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I’ve challenged myself to use this room’s insides as my enclosure. It’s subjected to me, I’m the term they will use when the walls move into them. Crystals glisten near the outside rust, it’s like someone is trying to tell me something. Like, the place is just a family home. It’s got its rewards, its gifts, items that serve purpose. Without a reason for why we exist, this place holds onto what we can’t believe in.
The chair’s casing is now feeling like my spine has adapted to this special comfort. It’s like I’m challenged to adapt, to learn what must be taught to us strangers. My father was a man of his word, he’d hold onto the handles for me. Always letting me pedal onwards to a new destination. He’s taken my life with him, but I feel like I’ve lost more than a life within his caring days.
Vulnerable to those who watched, I was tortured from the second grandpa’s hourglass twisted around; revealing slight weather forecasts from above. Nobody predicted the times it would happen; we could see the reflection in a perched mirror. Just like us, it was waiting for a clear image. My father wanted to capture us in one shot. Don’t look at me like I’m spilling you bullshit here, it’s all true. My dad, he was quite the tipper.
Fallen tears from the sky had settled along the dark roads ahead. Thick strokes of mist had really captured our vision in several webs. Tangled by what’s behind us, and what might be right in front of us. Not one person mentioned to the other that there’s an alternative route to take. That route would take them to their destination.
Wrapping the bandage around her face, the nurse held her head still. “I’m feeling quite…”
“Sick?” The nurse interrupted, finishing the other’s sentence like it wasn’t really important to listen to.
“Ha, yeah.” She added.
“Did you ever think that we’d have a young girl dying- in the back of this vehicle?” Rain pelted on down.
“Yeah, it’s part of the job. Not the first time we’ve had a young kid dying in the back of an ambulance.”
Her eyes fixated on the road, her mind focused on the partner beside her. “Sometimes, I wonder if- if we are doing the right thing. Letting them live another day, especially ones like her.”
“What’s the supposed to mean?” Her hand now having a tighter grasp on the wheel.
“You know… I don’t quite understand it myself.” Her eyes rolled, her face feeling quite dry. “Maybe, maybe it’s the thought of whether a child can come out of a hospital looking lively.”
“We do our damn best to make up for their lost time.” Bitter, her voice didn’t quite sink in well.
“Yeah, I feel we just delay the inevitable.”
“Is it the weather making you talk like this? Or are you really just trying to find a topic to argue with?”
“It’s not simple. Taking a girl back to the hospital, getting her booked in. Making sure that her parents, carers, someone who loves her deep down. My parents couldn’t give two shits about me.”
“Yeah? Well, they’re not your parents. They’re assholes.”
Heading up several curved hills, the driver didn’t feel like telling her colleague that the girl was suffering from a more adulted event. Adult-based, it was less likely for a person her age to be in such a position. But due to adultery, she held it back, not wanting to worry her partner.
Continuous flows of oil-like water slid down the sides. Grassy patches now looking quite grey in areas, with the sky only getting darker. Only a few minutes away from the hospital, they both wanted to speak about other problems. But with time not on their side, they speeded down the final road, turning off to the left to park.
‘I’ve seen it now. I’ve witnessed the deliveries that never should have been scheduled.’
Thick clothing wrapped around their waists. Bodies looking built, some others looking pudgy, it wasn’t a coincidence that they all had similar clothing. They’ve even started locking doors early, making sure that no early birds show up uninvited. The place is on lockdown, and the more I think about it; the more I’m on lockdown.
That hallway that is revealed every time I can see the light, it’s like showing me a path to take. It doesn’t look inviting, it has quite the odour to make you desire something else. I’m thinking about food, but the hallway is leading me down into rooms I don’t want to enter. The only pleasing doorway that looks safe is the one entitled ‘Exit,’ but I’m not going to spend a second in there.
I’ve seen several wounded women come out with scars. It’s like it’s the entrance to the place. Not quite an exit, it has that pleasant feel to it. Safe, reassurance, I’m feeling quite lucky to be so close to a doorway that is our escape route. It’s the best way to get out of here. Right? No, it’s just tunnels ahead of that door. I remember, I can remember the moment someone told me about those tunnels.
Not sure what day it is; it’s a room full of mist. Standing up with my legs tied together, I couldn’t take a step towards my sister at this point. She’d watch me fall over, again and again, and I’d watch myself fall over. Her mirror next to her bedroom window held a secret not even I could see from above. I had to go on my knees to envision the entity. Top of the mirror, there it was; a key dangling from a necklace. Rusted, yet the crystal shines through like daylight.
“Um, what are you doing here?” She’d seen me in her own reflection.
Trying to find an excuse, I pretended to brush my hair. “Just making use of this mirror.”
She’s smart, she doesn’t fool for mind games. “M, yeah- well, why are you using my mirror?”
‘I could be honest with her. My words wouldn’t sound so disjointed like they do now.’
“I-I don’t like to use my mirror. I don’t even have a mirror to look into like you do.”
“Shame. I guess only I’m the lucky girl to see the good looking guy walking into my room every morning.” She laughed.
“Lucky? I’d call it unlucky, I’m not that good looking.”
“Don’t even try that with me. You may have convinced your ex, but she was a fool to ditch you back at the hockey game.”
“No, she was right.”
“Stop, I don’t want to talk about this, Susan.”
“Get out of my room then, it’s the best way you can avoid questions.” She smiled, her innocence was playing my mind like an instrument. A weak pathetic instrument.
“I’ve taken into account that you wanted to a raise?” That’s not the voice I wanted to hear.
“I’ve taken into account that you want your sister to stay with you?” You’ve got me. Thank you, you’ve saved me.
She’s watching me again. I never lied about the mirror, I told her the truth. I don’t own a mirror, but I do own a reflection like hers. It’s not as simple as looking into one to see yourself meeting your eyes. I’ve got her reflection looking devious, mischievous. She doesn’t know it, but I can see her from the other window.
For the past hour I’ve watched her sleep, I’ve seen her stand up. The way she wraps her blanket around her is kind of impressive. It’s not like how my ex would hide her body. Then again, she wouldn’t know anything about that. Only one of us would know how she would hide her own body, but it wasn’t straight forward like she’d hoped. Then again, I can’t recall her ever being given a choice.
“Andrew? Let me in please. I’ve been knocking on your door for the past five minutes!”
Not possible. This door is sealed shut, and entry is only given to the one who locked me in here.
“I’d count to three, Andrew, and play along like we used to. But I’m not in the mood for treating you like a child.” She sounded exhausted. “ANDREW!”
“Okay, okay. I’m coming, just give me a second will ya?” I opened the door.
Taller than me, she’d tower over anyone she’d stand next to. Even in wedding photos she took the higher grounds. Every birthday that we celebrate is trampled on by this woman I have to call my mother. My own parent who thinks she knows me, but she hasn’t done anything right since giving birth.
“Thank you, honey. It’s about time you see sense. Open a few doors for your mother, is it really that much to ask for?” Her bitterness is quite tasteless, it hurts me.
“I’m not a gentleman.” I mumbled, like she’d want to know.
Holding a stack of clothing, all of it had been folded with perfection. If only she could use that perfection on other skills in her life. Like having kids? Protecting them from dangers? Oh, and not letting us be abducted by strangers. Can’t forget that vital rule. She sure fucked it up, made our lives hell from the get go.
Just as I watched her put down the clothing on my bed, she pulled off her shirt right in front of me. Her bra exposed, the light shining on her cleavage. Those scars around her neck becoming visible as I sat down on the floor. Sitting on the edge of my bed, she looked right at me. Looking down on me, trying to smile but couldn’t quite perfect those muscles.
“Andrew… you’re sick, honey. Sicker than before, not quite seeing reason to let your own mother in rooms she wishes to enter.” That’s not her voice. It’s not her.
My head filling up with toxic waste, it’s like it all boiled below. Rising up to fill my mind with different chemicals. It’s like all of this was to make me happy.
“You should be taking your medication every morning, every night, and let’s not forget to also take a dose when your mother is suffering from dealing with you.”
“Dealing with me? You only deal stuff to low lives. Like you’d help me deal with anything.” Not even my voice could have the power to over throne hers.
“Sometimes, Andrew- you say some harsh things to people. You don’t quite mean for it to sound hurtful, but it comes out with that toxic tongue of ours.”
“There’s more toxic in your body. I don’t even see you as a parent, I’d rather refer to you as just your name.”
“I’m not just a name, I’m someone who has cared for you and Susan when your father couldn’t even raise you right.”
‘Attention, attention, all travellers who wish to travel on the early express are now going to have to cancel their meetings, along with vacations. This is due to some seriously bad weather that none of us were aware of.’
Have you ever woken up feeling like your life has been drained away? The endless sunlight every day starts to make you sink into the mattress. And we then look up at the sky saying; ‘cool me down.’ Nothing happens, we just lay there with our eyes wanting to close. Sometimes thinking is it even worth moving our pathetic selves?
Well, I feel that every time she enters the room. The deep feeling underneath makes me want to pick away at the remaining fucks I actually give for a person like her. My sister is the only person who I care about. I’d trade my body for her safety, I’d give in life itself just to see her happy. Now, I know that’s crazy, but she’s serving more purpose than me. I’m not quite there yet, but I am close to knowing something that I don’t know right now.
“Flynn, it’s not easy dealing with your mother sometimes. I’m not your number one dad, but I’m enough to get you through some hellish nights.”
Not a word, like I’m going to speak to this loser. This ‘person’ that doesn’t serve a purpose in my life.
“…I knew you’d keep tight lipped. Your mother and I are going to have many more days of happiness before I end up puking up my guts for you all to see.”
‘I wish you’d do that right in front of me. I could then laugh off all this agony, and let him know what he truly is to me and my sister.’
“So, I’ve taken the new car for a spin. You missed out- your sister was over the moon. I’ve never seen her so excited for something, she wanted to paint a picture of us all smiling around the family car.”
He thinks I’m going to crack a smile, show a little emotion. Award him with endless love that a son can give his father. Thinking I’m going to let him know what a great parent he truly is, what a wonderful man he has become for looking out for us. Making us happy, giving us a reason to smile. No, I’m not going to give him anything.
“For the first time in years, Flynn- your sister put her arms around her daddy, and told me how much I meant to her. For the first time, I’ve seen her looking lively, fighting that illness. Showing that she does love us.”
I snapped, I couldn’t hold it in. Not any longer, I can’t pretend that everything is just perfect. He cost us more than family happiness, he made us objects.
“And you must feel like you’ve won a million dollars.” My eyes weren’t going to look at him, I stared at the ground.
His smile faded away, even that father-like laugh of proudness sunk into sarcasm. “You’ve really got to go and spoil it, ain’t you, kiddo?”
“Yeah, I’m not going to pretend for you. Not even going to go along with your limited time offer of being a better father.” I wanted to look him dead in the eyes, but not even he deserves eye contact.
“Well, I’m sorry- I’m so fucking sorry that my own son can’t be thankful for the things he has in life.” Trying to make me feel bad, look at his pathetic attempts. “And I’m so, so, sorry that your dad couldn’t make up for all the lost time.”
“Fuck you. You haven’t found any time for either of us. You went out to use your blood money for what you think is ‘good.’”
“Actually, Flynn. ‘Andrew’ – I watched your mother count down the days she has to live. Your mother has done more than break an old man’s heart. She’s screwed up, made your dad look like a worthless- “
I know, you’re probably wondering what he was about to tell me. I assure you that it’s nothing more than a few lies, a few home truths that don’t even fit into being truthful with one another. He thought that our mother was not worth saving, and in a weird kind of way. He was right, yet I didn’t give him the satisfaction of knowing that he was right. I told him a few home truths, and made him leave me and Susan for 8hours.
No, it’s not like a number. It’s not even like a name, but it is part of where we are now. It’s endless, timeless, we don’t need any hours to make it happen. Susan had time to make up for what she did wrong, not countless. Yet, she had time to make up on her own. Nobody would be there for her, not even me. I only remember faceless people pinpointing her location.
The last thing I find out before dad has hijacked another man’s car over in Chicago. Is that he has taken to the streets to become a far better parent. Weird, I can’t see him being a better man. What if I was to tell you- that he has all the time in the world? He has 8hours, the time I whispered in his ear. Then, it was all over within seconds, no time at all.
Between the bars of our beds, the slim bars that then went into thicker poles. I’m now seeing an opening- I focus hard enough and the exit remains closed. If I pretend that an exit doesn’t exist, I can see an opening. What really changed me back then was seeing Susan dying. Even in hospital, I was never sure she’d make it. No remembrance of time. There was not even a window to open for her. My reflection stayed with us, and she most likely looked into her own with those frozen eyes of hers.
By now, I’m not going to see her again. Susan is dead to me. And that’s all that matters.
Not enough time…