Monthly Archives: April 2013
Greetings dear family, and I say family for I know that these words will travel from ear to ear, echoing over and over again among you, as they are analyzed and dissected, in search of some deeply rooted reason, perhaps a clue, to help once and for all solve the problem that is me, or just a faint glimmer of light to guide you further into the heart of the matter, even though there exists no such thing; nothing here that matters.
It appears that within my mind, I am still extremely selfish; and I’m now certain that this will never change. I’ve come to believe that our selfishness, as innate as it is, never truly lets us go. As we age, we may gain awareness towards it, and are then able to control it and keep it quiet, but it will always be there, breathing and keeping us in love with ourselves.
One day, while chatting with Manizheh online, she swore to me on her life that Behrouz loves me dearly and so does she. There’s not a speck of doubt in my being regarding this love. Matter of fact, it is my opinion that we all have love for one another, but our loves differ entirely in perspective, and we’re not even in the same book of love, let alone on the same page. Exupery defined it as, “…Staring outward, together and in the same direction.” In the absence of this truth between us, what are we to call our love now? Habit…? Attachment…? Some sense of obligation, sentencing us to one another in the name of love, inside a house where we shall always owe each other a smile…? Or should I say four houses? Let us not speak of this. Let us not continue to fish for reasons and seek solutions; let us leave the root of it all alone, whatever it may be. Is there a need?
Someone, somewhere, once said that guilt is essential for human existence. It might have been Woody Allen in one of his movies. Either way, as I stare blankly at my hands, I’m struck with an abundant army of guilty fibers and regretful particles and pores, which are my belongings. Created by me, they are solely mine to bear and heal, and believe it or not, I no longer run around frantically within my head, firing the blame at all those who object my ways. No where in my being are you held responsible for my blood soaked hands. It is fair to say, “You are what you do, and who you are, you are for yourself.” We’re all well aware of many acts of mine, and there exist other truths and deeds, but let us leave them lying hidden. Allow me to carry my bag of broken bones, for I’m the one who broke them! Here now, with that put forth, I think it is fair of me to add: Dear family, please do not make me feel guilty about not helping out with your dreams and comfort, or not living up to your standards. I’ll be attending an “all you can eat guilt buffet” every night for the rest of my life, where they shall serve me flashbacks of moments and nightmares from my past…I don’t I’ll have room for dessert! At times it fascinates me, how we can often speak with such admiration and fondness of western societies, specifically about western families and how they interact with one another, and how their children are brought up, many of them on their own once of legal age. Every place is different, but tell me, how are we able to admire, but not adopt? Thus far in life, I have proven to not know much about anything, but I may know your answer. I think you’re going to pull the “culture card.” It is in our nature, right? As Iranians…? It is engraved in our eastern emotions and flows within our scorching blood, is that it? There’s not helping the sun, rising the east and setting in the west. It just might be that as Iranians, we must always see a mountain for the sunrise to make sense; any mountain in Iran that is…
I’m rambling now, steering far off point. Once again preaching furiously, with a sting if I might add, as if I’m the all-knowing. And believe it or not Behrouz, I can hear you saying, “Be minimal! Keep it simple!” Well, it is not in my nature. It is not my style, I’ve come to learn.
Allow me to state an obvious fact: Behrouz you are a smart man, a genius, many would say. Personally, I think you’re one of the few people I know who has true faith, in anything that is, surpassing any religious fucker in that category any day of the week, simply because your faith has nothing to do with your fears. Hence. a smart man has no reason to be afraid.
On another note, I’m sure you’ve already forgiven me for disturbing the peace in our family, or perhaps, that is a bit cruel of me to say. I have done disturbing things, that’s for certain; but peace in our family..? As far back as my memory allows me to venture- and mind you, the visions are blurry for we moved around quite a lot- there was of course peace and calm, but only in pieces, scattered here and there and never among all of us together. Looking back now, I can barely remember my childhood, but within the recent past, it is rather easy to trace the struggle and see the slow motion replay of every step taken, every maneuver made and experimental method used to shape the form of our family and to draw the line, upon which we were to march. That straight and perfected line, which Behrouz would often mention during that time; that morbid time that now arouses in me laughter. What have I done to be worthy of so many people trying, so many times in so many ways. Yes, of course, I am full of talent. Show me one who isn’t…So many attempts made, so many paths taken and roles played. Give him space: I was left alone and scouted from afar. Be his friend, speak of no expectations: I was hugged and kissed and handed a permit to smoke, but I should’ve known myself at that point. I should have at least seen the wrinkles in your smiles at that time, the tension within your thoughts. It is of no use, keep him grounded and in sight, scold the demons out of his head: and so it goes, I was taken to Shahrekord and kept confined and under observation upon the rooftop of our beloved land, but it seems that all the results learned were left ignored for some reason, perhaps due to the enormity of my talents, and hugs and kisses greeted me once again, along with the freedom to smoke. You then let me be, more so than you had ever done before. Funnily enough, even then I strived to spend more of my time is solitude, fabricating facts outside of our familiar frame, far from the father of our fantastic factory; or should I say, four fantastic factories? Deep down inside, where one almost always remains soft…I wish I could pull out of my pocket some proof; what I mean is a piece of paper that proposes an answer, as to why I’ve chosen to remain a question mark for all these years. You might be happy to know that I’ve done some research, but still, I would much rather say, “I’m possessed!” and hope we could all just leave it at that. However, even I know, that is only partially the case. There are too many factors, all around and at play, front to back and overlapping, they muster mazes out of miniscule moments, and deep wells out of incidents in time, occurrences and actions that have the potential to expand within the mind, and ultimately consume years out of one’s character.
Let us take a breath, the horizon has yet to show itself…
Behrouz, for nights on end now, I have pondered upon your sorrow, for you had said that you are happy for me being happy, but sorrowful for yourself….be sorrowful? I must admit, and I’ve said it before, you truly know how to write, and those who know how to write well, can often find pathways leading to the insides of people. You are quite the skillful master, even when it comes to breaking the heart of a heartless individual such as myself, and yet in the most through provoking of ways. It is true; your last letter brought to life many hours worth of thoughts and recollections, but I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I still haven’t stumbled upon the reason, that rock of certainty that justifies you feeling sorry for yourself. Could your sorrow by any chance, fall into the category of things that I’m never supposed to understand? At times I think this might be it, but the greater part of my being is always eager to ask you, “Why?” As childish as that may sound, when you’re lost without an answer, you might have no choice but to turn to one of your oldest and most curious companions, the word why…That is only, if you truly care to know.
Shall I allow myself to tread further down this dreadful path of disrespect? I pause, closing my eyes briefly as I inhale smoke long and deep, taking into consideration once again, my pair of blood soaked hands, and the stubborn stone on which I stand and have stood for so long relentlessly, I shall exhale the poison by saying, “It is my opinion father that your sorrow for yourself is rather pathetic. It bears not a speck of your genius, not a drop of your intellect, in my opinion.”
Have I hurt you now? Truthfully, I don’t think I can, but I guess in a moment, anything is possible. Simply single moments formed our distance, and so it goes, in a moment anything can happen. Moments and moments, all as insignificant as the emotions they rouse within us. Can you do me favor, for merely a moment then? For a moment, now, can you please refrain from declaring your sorrow, in any manner or form, and explain to me instead why it is that you love me so…? I’m an idiot, incapable of unmasking such mysteries, and quite frankly, most often of the time, I’m empty of all care. I am not one of your accomplishments gone to hell, so why so gloomy now? There is theory in my mind, a thorn of a thought, and mind you, I’m an idiot, but still an idiot who often remembers things and details, such as your nickname during your university years. Behrouz ‘Troubleshooter’ Salimi; throughout your life, problems defined you, for it was your soul that sought solutions. “Could this be it?” I wonder, but not with sense of selfish pride or sadistic pleasure, but rather with the eyes of a stranger, residing outside of our circle, the indifferent joy of an analyst. I wonder, “Could I have left him clueless? Was I the one problem in his life, for which he never found the answer?” Being the creator of your confusion, I must admit, it is a perplexing state. Being the man that you are, you’ll never truly believe that there exists no answer to your youngest problem. No. Personally, I don’t think this will ever happen. Perfectionists- true perfectionists that is- will always blame themselves. Isn’t that right? Most people would hear this notion and think to themselves that perfectionists must be rather depressing individuals, who almost always pass on with regret, never having done enough, every moment, all the time and always the pillar of blame in their own minds. I think this is true, but very much like all other truths, it isn’t absolute, meaning that it’s not entirely true.
Even to me it is astonishing what is happening here. It seems as if I’m falling angrily into an endless pit of confessions, or perhaps all of my spiteful ramblings are merely a means, in which to mock and make monsters out of my loved ones. Ah, who knows…? Look at who we are and wonder how we’ve come this far…All in all, I tend not to suppress such sighs of nostalgia, so in case you wondering, all withered and worn out with worry, be troubled no longer. Know that you are still present, and from time to time, each of you makes an appearance in my head, for which I may not have prepared even a single, simple welcome, but regardless of my carelessness, you are still entitled the stage and within your moments in the theater of my thoughts, as you “Strut and fret,” and often make noise, shouting inside a dark space of extreme character and depth that may have me somewhere inside it, I remain but your humble spectator, smiling enthusiastically among the audience. It is of no surprise to me, the unexpected the thought of you is of no bother whatsoever. After all, we were time spent, and we, were time spent away.
There is worry in the eyes of love. Mother, I am well aware of the love you possess.I’m aware now that love possesses judgmental eyes that often worry and could easily come to hate, but of course, the eyes of love would much rather love. I have stories to tell; the people, the adventures, the chilling absence of togetherness, I have come to grasp in the year that has passed. The irony of it all is a killer. All this pain perhaps…No, most definitely there was no need for all this pain. No pride in it now, but I can still smile. I still have it in me…Where am I going with all this that is the meaning of love and change? One thing is for sure, and I know this now and it provides pride to declare, “I know nothing!” Do we really think about things or do we just make decisions because it feels right in the gut? Should I keep going with this letter, which will ultimately cause you either to place me in a higher throne of literary potential (which I deserve), or it’ll provoke you to say, “To hell with him, the inconsiderate prick!” ( Again a truth I am worthy of hearing.) ??
My dear family, dear people of Iran, I failed to understand you. I will dare to call it that, a failure, even though I know that in order to fail, once must try. Try, I did not. You must want things in life. Anything…What have I come to want now? The few years I spent in Iran, taught me all about the time we invest in the thoughts of one another. Some nights I stay awake and wonder about the conversations between you now. Here now…
Here now, I think I’m in need of someone to harness my thoughts, or put down the horse in my head. Can I ask you to be proud of me? I will help you soon to be. In the course of this letter, which has taken me about two months to write, due to laziness and my scattered mind frame, I seem to have lost myself, my point. Oh that’s right, there was no point. It may have started out of anger, with the intent of revenge perhaps. I flooded it with sarcasm and painful notions, yet again proving my age, and now…Now, I can write to you of my smile, the intensity of which does not allow me to gather in words the entire essence of it all.
I am loved dear family, and I have become a nowhere man.
I am sorry,
Regardless of my talent with words,
Honesty is often the greatest poetry…
Try, I did not,
Proud, you’re soon to be.
Every face was in close up. I could see people’s pores like millions of stars on blown up sheets of sky. Their wrinkles, like canyons with history carved in a unique character of rock and sand. I felt as if I could see thousands of years in people’s faces, all in close up, all passing by, and despite the pleasantly frantic beating within my chest, my mind slowed down and stretched out their passing. All in close up, all in slow motion. Occasionally, for a moment, panic would poke its head out when I’d think of my eyes and those enormously happy pupils, greeting strangers with a sense of fear and curiosity. My mouth was dry. I must’ve looked like an animal, but I’ll never know exactly what. It doesn’t matter though, because I was genuinely happy, stumbling with each step further into the simplest, most sincere sense of acceptance I had ever known. That is the best way I can describe LSD; one can find acceptance.
Here and there, on certain occasions, I have smiled and nodded at the mysteries of life, content with the question marks I see, wearing a cloak of humility that perhaps best belongs to those of true faith. I’m certain that they know what acceptance is, for god seems to have a plan…and so does LSD.
It was pointless, looking back to see how far I had walked. There was no pain in my feet, the cancer in my soles that had raised me was asleep, and so I kept on walking. I must’ve been walking fast. I must’ve looked like an animal. It had been a couple of years since my last trip.
With a smile, one can sit anywhere. Sincerity is the disguise I have often used while sitting in a park getting high, or walking on a crowded street smoking a joint. I won’t go as far as to say that LSD was the cause of all sincerity within me, but it brought it out, and so far, remnants of it that stayed behind have changed my core. I’m generally a nicer person now. At least I hope…
Places and people; I’ve jumped about, and every place had a piece of me that I found. Amusing as fuck! And I have to curse, ‘cause all in all the pieces found were nothing gained, but I still must keep moving. Irony is a killer, amusing as fuck…I’m sure I’ll be laughing when I die, and I hope for it to be a silent laugh. I hope at that point, I will be as content as I was in my past with all the questions marks circling the sphere of my story.
Oh how the mind drifts! Have you ever sat and wondered about the speed of thoughts? Somewhere, spinning in my subconscious might be the secret as to how one can travel at the speed of thought. I hope man never calculates the speed. There should never be a unit for it. Because then, everybody’s gotta have a unit. Some geniuses came up with these numbers, and…
Every moment, in which I mutter, “What is this shit you are writing?” is always brief. My rambling state is rather obvious all the time. Inside the pub, on an autumn Thursday evening, I think I was telling the story of an acid trip…I was walking…people’s faces. “I can write in a crowded pub,” I say to myself, “I can write in a crowded pub. I can write in a…”
“Are you writing your memoirs?” she said suddenly. Her voice rang in my head like the echo of some bell made to subdue animals. Fucking shriek…
(This isn’t the best time I’m sure, but I must apologize every once in a while for my use of curse words; moments bring about things…right now, ten to midnight, I’m at the pub, writing about the other time I was at the pub, on that autumn Thursday evening, and was trying to tell the story of some acid trip I had, and well…fuck is just a word.)
I turned to her slowly, pretending rather skillfully that I had not heard her high pitched question mark piercing my right ear.
“Are you writing your memoirs?”
“No, just a bunch of short stories,” I said.
“Short stories,” she exclaimed. Goddamn her voice was annoying. “So, you’re a writer. This is my friend Dan,” she said, tugging at the arm of the man next to her.
With alcohol painted in his eyes and face he turned and said, “Hey man, you’re a writer?”
“I’m working on it,” I muttered, while on the inside paragraphs of thoughts and buildings of poetry and past days were crumbling and rolling away. I’ll blame that high pitched voice of hers. I’ll blame the sky and the counter of the bar. I’ll blame myself for not being able to write in a crowded pub.
I’ll crawl my way back now, back to square one, then square two and three; back to my three tiny tabs of LSD. Nature is often on our side. I remember how inspiring the winds were that day. Fascinating clouds…I had to sit, for the clouds grounded me. Must’ve been the wind, must’ve been those clouds…
The window, through which I am gazing back at my walk with LSD, is more or less foggy from time to time. The winter that is in my head, has made the children in my thoughts, steam up the window with their mouths and noses pressed foolishly against the glass. I used to do the same, somewhere, back in the day, when childhood was around.
Anyways… either way; here now, I’m thinking, “Goddamn she’s beautiful!” while I stare at her, gliding it seems, behind the bar. “Goddamn…Goddamn,” and the occasional, “Fuck…”
And just like that, flashbacks fade; I put pen to pocket, dedicate these papers to a forgotten autumn Thursday evening. Finish my pint. Smile at her beauty, and try to write a poem to make myself feel better.
This was not supposed to be a story. I am sorry.
Every poem these days,
Wants to begin with mother;
Mother’s pain, mother’s hands,
Mother is on my mind…
I’m in the habit of hiding daggers
and covering scars…
These days, every time I sink into the page,
the poem wants to begin with mother,
and end in a whirlwind
that sits well upon the ears of our thoughts,
but offers no resolution,
like a comfortable darkness.
My eyes are accustomed to this blackness,
Find me later when I’m laughing.
These awkward moments might take us places…
They probably wont,
but let us laugh,
let us hope…
He isn’t forgotten,
his energy is around here somewhere.
Every other day,
someone’s energy greets us,
on the sidewalk,
in the park,
smoking on a rooftop
watching the city,
watching birds drawing circles.
I used to get so high,
LSD made me realize,
the energy out there,
energy in the waves of smoke
that caress the air…
Followed around still by fragments
of conversations and shadowy fingers
in my solitude;
I hope his energy never leaves me be.
We were all insecure,
we were all friends, for a short while,
it was the greatest summer.
All said and done,
his energy still tends to wake me some mornings,
His energy is out there,
like that of Jesus or Muhammad…
Who knows who’ll follow us later on,
on the sidewalk,
to our homes…
This emptiness, this empty world,
is not all that empty…
“I’m always winning,” she said,
The Blue Jays too, were kicking ass,
or so it seemed…
Buying everyone a chocolate bar,
made me feel like a celebrity,
without the drugs and depression,
and all the other good stuff…
My sweet tooth can give a fuck
if it rains all night, again…forever.
We’ll draw time out of stagnant puddles
at our feet,
we can sew together laughs
to keep warm;
Let it be winter all the time,
We don’t care,
We will live.
Big Joe Turner;
I suddenly clued in to the song,
despite the noise,
and all the chatter…
Big Joe Turner;
My hand was dancing retardedly,
on the counter of the bar…
Mexican food was on my mind.
All of a sudden,
in the hollows of my head,
I heard the echo of prayer calls
and verses, from a mosque
I could not see…
In the hollows of my head,
there was a sunset I could not see,
And flocks of people,
whispers and worlds
made of god and nightly bread…
I began to hate myself.
I don’t want to hear these things,
in the hollows of my head.
I have never even been inside a mosque
during prayer time…
Sacrificed for a moment’s comfort,
Eternity was in my glass for a short while…
Routine kept swinging open doors,
Routine was soft,
It fooled our hearts;
Moments later, walking home,
A speed-walking lunatic,
Mother, please forgive me,
Rage nurtured in my childhood cup,
Father’s words never left,
Nor did the shadow of his hands…
The beer sat well tonight,
this poem however, did not.
“What do you want me to tell you? You want me to say yes? Alright, if you like to hear words I can go on and on and…”
“Not all words.”
“They’re all the same when none of them are real.”
“I hate it when you talk about things.”
“That’s fair. I tend to…”
“Nothing makes sense. You just talk.”
“I just talk.”
“Don’t get mad Charlie, it’s what you do.”
“I’m not mad, it’s what I do. Excuse me sir, I tend to talk. I’m a talker. She hates what I do.”
“Charlie, stop,” she whispered with a smile.
“What’s your occupation sir?”
“What’s it to you kid?”
“Well, this girl and I were just talking. You see I’m a talker. It’s what I do. What do you do?”
“Curious kid eh?” said the man. “What I do for a living. Well, I’m married to a witch!”
“Really?” said Charlie.
“How do you think I lost all my hair?”
“Genetics maybe?” said Charlie.
The man ran his fingers across his mustache to the corners of his lips and reached for his drink. “No way, my father and his father had lots of hair. They had lots of hair.”
“My sympathies,” said Charlie.
“Charlie, don’t,” she whispered.
“It’s okay little lady. I like your friend. Say, what’s your name kid?”
“I’m Charlie. This is Alice. You come here often?”
“As often as I can get away.”
“I’m sorry sir, what was your name?”
“Just call me Buddy. Everybody calls me Buddy. Charlie…Curious Charlie; CC, Canadian Club…”
“That’s a good drink,” said Charlie.
“You’re a drinker too huh?”
“An occasional one,” he said.
“Everyday’s an occasion kid.”
“Well, in that case we should have one right now.”
“Hell, it suits me. How old are you kid? Ah forget it, it don’t matter.”
“I’m twenty two. She’s eighteen.”
“You’re eighteen? Damn!”
“That’s right, I’m eighteen.”
“I’m fifty two, and I’ve been with a witch for thirty years.”
“You were my age when you got married.”
“I was twenty when it happened.”
“So, you’ve been married for thirty two…”
“Well yeah, but I was in jail for a couple of years. What a witch!”
“Why do you call her that? You shouldn’t call her that,” said Alice.
“I’m just saying. Just saying some words,” he said.
“These aren’t nice words,” said Alice.
“Yeah, but they’re only words.”
“Don’t you love your wife?”
“Hell! Now I know for sure that you’re only eighteen! Do I love my wife? My wife…do I love…love….”
“You shouldn’t have to think that long,” said Alice.
“Love doesn’t make you stick to someone for thirty years. It’s fear, it isn’t love.”
They fell silent, all three of them. I was standing behind the bar with my arms crossed. The little TV was on in the corner and the place was empty. I was staring at the three of them and I could almost feel the silence between them. Buddy gulped down the rest of his drink and Charlie caught me staring. “Hey Frank, can you come here for a second?”
“What can I get you Charlie?”
“My friend, Buddy here will have a refill and I’ll have a shot of what he’s having and Alice here will…well, what would you like?”
“I’ll have a diet coke. Thank you.”
“Is that all?”
“That’s all Frank. Thanks a lot man. By the way, how’s your pops doing? Is he still in the hospital?”
“He’s getting out tomorrow.”
“That’s great Frank. Tell him I said hello.”
“I’ll go get you your drinks.”
“Plenty of ice,” said Buddy.
“Sure thing Buddy,” I replied and walked away.
I closed up at midnight. There were groups of people out in the parking lot; scattered glowing flames traveling in disoriented circles amongst them. There are people here always. It is at its emptiest early in the morning, and even then one can witness a few homeless men and a couple of cabbies sitting idle.
“Hey Frank!” A car pulled up beside me and Charlie’s voice took a hold of my collar. There was a girl sitting beside him who seemed to have bathed in perfume. I could smell it even before the car came to a stop next to me.
“Hey Charlie,” I said.
“How’s it going Frank?”
“I’m alright. You okay?”
“How was work?”
“Same as always,” I said.
“Frank, this is Jane. Jane, say hello to Frank.”
“Hello,” she said with a smile that resembled that of a bitter sixty year old.
“Get in Frank. We’ll drop you.”
“That’s alright. I’m going to walk it.”
“Don’t worry about it. We’ll give you a ride.”
“I’m serious. It’s alright Charlie.”
“Don’t worry about it Frank.”
I got inside the car and Charlie took off and swerved through the parking lot and out onto the street. The smell of perfume was slowly getting to me. “Do you guys hang out here often?”
“I know the scene but I’d rather be indoors. I came to pick up Jane. She likes to hang out with her psycho friends.”
“At least I got some friends,” said Jane.
“I have friends too. Hell, Frank’s my friend. Right Frank?” he said looking back at me and smiling.
“Yeah, we’re friends.”
“That’s right. I got plenty of friends.”
“Are you gonna come over tomorrow?”
“Only if your mom’s home,” said Charlie with a smirk.
“Yeah right,” she said. “They’re gone out of town. I invited some people. You can bring your friend Frank.”
“I don’t know about Frank,” he said, smiling and throwing me a glance in the rear view mirror. “I’ve got some things to do.”
“Whatever,” she said. “You never come.”
“I came tonight, didn’t I? I’ve got some things to do tomorrow. What about you Frank?”
“I’ve got work.”
“There you have it. He has to work. It’s what people do.”
“Whatever,” she said. Charlie smiled at me again in the rear view mirror and I shrugged my shoulders. It was silent in the car until we reached my apartment.
“Hey, thanks a lot Charlie.”
“Don’t mention it.”
“It was nice meeting you,” I said to Jane as I got out of the car. “Hey, do you guys want to come up for a bit? I mean if you don’t have to be somewhere.” Charlie gave me the same smile that I knew him by and threw Jane the slightest look from the corner of his eye. There came over us a swift and thin layer of silence.
“I don’t know Frank,” he said looking at Jane and continuing, “Do you want to go up?”
“I guess,” she said, taking me by surprise.
“Why the hell not!” said Charlie all of a sudden. “Do you have any whiskey Frank?”
“I’ve got some Canadian Club.”
“Canadian Club!” he exclaimed. “Good man! I’m gonna park the car.”
It was one of those things; one of those things that you do and turn away instantly. It was like throwing a rock in the air without wanting to see where it lands. It was like being someone else. Charlie knew it as well as I did, and so he played along.
Two hours later, they were gone. I remained awake for a while, reminiscing on high school. Drunkenly, I staggered down a narrow corridor of memory, to one night, one unexpected party, where Charlie and I had become friends.
Come to think of it, I never did learn a lot of what they tried to give me, but I managed to get my diploma. My mother was smiling again and my father eased into himself. That was right around the time that my sister had found a boyfriend. Everyone almost was filled with air and no more wanting.
“Frank? Can I come in?”
“The door is open,”
“I thought you were still asleep.”
“I’ve been up for a while.”
“How’re you feeling?”
“You went to sleep late again.”
“I was finishing a book.”
“A book about books,” I replied.
“That sounds interesting.”
“Oh, it was.”
“You really should get a new mattress or something.”
“This thing’s all lumpy and hard.”
“What is it Janice?”
“Paul’s birthday is tomorrow.”
“How is Paul?”
“He’s okay. Been pretty busy lately, applying to different colleges.”
“What does he want to go into?”
“Civil engineering,” she said. “He’s throwing a party tomorrow. He asked me to invite you and said that he’ll love it if you came. You haven’t made any plans, have you?”
“No,” I said and continued, “I don’t think I can make it though.”
“Why?” she said.
“I’m not a big fan of these things.”
“You have to come. Dad says I can go only if you come along.”
“Dad said that?”
“Yeah, you know how he feels about Paul.”
“What, he doesn’t like Paul?”
“Frank, don’t act like you don’t know. Dad hates all the guys from school.”
“I think you’re exaggerating Janice.”
“Whatever. All I know is that he hates Paul.”
“Why don’t you talk to mom? She’ll let you go.”
“Why can’t you just come? Why doesn’t anyone understand that I actually like this guy? Why can’t anybody see that he’s a nice guy?”
“I understand. Take it easy Janice. When is the party?”
“Who’s going to be there?”
“A whole bunch of people,” she said, “people from school, his friends and mine, his cousins; a whole bunch of people.”
“I’m sure if you talk to mom she’ll…”
“No Frank, I’ve talked to her already. You have to come.”
“I guess I’m coming then.”
There I was, drowned in the sound of music, watching everyone else jumping up and down and dancing. I had no idea that Paul had invited the entire school. Everyone was different though. Maybe it was just the fact that nobody had any books and a bell wasn’t about to ring.
“Hey Frank, why don’t you get up and dance with us?”
“Oh, I’m alright.”
“Come on Frank! Don’t be such a little girl! Come dance with us.”
“I’m really alright.”
“There’s booze in the kitchen. Feel free to help yourself,” said Paul as he winked at me and danced my sister away.
I nodded and that was it. They turned and moved amongst a crowd that swayed from side to side in the roar of music. I’m not a big fan of music that yells at you. I’ve got to hand it to them though, they really knew how to dance to it. It is fairly normal for a girl to be dancing by herself in a crowd, but not a guy. For the girl it echoes like a roar of confidence and strength; like a predator appearing to be vulnerable and desirable. For a guy it is merely weakness and desperation. He doesn’t show himself to be vulnerable. He truly is. But what do I know? I don’t even dance.
The kitchen was fairly small. Most of the space was taken up by a rectangular wooden table. There was a guy sitting there with a cigarette in between his fingers. He smiled at me but said nothing as I came in; something about his smile. There were a few bottles of liquor scattered on the counter and one in front of the guy behind the table. There was also a keg of beer in the corner of the kitchen.
“You’re Janice’s brother, right? You’re Fred, right?”
“Frank,” I said. “My name’s Frank.”
“My bad Frank, you know I’ve seen you around in school.”
“I don’t know. I don’t quite remember you.”
“Either way, my name’s Charlie,” he said, stretching out his arm and smiling.
Something about his smile told me that he was drinking but wasn’t drunk at all. It was in his eyes as well.
“What are you drinking?”
“Nothing,” I said.
“Care to join me?”
“Sure,” I said.
“There are glasses in the cupboard over there and ice in the freezer.”
“I don’t usually drink liquor.”
“There’s beer too if you like.”
“I was hoping I’d find some instant coffee.”
“Coffee?” he exclaimed with a laugh. “Why don’t you drink liquor?”
“It puts me to sleep.”
“You can make an exception, can’t you? Don’t worry, I’ll keep you awake. Here, sit down,” he said as he got up and pulled a chair out for me. I sat down and watched as he went over to the cupboard, grabbed a glass, filled it with plenty of ice and sat down again. He poured me a decent drink and placed the glass in front of me. “I’m not gonna offer you any cigarettes, ‘cause I know you don’t smoke.”
“How do you know that?”
“Smokers can always tell.”
“Is that right?”
“Yeah, it’s nothing to be proud of. Smokers give off a vibe,” he said as he put out his cigarette in a crystal ashtray. “How do you like the party?”
“It’s alright, I guess.”
“Your sister is a hell of a dancer.”
“Yeah, she’s alright.”
“Girls nowadays,” he said with a sigh.
“What about girls nowadays?”
“I don’t know man. Everybody’s growing up faster.”
“How do you mean?”
“Ah forget it. It’s all the same. Tell me Frank, do you have a girl?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Lucky you,” he said.
“I used to go out with Kate. I don’t know if you know her.”
“Kate the blond?” he said, his eyes opening up a bit and his smile getting ready to burst.
“Yeah, you know her?”
“Crazy Katie,” he said and I began to laugh and so did he. “Why’d you go out with her?”
“I don’t know,” I said and shook my head several times as I took a small sip from my drink.
“You were bored, huh?”
“I guess so.”
“How long did that last?”
“A couple of weeks” I said.
“The shorter the better,” he replied quickly.
“It wasn’t anything serious.”
“It never should be. Girls are good,” he said, “but girlfriends, not so much.”
“That’s an interesting thought.”
“What do you say we go check out some girls?”
There were more people dancing now as we made our way through the living room, towards a set of couches that seemed to be calling me. Charlie sat down; actually he dropped himself and stretched out his feet before putting one up on the coffee table. Too many smiles and too many eyes hovered back and forth and around us. The kitchen had seemed just fine to me, even though I was there to keep an eye on Janice. “Get up Charlie! Dance with me Charlie!” said some girl as she approached us. She grabbed Charlie’s hand and on it went. “Please Charlie, I love this song!”
“Yeah, it’s a good song,” he said.
“Oh, come on then. Dance with me.”
“I would, but I don’t want to make anyone look bad.”
“I swear you’re such a punk Charlie!”
“Watching you dance is all I need sweetheart. I want to watch you. You really know how to do your thing, and I love to watch you do it.” I smiled instantly and noticed that he was looking at me from the corner of his eye. “Would you look at that!” he said, letting out a cough and clearing his throat excitedly. We both stared at her like some sort of live show. I wondered what her name was. “Nobody hates to smile,” he said.
“Sometimes there isn’t a choice.”
“There is always a choice Frank. All feelings aside; within all reality, reason tends to branch out.”
“I think I read that quote somewhere.”
“No, you just heard it, because I just said it.”
“Something very similar maybe,” I said as I ran my finger around the rectangular frame of my wrist watch, and for a moment I counted the seconds before he looked away. It was exactly six. I started to gaze again at the girl, struggling to stumble upon a name in those murky waters. The drink had begun to sink in. She was in a whole different world; gliding through clouds of paleness. She was probably numb to all the motion and the occasional bump-ins, let alone the drops of sweat sitting on her skin from the humid heat all around. She had skin of leather. Suddenly I was forced to blink. “It’s unbelievable how tremendously powerful we are. Everyone has the power to make people smile, no matter who they are. We’re all condemned to this power, and attached to this link.”
“What do you do Charlie? I mean, what is it that you’re into?”
“Is this an interview? Can I pour another drink?”
“I’m not stopping you,” I said.
“Look at you! All serious now,” he exclaimed. “You’re not gonna film this are you?”
“I don’t think anybody would want to see it.”
“Damn straight!” He burst with a laugh and continued, “Yeah, you’re probably right.” He got up swiftly, still looking at me and said, “Alright, hand me your glass partner!”
“Oh I’m alright. I still got some.”
“I’ll fill it up for you.” He walked away with the two glasses, making way causally through the people in the living room. “Partner…” I’ve always liked the word comrade better. There is more love in comrade. I leaned back and my eyes landed on Paul and Janice. He was sitting down on a chair and she was sitting on his lap. There were a few of their friends in front of them. Janice was laughing. It was nice seeing it. I feared Paul’s hands for a quick moment. It came as a surprise and I realized that I really shouldn’t care. It came and went, smearing a thick residue of stinking thoughts across my perfectly drunk state of mind. My drink was on its way. I even thought why it was taking so long.
There she was again, that same girl. She sat down next to me and said, “Are these your cigarettes?”
“No, they’re not mine. Charlie left them there,” I whispered for some reason. I don’t even think she heard me. But either way, she was going to have a smoke.
“Where is Charlie?”
“In the kitchen I think.” I stared at her skin closely while she was busy lighting a cigarette. Her eyes moved quickly across the room and she’d laugh at certain people and every now and then she’d sing along a line or two. I was still leaning back, watching her while playing with my watch.
“I love it!” Charlie yelled as he approached the couch. “Frankie, I see you’ve met the dancing angel!”
“You weren’t even watching me Charlie.”
“How do you know that? Your eyes were closed half the time,” he said as he handed me my drink and made me move a little so he could seat himself in between us. He put his arm around her and padded me a couple of times on my back as I was now leaning forward again. The iciness of the glass in my hand felt nice. “What are you doing, smoking?” he said to her. She only smiled and exhaled in slow motion a wave of smoke that traveled upwards in a ghostly fashion. “How many drinks have you had?”
“Take it easy Charlie.”
“How many drinks have you had?” he grabbed her arm and placed his drink down on the coffee table, and in one smooth motion, which I didn’t completely catch, he snatched the cigarette from in between her fingers.
“What’s wrong?” she said in a snappy voice.
“What did you do?” he moved closer and closer to her and it seemed as if he was tightening his grip, staring into her eyes and her face. “You’re all messed up! Look at you! I told you not to go near that crap!”
“It’s only one night Charlie.”
“Yeah, it’s always one night. Come on,” he shouted softly as he got up and pulled her by the arm.
“What are you doing?” she cried violently and tired to pull away.
“I just wanna talk to you,” said Charlie, and I’m sure he looked at everyone, who was staring at them, straight in the eye as he pulled her away out of the living room and into the kitchen. I took a long and comforting sip of my drink and it helped me to finally see what had happened. Some of the people dancing and standing around were talking now. The music was still yelling. Janice suddenly appeared to my right as she stumbled passed and laughed at her own dizziness. Paul grabbed her hands and they started to dance. I returned to the cold sweat on the glass in my hand. The ice had practically all melted. For some reason, the ice in my glass always melts faster than others. The couch had cloaked me within itself. Frozen still, my mouth partially open and gazing hypnotically at the glass, I barely even noticed when Charlie came back and sat down with a bottle of whiskey in his hand. He downed his drink in a single gulp. “So, how’re you doing Frank? Not falling asleep on me now, are you?” he wasn’t even looking at me. He was scanning the room like a robot. His left leg was shaking gently and he was biting on the corner of his bottom lip.
“I’m fine,” I said.
“That’s good to hear,” he replied almost instantly. “Half the people here don’t know left form right. Most of the girls are…”
“What?” I interrupted.
“I don’t mean your sister!” he said just as quick as before.
“Probably my sister too,” I said, smiling and my teeth revealing the bitter stains of a sense of humor not so often seen. He was silent and he shook his head from side to side as he let out a sigh and reached for his cigarettes.
“Keep surprising me Frank. I wasn’t even going to come. You wanna know why I’m here?”
“Why is that?”
“Because I’m addicted to anger!” he said out loud. I mean really loud. “You know what I’m talking about; the adrenaline, the rush I get from the moment. Let me tell you something. Almost everybody here is addicted, but not to anything like this.” He was whispering now, going on and on with words that possessed open arms, which grabbed you and provoked a deep silent thought. “I know everyone here better than they know themselves. It isn’t that hard, is it Frank? It aint just me is it? I mean, if you look at these people, really closely, what do you see? Oblivious characters, bent up and twisted, inside some story, which is extremely simple altogether, am I right? You know what I hate? People that spend every miserable second of their natural lives pretending to listen, when in reality they’re all caught up with the thought of what to say next. So many shifty eyes around here; you start to notice them after awhile. They’re all after the same things. Around here, after awhile, people start sounding like a one sided tape. It’s good that you don’t come to these parties that often.”
“I’m not a big fan of these things.”
“You probably get your fix somewhere else, by yourself. Am I right?”
“What do you mean?”
“What do you do? What’s your choice of temptation?”
“Nothing,” I replied, clearing my throat and sipping on my drink.
“Everybody does something.”
He poured himself a drink and raised his glass towards me, filling my glass ever so smoothly as I lifted my arm. “Salute,” he said and continued, “to Shakespeare!”
“Cheers,” I replied.
“To anyone who can see all the people and feel all the things and squeeze every breast!” he shouted. I couldn’t help but laugh. He laughed too, if only temporarily. “Goddamn,” he said, “I wonder where the hell Christina went.”
‘Girl with leather skin; she’ll be alright,’ I thought to myself. Charlie managed to smile for a bit, and everything about his smile was still the same. The corners of his eyes and the movement of his head however, partially revealed his intoxication. He was no longer just drinking. At one point he said something that I didn’t quite hear that well. I think I heard him say, “It’s hard being double.” I’m not sure. Maybe he said something else.
They sat me down and so it started. I had just woken up from a dream that was all too real, yet which I don’t remember. Either way, I was still caught up in the vibe and my eyes hadn’t yet fully returned to their sharp edge of focus. It was just the three of them; my father, my mother and her eldest brother, my bald headed uncle. “Come sit down,” said my father and my mother smiled and the bald man reached for his cigarettes as he downed the rest of his tea.
“You should have breakfast,” she said and I refused with the shaking of my head.
“It’s too late now,” said my father and continued instantly, “Might as well wait to have lunch.” I nodded my head gently in agreement and tried to keep hidden the primitive yawn within me.
“You went to sleep late,” my uncle said.
“I would have too, if I’d been on the phone for three hours,” said my father. I smiled in agreement but said nothing. “So,” he said, “you must’ve had a very interesting conversation.”
“Paul, please,” she said and my father turned to her and she made a face that said, “Take it easy,” or something of the sort.
“What?” he said. “I just want to know what it was that really kept him awake. It must’ve have been one hell of a conversation, right John?” I still said nothing and my hollow smile faded away ever so quickly and my eyes fell to the floor. “Well John?”
“Well what?” I replied, clearing my throat.
“How is she?”
“What were you talking about last night?”
I threw a glance at my uncle and mother, and I knew that their silence belonged to that moment alone. They were most likely singing their brains out before I came out of my room. The head speaker is always Paul; the man behind every item in the house, the man who lives life within the realm of reason and thought and cherishes whatever happens to make money or energy. Yes, my father. He’s the chairman at our family conferences; brilliant man altogether, really.
“Well John, what were you and her talking about?”
My mother’s eyes were half open and she kept shaking her head while her hands were locked together on her lap. “We were talking about you.” My smile came back, although it was no longer of the same kind; it was still a smile nevertheless. My words made him lean back and he let out a sigh as he began to play along.
“Talking about me,” he said. “What did she have to say?”
“Nothing much,” I replied instantly. “She said nothing.”
“You were on the phone all night long and she said nothing?”
“Nothing about you,” I said and continued, “We were trying to talk with silence.”
“I don’t understand what you’re saying,” he said and the look I had provoked within his eyes reminded me of a couple of years back and my imprisonment.
“We only want to help you John,” she said. “There are lots of girls out there, girls that come from respectable families, girls with jobs and responsibilities that are well mannered and…”
“Ok hold on,” I interrupted, “Is she, what this is all about? You’re heavily mistaken. You think I’m in love with her? That’s absurd.”
“I told you,” said my uncle as he put out his cigarette. My father looked over at him quickly and turned back to me as I let out an abrupt laugh.
“I still have a lot of questions John.” I shrugged my shoulders and raised my hands and tilted my neck, all so rhythmically, trying desperately to keep my smile where it was. “I still have a lot of questions,” repeated Paul. “For example, what advantages does this relationship offer you? You can’t see this person or be with her physically, because she is half way across the world. It’s fair to say that neither of you see anything from one another’s daily life nor do you know anything about each other, except for your voices.” He paused for a moment, as if devouring the silence in between my mother and uncle with pleasure and continued, “It’s merely nothing but a long distance and expensive relationship built on nothing but words. I’ve been trying to figure it out for a while now John. As an old man who attempts to be extremely modern, I have tried and tried to understand your way of thinking and I feel that I’ve failed. There’s no doubt that I could’ve succeeded, similar to every other challenge in my life. There’s no help from you. You shut every door there is and close your eyes on everybody around you. Well I’m damn tired! You hear me? Stop looking at the ground!”
I looked up at him, but only for a split second and my eyes flew over to the silent brother and sister that were sitting next to each other; my mother with her hands still locked together smiled depressingly and my uncle was running his hand back and forth on the few hairs upon his head. “So,” I said, “how long were you guys at it?”
“Don’t get smart with me John.”
“I was talking to the silent crowd.”
“We’re worried for…”
“Who the hell do you think you are? Huh? I’ll tell you. You’re nobody, nothing; a lazy sac of crap with nothing to show. You want to know why? It’s because you haven’t done shit!”
“Paul Please,” my mother interrupted.
“Hold on,” he said, stretching his arm out towards her with his index finger raised. “I just want to know; at what point in time did you get the idea that you were such an important being? That’s all I want to know. When did you get such an absurd thought in your tiny hollow brain?”
“Paul, you promised,” she said and added, “John, sweetheart, we want the best for you. Don’t take your father’s words to heart. We’ve all been very worried and we all love you so very much.”
I turned my head towards her again, this time slowly. She smiled and there was somewhat of a glitter inside her eyes. “I think it’s best if you just stay silent,” I said, scratching my head with my right hand while my left was inside my pants pocket pricking the side of my leg. “You sound like some mother in a soap opera. I’m not a goddamn drug addict for god sake!”
“Maybe that wouldn’t be so bad,” said Paul and I heard my uncle sigh and his hand was still running on top of his head. For some reason, I couldn’t curse. It wasn’t at all out of respect. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, so instead I turned back to look at my father and squinted my eyes and as I turned away I kissed my teeth and shook my head. ‘The game’s over,’ I thought. “Give me your cell phone,” he said.
“Paul, I don’t think that’s necessary,” said my mother.
“If it was up to you, nothing would be necessary. Give me your phone.” I smiled as I got up, finally finding it in me to look him directly in the eyes and stare. “Keep smiling,” he said, “Keep smiling you selfish piece of crap! What the hell is the matter with you?”
“There wasn’t any matter until I woke up.”
“You didn’t wake up!” he shouted. “I’ve been trying to wake you up. You’ve been drowning and I’ve been trying to pull you out. I wouldn’t be making jokes if I were you, Mr. Knowitall!”
I walked away and into my room. My cell phone was on my desk, on top of a copy of “The Clown” by Heinrich Boll. I saw my cigarettes and I swear they winked at me and assured me that everything would fall again. I smiled as I came back out into the living room and handed Paul my phone. He grabbed it and tossed it impartially to his side. “I’m not going to pay for you to talk on the phone anymore. Matter of fact I’m not going to pay for you to do anything and quite frankly, I’m not going to give a crap what you do and how you live. Those days are over John. Nobody is going to want anything from you anymore, especially me. Nothing whatsoever,” he exclaimed, making the last two words and the point clear with his hands raised towards me.
“Are we done?”
“You’re never going to care are you?”
“I only care for this to be done.”
“You’re always going to be so selfish, aren’t you?
The truth is, I’d seen much worse in the past and a whole lot more was yet to come. But when I came back into my room, I swear to god, my cigarettes told me that everything would fall again and that ultimately, nothing ever really mattered.
“What the hell is the matter with me?”
“Ah, you’re alright. Don’t stress it.”
“No man, I want to know! Tell me.”
“You shouldn’t think about it so much. You’ve got to look ahead. What’s your next move? You know?”
“I can’t predict anything anymore. Not after tonight.”
“Do you want a cigarette?”
“What? No, I thought I told you, I don’t smoke.”
“It seems like a pretty decent time to start.” Roger laughed and placed his face in his hands as he leaned forward. Donald lit his cigarette, sitting casually with his legs stretched out and his left arm resting on the back of the bench. He let out his first drag with a sigh and said, “It’s a calm night.”
“Not so pleasant, but yeah sure, it’s calm.”
“Come on Roger, let me enjoy the moment, will you? Just relax man. Do you want a beer?”
“You have beer on you?”
“You’ve still gotta get to know me my friend,” said Donald with a laugh as he bent down to his side and grabbed his bag.
“What else do you keep in that thing?”
“This bag is my protection.”
“Protection against what?” said Roger.
“Forget about it. I’ve had this bag since my school days. It’s been my most faithful friend when I come to think of it.” He handed Roger a beer and shortly after he opened his own. They saluted each other with their cans and took their first sips. A fragile silence then fell between them like frost in between two blades of grass. Roger was still leaning forward and staring at his feet.
“I don’t understand it Don.”
“Listen, I don’t know what to say to you man. Nobody ever comes to me to talk. Just stop stressing yourself. You’re human. You snapped; everybody snaps every once in a while. It’s normal. The ones that never snap are the ones to look out for.” Donald took a sip of his beer as he finished his cigarette and dedicated the end of it to the field of grass in front of them. “Why are you getting so worked up over some girl anyways? Is it the real thing? You love Katie?”
“She’s not just some girl man.”
“Whatever,” said Donald abruptly and added after taking another sip, “is Katie the real thing?”
“What do you mean?”
“Ah forget about it,” said Donald.
“I don’t know why I thought there was some other guy. I’d been thinking it for a while. You’re right, I snapped. But I just don’t know why.”
“So what, you’re a paranoid guy!” Donald exclaimed. “Everybody’s paranoid in this day and age. You can’t trust anyone or anything, because everything changes and sooner or later, it turns against you.”
“What’re you saying? We’ve got to live alone all our lives?”
“You don’t have to live alone. You just have to know that you are alone.” Donald lifted his can along with his eyebrows and kissed his teeth while smiling at Roger. They both drank and a few moments were spent in silence when Donald said, “That’s the bitter truth my friend.”
“You give great advice,” said Roger as he tried to smile.
“You should wait till I’m an old man!”
“It’s great being able to talk to you, even though we don’t know each other that well.”
“I’d say we know each other well enough that we’re hanging out like this.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
“That’s it,” said Donald as he fell silent into his can of beer.
“You should’ve seen her crying. She was a mess. I’ve never seen anyone cry like that.”
“Why was she crying?”
“I’m an idiot Don. I was yelling at the poor girl for god knows how long. I should never have accused her.”
“Like I said, you’re human, and paranoid.”
“It’ll never be the way it was.”
“Sure it will,” Donald exclaimed, “and if it doesn’t, life will…”
“Katie’s all I have right now man.”
“Can I tell you something Roger, straight up?”
“Sure thing Don.”
“Let her go.”
“Just let her go,” Donald repeated. “It’s not worth it man.”
“I love Katie.”
“I’m sure that you do, but what about her? Lets say that both of you are deeply in love with each other; is that all that matters? It’s all up and down and back and forth all the time. You shouldn’t care so much.”
“Haven’t you ever felt for someone?”
“Of course I have,” Donald exclaimed and added quickly, “I’m not a goddamn robot Roger. I’ve been in love before, several times. I’ve wasted time for love. There is no absolute truth my friend and love, well, it comes and goes. Are you really in love with Katie, or are you just in love with being in love? See now, that’s what my problem was. Slowly I’ve reached the thought that I’m going to love either way. You should enjoy every day, within reality.”
“You should open up a help line!”
“You think so?” Donald laughed.
“Yeah, for sure,” said Roger somewhat excitedly. “You could have your own studio where people come to share their troubles with you over beers and smokes.”
“That’d be something,” said Donald as he lit another cigarette and just about finished the rest of his beer. “I told you, I’m not the type to give advice. I don’t enjoy doing it.”
“Just tell me what I should do. I can’t think about letting her go. I really need her Don.”
“How do you know that?”
“I feel it,” said Roger.
“You need love my friend, not Katie. Love is everywhere.”
“Maybe you’re right.”
“I am right,” said Donald. “Katie’s not the end Roger. Everything changes, even love.”
“She’s been so great to me. I don’t know why I came down on her like this.”
“Love can become the most selfish web at times. You should move on Roger. One day you’ll laugh at how stupid you were and the time will never come back. We should enjoy it as it turns around. Shouldn’t we? Am I wrong Roger?”
“I understand what you’re saying.”
“Whether you stay with Katie or not, whether or not you both love each other, everything will still turn and change. Life never stops for love, or anything else for that matter.”
“I hope she’s alright.”
“Oh she’ll be fine and so will you.”
“I begged her to stay, but she cried and left. I hate to make people cry.”
“Crying always makes me laugh. It brings out a whole different look in people.”
“I hope she’s asleep. I hope she forgets everything I said to her tonight.”
“She probably will, in time.”
“I don’t want to lose her.”
“You probably won’t.”
They left the bench and the field of grass as they walked in sheer silence down the street. Donald was smoking yet another cigarette, holding his head up high while exhaling his habit. Roger took calculated steps and continued to stare at his feet. They approached his building and stopped by the front door. “You should take it easy Roger. Get some rest. It’s a new day!”
“Thank you Donald, for everything.”
“Ah, don’t thank me. I’m here for you pal.”
“Everything will be alright.”
“Damn right it will,” Donald exclaimed. “Take it easy.”
“Yeah you too,” said Roger as they shook hands and he watched Donald as he walked away towards the bus stop. Just about half an hour later, Donald arrived to his basement hole of a home, where Katie had long been sound asleep.