Wake Me When This War Is Over

Wake Me When This War Is Over

A Story by Timothy Ryan

    I fucked up, again. All I wanted to do was go back and erase everything that I had built up into another disappointment. And trust me, I had carefully crafted this one. I was an architect for everything going wrong in my world. I could only imagine what it would be like if everyone had to live through what I created. Every tall building in the city of "What The F**k Were You Thinking?" wowed people for all the wrong reasons. I could see it now; hands covering gasping mouths in disbelief at what they saw, parents shielding children's eyes from the horrors that I was capable of and visitors racing away like a bat out of hell, trying their best to steer clear of the avenues and alleyways that lead into my life. It wasn't the easiest thing, getting people to stay. But for those who did, they weathered a lot. And another s**t-storm was about to rain down. Grab your umbrellas, because it's going to be a long night.
    I knocked on Lori's door for the third time. There still wasn't any answer. Did she really think she was fooling me? I heard her moving around inside. I swear, she was being a b***h on purpose just to make me suffer, just to make me feel as much pain and discomfort as she could. Women are complicated like that. The twists and turns their logic goes through to make a simple point is baffling at times. Then of course, I'm the a*****e for not understanding why they think that way. I'm an a*****e for many reasons, but misunderstanding isn't one of them. I'm sure Lori would remember every single one of the other reasons, though; getting too drunk with my friends to meet her for dinner, smoking cigarettes inside of her apartment (a big no no), leaving the gas tank close to empty after borrowing her car and then of course there was the incident at her family dinner. God, I don't even want to think about that one again. I guess there were a lot of things I did to put myself in the position I was in. But I meant well.
    "Come on, Lori. I know you're in there. Just open up and we can talk about this. I don't wanna wait all night," I yelled against the front of her brown door. I hated that f*****g door. I lost count of the amount of times I've seen it slammed out of anger, frustration and everything in between. It used to have such warm feelings attached to it. Excitement and anxiousness were ingrained in every crack along that door, because I knew the girl I cared about would be on the other side when it opened. That was back when things were always good. Before she really got to know me. Before she knew how big of a pain in the a*s I could really be. The girl I cared about was still on the other side, but the warm feelings weren't always there. She said she wanted me to give her my all. They tell you to be careful what you wish for.
    "Fine. Be that way. I'm not heading back up yet. You'll see!" I wanted to head back up to my room so badly. I was tired of this s**t, but I had to prove my point that I wasn't leaving. We lived in the same apartment building, so I wouldn't be going far. Just around the side of the old, yellow, paint-chipped building and through the door of the front porch. That porch where we spent so many nights; with the tips of lit cigarettes keeping us warm, enough alcohol flowing to keep the long nights afloat, dirty jokes that poisoned anyone's claim of being innocent, breathing in the feeling of youth, which was thick in the nighttime air, falling asleep to the sunrise on the steps and doing it all over again the next weekend. The best times we ever had were just around the corner. We were so close, but it felt like we were worlds apart.
    The air didn't feel as special as it once did that night. Everything that once made me feel free and full of life when looking at the old house, now made me wonder "How the hell did I end up here?" I lit a cigarette and sat in the lawn chair on the small slab on concrete that was Lori's patio. I watched the smoke trail from between my lips, and head up into the stars. I looked up to them, trying to find some sort of answer in their mysterious shine. They fell silent.
    "Ryan, is that you?" a voice called from around the corner of the house. I looked over to see John, who lived in the apartment next to mine, walking out of the laundry room -which was in the basement of the house-. He was tall with balding, brown hair. He was dressed head-to-toes in in black dress clothes. He was a waiter by day and an alcoholic by night. He also sold some great weed. We got along famously. 
    "Yeah, it's me. How are you doing tonight, make good money?" I answered.
    "Not really. A bunch of cheap fuckers tonight. What, are you you and Lori heading downtown or something?" John cocked his head towards her door and lit a cigarette.
    "Umm, not exactly," I exhaled smoke through my nostrils like a raging bull. I wish I was taking her out. That would've been a lot easier than what we were going through.
    "Ohh," John twisted his face in painful looking expression. "Are you in the dog house, again?"
    "You might as well start calling it my house. I'm the only person who's ever in there."
    "Yeah," John laughed to himself. "I saw Lori earlier. She didn't seem too happy."
    "Is she ever?"
    "I think she is. Just not around you."
    "You know, you kind of suck at making people feel better when they're down."
    "Maybe, but there's always other ways you can cheer yourself up."
    "And how would I do that?" John wasn't good for many things, but he did know how to let loose. Maybe he was onto something.
    "Lets go out for a couple drinks. Relax a little and forget about all this bullshit. I'll even buy the first couple of rounds."
    It was a trap. I had my foot raised, about to step in it too. Resist, resist! I thought about us sitting at a bar, clanking glasses together, laughing our troubles away. And of course, all the women would be surrounding us, hanging off our shoulders, begging for our attention. They wouldn't be good girls, but they'd be good for the night. I'd be drinking the world away, while Lori would sit at home and wonder what I was doing. She'd regret making me wait and suffer in silence. She'd wish she had given me another chance. Your plan really backfired on you this time. That'll teach you to play games with me! Lori would be a distant memory as lost myself in the vision of the bar-girls eyes. But they wouldn't be Lori's eyes. Our hands wouldn't fit the same way when we laced our fingers together. Their perfume wouldn't have the same familiar scent. And there would be no feeling attached to any of them. There would only be the empty space of Lori that they couldn't fill. God damn it! I couldn't do it. She was in my head. The guilt of disappointing her weighed me down, keeping me in my place until the shaky world we shared together balanced out. No amount of drinks the bar could serve would wash her away. Women are magic like that. 
    "Come on, man. You know it'll be worth it," John woke me from my thoughts.
    "As much as I want to, I can't tonight. I have to ride this out. You see the kind of s**t I have to put up with? It'll only be worse if I leave."
    "RYAN, F*****G, JONAS!" a familiar voice yelled from the cracked window of Lori's apartment. The voice that made me smile. The voice that made me laugh. The voice worth all the trouble I could put it through. "Are you kidding me?! The kind of s**t YOU have to put up with?"
    Ahh, the saint amongst us sinners. It was voice that I had been dying to hear from. It didn't sound quite as happy as I wanted it to be. But it was a start.
    "Oh s**t," John tossed his cigarette in the grass and stomped it out. "I don't wanna get in the middle of couples therapy here. I'll see you around. Hit me up one of these nights," John said as he hurriedly walked back around the side of the house.
    That coward. As far as I was concerned, he should have to cut his balls off and declare he was no longer a man. He could try to pull me out of bad situations. But once the s**t hit the fan, he was gone. What a p***y. I'll show him how to deal with women.
    I got up from the chair and walked over to the window. I looked inside and saw Lori standing with her arms crossed, with a look in her green eyes that could spew venom if she wanted them to. She wore tight, black shorts that were barely longer than a pair of underwear and a white tank-top that hugged her upper-body tightly, half covering her belly-button. Her black hair, that usually flowed with beauty, was tied up behind her head like she was ready for war.
    "I f*****g knew you were in there. You never leave the light on if you're not. Why didn't you answer me when I was knocking before?"
    "Because, I didn't want to talk to you," Lori's eyes were dead-set on me through the small window screen. There was no charming my way out of this one.
    "So, what, you were just listening in on my conversation with John?"
    "You two aren't exactly the quietest people there is. Plus, you're right outside of my apartment, you idiot. You think I couldn't hear you?"
    "Then you heard that I want to fix all of this?"
    "I heard you say something about the kind of s**t you have to put up with. You act like this is all on me. YOU caused this mess. Not me, Ryan."
    I did have to put up with this kind of s**t. Did I cause the issues we have? Most of the time, yes. But she didn't need to make it harder to work out. I couldn't tell her that, though. That would go against her womanly logic.
    "I was frustrated. I didn't want to wait outside all night, but as you heard, I was gonna do it. As much as I f**k things up, I don't like the idea of you being mad or hurt."
    "You certainly have an interesting way of showing it."
    Jesus Christ, she wasn't giving me an inch. I had to come up with something drastic to pull this one out of the gutter. 
    "Can you please let me in, so we can talk about all of this? It's getting cold out here."
    "Ryan," Lori rolled her eyes and laughed. "It's July. Do you really think I'm going to believe you're freezing to death out there?"
    "I am. You'll see the frost melt away, once you let me in."
    "Really, you have frost frozen to you now?"
    "Come on, Lori. I'm trying here. Can you please let me in? I just want this to be over with."
    "You're pathetic sometimes. I swear," Lori let out a long sigh. "Here, I'll go unlock the door, but you better not be an a*****e. I don't want this to turn into a fight."
    "I can't help being an a*****e, but I'm not going to argue. I promise."
    "Alright. I'll see you in a minute."
    I stood in front of that brown door, again. All the old feelings of excitement and anxiety filled my chest with fluttering hope. We were waving the white flag in another battle between us. I heard the lock click and the door slowly swung open. She told me to come on in. The words rang out, echoing louder than all of our issues in the past. That's all I wanted. It was all I needed, just the chance to make everything better. We were gonna be fine, until the next time I disappointed her.

© 2016 Timothy Ryan

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Added on July 26, 2016
Last Updated on August 8, 2016


Timothy Ryan
Timothy Ryan


A self-taught, soulful degenerate who puts life into words. IG @timothyryan1990 more..

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