A continuation of this —> idea.
I hope you like it! It’s definitely on the more “PG-13″ side of things of stuff I’ve written.
I borrowed 5,000 dollars from Loreli a few months ago. She bought all of the lies I fed her about “turning my life around” and “using it for my education” and hesitantly agreed to wire the money to my account. Now, Loreli is a very smart girl, always has been and always will be, so somewhere deep inside her brain she knew what I was really going to do with it. That was even more confirmed when I showed up on her door step for Easter dinner and she didn’t ask for it back. She knew what I invested in.
I stood on her doorstep, freshly showered, combed hair, and a tie to call my own. I looked like a professional middle class man, but even I knew it was just a front. In fact, everyone in my family was aware who I was when not near them. I was a homeless junkie. I cleaned up nice though.
“Please stay away from my son,” She said, one hand on the door hinge and the other on her hip.
I rolled my eyes, “I know, I know.”
Tall, brunette, and unnerving greyish eyes. That was Loreli. She was terrified I somehow would influence her son to end up like me. Her son, Adorian, was fourteen years old and knew nothing about my front. He thought I was the cool uncle and wanted to talk to me often. Loreli and her husband did not approve of me at all whatsoever. I understood where they were coming from. I didn’t approve of me either.
“And no drugs in the house.”
“Loreli, I know.”
“There he is!” I saw my Dad step behind Loreli, smiling at me, “You’re looking good Jack. Loreli, why don’t you let him in, it’s cold out there.”
Loreli sighed and removed herself from the threshold so I could step through.
The dining room was just as I expected it. Fine china and fancy food was arranged around the table, Loreli’s large fire place crackling nearby. Adorian sitting at the table paying no attention to conversation but texting on his phone, Dad’s fucking perfect son, Grant, sitting with his perfect baby girl on one knee and his perfect bleach blonde trophy wife sitting close to him nibbling on a salad. Mom sat next to Grant’s wife, wearing an incredibly ugly Easter sweater. I guess making an Easter sweater was necessary this year, what with it being so damn cold.
“Uncle Jack’s here everyone,” Dad announced. The only one who looked up was Adorian and Mom. I wasn’t surprised, Grant and I hadn’t truly spoken in about five years.
To Loreli’s dismay, I sat down next to Adorian. I could feel her beaty eyes trying to burn holes in my face. Hell, I didn’t care. He didn’t know who I really was and he would never know. It didn’t matter.
“Hey Uncle Jack,” Adorian said holding out a hand for me to shake.
“You look older every time I see you, bud,” I replied. Reluctantly I shook his hand, I wasn’t sure what would happen.
He smiled proudly at me as he shook my hand firmly.
“Nice,” I told him, “You mastered the handshake. That’s progress.”
“Someday I’ll be just like you, Uncle Jack. Mom says it’s not likely, but if you don’t have your disease anymore, why can’t I?”
“Exactly,” I said to him and I heard Loreli sigh, “Never give up.”
Loreli was right, Boudon’s Disease was likely permanent, but I couldn’t tell him that. He was pleased that he was even able to shake my hand. I knew what it was like to be him. I knew what it was like to struggle to hold a pencil and to have to sit out in every gym class. It sucked.
I could already hear Loreli yelling at me through her thoughts. I heard her yell at me at a million family functions just for instilling hope in her son. Just because you were miraculously rid of it doesn’t mean he will be cured. You know what he wants to be now Jack? An artist. Look at what you’re doing to him. You’re filling his head with dreams. What if he has Boudon’s for the rest of his life, Jack? What then? You think you’re his hero or something?! Newsflash! You’re a drug addict, Jack. You’re a low life loser. Stay away from my son. I told you to stay away from my son. Adorian dropped a glass on the floor yesterday and it shattered. Is that progress? He’s still using an aid to write things down for him at school, is that progress? Don’t you dare get near my son.
Again, I understood where she was coming from probably more than she did. But even so, going through life without a shred of hope would be pretty meaningless.
Dinner was as awkward as I expected. Grant talked about training the rookies in his new company for an ungodly amount of time. I didn’t have enough eye rolls in me to express how I felt. Mom and Dad showered Loreli and Grant with praise. Grant’s wife, Emma, told us about how she’d been learning to cook in her spare time. I was a little surprised she knew enough words to make a sentence. And then everyone questioned the hell out of Adorian, wondering how he was doing in school. It was a typical family function, everyone dressed up pretentiously with an underlying tone of disappointment towards the biggest failure in the family, me.
“Why don’t you play piano for us?” Mom suggested kindly to me while she was helping Loreli clean up dinner.
I didn’t feel like playing then. My whole body felt weird. It’d been nearly twenty four hours since I’d had my last hit. The nausea and sickness was setting in; I felt sweaty and light headed. I really didn’t give a shit about playing piano that day. I just wanted to get in, get out, and go shoot up some heroine. Surprisingly enough I felt more comfortable on the streets than I ever did at Loreli’s house.
“Nah,” I said, “I was actually thinking about heading out. I’ve got a lot of paper work to catch up on.”
“Oh dear god,” I heard Loreli scowl in the kitchen.
I let a smile escape. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I liked making her piss angry every time I saw her.
“Just one song?” Mom asked, “Or even just that one part in ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ everyone loves so much.”
I heaved, I knew if I didn’t do it she would beg in a million different ways until I gave in. I sat down at the piano located at the edge of the dining room. It was nothing like the piano I had as a kid. It was small and out of tune just slightly enough to drive me unofficially insane.
And just like that, as soon as my hands touched the keys, I was numb. My mind, body, and soul were completely trapped within notes that danced through my brain so gracefully. Nothing made me feel the way that did. I’d almost forgotten how playing piano made me feel. It was a high, similar to heroine, but yet so different.
My hands fumbled and I accidentally went for an f sharp rather than the natural. I felt my skin getting hotter. I needed my heroine.
“Jack is everything okay?” Mom ran over to me and put her arms around me from behind. I never messed up on piano, especially ‘Rhapsody in Blue’.
Her touch only amplified my want more. I swatted her away.
“I told you I have to go.”
“He has to go do cocaine or whatever the hell he’s addicted to.”
Loreli was standing in the doorway, eyes cocked like guns ready to kill me. Adorian must’ve been out of ear reach because she’d never been so forward with me.
“Excuse me?” I barked. She had no idea what she was talking about.
“You think we all hate you, Jack, but we don’t. You’re the reason I can’t sleep at night sometimes. I think about all of your talent and how you threw that all away because—I don’t even know why. It makes me so sad.”
“I don’t need your pity.”
“Let me be clear. I do not pity you. I am so sad that you are wasting your life as a piece of shit when you were amazing.”
Mom butt in, “Loreli, please don”—
“Get out of my house, Jack. Now.”
She’d rather have me on the streets than at her house. I didn’t care, Heroine was calling my name. In the cold of the night, Heroine whispered to me in the shadows. Then I’d feel so relaxed and good. Heroine closed my eyes to all the shit that happened to me. Suddenly life was bareable. I didn’t have to remember the ringing of gunshots from years ago that changed my life. I didn’t have to remember the day when Grant graduated from college. I didn’t have to remember memories of warm Christmas Eves, playing on my piano while the smell of gingerbread cookies dwindled through the air. All of my memories melted away to the sound of a quiet g flat. There were times when I considered over dosing, wondering if death would be like an endless high. But what if it wasn’t?
Most of all Heroine helped me forget the one thing I could never forget.
Five years ago.
It was nothing like in books or movies. There was no triumphant moment where I stood up and yelled “I object!” and she would run to kiss me while dramatic music enraptured the whole situation. She didn’t look confused or drop everything during the wedding and run into my arms.
She got married.
She looked into his eyes and said her vows. She was happy.
I knew I wouldn’t ever try to destroy that.
It’s weird to watch the woman you love marry someone else. It’s almost like being in a dream, where it feels like your actions are irrelevant. But it wasn’t a dream.
Tessa never looked so beautiful. She was a song so unique I couldn’t play it. The whites of her wedding dress against her olive skin brought about the brightest light in her face. She drew people’s eyes like magnets. She kissed him and was happy.
Life’s a bitch.
Grant and I definitely took advantage of the open bar at the reception. Grant was usually my wingman, the bro that said, “Hey man, slow down”, when I’d had a few shots. But that night, he didn’t care. He knew I was in pain.
I wish he would’ve stopped me.
I drank until I couldn’t feel my feet anymore and the world was a blur of colors and people that were talking way too fast. I could faintly hear “Just the way you are” playing as I sat at the bar trying not to fall off the stool.
I didn’t remember asking Tessa to dance with me, but apparently I did. She was instantly offended by me, but walked me to the dance floor anyway.
“Jack, you’re drunk,” She said annoyed, “At my wedding. Don’t you think that’s rude?”
I specifically remember watching the pearls that hung loosely around her neck slide back and forth across her. Her lips were ruby red. I kissed those lips once.
“Whatevermakkeesss the pain go away.”
I don’t remember anything after that. The next thing I knew I was in the emergency room while doctors were having a look at my nose. Tessa punched me in the face and broke it.
After they told me what happened I couldn’t stop laughing. Her spunky spirit, the smell of her hair, the way she pursed her lips when she was making a decision, and how her butt looked when she wore her favorite pair of jeans. Those were the things I loved most.
“What did I say to her?” I asked Grant.
He shrugged, “I dunno. She told you she never wanted to talk to you again.”
“She messed you up pretty good, Jack.”
I smirked, “I can’t really feel anything because of the meds”—
He put a hand on my shoulder, “No man, I mean she messed you up. I’ve never seen you drunk before. Buzzed, yes, but not that bad.”
The dream world and reality began to blend together.
And with that, ladies and gentlemen, I never talked to Tessa Bloomwood—Excuse me, Tessa Jeridson, ever again.
Life’s a bitch.