Friday, November 02, 2007

Return - An old story I wrote

By Jeff Blake - needs some revision
Originally posted in Jeff's writing blog "Writer's Cramp" @ 2:03 AM on 8/2/05

I’ve seen a real smile before. Maybe four times on her lips, and more importantly in her eyes; but just those four times. She fakes an average smile a dozen times a day, with her teeth barely showing, and her eyes wide open.
Something has always been wrong with her face since we’ve been together. A trace of something shameful, and older, but more fragile than wise. She tries to hold this look back, as if she did something stupid that needs hiding. I’ve seen that look on her face, like she reached for her car keys and pricked her finger on that thumbtack she stupidly put in her pocket an hour earlier. She doesn’t want me to know. That look hits her in the face a thousand times more often than she smiles. That’s not the look she was meant to live with Trent.

I say to him “Rachel knows how to smile, Trent.” His young eyes, still sweaty and nervous, can’t make the connection…

They grew up in the Midwest. Her Mom loved her Dad, but he couldn’t match it. She loved him too much to notice the changes gradually taking place inside her son Trent; prematurely in her daughter Rachel. They were growing too fast. Trent had a curiosity that grows quick inside every boy like chutes of ivy. Somewhere the vines grew poisoned, and twisted in his head.

Rachel was rather plain. She rode horses, and wrote stories. They were simple stories, mostly about horses. One day the stories changed.

She didn’t know why he crept into her room and couldn’t let her sleep at night, or why the bed was not big enough for her and for his hands. She didn’t know why she came to hate herself, and her own small body, or why there were no more horse stories.

She is here with me now, sitting on a couch with her hands on me.

“I love you” she says to me.

I want to love her back, but inside, her mind belongs to someone or some thing else. I want to love her free.
Finally she tells me, and I see what’s been a hold of her. It’s both a torture and release. Now I’m holding. I feel trust and memories of pain. I can’t hold her close enough, yet I’m afraid that I’ll crush her. Her Dad doesn’t know. Mom doesn’t know. After a long while she smiles at me; a real one. I give her only my open eyes. She says she is going to be alright. I know that every time she sees him though, it’s like tearing at a wound. Like we share the same nerves, I share the pain now too, like it happened to me. I can’t let it go.

The months have twisted around inside me. She seems happier but a remnant of that old look still remains. Mom calls, and I hear the look in her voice. She’s telling Rachel what Trent is up to, even though he lives in this same town.
That very night, as I check my watch and drive I think about what I heard earlier on the television. It said we are a “culture obsessed with death.” It couldn’t be truer than now. It’s all I can think about,

I don’t think Trent ever knew that I was there. He didn’t see me coming. Why would he expect it after seven years of hiding? He walks into the parking lot, and it is dark. I rush into him like an errant grocery cart. The thin blade makes quite a dent in his shiny façade. It will look like a robbery. He flails his feet at me.
Kick me. Go on kick me Trent. After some time I’m pressed against him and he stops. I hold him now. Then there are my last words to him before his eyes go.

I say to him “Rachel knows how to smile Trent.” His old eyes still sweaty and nervous don’t make the connection…until the last moment before he’s gone.

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