The Meaning of Love

The Meaning of Love

A Story by cityhomeless

Short story I wrote in 10th grade for a writing class. True story though.

          My dog's deafening bark woke me up in the middle of the night. Well, I can't quite say the middle of the night, for it was at exactly 2:35 the next morning. As I sat up dazed and looked at the clock, I felt a wave of irritation pass over me because it was unusual for my dog to wail towards the window so early in the morning. Being a very calm dog, he really only barks when people or animals pass by in the daytime; and in remembering this a sense of panic jolted me out of bed and lead me to saunter to the window and peer out. I must have stared out -sweeping my head back and forth- for what seemed like a lifetime, seeing nothing but dark rain against the glass, before I finally decided that my dog's paranoia was rubbing off on me. I took one last glance out the foggy window and just before I turned my back to return to the comfort of my feathery warm bed, I spotted in my peripheral a flash of bright red. I looked harder now, recognizing the red as a pair of converse with detailed wings drawn on the back in permanent marker.
        He was a dark figure in the starless, rainy night; so dark that I would've never known he was there had it not been for those exceedingly flame like shoes- that practically matched his personality perfectly.  As my eyes adjusted to the obscure darkness, I was able to make out more of him. He was sitting on the curb directly across the street from my house. He didn't move; just sat there with his pale white hands cradling his head which rested on his knees. For a moment I was so lost in the scene depicted in front of me that I hadn't realized I was staring until my dog's intense bark broke me out of my daze.
        I sighed and sat on the bed while my dog continued his pestering yap. I sat there staring at the clock, thinking; counting down every second. Finally, stretching, I slipped on a pair of jeans that had been discarded to the floor of my small bedroom, tugged on a pair of flowered rain boots, then shrank into the safety of my hoodie as I braced myself for the weather. I walked outside, only going as far as the front porch to keep away from the rain. I called out his name. He was a statue. I called him again- this time yelling-then again. No response. The rain was heavier now, soon the front lawn would be a muddy swimming pool. As the water filled up the ground, aggravation filled my heart. 
         Knowing his stubbornness and my knack for giving in would eventually force me to initiate the confrontation, I took a deep breath, crossed my arms over my chest and reluctantly dashed into the street. I stopped in front of him, wiping what rain had already fallen onto my face off with one hand, while shielding my eyes from future assault with the other. Saying nothing, I nudged  one of his long legs with the toe of my boot as I took a seat next to him on the curb. He tilted his head to the side, exposing one shining emerald eye, then dropped his head back into his hands.
        "She threw you out again," I proclaimed as I pulled my hoodie further down to cover my face. It wasn't a question, there was no other reason for him to be out here at this time of night. His lack of response confirmed my suspicions; a whirl of outrage grew inside of me-at the pit of my stomach- and spread throughout my body like a wildfire.
       "How could she? I mean, jeez, she's your mother-"
       " It was my fault..." He deeply calm voice cut me off with a linger. "It- it was my fault. I...did...I did it again", he muttered into his hands as I strained to hear his muffled voice over the rain. Although I knew he wouldn't lie about it- for reassurance- I took his hand into mine and yanked the sleeve of his hoodie up to his elbows. There they were, fresh holes where the needles poked his skin. I threw his arm down and looked away from him; I was so ashamed, so upset.
        He sighed then turned to look at me; his head hanging to match the shame I felt for him. Yeah he did it again alright, I could now see the signs- his already porcelain skin paler than ever; he almost had a faint blue hue about him. Like that of the dead. Big dark bags were starting to form under his eyes, which were red-rimmed and bloodshot. His hands shook, he swayed, nodding in and out of consciousness, his head lolling back and forth and side to side ever so slightly. I had been so caught up in my preconceived anger to notice before, but now I could see perfectly clear how he'd gone back on his promise.
        "Look at can hardly hold yourself up. God, you're so pathetic." The disgust in my voice was loud and clear and I might have felt him wince at the harshness of my words. Instantly I felt bad, but I didn't let it show. He looked at me with pleading green eyes; his mouth said "I'm sorry" but no actual words came out.
"I'm not helping you this time." My voice quavered ; of course I would help him. I couldn't just leave him out in the cold, hard rain. He's had a rough enough night already without me shoving my anger down his throat. Besides, if I leave him out here on the street, I'd be leaving my heart bleeding right next to him. But the fear of him never stopping; never learning any type of lesson other than that he had the ability to  come knocking on my door anytime he fucked up and wipe his muddy feet on my soul is enough to tempt me to close my eyes and my heart to the whole situation. I debate with myself.
"Come on", I exhale.
"Ar-Are you sure?"
"I'll change my mind..." I pick myself up off the curb and head towards the house without looking back to see if he followed.
I drag myself into the house, my hoodie heavy with rain. I leave to door open just a crack and porch light on, knowing he'll come in when he's ready. I also know as soon as we get into the house, I'll feed him, dry his wet clothes, turn the heater on high, and let him crash in my bed. And right before he dozes off he'll lay his head on my shoulder and say "thanks for everything," just like he always does. I'll sigh and act annoyed muttering "Well what are best friends for?" Just like I always do.
I know that when we both wake up in the morning we'll have to face much bigger issues, but I push that to the back of my mind as I see a pair of bright red converse walking toward my door, early in the morning, in the dark rain.

© 2011 cityhomeless

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Added on December 16, 2011
Last Updated on December 30, 2011
Tags: addiction, love, broken promises