girl, that girls name was Keila Ermintrude. Once Keila told her friends about this Gabriel, who was in so many words cute, in a dark secluded way, they began to watch him. But Gabriel was too detached from the world to notice.
Gabriel acknowledged his diploma and quickly left for home, in order to leave. Once he got his bags together he started to load them into his beaten and rusted 1967 Oldsmobile. But once Gabriel was loading his last bag Keila stopped him.
“Who are you?” Gabriel asked the beautiful girl.
“I’m Keila Ermintrude, we had English 12 together. But I bet you were too isolated to know that anyone was even near you.”
“You don’t know me, so stop judging me,” Gabriel’s tone was getting angry.
“Wow, calm down sparky,” she looked down and saw bags,” where you heading?”
“Anywhere but here,” Gabriel moved around the car to the driver’s door and Keila stopped him from getting in.
“Are you coming back?”
“No,” his voice saddens and looks to the ground.
“Why,” she did not know about Gabriel’s past and Gabriel didn’t have the patience to explain.
“Let’s just say that I have absolutely no good memories of this place and I never want to come back.”
“Can you tell me some of those memories—maybe over coffee or dinner?” she leaned towards Gabriel a little.
After a few short moments of Gabriel thinking he had to say, “No,” he paused and looked back up to Keila’s face, “I have to leave,” he opened the car door and started the engine.
“Where are we going?” Keila appear in the seat next to him.
He sighed, “If I take you for one—short—dinner well you leave me alone,” for years no one has ever taken any step in order to know him, it felt strange and he didn’t know what to do.
“What you don’t think I’m hot,” he looked at her as she paused, “Fine, one dinner and I’ll leave you alone.”
Gabriel drove to a near-by diner. He didn’t order anything but Keila ordered a soda and a little bit of food. She tried to talk about the bad memories but all Gabriel did was look out the window and say, “Can we please change the subject,” and he tried for her to talk about herself but it didn’t work. Gabriel threatened to leave at one point but Keila promised him that she wouldn’t ask anymore. Keila finished the dinner and Gabriel paid the bill, thinking it was what a man would do for a beautiful woman like Keila. All Keila was able to get Gabriel to talk about, from the bad memories, was his father, all the drunken rages and painful attacks. Keila only knew a small fraction of Gabriel’s life and she knew why he was leaving.
Once Gabriel dropped Keila off at her house, the sun was about to set and the sky was a blend of different colors, “Look,” Keila turned around and placed her elbows inside the door’s windows, “If you over come back give me a call,” she handed Gabriel a piece of paper that had her phone number on it.
He took the paper and stared at Keila, “Thank you Keila,” he looked at the paper then back at Keila, “You’ll be the first one I call.”
Keila stalled for a few seconds and reached into the car, wrapping her arms around Gabriel and kissing him. She pulled away just far enough to talk, “Your welcome.”
Gabriel didn’t know whether he should stay or should he go. Keila drew further away and Gabriel was looking down, “Thank you,” he said again.
“For what the kiss—” Keila laughed a little but Gabriel remained emotionless.
He drove off, not stopping for anything or anyone. He drove on fumes to the Gas Station to refill. Gabriel ended up across the world, more than once. He meet plenty of women, but none could make him fell what he felt for the few hours that he spent with Keila. He tried to forget every single terrorizing memory he had of that town but there was one thing that always brought him back to them, the paper with Keila’s number.
One day, five years later, Gabriel was in Rome. He found himself holding the paper, which made his memories coming back to him. His now more deep and mature voice called the number and it rang and to his surprise a woman picked up the phone.
“Hello,” the woman greeted.
“Is this Keila?”
The woman sounded confused, “Yes—why, who are you?”
Gabriel waited a few seconds, “Uh, Keila…this is Gabriel,” he paused, “We were in English—”
Gabriel heard the phone wiggle around Keila’s ear and a slight crying voice overcame the words that were coming out of the phone, “You kept the paper,” she said in a combination of weeping and laughing.
“Yes,” Gabriel heard Keila’s sob over the phone for a few instants and Gabriel broke her cries with three words. But these words would only continue her tears. For five years Keila knew that he would call and never dated any man because of a sense that this moment would come and she was right. Gabriel continued, “I’m coming back.”
Then every memory that he repressed of the town came back to him. The recollection of his mother’s death, the remembrance of his drunken father, but he was welling to fight those memories for one single person, one being that caused the single most happiest moment in Gabriel’s life, Keila.