April 5, 2022
Wednesday january 12th
“Mom, what is it? I can’t talk right now.”
Through the wall I can hear my roommate reciting the Constitution, or some shit like that.
“Dude, shut up, I’m on the phone with my mom. Can you go and make out with Washington elsewhere.” I shout.
“It’s Aaron Burr, jerk.”
“Piss off, Derek.”
“Okay okay,” Derek reluctantly picked up his books and walked out with long slow strides. He thinks he’s this big shot because he is a law student. The kid’s burned every single piece of legislature ever written in my head, it’s actually kind of impressive. Over the phone I can hear my aunt Olivia speaking. Why is mom at Olivia’s house?
“Mom, where are you?”
“What do you mean baby, I’m home,” she says defensively. But what is she hiding? Did mom and dad fight again? They’ve been doing so well. Could dad be cheating– no I can’t assume the worst. They went to couples therapy and worked things out. What could have possibly gone wrong between then and now?
“Don’t lie to me mom, I can hear Aunt Olivia. Now tell me why you are at Aunt Olivia’s house.”
“Dad’s having an affair.” Silence fills the phone call as we both don’t want to believe what we just heard.
“What?” I knew it.
“I caught him with our neighbor yesterday, so I left.” A few seconds pass by. We both need a second to process things.
“Why are you telling me this?” I demand.
“I have enough problems on my own Mom. You can’t refuse to leave him and then drag me into this.”
“No, this is your mess now.”
I take a few hours or so to calm myself down. I shouldn’t have snapped at her like that. There must be a million things going through her head too. I can’t just sit here. It’s not right. It’s not fair. It’s not right for mom. I have to talk to him.
I worked up the motivation to step outside the house and go for a walk, I had to clear my mind. After about ten minutes I found myself on a familiar street. I always walked down this path on my way home from school years back. At this point I’ve memorized almost every house on the block. The light blue one with the gray fence all around the front porch was where one of my closest friends lived. He moved away a few years into middle school.
I passed a few more familiar doors and I was there. The place I grew up, years and years of my life and moments I’ll never forget all happened here. The front gate was always unlocked, we lost the key when I was about five years old.
This lawn is priceless to me. I can pick out every blade of grass. To everyone else it would be very similar, but not to me. I can see the torn up target from a distance. You can barely see the bullseye anymore. The rest remained untouched. I either missed or hit it perfectly with nothing in between. I was the best shot in town, well besides Dad, but he’s gotten sloppy over the years. I remember Florence, my high school sweetheart. We would talk for hours and roll around in the grass together. The grass tickled our necks while the sweet sound of birds hummed through the air. Or when we would sneak out and go to parties together.
Florence’s parents never cared though. They figured that she should have fun while she can, but my dad thought otherwise. For this reason I always left the kitchen windows open just in case. Every single night. He can just about see him sitting peacefully, lighting his cigar. It wouldn’t be long before the screams would come out of my mouth but I deserved it. I made their lives hell, probably worse and I knew it.
“Dad, I’m home,” I call out with a great amount of distress.
I knock harder and harder, but the house remains silent.
He must be sleeping, or ignoring me, that little bastard.
This cannot wait, too much is at stake. I don’t know how much time is left. All I can think about is Mom and how she must be feeling. I must do something and waiting is not a luxury that I have right now.
The kitchen window must be open, I think to myself. I yank open the window and get on the counter when I hear squeaks on the floor. When dad would walk the whole house would know. The ground would shake violently with every step he took. I pressed up against the wall, careful not to make a sound.
Could it be dad? What if it’s an intruder? Oh god, dad’s in danger. I hate him but I can’t let him die. There’s a gun in the pantry. The pantry door opens unnecessarily loudly. He must know I’m here. I know what I must do. The squeaks get louder and closer. I only have one chance. I take a breath, a long one. I turn the corner, and the intruder tries to attack me with a knife.
I stop his strike and, BANG. The knife clanks as it falls to the ground and the body drops, but that face is no stranger to me. It’s dad.
“Dad, you gotta stay with me now. Where is my phone? WHERE’S MY DAMN PHONE?”
It’s hopeless, I shot him right in the heart. He’s not going to make it.
“Come here David, listen to me carefully.”
Dad reaches for my hand and puts it on my heart.
“Take care of your mother. She needs you.” His voice gradually becomes fainter and fainter. I throw his hand away and it smashes against the wall.
“You know what? Screw you! She needed you and slept with every girl in this town. Rot in hell.” I grab the gun, only it’s heavier this time. I aim it towards his head and take the shot.
Now what am I going to do?
Everyone in this low life town knows I hate—hated—that bastard. God, what have I done? What would happen to me if I were to get caught. I could plead for manslaughter or maybe self defense? But how would I explain the shot to his head? Why did I have to take that shot?
AHHHHH. What the fuck was Derek saying. 25 years behind bars? But if it’s murder, it’ll be life. I’m never going to survive court. I have to go.
I light a match and throw it on the ground. The fire spreads quickly and I leave my parents house for the last time. I put my hood on and run—I dont stop—I can’t stop. Where am I? This isn’t familiar. I spot a payphone in the distance and call my mom’s number. It rings for what feels like hours for her to pick up. RING RING…. RING RING…… RING RING,
I cut mom off. There isn’t much time.
“We need to talk.”