Monday, June 25, 2007

fiction

(again, because my wife asked me "who called at 2 a.m. last night, and where was i?" the last time i posted fiction: this is FICTION)

and some inspirational credit goes to both prada pixie and the ataris.

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for troy barger: me and s still remember you, even if no one else did.

jimmy woke that morning knowing what he needed to do, what would be expected of him.

he felt an odd calm as he waited for his father to be done in the tiny bathroom of their apartment.

these two men who had been together for the 16 years of jimmy's life had never told each other they loved the other. father and son, passing like ships in the night. expressions of intimacy boiled down to the very bare-bones of existance: "pass the salt." "good job on that math test."

as his father walked past jimmy from the bathroom, he did an odd thing; without making eye contact, he placed his hand on jimmy's shoulder for the briefest of moments.

jimmy watched him for a moment as he shuffled down the hall.

as jimmy rode the bus to school, he looked out the window, calm, at peace. the sun was breaking through clouds, rays of superbright light shooting forth like magic, or power.

after arriving at school, jimmy did something completely uncharacteristic for himself: he skipped his first class. it seemed likely to him that no one would even notice his absence, not even the teacher. jimmy rarely spoke, never participated in discussions, and had managed to pass through the halls of the high school unnoticed by almost everyone.

he sat in one of the empty hallways after the bell rang, opened his notebook, and wrote in large block capital letters, "mark, thank-you for talking to me in biology. it meant everything to me. jimmy." and folded it neatly, stuffing it through the air vent of locker number 189.

on another piece of paper, he wrote, "dear mr. steffens, you really have no idea how much you have inspired me in every class i have ever had with you. i wish we had more time. i hope you understand what i am about to do. it is my calling. thanks again, jimmy."

jimmy would've been flattered, and might have even smiled, if he had known mr. steffens would spend the last two hours of the school day neglecting his classes to run around the school trying to find jimmy, and stop what he was sure jimmy must be planning.

mr. steffens would be in the library writing up his lesson plans this period, so jimmy snuck into the class and left the note on his desk.

on another piece of paper, jimmy wrote simply, "it's not your fault. you couldn't have known. please don't beat yourself up, i am happier this way." and slid it into locker number 254.

on the last piece of paper, jimmy wrote, "i know you don't know who i am. few do. but i have always been there, watching you at school. do you ever feel like crying? do you ever feel like giving up? you must go on. and please, remember me."

he paused a moment in front of locker number 113. he reread his note. a choking sound came from his throat. he frowned, swallowed hard, and steeled his resolve before folding the note up and sliding it into the airvent of this nondescript locker, standing for a moment with his palm against the cold metal surface after the paper disappeared from sight.

at 2:14, bill left school a little early. he and his friends were taking his new camaro and driving into the city to catch another friend's band, and they wanted to get there early to hang out.

the group piled in, laughing and jostling, commenting on how cool bill's new car was.

celine had spent the last period of school hiding out in the third stall of the women's bathroom, crying. sometimes she wondered why. why she kept going. wouldn't it be easier if...?

she decided to leave school early, walk down to the park and sit by the pond, look at the new buds on the trees and flowers.

at 2:16, as bill was saying, "look at the rubber trail i will leave on the street in front of the school!" celine was pushing open the double doors of the school.

and jimmy was jumping up from his hiding spot behind the old rhodedendron.

no one would notice jimmy running full tilt across the grass. no one would see the resolve, the determination, in his eyes. no one would see how happy he finally was, for the first time in his life, and how a near-smile seemed to creep across his sallow face as he sprinted towards the epicenter of car and girl.

many kids who had never heard of jimmy, never noticed him in the hall in his worn polo shirt and cheap jeans, will cry at the assembly the school held to talk about the accident. mr. steffens will smile through his tears, and quietly thank god he hadn't found jimmy that day, an odd understanding clear in his face.

mark will skip school. he will do his crying in his room, alone. later, he will ask his friends if any of them remembered jimmy. a few will admit that they thought they did. mark will ask why he didn't do more to make jimmy feel included. then he will remember the note, the line "it meant everything to me." and will allow himself to be consoled by his friends.

bill will steal his mom's liquor, and drink for a few days. finally, a need for routine will take over, and he will return to school to find jimmy's note. it will take awhile, and quite a bit of therapy, but he will forgive himself.

celine will cry. she will cry and cry and wonder why anyone would do that for her. her mother will take a few days off from work, though this will mean the two of them will eat ramen for a month, because she can see that the time has come to be close to her daughter, to talk about the important things they had never discussed. celine will show her the note, and this will confuse the mother, but she will point out the line to celine, "you must go on." they will cry, and the mother will tell celine how important she is, and celine will reply with the same.

jimmy's dad will find the post-it stuck to the fridge: "i love you, dad."

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6 Comments:

Blogger Pixie said...

Fuck that's good!

you've made me cry.

we don't always appreciate stuff till it is too late.

I just want to hold all the Jimmy's in this world and try and let them know that tommorrow might just be better day.
((((darth))))
px

3:39 AM  
Blogger wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Damn you. I can barely see through my tears to write this. Very moving.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Krissie said...

Beautifully written.
But I wanna say to Pixie: sadly, most of the time, no holding can help the Jimmy's of this world.

9:36 AM  
Blogger darth sardonic said...

ty everyone. after reading pixie's post, this started formulating in my head. jimmy is part me, and part a kid i knew in high school. he didn't die in any dramatic way, though, just kinda faded from view. i still wonder about him sometimes.

i think if jimmy had written ME a note on that day, it would've said, "it's ok to cry for me, but this really what i want. a chance to be somebody." so we're sad for jimmy, but he got what he really wanted.

9:46 AM  
Blogger DJ Kirkby said...

Moving story. Speechless.

1:00 AM  
Blogger lady macleod said...

well *sniff* done *sniff*

2:13 PM  

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