A Little Piece of Fiction by Dale Vaughn

You know, there was a time when this body, so ugly and undefined, was once chiseled. This body was once cheered and lauded by friends and fans, and envied and hated by others. These hands so large and strong once held things and people of great beauty and esteem. 

They once cradled beautiful girls in their strength and protection. The girls, god, I remember them. Hanging all over me, fawning after me and pawing me like a trinket. Who was the arm candy in that situation; me, with the looks and the body or them with their innate beauty and shimmering eyes and clothes?  Even then, I knew that there was maybe, something wrong with me. But I paid no attention, what’s the use in worrying when there is nothing physically broke to fix?

I glided through high school on my looks and charisma, even though there was a working and very intelligent brain in my head. But no one wants intelligence from the “likes” of me, as the “normal” kids would say. 

By “normal” I mean the ones who would or could never have what I had. Maybe they were fat, had asthma, poor, or just too damn lazy to have what I worked so damn hard for! I apologize, that is the old me talking, the one who could never see past his own persona or even care what others thought or said about him, or for the world for that matter. What happened out there didn’t affect me, because it didn’t touch me physically. 

The kids at school who were poor, who’s parents worked two jobs just to keep clothes on their backs, food on the table, or a roof over their heads, I didn’t talk to them, hell, I didn’t even associate with them. They weren’t like me and could never be, in my eyes.

I got to college and life got a little harder, but not much. I still had my pick of the girls and fraternities for that matter. All of them wanted me to boost their self -esteem and prestige, but what about my own. About this time was when I started to notice what could possibly be wrong with me. 

Maybe everything I strove for wasn’t enough anymore. I started being curious about the rest of the world, but I knew the reaction I would get from everyone, “Why bother? Look at you! You’re amazing. You are a light, a beacon that shines on everyone to make them strive for something better.” But, deep down inside, I knew there had to be something more.

The summer after my freshman year of college I went home, like most kids do. I loved my family; I would die for them, but who would have thought that they regretted me? Well, maybe not my mother. She was beautiful, she outshone every woman I was or ever will be with. Her heart was made of gold and she stood for what was good in the world. I should have paid more attention to her. I should have listened to and heeded her words. But instead I chose to ignore them and her deeds. She would always accept people in the home no matter what. We could have hardly anything to feed them, but they were always welcome, no matter their look or beliefs. When I got home that summer I noticed something different about my mom, she wasn’t shining as brightly. She looked like she was suffering. It scared me; I didn’t know what to do. She always hated being treated as if she were porcelain or an egg. But, you could see it in her eyes, she was not doing so well, but she wouldn’t tell me, in fear of hurting me.

I finally confronted her two weeks before I left back to school. 
“Mom, what’s wrong? I’ve noticed it all summer you haven’t been yourself. Please, you can tell me. What’s wrong?”  
“Baby boy, it’s ok. It’s nothing for you to worry about. The doctor thinks it might just be some early onset arthritis or just some joint pain. He’s got me on some painkillers and I’ll be just fine. You know this sweetheart. It’s nothing to worry your precious head about. I’ll be fine, I always am.”
“Are you sure mom? You know I love you and my world would collapse without you in it?” 
“Now quit that, your world would surely not collapse without me and you know that, and I will be fine.” 
“I love you mom, I can’t stand for you to be in pain. I can’t stand for you not to be around.” 
“I’ll be o.k. darling, I promise. Don’t worry about me, you’ve got school to worry about and that is important. Now, give me a kiss and hug and we’ll leave it at that.” 
“I love you mom.” 
“I love you too my baby boy.” 
I went back to school that fall with an itching in the back of my mind that something was not right. But I took mom’s advice and worried about school and not her.

In the second month of school I met the most beautiful and intelligent girl, her name was Alisa. She was most definitely not like the other girls I have ever been with. Yes, she was beautiful, extremely, almost to a fault, but she did not flaunt it. She did everything she could to hide it. She wore black all the time and was more interested in piercings, tattoos, drinking binges, and the world around her than in herself, which I found truly amazing being self-absorbed since young adulthood. I fell madly in love with her. 

I was smitten with her from the first conversation we had. 
“Hey, Alisa!” 
“What do you want, prep?” she said with a snarl. 
God that was gorgeous. 
“I was just curious as to what you’re up to tonight? I mean, do you wanna hang out?” 
“With you? You’re kidding, right? Did your asshole frat fucks put you up to this?” 
This was going to be a little more difficult than I am used to.“
No, they have nothing to do with it, plus none of them are even in the psych class. I’m serious, what are you up to tonight?”
“Look, you and your ilk, are not welcome around me, ok, prep?” 
God, that is just such a turn-on, strong and independent, this is very different, I love it, I love her! 
“Look, I just wanna hang out, nothing else; can we at least hang out?” 
One last chance, please don’t let me blow this; please let her say, 
“All right, prep, meet me at the Fat Kat Record shop tonight at 8 and we’ll go from there.” 
“I’ll be there, I promise, you won’t regret this.” 
“I already am.”

That night was amazing; she started opening my eyes to the world and everything around me that I was missing before. I started changing, becoming more open minded, sarcastic and jaded. My fraternity brothers started noticing and began distancing themselves from me, that’s when I realized how far their friendship would actually stretch. I started spending more time with Alisa and her “crew” as she liked to call them. It was a motley crew, Anarchists, Nihilists, Socialists, Communists, and people I would have referred to as freaks in high school, finally realizing that they just have a different way of expressing themselves, because no one else would listen to them. I actually really started having a good time for the first time in my life without faking it. Then the call came.

It was my dad, “Yeah, dad, what’s up?” 
“How do I say this without upsetting you? Well, your mom is in the hospital.” 
WHAT?! When did this happen? What’s wrong?”
“Now don’t worry...” 
DON’T WORRY?! What the hell am I supposed to do?!” 
“Now, DAVE, quit! She just went in today. The doctors say she’ll be ok. It was a good thing we were home. She must’ve forgot how many pain pills she took and took a few too many. We noticed something was wrong when she didn’t wake up this morning like usual. The doctors are trying to make it out like an attempted suicide. They have her on suicide watch and want to put her into a psychiatric hospital for a few weeks.” 
Ooops, dad hadn’t met the “new” me yet.
“EXCUSE ME?! What was that!?” 
“I’m sorry dad; I am just really emotional right now, stressed out with school. You know I love mom, and that I would never do anything to hurt anyone.” 
“Its ok. son, I understand, I wasn’t sure if I should call you or not. She’s gonna be ok. though. I’ll make sure of it nothing will hurt her, ok.?” 
“Yeah pops, that’s cool. Look, I gotta study; I’ve got a big exam tomorrow. I’ll call tomorrow ok.?” 
“Ok. But just remember she’s in good hands ok.? I won’t let anything happen to her ok.?” 
“Yeah, pops, not a problem.” 
“I love you Dave.” 
“I love you too, dad. Bye.” 
“Calm down, prep, she’ll be ok. You know that. You know your mom; you say she would never commit suicide, than I believe you.” 
“It’s not you that I am worried about, those fucking doctors think she is fucking suicidal, insane, or fucking dependent. AND SHE’S NOT!” 
“Dave, babe, come here.” She wrapped those beautiful, soft arms around me, “She’s gonna be ok. She’ll be all right. Just calm down and stay here tonight.” 
I had never done this before with anyone other than my mom, I broke down in her arms. I cried myself to sleep that night for the first time ever, with Alisa by my side to get me through. At fall break I was heading home.

The smile she greeted me with was radiant. My mom looked beautiful again. They were all surprised to see me, my mom especially. When we hugged I wouldn’t let go of her. 
“Dave, let me go. Let’s sit down and talk.” 
“All right ma.” 
We talked for two hours straight. She told me about everything that happened. She said she couldn’t remember much and that she did just take a couple too many pills because she forgot how many she had taken before. She said the pain was getting worse, but was still manageable. And that the time spent in the “loony bin” as she called it, was time well spent and that she didn’t regret it, because it brought her to terms with her physical pain while so many others were dealing with mental anguish. 

I told her about Alisa and what she was doing for me and my mom was pleasantly surprised and very happy that I finally met someone I could talk to. 
“I hope I can meet her someday, Dave.” 
“You’ll get to ma; don’t worry, probably at Christmas break.” 
Little did I know, God wouldn’t wait that long. That night after I got off the phone with Alisa, I called my old friends up and went out to a house party with them that night.

The party was already raging when we got there. We stepped through the front door and old memories came rushing back. Nothing had changed here since I had left. Everyone was still the same, drowning there non-existent lives with copious amounts of alcohol and drugs. What the hell, when in Rome as they say. I kept the pace with all my old friends, snuck out back and watched through some open blinds as someone fucked a girl, got caught by that girl’s friend and slapped, and walked back inside to watch the kids fall all over each other. About that time I got hungry and decided it was time to hit up the local Denny’s and have a few cheese sticks and pancakes. I convinced the girl who just got shagged and her friend to come with me to the Denny’s for some after revelry sobering up so that we can get home safely. Little did we know there were other plans in store for us.

We walked up to the intersection and after looking both ways started to cross the street. I have now figured out why you’re supposed to hold hands when crossing the street. We got to the turning lane and realized that the light ahead had turned green so we waited until it turned red. When it turned red, we looked both ways and proceeded to cross the street again. 

We had just about reached the other side when everything went black. I woke up to yellow light, screaming, and a pain in my head and knee. I felt something warm slipping down my face, I reached my hand up to wipe it away. In the light it looked like oil and that’s when I realized it was blood. Fuck, what just happened? That’s when I started listening to the screaming, “OHH MY GOD!!! OHH MY GOD!!! THEY WERE JUST HIT BY A TRUCK!!! OHH MY GOD!!! OHH MY GOD!!!” What?! A truck hit me? Holy shit! I rolled over on my back and tried to get up. I couldn’t, my knee wouldn’t bend. Fuck. That’s never a good thing. Let’s see, let’s take a second and see if everything still works. 

Well, I rolled over on my back, so the arms work. Wiggle my fingers, yup, they work. Let’s try the left knee, yeah it bends. Wiggle the toes, yep both sets work. Well that’s good; everything except the right knee is in good shape. About this time some of the guys drove by and realized it was me in the middle of the street and the girls I had left with. They rushed up from the truck they were cruising in, 
“Yeah, I’m cool… it’s just my kne…” 
That’s when I realized the girl who got shagged also got hit and apparently was in the middle of the street also. I tried to look up but I couldn’t make her out in the darkness. Apparently, from what I was told later, she was curled up in a ball; her knee- high boots were knocked off in the collision and were in two separate spots.

The paramedics finally showed up after what seemed like two hours. They took us both to the same hospital. For the next hour all I could hear was the girl screaming in the next room over as they started trying to get her stabilized. It was horrible; I still hear those screams in my dreams from time to time. 

As I was lying on the E.R. table cold and naked, my dad wheeled my mom into the room I was in. As she told me, as I was lying there in a state she hadn’t seen me in since I was a baby, she got the call and freaked out. By the time she got here she was in such a state of hysterics that the doctors had to give her some Valium to calm her down and hence, she was in a wheelchair. She asked a nurse for a blanket for me, I knew then I wasn’t going back to school for the rest of the semester. I called Alisa the next day after the pain pills they gave me wore off a little and I could have a coherent conversation without too much slurring of words and passing out in mid-sentence. 

As I told her about what happened, she started crying.
“Alisa, I’ll be all right. I just have to stay home for the next month or two.” 
“I know I just wish I was there. If I would’ve gone home with you that wouldn’t have happened. You wouldn’t have gone out with your friends and you would be coming back to school on Friday.” 
“This isn’t your fault Alisa, it’s the guy who hit me, it’s his fault. They finally caught him today after he came home.” 
“GOOD! I hope the bastard gets life in prison.” 
“I’ll tell the lawyer that that is your professional opinion babe,” I said with a chuckle. 
“Shut UP! I show I care for you and you make fun of me!” 
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you, I really appreciate you care for me,” 
“I love you Dave.” 
What was that? She had never said that to me before, this came as a shock to my system. “I’m sorry?” 
“You’re sorry that I love you?” 
“No, I mean I didn’t comprehend what you said.”
 “I love you, Dave.” 
“I love you too, babe.”

As my time at home came to an end I began getting anxious to return to school and my mom understood why, I had someone there that cared for me as much as she did. I couldn’t wait to see Alisa’s beautiful face. It was decided that I would go through rehab at school so that way I didn’t miss anymore than I had too. The whole time I was in rehab my motivation was to walk and run again so that my mom could see. I knew that was the only thing she wanted to see, me fine and in working order again. Alisa and I became inseparable. She walked with me to every class as I hobbled beside her. After class she was there waiting for me. It was great, to finally have someone that actually cared for me and loved me because of who I was and not what I looked like. I was two months into the new semester making up the classes I missed, working hard trying to keep up, and had just finished rehab when the call came.

There was sobbing on the other end. 
“Yeah, dad, what, what’s wrong?” 
“Dave, Ohh my god, Dave, your mom is, Ohh god,” 
“Dad, DAD! WHAT IS IT?!” 
“Dave, your mom is dead… Ohh my god, I am so sorry, Ohh I can’t” 
The world slipped out from under my feet then… my whole world went black, this couldn’t be? The woman who showed compassion and love to everyone, the woman with the biggest heart in the world was dead?! NO, THIS COULDN’T BE!!! GOD DAMMIT!!! DAMN YOU GOD!!! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!? SHE NEVER DID ANYTHING TO HURT YOU AND YOU TOOK HER FROM ME!!! FUCK, YOU TOOK HER FROM THE WORLD!!! FUCK YOU!!! 

“Yeah dad.” 
“You don’t have to come home...” 
“I’m sorry Dave; I didn’t mean to hurt you...” 
“No, dad, I’m sorry. I’m coming home. I just can’t believe this happened.” 
I hung up the phone and went over to Alisa’s, this was the only thing I could do. I slipped on my coat and took the walk to Alisa’s place the whole time stopping and sobbing uncontrollably. It took me close to an hour to get there; once I did the floodgates came open. I couldn’t stop crying the whole night. Neither of us slept, and when I explained to her that I had to leave, she couldn’t get herself together.

With that I came home from school. We found out after the autopsy was done that she passed due to “acute drug interaction.” She had taken some allergy medicine with her pain medication and that is what did her in. A mistake she made because she thought it would be o.k. When I told my mom that my world would collapse without her in it, I was right. After she passed my life flipped upside down; I quit talking to everyone, even Alisa, I felt like I couldn’t handle love anymore. I felt that love was for those that God loved, and with him taking my mother away from me, he didn’t love me, so I didn’t deserve love. 

I started lying around the house and just not caring anymore. I let myself go, that once strong body was now just a worthless blob of organs and spent oxygen. I wake every morning feeling that I can’t go on, my dad has taken it upon himself to try and find me help, but there is no help in this world for me. I have become what I wouldn’t talk to in high school and only until Alisa I never realized I was just like. Now the same people who I once called friends make jokes about my “pathetic” life and me. But who is more pathetic, those who make the jokes or the one who the joke is about? There’s just one more nail in the coffin and it’s all for you.


Art by: Jose Guadalupe Posada

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work by H.E. Saunders is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.