At that point in my life I didn’t have a care in the world. My life was like a 1976 penny that was left and forgotten in the parking lot of a Walgreens. I hadn’t talked to my mother in six months, though I still get her discarded coupons in the mail. I hadn’t been in a serious relationship for months, but I still went on the occasional date with a cute girl. I still had some of my friends even though I only talked to a fraction of them from school. The way I saw it, I didn’t really have anything to care about and it’s not like anyone cared about me. It was tough to even get a good three meals a day; my income was hardly tangible. But I’m not writing about all my persistent troubles as a young emancipated individual, I’m supposed to be informing you of a significant event in my life.
Now, as my memory offers, it was about two weeks ago when I was working at the town grocery mart. It was a boring, slow, hot, sticky day and I did not want to be ringing up overpriced produce and beer when I could be relaxing watching the television. A gorgeous girl with sun blonde hair, skin the hue of the beach, a cute blue sleeveless top, and jean shorts walked into the store, and went straight to the beverage aisle. It was normal to see a pretty girl come in and out of the shop, and I would steal a gaze with a few but they were never interested. She opened one of the refrigerated shelves and grabbed a grape soda. I watched her walk back to the counter without taking my eyes off her slender waist and hips dancing in fluent perambulation. When she finally reached me I saw her most definitive characteristic, her eyes. They were a brilliant light blue that seemed subtle but kept their place. I froze in my place, incapable of moving due to her innocent power in those ocean gems.
She stared at me and started to smile and even giggle a little.
“Um…are you going to ring me up?”
I finally snapped out of her invisible shackles and out of nervousness I laughed a little.
“Heh heh….sorry I kinda zoned out there” I was hitting myself in my mind wondering why I was acting so stupid “Here, let me take care of this” I took the soda and put it under the bar code reader. It rang up as $1.37 with tax. She took out a dollar bill and a quarter from the tiny pockets in her shorts and looked at the money with a slight grimace.
“I’m sorry, I’m a little short and I don’t have anymore change…” I could tell that she was getting nervous and embarrassed “My friend is just across the street, I can get a few more cents in a minute”
As she started to walk away from the register I thought “come on man, this is your chance, you like this girl so be nice” I couldn’t void this urge. I looked out the glass door as she approached it. It was sunny with very few clouds in the sky. The close together suburban houses across the street bothered me. I liked my own privacy.
She opened the door and I couldn’t stop my self.
“Wait!!” I yelled probably a little too loud. She turned around and let the door shut itself. “Don’t worry you’re covered,” I said in the coolest way possible. Her brilliant smile slowly returned as the words left my mouth and I swear, I was so moved by that sudden emotion I thought I would start crying.
“That’s so nice of you,” she said in that soft sweet tone. I returned her dollar and change and as she stuffed them back into those tiny divots of her shorts she said “Well the least I can do now is return the favor.”
I started smiling too and I handed her the soda back and said, “Oh, really? Well, you don’t have to do anything for me.”
“Well, normally I wouldn’t,” she started, piquing my interest, “but you have something about you that just keeps me wanting to know more about you and if I’m right I’m pretty sure that you get the same feel from me.” This made me smile because I realized that we were having the same feelings at that moment. “So, if you know what’s good for you,” she said jokingly, “you’ll come to my little shindig tonight at my friend’s basement.”
“What time and where?”
“8:30 at 341 Burke Road.”
“Aren’t you going to write it down?”
“I don’t have to, you’re so intent on coming that you aren’t going to allow yourself to forget it.” She already knew me so well.
“You know, I’m already starting to like you … I never got your name.”
“It’s Danielle, but everyone calls me Dee. What about the Good Samaritan? Got a name?”
“It’s Elijah, but everyone calls me moron.” I succeeded in making her laugh.
“Well, I won’t forget that. So I’ll see you at the get together; I’m sure you’ll fit right in with the gang.” She smiled and started walking out the door. When she went through the door she looked back at me and waved. I mimicked her notion and mouthed “bye” to her as she parted.
I couldn’t even think about anything for the rest of the day. All that I knew was that I wanted to be with this girl and even better, she wanted to be with me. I was so excited and happy throughout work, even though it seemed to take twice as long to get done with.
I got out of work at 6:30 and went home to get ready. It was a good thing I didn’t live too far away, only about half a mile or so. As I walked home I got a good chance to look at the verdant trees of June. Since it was summer the sun was still fully visible along with everything in its ray’s shining paths.
I opened the metal screen door to my small house and stepped inside. It was a one story brick red house with a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom. It may have been small, but it was quaint. I took off my converse shoes and put them in the small mounting pile next to the door. The Etnies skater shoes weren’t in the pile so I guessed that my room mate wasn’t home. It was something I had become accustomed to. Rez (he never told anyone his real name) would constantly be making excuses as to why he was gone. These excuses included parties, family tragedies, and business. His grandma had “died” about six times now (and that’s just the one on the mother’s side). Rez was messy, though funny, and never worked a day in his life. I truly had no idea what he was up to, but I had learned not to care: you can’t make the leopard change his spots.
I went into the microscopic cleansing cubicle which we had dubbed the shower. I allowed the water to spray atop my slick black hair which had reached my shoulders (it kinda made me look like Jesus). I relaxed in the shower until I saw on the digital clock on the sink that it was 7:30 and I thought that I probably shouldn’t have taken so much time walking home.
After drying myself, I put my still moist hair in a pony tail and put on some jeans and a black undershirt. I reapplied my shoes to my feet and walked outside feeling fresh as can be. It was 8:00 so I decided to start walking. I didn’t even know where Burke road was, but apparently my feet did since they kept me moving this whole time. When I saw the road sign indicating that my destination was within reach I jumped with an overpowering feeling of optimism. I arrived at the brown wooden house that looked a bit rickety, but it definitely had a certain cozy feeling about it. I knocked on the door of a house and I could hear the footsteps arriving. The door opened slowly as a skinny guy with pale skin, squinty eyes, baggy clothes,and short messy black hair came out and smiled like someone from the sixties.
“YO! So wussup bro? Can I get you some kool aid?”
I was somewhat shocked, but managed to let out an extended profound answer “no.”
“Damn bro, ain’t you polite? Well there’s no need for civilization here, bro. I mean, we just eat with our hands and throw feces at each other like some crazy ass monkey. Huh? Is that what you think we do? C’mon speak up? I don’t know any sign language past promiscuous and no way am I gonna learn how. You know you’re alright bro. Come on in and have some kool aid.”
“Um … what just happened?”
“Yo momma skiznitch.”
“What is that?”
“Pfff. Pushin three hundred.”
It was at this moment that I decided that either someone had played a bad joke on me, or I had just met a crack head for the first time. In my utter confusion I entered the splinter prone house not expecting more than a rancid smell and spilled ash trays. The truth of the matter was obviously this crack head was rather prosperous, not that I knew how he got that way. We passed through the quite narrow corridor which would have immediately repelled any claustrophobic people. The stairs were directly to the left going parallel with the hall. We reached the door and as it opened I was practically blinded by the glimmering of the almost completely marble kitchen. There were mahogany cabinets and the sink and island were onyx. There was a small electric stove with a chrome pot on it.
Suddenly a tall and portly black man came through the other door and approached the stove. He had a shaved head, a black beret, and a tattoo of a chef’s hat on his right hand. He took the lid off the pot and stuck his face over the culinary aroma emitting from it. He dipped a large wooden spoon into the food and stirred fluently. He then put the lid back on keeping the spoon in it.
“You must be the moron,” stated the larger man in his low toned voice. “Can I offer you some kool aid?”
I sighed when I heard this echo. “Sure. I could use some.”
“Do you like sloppy joe?” he asked as he poured the red drink into an amber glass from a white gallon container.
“Yeah, I don’t mind it,” I stated as I took the drink into my hand.
“Good, cause its dinner.”
I started to take hefty sips from the glass and began to ask the important question. “So, what’s going on here exactly?” I noticed that the skinny guy was already on his second glass of kool aid and seemed to be enjoying it.
“I think you need to hear a little story that I was told a long time ago,” said the larger man.
I started to chuckle a little. “I’ve got all the time in the world! Why the hell not?”
The man cleared his throat as he prepared his rather long speech I gathered. “There once was a little boy named Billy who lived in a small house next to a pond in the country with his happy family. His parents took him into the woods one day. Billy was having fun on his walk when he stumbled upon a small pile of rocks. They were mostly edged, but Billy looked through them and found the perfectly flat and smooth rock. He thought to himself, ‘this would be perfect for skipping across the pond.’ He showed his parents and they agreed and thought what a smart little boy he was for finding such a perfect rock. He showed his grandma back at the house and she said that it was the smoothest and flattest rock she had ever seen. He even showed the barn dog and two cats who still seemed to be interested in this seemingly perfect rock. Billy was so proud that he decided to skip the rock that night, and everyone could sit around the pond to watch this perfect rock fly across the pond. As Billy had hoped, everyone intently watched that night knowing that they were about to see something magical. Billy prepared himself to throw the stone and glared into the pond with the rock tight in his hand. He drew his arm back, lunged forward, and released the rock and all the energy in his body. The small audience gasped as he threw it, even the dog was barking. This small rock spun and flew over the pond. It hit the water, but did not skip. The stone had sunk and everyone was disappointed.”
I sat in silence for a moment until I realized that he was done talking. “So …,” I started, “what was the point of that?” He only shrugged in response. I attempted to take another drink but noticed that there was none left. I wasn’t really sure how I was able to maintain sanity here. I had no idea what was going on, but most importantly I wanted to find Dee. At that point I bluntly stated, “Ok, I’m so confused right now. I don’t know who any of you are or where I am.”
“Well thank God for that,” said the larger one.
I became slightly infuriated and slightly raised my voice “Why do you have to be so ambiguous? I mean, I really don’t know anything that you’re saying. You don’t answer my questions and I do not want any more damn kool aid!” I imagine that my face started turning red.
The larger of the two was still very calm and leaning against the island. “Just because a miracle happens doesn’t mean that it works,” He said prophetically.
This statement didn’t help my confusion and anger. I started to not really care about if these guys made sense. I started to get dizzy and as I started leaning on a counter I said, “I need to sit down … I don’t feel so well.”
“Man, lets go chill in the study,” said the skinny one, “We got some mad comfy chairs in there.” He tried to help me out by putting my arm around his neck and walking, but he was no muscle and not much help. The larger one did the same successfully. They laid me down in a long narrow sofa. Those chairs were comfy. The larger man sat in a chair facing the sofa I was on.
“Tell me about your father.” The man demanded
I sighed deeply. “He left when I was young and never decided to return I guess. I must have been three at the time.”
“Your father is dead.”
And that’s how I found out that my father was dead.