City of Lights

City of Lights

A Chapter by YouoweYoupay

Is it possible for anyone to die of happiness?




Chapter (4):

City of Lights



   Sometimes I would catch myself turning pages of my father's 'untold-truth' themed books, or scrolling down fresh political events that made me itch in curiosity; like those two neighboring countries in the North that agreed on the beauty of rural drums and dancing, but they fought over everything else, including the little islands spotted in between the two states and towards the Southern east.


It was hope-lifting to learn that the naïve notion of 'people are originally friends, but politicians mess it up.' actually proved in a few intellectual, unprejudiced individuals who regularly post articles in internet communities.


Blogger: Techpriest-194, for example, had been recently discussing why those that worshiped the moon came to hate and oppose those that worshiped the sea and vice versa, attempting to do justice to the case by walking in both sides' shoes and including reference and valid evidence to provided information.


But I would soon lose interest or focus within the sea of historical happenings, assume I had grasped the whole idea, nod at the screen of my groaning computer, and then put it back on 'sleep' mood.


I landed on my back against the neat sheets of the bed on the right, taking a brief glance at the one on the left; sheets twisted and probably in need of being spun in the washing machine. How could a person like him instruct me to keep things 'clean and tidy'?


A slight burn rose in my chest and throat as I remembered the quarrel of the past hour. A blur of anger and yearning to jog -don't ask- rolled in my head. There had to be something else I could do to kill time until we had both calmed down.


The rain had stopped and the birds in our neighbors' front yard resumed a cheery duet. I closed my eyes and exhaled a long breath.


Blinking lights, circles of man-made colors in a screen of black; I recalled last night's dream. And after a few seconds of further recollection, I jumped to the nearest pen and notepad.


Beyond the underdeveloped, poorly lit valleys I traced from a sky view, ethereal echoes celebrated the completion of a new city. People were assumed to automatically be able to identify their rights and duties, so there were no laws written. No penalties. No rewards. And also, no daylight or moon rays. Just circles and arches and fountains of bright lights in throttling darkness. Simple wishing, limitless and infinite, gave birth to one's reality. Everyone was pleased, and those who walked through the city gates never returned.


I wondered if it was indeed possible, to slowly vanish and die of happiness and self-fulfillment…


I tapped a full stop after the sloppy handwriting in the last sentence and slapped the pad's cover.


When my vision cleared again, I saw a tilted desk with a computer, some pens, and white papers, but none of my writings on them. I had fallen asleep as I drifted away with the thoughts, and I was tempted to close my eyes again.


Distress, in an artist's journey, is a time for inspiration to burst out into life. So, I decided to strike the iron while it's hot and attempt to sketch the kite gummed in between the electric pole wires beyond the terrace but midway through the living room, that idea did not seem appealing anymore. I heard a snore from behind the twofold sofa.


My eyes blinked twice at the sight of Demon sitting in a chair with his head hanging backwards and an open red book masking his face.


I carefully picked up the pillow on the nearest cushion and aimed at the bright, red cover. A perfect shot. The book thumped loudly against the floor.


"Wha-yeah-What is it?"


He didn't shoot up or jostle his arms in the air like I had expected. Instead, he slowly adjusted his slumped position and rubbed his nose.


"Sorry, did I wake you up?" my effort to confirm my false worry voice, didn't seem to affect him.


"Yeah, it's alright-- It's fine." he yawned stretching his husky biceps.


Demon would tell me to be a good sport about being hit with pillows, even before I showed a reaction of any sort. It was good to know he actually practiced what he preached.


"You done sulking?" he scratched the back of his neck. I nodded.


"Were you really reading that?" he glanced awkwardly at the murdered book on the carpet. 'Cooking is a Piece of Cake and a Bowl of Soup 'volume 1' ' read the title.


"Eh, I'll get to it later."


I hope I wasn't anticipated to apologize about the earlier episode. I'm not saying I wasn't at fault, but it was a reflex to his anger, and maybe some of that parental heritage.


"Wash them properly." She watched the water pour into circles and bubbles and bleed down the drain, my fingers barely touching the stream.




 My father's friend had just left after a pleasant dinner gathering. My mother's stiff stillness dissolved away behind the front door.


"Why, because you shook hands with that colored man-"


"but wh-"


"Don't argue with me, Aaron." impatience rose in her voice, "Do you want to get sick or-or… turn into a black person too?"


"I'm bored." I tried to clear remorse and hesitation from my mind as my eyes met his honey brown ones. "Let's do something." I gestured with my hands still holding the sketchbook and the cylinder of color pencils.


"Wanna go to the Summer Fair?" he suggested in a rusty tone. My face lit up, but my stomach was still grunting.


  It was hunger at first, but even after we'd spread the picnic mantle by the soccer practice field, my guts developed an unpleasant intuition; the booming shouts of children playing tag, the squeaking of the swings, the nauseating smell of oxidized metal, cotton candy and playing field sand drifting in a mix through the air. I had seen better events at other places to make this park undeserving of the name: summer fair.


  I've never known any friends in my old town, so my parents used to be my regular reference to social interactions. Normally, after a quarrel with either of them, sitting around the dinner table was edged with self-consciousness and the three of us would agree to a three to six syllables per sentence, "Pass the Salt." being a reoccurring favorite.


But it was difficult to maintain an awkward silence around this guy; if it wasn't our loud chewing sounds or a friendly exchange of conversation, the gap of quiet would be filled with my disapproval of him drowning his shirt in mustard and cheese, stepping on the mantle with his shoes on, or his dishonest claims of wanting to inspect the wellbeing of the remaining half of my pizza slice.


"You lied-No, it's mine!"


"Give it, you're almost full--"


"I'm not-I'm extremely hungry. Haven't you had three already?"


"I'm your guardian, and I tell ya, overeating is no good for you."


"Stop, Demon, would you--Help, somebody! I'm being robbed."


"Die, die, die!"


"Aaron, keep your voice down." she called, fleeting by the staircase with a small laundry basket.


The monsters on the screen made beep-bling-beep sounds, and looked more like paper dolls, but they were after my pixilated tuna sandwich. I punched and tapped to save my life, and that sandwich, all the while I had thought I'd been commenting and yelling inside my head.


"Aaron! I said shush! The neighbors'll complain."


"Sorry, mama."


After that evening, a week prior to my sixth birthday, the shelf under the T.V where my SEGA console had been remained empty. But after a few days of moping and needing a controller to punch and clack, I actually felt better without it. I missed the green colored monster in specific though, so I drew a picture of it and the tuna sandwich with scented crayons. I was never smart when it came to saving lives anyway.


I was even worse at competing, or any ball game.


"You're out." She blew the whistle again, beckoning me away from the turf.


"Good riddance." I mumbled, putting on my left shoe again.


Even when I knew very little about soccer, I was sure both teams required more than two players on the field.


I was betting Kareem and his referee friend with the gooey whistle were the only ones in the park using that space and anyway.


Yara smiled by the edge of the fountain, waving at me before hugging her arms again.


I tripped over my loose shoelaces before I could wave back, barely avoiding a nasty fall on my face.


"You be careful." she said in between the chuckles.


"I'm safer here than back there." My thumb motioned behind my shoulder.


"Yeah, I could see you weren't having any fun." Her smile added light to the remaining afternoon sun. It sunk closer to the coins in the bed of the star-shaped fountain.


"Aaron," she offered something neatly wrapped in thin nylon, "I made it this morning. So, it might taste a little withered."


"Gee, thanks," I hesitated, "I ate like an hour ago."


"C'mon, take it; one for you and one for me." She brushed away strands of reddish hair that stuck near her lips, "It's not about hunger. It's about our happy place." She laughed, and I followed shortly after, glancing at my shoes.


"We smellers are also great tasters." She pressed the rim of her nose with a finger.


Discussing food and mothers' cooking with Yara was amusing, but up until last week I was able to throw back delicious tips and recipes at her and she and I would get hungrier by the minute.


My eyebrows briefly lifted, and I nodded once.


"What? Too much butter?" she slightly licked her thumb,


"No, on the contrary," I mumbled, taking another bite, "It's good."


She was trying to sound humble, but I'm sure she felt just as indulged as I was by her creation; a few slices of medium-boiled eggs, cuts of tomatoes, a pinch of onion dust, and maybe a pat of mayonnaise in between two pieces of buttered toast. There seemed to be one more item.


"Is there cheddar cheese in that?"


"No. No cheddar." She hugged her arms more tightly, "but you guessed right about everything else."


Yara was the only delightful person I've met so far in Cyan, as opposed to her talented, grouchy little brother from summer art class, through whom we met last month. She and her family typically spent this week of every year at the Summer Fair together. This year was different though; she was here alone.


© 2018 YouoweYoupay

Author's Note

Chapter 4 complete. My mind is open to all constructive criticism. Thanks for reading.

My Review

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That sandwich sounds delicious. Is it just me or am I sensing some unresolved sexual tension between Aaron and Demon? Husky arms? Sounds like someone is noticing someone elses good looks. Or am I reading too much into it? I thought the flashbacks did a good job of revealing a little of Aaron's character. Nicely done. Now I see where he gets some of his quirks. Description are good as always but this time they seemed a little more focused. No grammar issues that I could see. Good work! Keep it up Rain!

Posted 7 Years Ago

Distress, in an artist's journey, is a time for inspiration to burst out into life. So, I decided to strike the iron while it's hot and attempt to sketch the kite gummed in between the electric pole wires beyond the terrace but midway through the living room, that idea did not seem appealing anymore. I heard a snore from behind the twofold sofa.

I love the way this character thinks - up into the atmosphere but the actual response is right here on the ground crawling with the rest of us.

Posted 7 Years Ago

A interesting chapter. Gave some balance to the story. I like the thoughts and discussion in the chapter. Demon is pushing the limits. I like how you describe each situation. Making each one have important. Thank you for the excellent chapter.

Posted 7 Years Ago

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3 Reviews
Added on August 8, 2013
Last Updated on February 2, 2018
Tags: story, dreams, love, hate, trust, betreyal, fear, safety, home, belonging, albinism, racism, goodness, evil, charity, friendship, faith, hope, despair, anger, past, future, weakness, strength, wella



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