Adam Levine’s high pitched voice broke me from my deep slumber. Stereo hearts. A song that filled me up with joy and compelled my legs to dance to now was set to rouse me from my nightmares.
I dreaded waking up each day, given that the night before I must’ve done something erroneous. As hard drinks replaced my daily hydration requirement, my brain was no longer in command. Constantly foggy and absent-minded, irritation became my new nickname, a stride away from aggression.
I watched my body drain before my eyes, no longer being able to keep the food down, meals lost its meaning. Now I survived on continuous drinking and throwing in a greasy pizza once in a while. If it were up to me, a tap of Johnny Walker would’ve been mounted in my house. Though my “lifestyle” was already too expensive to aspire for such dreams.
I started waking up with strange items in my bed. It commenced with a fistful of dirt. For a month, I woke up in grime. Insects crawled over my skin from the topsoil, invading my body as if I was stagnant. I might as well be. A month later, a ‘stop” sign showed up its neon torching my retina to day. By then I was persuaded when I was drunk someone was pulling some sick prank on me. That fiasco continued for weeks before leaves showed up, then broken bicycle parts, then traffic lights… and now, a boy.
The second I landed my eyes on him, my jaw twitched open. Did the drunk me do something I would repent? My heart pumped against my chest cavity, barely holding itself inside.
No, no, no. You’re an asshole, Charles, but not a pedo!!
A sigh of relief washed over me when my clothes were still intact, no sign of promiscuity involved.
He was dressed in a T-shirt that was a little too small for him, and shorts that barely extended to his knees. What captured my eyes was the dried brown spots around his body and clothes. Was that mud? It had to be mud! The boy seemed perfectly healthy otherwise.
My first instinct was to shake him out of my bed, but the sense of serenity that washed over him during his slumber was somewhat contagious. A little mischievous smile played along his lips when he was snuggle up against the side of my pillow. His brown hair concealed most of his facial features, was he a boy? Did I assume he was a boy?
The alarm went off once again, internally I thanked Lew Wallace for the ever-hated snooze button. The boy flickered his eyes open slowly, hazel eyes landed on mine and both of us froze in place. It couldn’t be. It could never be… This is the first time we’re meeting!!
“How could you…?” His words cut something deep within me, something I could never admit. His betrayed gaze was pinned at me.
How could I have done that?
Now that the boy had sat up, I could see it the facial trauma, especially on the left side of his face. I couldn’t stomach to look at him any longer. I am a coward. I was a coward. I could’ve rescued him…. when I ran over him and his bicycle three years ago.
Inspired by u/Rivviken