Homecoming

I see bars for miles with spikes resting on top of each piece. The sky is gray, lifeless, speckled with thunderheads across the sky. The road looks as if it has been just paved, not a blade of grass out of place. Private institutions like this one seem to have huge endowments from no-name investors. The drive took us farther north than I have ever been. Everything was so serene. We hadn’t passed a house for miles and the forest was growing thicker. As the world around me became more claustrophobic, the air seemed fresher, as if there was an abundance of it. The leaves of the trees acted as tiny hands giving out oxygen to anyone willing to grab it, and I never seem to have trouble breathing anywhere I go. Being so far away from home made me miss her. Sarah was so beautiful that night as she was laying under the moonlight. Her dark hair spread across the grass with the only white being in her eyes and her pale skin.

 

Now that same paleness of color has been transfused into the sky, but I no longer see it as beautiful. No, in fact, it doesn’t even catch my eyes. They’re stuck looking back into the past. It’s hard to believe that I’m going away for so long. My mother cried when I made my decision to leave. I was the first person ever in my family to go off to such a well-known institution. My father shook his head with tears in his eyes, saying, “you can’t possibly be my son.” I had done something that no one else had done. I think I’ll be famous for quite some time, an irregularity in my little town. I’ll be quite honest- nothing ever happens in the kind of town I grew up in. A small town, hidden away in the country with their population printed nicely on the sign on the way into town. The biggest thing that’s happened in the last thirty years was the fire station burning down( I know, ironic). No one has left before, you could say I’m the first. It’s almost as if I am a hometown hero. I know to have an understanding of how the world really works and having the skills necessary to function but I’ve had my doubts. I feel like it should be a nice fresh start, no one will know the real side of me. I’m given a blank canvas, one that I can paint, however I like. I wonder what my roommate, my floor and my teachers will be like. I hope I like them as much as I liked Sarah. The car slowed to a crawl, then stopped. My car door opened and I waited for Frank to help me out of the car.  I was greeted by an older man with a large white lab coat whose hair was receding.

 

The gravel scraped against my black dress shoes as I stepped out of the car. After my decision was made I celebrated by wearing a suit and I was able to retell my experience to an entire audience. I loved it. I was able to relive the whole experience; I almost couldn’t contain myself. To see grown men nervous as they sat in wooden chairs in front of me.  It’s almost funny to me, to watch them squirm, analyze me, attempt to understand me. How could the sweet boy who used to deliver their daily paper, and hang out with their kids after school be the same young man sitting in front of them. To them it’s astonishing how a single person could accomplish something so profound.

 

The door slams in front of me and I’m left alone in a room with nothing but a wooden table and a chair. The building I’m in is so old that the idea of soundproofing had not even spawned from human intellect.

 

“I don’t know why he’s here,” said Officer Coalfield.  

 

“Well, we can’t send him to the city, they’re already flooded with cases.  Besides this case falls within the town’s jurisdiction and we’re not even sure it was him.” Said the chief.

 

“There’s something not right about him, just look at him. He’s just sitting in that room and smiling. Remember how that little boy almost drowned a couple of summers ago? He was the only one there.  He had that damned same look on his face.”

 

“You know that case was inconclusive, there were no other witnesses and the kid’s a mute.  But for right now that girl’s family is on the other side of that door scared shitless and they deserve to know what happened.”  

 

The door opened and Officer Coalfield walked through the door, hands shaking, eyes red from staying up all night. The call came in last night at about 3 a.m. after someone had passed by the tree and saw what I had created. Butchered, cut, torn, bitten, clawed, that’s how they described my work. But I find those words to be so disturbing, so coarse to the ear. I find my work elegant and tasteful. If anything, I made Sarah all she was ever going to be, all the town was ever going to be. Forever young and beautiful.

 

“Theodore…Theodore you with us?” Officer Coalfield said as he opened a manila folder.

 

I looked up from my shackled hands and gave him a smile. “Hello Frank.”

 

“Tell me what happened,” he said sternly.

 

“I don’t know what happened. I know as much as you do.”

 

“Stop fucking around Theodore, Sarah was with you the whole night.”

 

“Well, she was not with me for the whole night, she was my date to the prom, but we weren’t joined at the hip.”

 

“Her friends, your friends, said they saw you leave together.”

 

“Well she wasn’t feeling well, she asked if we could go outside for some air.”

 

‘What was wrong with her?”

 

“She was feeling tired.”

 

“Tired?”

 

“So I fixed her.”

 

“How did you fix her?”

 

“I took her outside.”

 

“What happened outside?”

 

“She was kind of shy, you know. She grabbed my arm and told me she just wanted a break from everything so we left through the gym exit.”

 

“And then?”

 

“And then I went back inside”

 

“Not with her?”

 

“No I was getting cold and I told her I was going inside but she insisted on staying outside”

 

“Theodore, we searched your car,” he said with a grave face.  

 

“And what’d you find?”

 

“There was blood and hair found on the bumper of your car”

 

“Is that all you found?”

 

“Why did you do it?”

 

“Why’d I go back inside?  Because it was cold. Come on Frank, pay attention.”

 

I looked at the officer and I snickered, “This town has been so bland lately, I wanted to add some color to everyone’s lives,” I said.  

 

“What did you just say?”

 

“Come on Frank, it is obvious this town was boring, it has dire need of some entertainment, we haven’t had a community event in months.”

 

“What the fuck are you talking about?” he asked. I could hear the anger growing within him.

 

“I gave a bunch of hicks a masterpiece. But I doubt that they’ll be able to understand it, like infants staring at a painting of Dore, they’ll probably just begin to cry. “

 

“What happened to you, Theo?” his voice began to shake.  

 

“Nothing I’ve always been like this, I just got tired of the magazines and movies they just weren’t doing it for me anymore”  

 

“Where’s the rest of her?”

 

“What are you talking about? I made her more than she was ever going to be.”

 

“You know what I’m talking about.”

 

“Oh, you mean her heart?”  

 

“…Yes.”  

 

“That’s mine forever and I’m never going to give up that to anyone.”

 

“What’s wrong with you?”

 

“Frank have you ever had a thought that scared you?”

 

“What?” he asked, confused.

 

“You ever been high up on a ledge and thought, ‘What if I just jump?’ ”

 

“No of course not.”

 

“Have you ever arrested a person that was so evil that you just wanted to kill them?”

 

“There’s been a couple of people that I’ve encountered, but that’s beside the point. You still haven’t answered my question.”

 

“What if you did it?”

 

“What if I did what?”

 

“What if you killed those people? what if you listened to those thoughts?”

 

“But I didn’t.”  

 

“You could play out that scenario as many times as you want, 999,999 times you never even touch your gun, but there’s one time you do. Every choice we make changes the reality around us, but too often we miss out on that one special reality. We’re all capable of it, but we never make the decision.”

 

“Theodore?”

 

“I jumped, Frank. I did it and now you’re living in my reality, one that only had a fraction of a chance to become real and I did it. I squeezed the life out of her and then I cut her straight down the middle so everyone could fall in love with what I fell in love with, her heart and soul. After all isn’t beauty what lies on the inside?”

 

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