A Part of You
Written by meliboeus
Saturday night at Dennys were like any others I could remember. I had begun coming here about a year and a half ago as an after-work sanction, a place to forget myself and bask in the coffee-and-cigarette aromas wafting between waitresses and lifted sunglasses, the Ronsonol zippo fluid dripping like an IV through the Clove-parched lungs of denizens old and young. As was I. Nicholas. I loved to be there for the people who wandered in, perhaps in the chance of seeing old faces emerge from the entrance to the restroom or from around the faux-gold public guidance railings that snake about in 24-hour joints. Every new outfit made for the clubs, every ego ever to surface was bound to come here. I came here to see my best friend usually, Sylvester. He was such an impassioned soul, sweet, kind, loving as a brother, always the one I could cry with or travel into the night with. He's the one I could always count on sharing my space and life with, I had about as much on him as NASA does on deteriorating O-rings. I guess this is mutual.
Meagan walks in, doing the rounds hugging everyone in sight. She's brown hairdo sporting super cool girl everyone knows, "the Life of the Party that was over three hours ago". Few begged to differ, she had more guys than anybody could count. So I made it a game to reinvent my expressions to show her when she had a date tale to tell me. she hoped down in the booth, granted a cigarette to her pursed lips and began her babble with a question rather, "Oh why so alone Niccy-Poo, no Sylvester tonight?" she asked.
"No telling really." I muttered from behind my lighter. "I exhaled my fresh camel and checked the watch: 1:15. It might just be us till 2." I began staring at the door, fixated strangely for the first time tonight at what I see. "Ordering?"
"I might..." she sighs in perplexity. Tonya, our favorite waitress appears from out of the blue checking with the clubbers and night fly substitutes clamoring around a few arranged tables. "will you be ordering anything tonight, Sweety?"
"Im working on that one to tell you the truth, any vanilla left?"
"I just think there Might be, Lemme go look." Tonya offers and disappears magically into the back.
"So what's been up?" she chirps, then turns. "HEY! John! My BABY!" Im glad she had been dragged away from the table by her friend at that point because in through the doors, of all days of the week, if all people I had wished I could say hello to again was Christopher. Little Christopher. He was wearing a blue dress shirt untucked and some khaki's, no glasses. I guess he doesn't wear those much anymore, still effeminately thin and beautiful. Short black hair, caring eyes, a smile you'd long for had you known this elegant boy was the soul of kindheartedness that was what I had been so long ago. He turns and looks at me.
Three Years Earlier...
"Whee... Touchdown!" I cry as I jump through the door and into my seat: A half of a book shelf and a paper passer's worth of chaos in my wake.
I was rushing into the doorway of Psychology class far too fast for my liking as I had knocked three people into submission coming in before the bell rang. Tardiness seems to be a virtue I excel at. Mrs. Torrance was oblivious to my entrance, though she knew I was there she favored a disruption of the like to liven studies. After all, why teach and be taught in the most left-field class our school has to offer if she cannot have living proof of her rhetoric right there before her. To understand students and the way they live is her job, why interfere with her panorama of free walking profiles. She begins with an introduction to the days lesson.
"Today with the aide of a slide show our friends over at the family resources center for abused children have lent me a series of photographs of beaten children, some with head injuries, some with their penises tied with rubberbands, others with broken fingers... I hope you brought your permission slips as I'll have Jessica coming around real shortly to collect them." A peppy girl, no less on the cheer squad, hoped up with the lid to an office document box for the forms, I didn't have one to give her. No matter, I couldn't stay to see the slides of lecture today. It was Friday finally, and after several weeks of practice and patience with learning my lines and blocking I was ready for a Qualifier tournament to get my chances at State Competition.
I was nervously pouring over highlighted papers with information on the author I needed, the hand gestures I planned to incorporate, the lines I hadn't learned. I flipped through a book and waited for fifteen-past to leave. It was junior year of high school for me, 16 years old, thin, nice looking if I say so myself. Green eyes, defines facial features, carved of a statue some archeologist plucked from the pools and fountains of the lyceum. Dyed black and red hair spiked in a bit of a cat-fur tussle on top. I liked the Robert Smith comparisons I got from my few and far between friends, some of which I would be joining up with in about 6 minutes. Maybe I should go early to beat the walk across campus to the theater room. Luckily teacher with the bedeviled eyes waived me off to go, she had far emptier minds to work over. I had learned early on to know when to stop screwing around in thought and take action. I liked taking charge of things.
The giant bus which was to shepherd us off was awaiting near the building in the parking lot, pancaked with parents cars and girls from the dance team dragging boom boxes and bunny slippers onboard the bus.
I popped through the door of the theater room with my backpack coming in for a sliding crash on the floor, me taking a place in line to check for event scheduling I wasn't aware of. Some people would wind up in the oddest event and win sometimes. It helped out on the sweepstakes award which is essentially the most winners from a school getting a HUGE trophy at the end of the awards show. We've gotten it numerously, I had to be prepared at least. I checked over the list and found my name on humorous interp, dramatic interp, poetry and, oh shit...Impromptu speaking? Why that? Where did my integrity go? I see no blood stoked holes in the window, should i dive out Anyways? Would Mrs. Hampton stop me? Mrs. Hampton was our overly sophisticated drama teacher. With a list of credentials as long as our life expectancy, she stood as being the best coach in the state as well as most experienced out of anyone. She ran a tight crew, that was for sure. In fact, not at her willing there was a tradition started about 8 years ago that had our school dressed entirely in black suits and skinny ties, Reservoir Dogs style. We were intimidating.
Another certainty would be seeing our new students from the other high school in town join us for the tournament. Our schools had become consolidated that fall and about four new students would be joining us from the other campus, in fact, now that im looking around I see one of them. Christopher, standing with Sharon about to sign there names off the list I had been looking at. Did I without knowing check where his name was on the lists? Of course I did because I've got the hots for him and I'd love to see how good he is. He was doing poetry and debate. Odd choices. I guess if it's what your good at that wills the soul. Usually a reading event is a knock off for someone who does debates strictly, he might be good, he may not be. Am I worried? of COURSE not. Chris and I had a chance to talk briefly before, seemed alittle overtly friendly but I had heard from a couple of people generating the rumor mill he was gay too. so I wanted to find out for myself before Timmy, another of the drama kids, could find out and steal him away. I wanted a chance to talk with him and see what he's like, perhaps someone's already told him about me. nothing else would explain the way he had been looking at me.
The time finally came to get our shit together and board the bus. Always the natural planner, Mrs. Hampton knew somebody would be late, something would be missing, a file gone, a tape of music sought. So she boarded everyone early and left the last minute things to take care of themselves. We had Four Hundred miles to go to get to the High School in Bum Fuck Nowhere outside of Lubbock. The bus trip wasn't quite as lame as you'd expect it to be. In the front was navigator Mrs. Hampton and a few of her disciples like Anne , people who could turn off a good hotel room raid faster than a light switch. Behind them was the younger interpers, the ones with the headphones that, in large enough numbers, can become hell-bent on creating a cacophony not that dissimilar to Chinese thumbscrew torture. You can fill in the visual gaps here.
The actors were behind this department, reading lines, sleeping, yapping to the others. And further behind them, near the back were the file boxes were stored, were the debaters, running through their evidence folders, reciting there negatives and their affirmatives, or just reading the cases in silence, like Christopher was. He did Lincoln-Douglas style debate, which wasn't as harsh as the other style, CX debate. Christopher, as I had imagined it would walk into a room with his briefcase, whip out his case, read it. blow away his competitor and have the judges in back lighting up a cigarette at the end. That's kinda how I imagined it at least. Truth be told id never seen him read, battle or otherwise ever. I was curious to see if he was any good. I placed my backpack down and crossed through the headphone massacre into the back near a free space near where Chris was reading. I had hoped he hadn't been looking up at all as I was approaching the back as it would have spoiled my chance to look at him more closely. He was pretty hot for being only 16. I swing around into the seat just as he looks up.
"Hey there, LD'er" I chimed.
"Hello "Dressed in Black dickies and wifebeater" Person."
"I don't mean to go Two dimensional on you, you just hang around the Debaters far too much to become social with the rest of us theater heathens, that's all."
"Well, what can I call you?" he said between his grin.
"Nicholas" I said simply. "I go by a bunch of names actually," Gotta think of something to make him laugh. "But most of my virgin sacrifices are made to that name." Oh shit too esoteric.
"Ah, conceited are we?" he implies.
"No, no, just breaking the ice, trying to meet the new guys a bit more before I entrust our credibility to them, all standard stuff. No worries."
"My name's Chris, I've been doing this stuff since freshman year. I think I've got a pretty good idea what im doing."
"Yeah, I remember you introducing yourself to the team at the beginning of school. You seemed pretty cool but a bit lonely so I wanted to try and extend some sort of friendliness into your air of uncertainty, make you feel a bit more at home here."
He smiles and I smile back, he looks out the window a moment and if I read his expressions right, he looks a bit relieved. I wonder why briefly. Chris puts his papers away and asks me about what I do on the team, I ask about how good he is, what his usual rankings are. We get into a nice conversation and time just seems to suspend itself throughout the trip. We got into where I came from, what his parents are like, people he knows. We talked until the sun started to fall, it was getting late and the noise in the bus had settled into a distilled murmur. He became very friendly with me without any thought in the world I was madly in love with this thin blue eyed angel. He looked me in the eye quite a bit, head bowed laughing softly to himself if I said something silly or out of character, which I was. I don't become flirtatious over just any boy.
After awhile of talking and getting to know one another I moved over into his seat to offer one of our dancers a place to lay down in mine.
Things were quiet enough though I thought something was wrong immediately when the bus jerked to the far right lane of the highway before a siege of highway patrol blew past us into the direction of an overpass crossing the highway near the limits of a small intersection in the road. I got alittle over excited and started making for the window, jumping into Chris's seat with him to look outside into the crush of traffic we were heading into. An accident of a few passenger cars had blocked the highway to the point of a stalling congestion. Chris and I huddled close to get a view of the lumina with the smashed front clip and an older Chevy work truck resting on three wheels and a partial axle. All of the personal headsets turned off, all eyes were out the windows. A gurney and some blue-shirted men were checking a passenger. Smoke billowed uncontrollably, a fireman ran with his head tucked to keep a small bundle from becoming wet by the fire hoses gushing into the engine compartment. A Baby must have been in the wreck. As did the mother who some state of confusion was trying to claw her way into the backseat of the burning car. Medical technicians restrained her.
"God, these people had a bad wreck, I hope they'll be alright." He said quietly, holding my arm for support. The soft touch of his hand caused me to turn suddenly. He looked alittle weak and alittle red in the eyes.
"Hey Chrissy, What's wrong?" I had to ask, seeing a hint of sadness in his eyes made feel all to apart of him at that point. "Is something bothering you?" I repeated. Without thinking I put my arm around his shoulder and continued to look. "No," he sniffed. "just bad memories. I'll tell you about it some other time, don't worry Nic." Policemen with flags waived the bus through after the horrific scene had embedded itself into our minds long enough. Chris tried straightening himself up and smiled reassuringly to me. in the darkness of the bus I could see the warmth in him. I couldn't place my finger on it. what were his eyes telling me. hearing him say he was OK put me at ease too. And he said my name too. How heartfelt I was to hear him acknowledge me by name, that's touching to me. I felt overwhelmed that at such a point we had become close by means unexplainable.
We had grown a bit tired from small talking and finding our speech team the fascinating aspect to where we hunkered down in our seat and talked softly about ourselves.
"Did you ever have Mrs. Cunningham back at your old school?"
"not her" he replied.
"she's my aunt actually, it would have been funny if you said yes."
"Why's that?" he questioned curiously.
"Oh nothing really, it's such a small world..."
"Do you have a girlfriend?" Chris asked. I was caught off guard a bit. "No, not really. I really don't want one. I mean I've got others aspirations really." I mused. "What about you?"
"Nope," he exhaled, eyes elsewhere, trying to find some courage in himself to answer what I was hoping to be a difficult question. "I sorta had one once but we were really just friends. We still are too, just, she has someone and I'm still looking."
"I guess all one can do is transverse through the conduits of life and love until what it is we seek in one another comes clean unto our deepest wishes and desires."
He was listening contentedly, smiling all the while. I had been looking out the window still watching the moon graze through a field of white clouds upon holding true to a dynamic of being in a silent space of mind with him. The only two on the bus. I looked at his sleeping form and sighed a bit to myself. He began drifting into sleep. I said nothing and thought of joining him until his leg touched mine and he laid his head on my shoulder.
"I know...I believe you." He spoke into the silence. He nudged under my arm again and we both fell into one anothers dreams.
To Be Continued...
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