I'm at a payphone trying to call homeHe made Eggs Benedict and juice for us and sent me home without my shoes at eight this morning. My voice is hoarse from talking. And it's fine because this time I'm not going home in the condition I went home in last month when he summoned me and I went in blind. This time I went in with my own rules and I promised to bring the wrath of God behind me if he broke a single one but he has no intentions of doing that again and so last night I locked the door behind me and turned to face him bravely in the dark.
All of my change I spent on you
Where have the times gone, baby it's all wrong
Where are the plans we made for two?
If Happy Ever After did exist,
I would still be holding you like this
All those fairy tales are full of shit
One more fucking love song, I'll be sick
You're afraid. His blue eyes glint black in the dim light. The hemlocks surrounding the boathouse obscure all starlight from entering through the skylights tonight. I know these rooms by touch. Sort of how I know all the boys by the way their skin feels, their body temperatures. Caleb tends toward the cool side, in spite of the fires of hell he burns within. They don't affect him the way they do me, I guess.
I'm not, I lie.
Again, if you won't be honest this will be difficult for you.
There's that phrase again and it jives perfectly with his evil but not at all with his honesty. I wait without responding. He puts his hands up to my face and I flinch and give myself away. He stares at me in the dark and then abruptly he reaches out and turns on a lamp. Come with me, he says, and takes my hand.
He leads me over to the couch in the center of the room. It faces the television and a wall of windows behind that. It faces the sea. He pushes me down and grabs a blanket off the lower shelf and tucks it around me and then disappears to the pantry, returning with two whiskeys on a tray plus the bottle, a block of cheese and a baguette with a knife sticking out of it, some olives and a tiny bowl of jalapenos, because I love them.
He queued up some music and settled in beside me, his arm up over the back of the couch behind my head as if we were romantic interests. As if we had settled in for a date at home.
He asked me to tell him what I remember about Cole. Not as a form of torture or punishment for my shortcomings, but out of the curiosity of an older brother, now an only child.
And so I did.
And this is not something we have done before.
I am usually moving to fast for them to ask. I don't slow down. I don't sit down. I make my mistakes, I make my corrections and I just keep moving all the time and then the ghosts and the emotions can't catch up to me and most of the time I think that's a pretty good thing. I'm not in therapy. I don't take pills, I just never sit down unless I'm writing so in essence the boys still need to shoot me in the ass with a tranquilizer dart to get me to sleep.
Whiskey works but I cut myself off so maybe low lights and jazz and some snacks help fill everything in and BOOM, I'm down and he opens the Pandora's Box.
If I name the things I remember will I change the future?
No, I don't believe so. Not in this case. Ask me about Jake and I'll still run screaming but for Cole I think I can manage.
He leads. Caleb makes a good counselor. He's a little bit tender, gracious and patient. Attentive. I am pretty sure I'm the only one who sees this side of him. No, I'm completely sure I am.
I begin by answering his simple prodding. He gets up and walks around the room, turning on a few more lamps, making everything cozy. I note that we can now be observed if one were to venture to the lower end of the driveway where the rock wall begins. I am sure that someone is there but I don't want to look, I am too cozy and almost weirdly thankful for a chance to indulge in this.
I am honest. It isn't long before he stops having to prompt me and I just began to talk. Soon he sits back, settling in to listen as I tell him about a man he hardly knew.