SEVENA Chapter by clairvoyantmars
It was a Wednesday afternoon. School had ended, and Tim and Steph were at the old manor again. Steph brought over a battery operated lamp, and she and Tim were on the mat, hanging out.
“What made you interested in painting?” he asked her.
“My father showed me my mother’s masterpieces. She was an artist, just like me. Then it made me yearn to learn. So I knew something about what my mother loved to do. To acquire a piece of her, you know?”
“You were grasping an idea of a part of what she really was.”
She knew it wasn’t a question, but she answered all the same. “Yeah.”
“You know. I seem to be hanging out with you a lot, and I know most of your intimate secrets, I can read whatever it is you’re thinking…”
“I know all of that, but I don’t know the basics.”
“I don’t know your birthday, your favorite color, your hobbies, your plans for the future. All that stuff.”
“Well,” she said, pretending to think deeply. “November eighteen, dusty rose, painting, reading. What else can I tell you, detective? Yes, no, I don’t know, I didn’t do it, the blue one. Hmmm…”
“You didn’t tell me what your plans for the future are.”
She sighed. “I want to fix up this place someday. Fix me a home that suits me well, and doesn’t make me feel out of place. I’ll build a balcony all around the house, and make a front porch. I’ll reserve a room that’s for my own use, where I can put my easels and materials. I’ll hang my paintings all around the house. I’ll buy all the furniture and paint all the walls.”
She stopped talking, and both of them were quiet. Tim started thinking. She want-ed to stay and make a home, he wanted to leave and travel the world. She was holding on to whatever she had lost, he was trying to forget and leave the past. They were different, too different, just like him and his brother. This thought pushed him on with the idea of leaving, because one day, he would lose her too, and he would end up getting hurt again.
“I have to go.” He said.
He stood up, and she followed suit. He waited for her by the door, but was quiet all through the walk home. She didn’t know what was on his mind, or if it was because of something she had said.
When they arrived at her door, he lingered a bit, hesitating. She waited a bit, standing behind the screen door.
“It’s not your fault.” He said curtly, then swiftly turned around and walked away.
Steph watched as Tim walked away. He ran his hand through his hair. Did she hurt him? She didn’t know if it was because of her, but she knew that something was troubling him. She didn’t know if she should go after him, ask him what was wrong. But the time she had made up her mind to ask what was wrong, he was already a block away. She wanted to run after him, her father had arrived. He was wearing a sweat suit, the back and the area around the neck doused with sweat. He stopped on the porch, and then bent down, hands on his knees. He was breathing heavily, and his hair was wet.
“How far?” she asked him.
“What?” her father said between gasps.
“How far were you able to jog?”
“Five blocks,” Gasp. “And back.”
“Good start.” She said.
“Dinner ready?” he asked.
“Wanna order in?”
Half an hour later, the pizza arrived, and Steph and her father spent the whole night watching videos of her mother before she died.
Tim opened the front door of his house and started to take off his jacket. He saw his parents standing by the staircase. He hadn’t seen them since the party incident, not even for meals, because he tried as much as possible to avoid them, and, in doing so, spent most of his time locked up in his room. They seemed to be discussing something.
“Timmy.” His mother said, rushing to him and wrapping her arms around him. “I was so worried about you.”
“What do you care?” he said acidly, pushing her away.
“Now young man,” his father said gravely, “I don’t your tone. I want you to go up to your room and stay there till dinner.”
Tim shrugged back into his jacket and roughly opened the front door.
“Where are you going?” his father shouted.
“Home!” he shouted back.
“This!” Mr. Adams said, pointing his finger to the ground. “This is your home now!”
“No, it’s not.” He said in a low voice, his back towards them. “Home is where Anthony is. This, was never my home.”
Tim heard a soft whimper behind him, and when he turned, he saw his mother in his father’s arms, crying silently as her husband patted her gently on the back. Tim’s heart tightened, but he did not regret his words.
Eleanor Adams couldn’t contain her pain any longer. She felt her tears flowing and immediately her husband’s arms were around her. She wiped away her tears and looked at her son standing by the gate. Their eyes met and she saw her son’s apology. His words hurt, really bad, but what he said was true. Ghosts still hung in the air, ghosts whom they tried to leave behind, but, in the end, they had brought with them. She nodded to him, letting him go. Tim briskly walked away and his parents watched with sadness as he disappeared around the corner. She wanted to talk to Tim about Anthony, about the good times. She didn’t want to forget her other son, just because he was gone physically.
Her mind reeled back to the first night they had slept in the new house. She was dreaming that night, vague pictures flashing through her mind. When she woke up, she was lying on the floor in another room. That was the first time she had ever sleepwalked. Her nightgown was drenched in sweat and her cheeks were tear-streaked. She felt some-one shaking her. Her son was hunched over her, looking at her in fright. She saw the familiar face and put her hands on his neck. She stroked his cheek.
“Anthony.” she whispered. “Anthony.”
She pulled her closer and embraced him tightly. She felt him tremble and he pushed her away. His face was contorted, his eyebrows scrunched together. What she saw was his pain, his pain that reflected hers, what they both tried to hide.
“I’m Tim, Mom.” He whispered.
Without another word, he helped her up and left her standing and quietly went up to his room.
Tim saw Stephanie by the school gates. Her fingers were fidgeting with the ends of her brown hair and she was nervously shifting from one foot to the other. Her eyes were scanning the crowd then finally landed on him. She mouthed his name and rushed to him.
“Where were you last night?” she whispered fiercely to him.
“That’s none of your business.” He spat.
“Did you know what time the police knocked on our door last night?”
“No, I didn’t and I’m sorry they did.” He turned to walk away but she grabbed his arm.
“I was worried sick about you.”
“Well, you shouldn’t be.”
“Wait.” She said. “You mean to tell me you didn’t know about the police?”
“No. I didn’t return home last night. My parents and I had a… disagreement.”
“Then… you’re wearing the clothes you had on yesterday?” she gasped. “And you didn’t eat dinner last night?”
He nodded. She leaned closer and sniffed. He didn’t stink. In fact, he smelled like musk. Musk and rain. Sweet, warm, homey. Traits he lacked, things he needed.
He gently nudged her away. “I don’t smell. Anyway, I slept in the manor last night.”
The school bell rang and the students filed inside.
Classes had started, and Steph was tracing her notebook with her fingers. She drummed her fingers on her desk and her foot was softly tapping on the floor. Tim was looking at her direction, wondering why she was so giddy. She didn’t stare back. She wasn’t giddy; she just didn’t want to stay in the classroom the whole day. Stuck in this wretched room where the air was heavy and filled with the annoying buzz of chatter. How she longed to go home and hold a brush in her hand.
There was a knock on the door, and the teacher stopped discussing the lecture. He walked to the door and stepped outside. The class was surprisingly quiet, and low conver-sation could be heard outside. Then the teacher came back in, and his eyes landed on the figure sitting beside her.
“Timothy Adams? Your parents are outside.”
Tim stiffened and stood up. And like his first day, he could feel the pairs of eyes staring at him. He stepped out and saw his parents. His mother rushed toward him and gave him a tight hug. He didn’t say anything. Her arms felt awkward, alien-like, un-familiar. He felt her sobbing, her shoulders trembling. His fathers face was harsh, and his mouth began to move. But Tim heard nothing of it; nothing of the useless scolding; nothing but the distant whisper of his brother’s voice.
Happy birthday, Timmy.
It was their lunch break and Stephanie scanned the crowd for Tim. He hadn’t come back to class after he went out. She couldn’t find him. She went out the cafeteria and saw him sitting on his bench again. Already from there she could already feel the tension. She walked over to him and sat two feet away from him but still on the same bench. She didn’t say anything to him, but took out her lunch and ate as quietly as possible. She slowly set half of her sandwich beside him. He didn’t make a move for it at first, but she knew he was hungry from not eating dinner and breakfast. A few minutes later he took it and started eating.
After school, they headed to the manor. Tim didn’t say anything. Nothing about what his father had told him. Go straight home. We have to discuss some things. No, his father would never understand. He couldn’t hear the voices Tim was hearing, couldn’t see the way Anthony would appear suddenly right before his eyes. And if Tim ever told his father about those things, he would be setting another appointment with a clueless shrink. He tried to keep the “hallucinations” hidden, thinking of excuses whenever he would scream out in terror. They arrived at the manor. Steph saw the rumpled blanket in the corner. She could just imagine him sleeping on the cold and hard floor.
They stayed there for about half an hour, nothing unordinary happening. Till after the next few minutes, when the wheels started turning.
© 2011 clairvoyantmars
Added on May 12, 2011
Last Updated on May 12, 2011
AboutI've been seriously starting to write my own novels since 2008. So far, I've finished three novels and have a lot of unfinished ones piled up. I also write short stories and poems and the occasional s.. more..