Five (Short Story)
Five Somebody told me before that when you feel almost nothing at all, only plain unhappiness, then just die. You always want to find an explanation for feeling so empty, but what was that for? Nothing. If you feel that way, then that’s depression, and I’m telling you, that thing kills every part of you. Well, at least, that’s what it does to me. Dry. Marie once said that she knew everything about my condition and she’s dead wrong; I know myself more than everybody does.
After that check-up, I never came to her clinic again. It’s Sunday night and everyone is gathered in the dining room.My mom who always kooks like, well, a mother is sitting between Chess and Gary. Staring at the vegetable salad, Gary didn’t make a single move. Chess Is smiling at me. She’s the cool kid between them and among all normal six years olds. She looks horrible now but always happy, Poor kid, she doesn’t even know her cancer Is killing her little by little.
It’s undeniable that we’ve been close with each other. We both have good-looking faces. It feels very strange to walk towards my chair with mom watching. I didn’t mind at first. Or at least I pretended I didn’t. I sat; she’s still watching.I got some grilled squid; she’s still watching.
Okay, enough of that watching game. “What? ” I asked as I took one bite. “Stop eating Tommy, we haven’t prayed yet. ” It was Gary. As he grins, the freckles in his face looked much darker compared to his white skin. Gary is my enemy for life. He always contradicts me.
I reluctantly put my fork down, and mom led the prayer. After the prayer, there was an awkward silence. “Let’s discuss some things,” mom said after a while. “Ell, there will be some changes in your studies in the coming years. ” There’s a long pause.I could see the hurt in her eyes as they stare at me, “Son, maybe next year you’ll have to stop going to school. You know your sister’s situation, right? I hope you understand.
” Then, a tear dripped down from her eyes then followed by another. I hate It when she’s crying. It makes me feel guilty even if I have done nothing wrong. Gary put his hand in her shoulders. I was fascinated. I wasn’t crying but I found it very hard to find the words to say. “Everyone saw that coming,” I Just heard myself say.
I want to leave right away so I won’t hear her know, maybe it’s the last time I’ll ever eat normally.I finished my food for a minute and went to my room. As I walk into the new flourished floor of my bedroom, all seemed calm and normal, UT my feet keeps on walking around. What’s life for if I cannot continue my studies? I sat to my bed and looked through the windows and watched the rain as its drops slowly. It amazed me for a moment, and I let my problems Join each passing droplet. My phone rang; it was Mack on the other line, ready for a game. My pal, he always knew what’s up.
Other than him, I had no friends. I grabbed my black coat, and put my sneakers and cap on.I went downstairs to the living room where mom, Gary, and Chess are watching like everything is normal, like nothings wrong. They looked happy and complete as a family which kind of gives me goose bumps. I wish I could fly so that I would never have to pass the living room. “I’m going over to Mack’s place,” I told mom as I opened the door, ready to leave. “It’s late now.
Maybe you Just go tomorrow morning. Just Join us here,” she walked towards me and held my arms. “l can’t, I have to go. This can’t wait. ” mire’s not listening to mom anymore. ” I really wanted to crack up when she said the word “mom”.She’s never been a mother to me since Deed left.
I made a forced smile in return and Gary seemed to be annoyed. mire’s not going anywhere Tommy; obey your parents, kid! ” Gary stood up and raised his voice. Another word that kills me- “parents”. Muff mean horrible foster parents! You want me to watch stupid cartoon with this cancer kiddo that eats our money and with my stepfather that hates me so much that calls me Tommy even if it’s not my name. Where the heck did you find that name? From your son with your first wife? Second? Third? ” I saw Chess look scared at what I said. She hid at Garry back.I don’t know why I said those things.
I was shocked with my own words. “No Ell, you’ve changed! That’s not even true… ” She’s sobbing now. She wears old sheep sweater and pants. Her skin turned pale, the wrinkles increased.
She looks so old, older than my foster grandma. That’s what she got in taking care of her daughter, “Don’t you say that to Sees”” Gary yelled. “Why do I have to care? She’s not my sister. She’s not my mother, and you’re not my father! I am adopted, okay? I’m adopted and that’s it! ” Mom slapped my face. It hurt. It wasn’t because of her heavy hand. No, it hurt in a different way.
It’s like my heart was stabbed. The tear- faucet opened in my eyes. I stared at her. Next thing I knew, I was running, escaping from all the problems that would keep on hunting me forever. I stopped for a while to catch my breath. “Mom Just did that,” I told myself. When I found the strength to make my thighs work again, I walked normally to Mack’s house.
The road is wet and the rain turned to drizzle. It reminds me of my days with mom’s first love, Deed. Deed is a dude. He knows everything about men. I’m always on top of class because he was there to help me do my home works and projects.He’s a tall blonde man and in the national basketball team. That’s why I made it to the varsity team in middle high.
Our family was always admired by others before, but now, it’s always a subject in gossips. We’re a perfect family before, but after he left, the broken glass will never be gust the same thing again. I rang the doorbell when I got to Mack’s house and her mom opened the door. She greeted me and called Mack. While waiting, I realized our town had grown. The houses had countless windows but they all look the same as if they were built at the same time. This town is full of buildings but only has a few people around.
It’s not summer so the town had no tourists, Just ordinary folks. It’s an ancient place; most buildings were built before our grand- grandfathers were born. There were so much to see- tall pine trees, benches in every post, and flowers in pink and yellow colors that shine even at night. It’s a happy town but you can’t bear to stare at those living things. “Hey man! Thought you’re not coming! It’s late at night. Got permission? ” We made this clap hands trick. Mack is a black man He wears these clothes that rappers wear.
Sometimes they’re more expert than white people. “Don’t ask.Life’s a mess at house. ” “Come inside, let’s start the war! ” our characters, man! ” I smiled, forcing to be mysterious and went to the street. My character in the online game is amazing; I got the lightning speed and the diamond’s strength. I need those in real life. As we walk, we passed a convenience store.
It had a lot of buildings but only a few people inside. There are cars on the road. This driver who’s got scars in his body drives his red car so slowly. It’s funny that my feet are faster than that. I watched it as it passed us. Another convenience store- an old one but it’s closed.I could see my reflection clearly in its windows- short black hair, white skin, blue eyes-.
mire’s handsome,” I murmured. The street is full of silence that it hurts when too long, from the green trash bins that made me thought I’ll be needing it soon when we have no more to eat, to the buildings with shiny lights on our side. Although it’s entertaining to look at, it hurts in my eyes. My phone keeps on beeping in my pocket, I know its mom and I don’t want any crying time this moment, I turned it off. But I got curious what’s inside her messages so I pulled it out and turned on. Jeez.There are 18 missed calls and three texts only from mom.
I started reading one of her messages when I heard an engine’s car going so fast. I returned my eyes to my phone. “Dude! ” Mack shouted and pushed me so hard on the alley. I was knocked over the bench before my face touched the ground. My legs and shoulders hurt so badly. I can’t even open my eyes. The pain moves fast in my whole body.
Gasping for air, I don’t know what Just happened. Some pranks, probably. But with the smell of the air, I knew something huge happened. I lifted my head and knelt up. I opened my eyes. I could not see vividly with the smoke everywhere. Mack, where are you man? ” I found the answer to my question as soon as I turned around; he’s lying on the ground covered with blood.
He was out of breath, out of life. Even my own breath was taken away. I stepped towards his body reluctantly. I was crying all of a sudden. In Just a blink of an eye, my best friend was gone. It was my alt. Everything was my fault.
I should be the one who died. I shouldn’t have told him to go over Tibia’s house. He died all because of me. I looked around but only saw the car in front of me, full of Mack’s blood. The smoke is coming from there. I remembered falling.Putting a hand on my forehead, I felt something wet- blood, I decided- but it wasn’t Mack’s.
“l curse myself. Dude, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! ” I can’t stop crying. My body’s trembling and police sirens heading to our direction. People started forming a circle around us. They were muttering things I don’t understand. Maybe they pity or maybe they are laming me for all that happened. I closed my eyes once again.
“Stand, kid. Let me accompany you to the ambulance and give us your friend,” a cop said as he carried me in the ambulance van. Watching the police take my buddy corpse, I felt angrier with myself.On the side, the people simply stared at us, taking pictures and videos for news. I contained a big sin that made me feel smaller than before. Mack’s mom appeared. She came up to her son.
She started hugging him and telling him “l love you” a lot of times between her sobs. A nurse helped me sit in the ambulance’s back seat. I was still crying but I let her lean the blood in my forehead. Inform wound is deep,” the nurse said as she put bandage to my cut. She’s sad, as if she understands. “What’s your name? ” she asked. I Just stared at her, stunned.
She smiled. A breeze blew. A memory stayed.The crowd was full of words to say. A policeman walked up to me and asked, “Poor boy, what happened is unfortunate. What’s your parents’ name? ” I told him my mom’s name and number. He called another cop and wrote something in his phone.
Then continued, “Kid, losing a friend is part of life, be used to it,” and went back to the area where Mack’s body was lying seconds ago. “That’s a stupid cop. That’s not that easy to lose someone,” the nurse said when the cop is not in sight. “I’m sorry about that. By the way, I’m Nurse Ring. ” She smiled at me again. I looked at two other cops who are now walking toward me.
They said I needed to go to the Police Station for investigation. I followed them to their car. The nurse nodded at me. In the station, the head cop asked me a bunch of questions. I don’t know what to say. No words come out of my mouth. At last, I said, “l don’t remember such a thing, sir.
” The image of Mack’s dead body full of blood reminded me of everything, even her mom’s loud cry and the crowd’s noise. The sound of the impact hanged on my ears and kept repeating the whole thing. It hurt and made me shiver. I saw mom coming. The police talked to her and in every single word he said, she’s “Are you alright? She’s crying, I nodded, tears falling. “Everything will be okay..
. ” “Mom, you’re wrong. It was my fault, I killed… ” She didn’t let me continue, she hugged me tight. I was crying.
After a long silence, she said, “No, son. It was an accident. “Accident… ” I muttered. “Maybe you don’t understand.
” “I understand,” she said softly and looked at my eyes. “I am sorry, Ell. ” Mom drove me home. Several days passed. I didn’t go to school after Mack’s funeral. The investigators and the police keeps on connecting with me, but still, I do not feel worthy to say Mack’s name to others.My parents can’t do anything about it.
I refused to play with Chess. I stayed in my bedroom every day. My life turned like that, Just locking myself to nosiness about the outside world. Nurse Ring went to our house morning the next day, gave me some advice and encouraged me to go live a normal life. She’s a black woman with straight dark hair, slender body, she’s beautiful. She’s nice. In fact, she told me a story Just like about what I experienced.
I’m not convinced, it didn’t help. If Mack is still living, he’ll curse me in a funny way not like how I do to myself. If he’s still alive, many stories will not wait.If he’s still living, there will still be a cool person I could be with. I stayed in my room. I was upset about everything. Suddenly, I heard mom sobbing and saying things about cancer.
Gary knocked hard at my door and opened it himself afterwards. He was sweating and perhaps about to cry. “Tommy, we’re going to bring Chess to the hospital”, he paused and made a gulf of air. “Her condition is worse. Stay here. ” Then, he ran downstairs. I listened to the sound of car’s engine fading away.
Cars are depressing; they always remind of the “accident”. Two nights passed and no one called at house.I went downstairs to the kitchen and opened a canned food. The house was calm, silent, but sad. My phone rang while I’m eating my breakfast. It’s hard to press the keys because the screen got broken when it fell on the solid ground in the accident. I answered after a minute.
Mom was crying, “Ell, we’ll still stay here for some nights if Chess survives. ” Her voice weakened. “l don’t know what to do. ” She continued saying things but I couldn’t understand her because all I hear was the sound of her cries. At the end, I heard, “I’ll go there. What time is it? ” “It’s scheduled this morning, nine A. M.
We’re waiting here, faith with us. ” It’s 9:45 A. M. , I fixed myself and went to the hospital immediately. I waited outside the operating room with mom and Gary. No one dared to talk. Gary walked hither and thither, unsettled.
Mom is sitting beside me, bowed down and eyes closed, praying and crying. My palms are wet with sweat. Heart pounded. Uneasy gaze. I never felt so nervous my whole life. An hour passed. We’re still waiting for the result.
I could see someone opening the door. It was Access’s doctor. His eyes were fixed on me. I stopped breathing. Gary helped mom to stand. She’s trembling. I stayed seated.
The doctor removed his surgical mask, shook and bowed his head. Gary hugged mom tight but she was almost kneeling. They’re all weeping, even her husband. The salty river ran down my face. Still on the seat in a corner, thoughts travel round and round with only one thought. Today, I lost everything. I could feel the dampness of my skin as I put my hand on my forehead.
I couldn’t think of anything. I stood up and ran, away from this disaster. Mom asked me where I’d go but she won’t get her answer because I don’t even know myself where I am going. I was out of my mind. I went to the rooftop of the hospital with tears.It’s prohibited there but I don’t care. I wanted to disappear, I wanted to explode.
My eyes seep out with pain. I was afraid, frozen. I’m afraid of what I could- would- do. I cried as if the world had come to its end. I have no calm inside; the only thoughts circling around my head were all about dying. I closed my eyes and the darkness soon swallowed me. I know I feared it.
I made a few steps to the edge of the building. I let my tears pour down my cheeks until thing more could fall. I looked above. Nothing would ever stop me. One last step. I felt floating through the fragile air. I decided to end my life.
I fell to the ground. Closed eyes but still conscious. At this moment, I felt no pain, I murmuring once again, the ambulance, the police siren, the memory. “Oh God,” That’s mom’s voice smelling, “Why is this happening to us? ” Another voice I don’t recognize, “He has plans, Greta. ” I know numerous days had passed. In those days, I smelled the rubbing alcohol and dried blood in bandages. I know I’m not in my own bed.
I heard people’s experiences, their pity to my mom. Then a day came, I perceived the sound of mom’s voice. “Ell, son, wake up. I have a surprise to you,” she paused to sob. Then she continued, “Deed is here.He’s here, so wake up. Please.
.. ” Then, a voice I know well, “Pal, Ell, it’s Deed. I missed you. Wake up, let’s play basketball. ” His tone is shaky. Even if I want to open my eyes, I can’t.
He held my hand, I tried to move. “Did you see that? He’s moving! ” I could feel many eyes are focused in me. I tried my best to open my eyes and it all worked. Deed is here. He came back for me. A single drop of relief welled up in the corner of my eyes. The doctor checked my body.
Nurse Ring is there too, smiling. “E… Deed…
Dad… ” Days of resting, it’s hard to pronounce words, it’s like I’m learning as a kid again, with my father. Son! ” Then tears flooded his green eyes. He hugged me. I heard a bone ding, “That hurts.
.. There, dude. ” We both smiled. “I’m sorry, son…
You look horrible. ” I nodded and move my eyes to mom who’s crying silently at a corner with Gary. Deed told me funny stories about what he encountered in France. But he never told me whether he had another family. Mom didn’t talk to me. They only allowed Deed. That night, they left for home.
I stayed in the hospital thinking of everything. The thought about Mack and Chess remained. Their deaths still give me nightmares. I would never forgive myself.The next day, I woke up with a girl’s voice, melodious and enchanting, “Hey, wake up. ” I opened my eyes but couldn’t sit. “I’m Earl, nice to meet you.
” Her tone was excited. Chair beside my bed. The sun was Just about to rise on the room. Earl is a white girl with blonde hair and brown eyes; perhaps in my age. “That’s an uncommon name. I saw many humans visiting you these days, how was that? ” The other patient in the room made a hush. We smiled.
“Do you also make friends with him? ” I asked which made her laugh. I lowered my voice, “Anyway;ay, probably those visitors are Just some relatives I don’t know. “Humans are weird, right? They will Just come to you when you won lottery or when you’re dying or in your funeral. ” “Why are you here? You should be on your room. ” Muff think I’ll spend my remaining days in that creepy room alone? No way. I always visit everyone here at mornings. ” We talked about the people she calls, “humans”.
I enjoyed her stories. But after some hours, a nurse came and picked Earl. “Ms. Earl, I went everywhere to find you. You need to be examined. Also, you have to take your medicines. Come on.
” The nurse said. Good bye, Ell! I’ll see you! ” Then she murmured, “Stupid medicine,” as she turned her back.Deed, mom, and Gary went by. That time, mom talked to me, told me sorry for her shortcomings to me. Her life is a drama. I appreciate everything she said, how I felt her lost love. That afternoon, Nurse Ring visited with cookies.
“Just recover, Ell. Are feeling alright? ” she asked. I shook my head, “Mack’s life… What’s the thing about recovering? That’s not right. I committed suicide, I should have died.
Nurse Ring, I’m impenitent for my decision. I want to die, okay? ” I was crying again for what seemed like the thousandth time these sat months. “That’s not right.God gave you another chance to move on, to forget and clean everything. I’ll help you, don’t worry. ” I asked how. She continued, “Give yourself days to decide.
Give your best in those days and God will do the rest. ” Then, she left. Right, there’s reason why I’m still breathing. I bend my knees and slowly set. My bones are like cracking but it feels good that I could feel again. My head hurts and it continues to flow in every part of my body. I closed my eyes and think.
If there’s no Mack, how’s school life? I had no friends and he would not let me replace IM, we had this promise and I’m holding it until death.I’ll need to be ready. That’s how it is. One time, one of our relatives came. A woman with his little son. Mom told me she’s her cousin but she didn’t talk to me Just to mom. The kid walked towards me and said, “I’m Brock, I heard my parents that you Jumped off the building.
Did that hurt? What’s the feeling of flying? What’s the feeling of dying? ” His questions made me explode to laughter. “Why do you want to know? It’s not for kids. ” “Why did you Jump? You have problem? Mommy said that problems need to face and you have to move on afterwards. I’m giving you permission to be my student. He talks like an old man but all made sense. He’s right but that time I was nowhere in darkness. Two weeks passed.
Nurse Ring went by and gave me advices which feel good. She’s always there for she also visits someone. The kid visited me for four days, giving me lectures about life. Earl went to my room every morning and she told me hilarious things she saw in the hospital. We had a good time when she bought her painting materials and taught me to paint. Now I felt like a professional artist. She’s cool.
“Okay,” I started telling myself the night before I leave the hospital, “I’ll give myself our or five days.If no one dare be friend to me, I give up. ” I reflected afterwards in everything that happened. Every detail and every piece of it. The morning, mom went to the hospital early with Gary. They packed my things even the left foods. Mom told me that Deed is at house, so I felt excited.
I changed my patient gown to Jeans and blue t-shirt with “rocks” written on it. Mom never forgets to bring my favorite cap. I saw Earl peeking at the door’s window. I smiled and gestured her to come in. She looks timid looking at them as she walked in. Mom smiled at her. Her hands on her back as if holding something.