The following is a work of fiction. The story may contain profanity and references to gay sex. Any relation to similar events or persons, fiction or real, is completely fortuitous. If such content offends you please leave now. The author retains all rights to the story. Do not copy or use without written authority from the author. Write Bobby at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments.
Mad World 12
A darkness that I've only ever felt once before consumed my soul. It felt like there wasn't a point in living any longer. Everyone I care romantically about leaves me in some way. Jacob axed himself because of that stupid note, and now Collin has quite literally abandoned me. The only question that need be answered is why. Why would he leave me like he did? There was no warning, just a sudden disappearance. Could the reason of his absence be due in part to the flood of attention and immaterial items? He did live on the streets for a year prior to me offering him a place to stay as well as a relationship. Perhaps the idea of being trapped was stronger than the idea of having a loving boyfriend.
I may never know anything that went through his mind at the time.
There are no words for how I'm feeling. Since returning home yesterday after the meeting with a colleague I've lied in bed and cried. Bawling like a newborn baby on the first night it goes home. I felt completely dejected and desolate. Now the following morning I still feel dejected and desolate. During my hysteria, however, I did manage to do one thing that has consoled me in the slightest.
Jacob and Collin have many differences and many similarities. One of the biggest differences is simply in their own personality. Although they act nearly the same, it's clear to me that they are two different people with two very different upbringings. The biggest thing they have in common is their ability to make me utterly head over heels for them. Collin with his damn smile that tears at my heart. Jacob with his uncanny skill to make me feel better in any kind of situation. Those are the two biggest comparisons in my mind. There are many others, yes, but none that have the same meaning.
For some reason thinking about the two of them truly did console me. Not enough for me to stop crying, but enough to where I wasn't thinking of just ending it all. And currently I feel like living again. Like, going to work and being productive. Maybe there's an upside to being alone. There's no one to take care of now. I have only myself to worry about. Jack LaLanne, one of the healthiest, most vivacious men on the planet, once said: you are the most important person in your life. So damn everyone. It's time I start caring about myself. No more Jacob, no more Collin. Simply Michael.
But who am I kidding?
I'll be back in bed sobbing like a little bitch faster than Lindsay Lohan will be back in court.
"Michael, how's the Donnelly house coming along?" Barbara asked. She's a colleague of mine that took me under her wing when I first started out in the company. I'm entirely grateful that she was the first one who volunteered.
"I don't really know. I haven't had any inquiries in a while. It feels like a dead end." I replied somberly.
"A dead end? I've never heard you say that. What's going on?" She pulled up a chair and sat next to me.
Barbara knows everything about my life and everything that has happened with Collin. She has yet to learn of what happened yesterday, but then again I have only been in the office for an hour. When Jacob took his own life she was quick to aid in the healing process. But nothing and no one could've helped during that time. The one exception is Collin. Well, was Collin, rather. Now that he's gone I'm scared of going back into the dark place . . .
"Collin ran away. We were at Target yesterday and I went to the bathroom for only a few minutes. He wasn't with the cart when I came back. He wasn't even in the store. He just disappeared, and I don't know why."
"Oh, Michael, I'm so sorry." Barbara tried to comfort me, but it was pointless. I'm yet in another dark place. "Maybe if he has some time to think things over."
"I don't know Barb," I sighed sadly. "Things aren't looking up anymore. After Jacob died I thought my life was over, but then Collin came along and, well, you know the rest. I was finally happy again. Yeah, there were moments of despair, but when I'd see Collin the despair would go away."
"Are you in love with him?"
"Sounds to me you really like Collin."
"Well, yeah I really like him, but Jacob's been gone only a short while. It doesn't seem right, Barbara."
She looked around as if confused. "I'm sorry is there a law that says you can't follow your heart?"
"That's not the point, Barb."
"If you love him, Michael, then you can't just let him get away. In fact, why don't you take an early lunch?"
"You know Boss doesn't like that."
"Oh, poo. You're one of her top agents."
The point Barbara was trying to get across to me was a valid one. Big Boss, also known as the broker, has cut me a lot of slack since the tragedy, but I don't want to push my luck. An early lunch to search for Collin isn't a legitimate enough excuse. There's no surefire chance I'd be able to find him anyways. He could be in the next city for all I know.
"I appreciate what you're suggesting, but right now the only things I feel like searching for are more clients."
"Fine," she smiled. "Although, you can search for more clients and search for Collin at the same time can't you?"
I paused to think. "I could do that, couldn't I?"
"So, go out and find some new clients! And if you happen to run into Collin, then what can you do, right?"
"God, Barb, you're a genius!" I gave her a big wet one on the cheek and raced out of the office.
Leaving my work behind wasn't a smart thing to do, but as a professional real estate agent I have to consider my future. In order to have a secure future I must find new deals. There's no harm in that.
Every park in the city seemed like a great place to look, but the first one I started with was the Evergreen Park near the bar where Collin first offered me his services. I'll never forget how desperate he appeared, so very willing to pleasure me in order to survive. Hopefully he isn't doing that now. I can't even think about him being with a random stranger . . .
The park was empty minus a few high school dropouts smoking weed. What a disgusting habit. I've never touched a cigarette or a joint and never will. Jacob vowed the same for his mom smokes and he absolutely repulsed the idea of being an addict. I wonder if Collin ever has. Surely living on the streets presents certain kinds of opportunities. If I find him—I mean, when I find him—I'll have to ask. There is so much more that I don't know about him and him about me. For some reason we just didn't really talk too much about our lives. I guess the both of us knew talking about our past would bring up too many difficult emotions. To think kids today waste their lives buying weed, smoking, slowly killing themselves. What must their parents think? I'm sure they had a lot of hopes and dreams for their children and now they're all but ruined. Of course, redemption can be obtained. One must have the willpower to change, though. An uncle on my mom's side is an alcoholic. He doesn't have enough self-respect or willpower to pull out of the addiction. He might say he wants to change, but there hasn't been any effort in years. Sadly, most of that side of the family has given up on him, me included. It's hard to have faith in someone that has lived his life lying and deceiving.
Feeling the park was a complete failure, I went to the bar where the truck was anyways. The few alleyways within a short distance were empty of life except the dirty rats that were creepy as hell coming right up to me. No fear in the alleys apparently. When I went back to my truck, I tried thinking of other places Collin might be. Around the movie theater would be a good place to look since that's where a lot of teenagers usually spend their time during the weekends. I'm not sure how busy it will be right now, but it wouldn't hurt to look. The old train station is around there, too, and it's common knowledge a lot of homeless people are near that area. Collin will probably be smart enough to stay out of the public eye. He must know I'll be looking for him; unless he's completely given up on human relationships.
What's going to happen when I do find him? Am I going to beg him to come home with me? Obviously why he left in the first place will be answered, but what if the answer is one I don't want to hear? What happens then? Do I just walk away from him? Leave him to live his life on the streets?
Should he reject me I will continue visiting him, making sure he has food in his stomach. His idea of a career is deplorable and I refuse to let him make money in such a threatening way.
The train station was built decades ago when the city first came online. But since the early 1930s it hasn't been used. Trains became an obsolete form of transportation, and now the depot is just another empty building that is popular to hang outside of. Unfortunately, no one was around, just a few shoppers walking the boutiques. I went to the theater and had even worse luck. I should've known it would've been futile to look for him. What's the point? If he ran away from me obviously there's a high probability he'll do it again, or just not return in the first place.
I drove around the entertainment district seven or eight times. I lost count after a cop pulled me over and said a few citizens were concerned I was some kind of kidnapper scouting for my next victim. We shared a few comedic stories and he sent me on my way. Now feeling like a failure and a pedophile, and having been out of the office for close to three hours, I figured Barbara would probably want dinner soon and I know I don't feel like going home any time soon. We haven't been out together in a while anyways. This should be nice assuming she doesn't already have plans. Her husband is retired so he's always at home and she's the cook so I don't know if she'll be up to having dinner with me when her husband is at home starving. She tells me he has no cooking ability whatsoever.
On the way back to the office, my cell phone rang featuring my parents' lovely ring tone: the theme from Halloween. Everyone that's anyone gets their own special ringtone with me. Jacob, for example, had the tune from Super Mario Bros. because he was absolutely in love with those video games. For a while, he had a tune from one of those vampire movies, but it was instrumental so the volume wasn't particularly audible.
"Hey, mom, what's doin'?" I asked as happily as possible. She cannot find out what's going on. I may never hear the end of it.
"We have a problem here, Michael. Can you swing by?" Her voice was less than frantic, but she doesn't cry wolf.
"Yeah, I'm close to your house so I'll be there in a few."
"Thank you. Love, bye."
I wonder what the problem could be.
"It just died. And we don't have the money for a new one right now. We'll pay you back every cent. You know we will."
"No, mom, don't worry about it. I just need to check my bank account."
She eyed me skeptically. "You're low on money? What have you been buying?" The way she spoke almost sounded like an accusation.
"Nothing . . . But I'm tightening my belt and my spending needs to be cut."
"Well, if you can't afford it, then don't worry."
"I can afford it, mom, just give me a sec!"
Through my phone I checked one of my two bank accounts. I keep money in two banks for the idea of added security. Truth be told I have no idea if it's actually safer or not, but to me it feels like it. The account I checked had more than enough to cover a new washing machine, even after I added in the large down payment of my own expenses.
"Yeah, let's go down to Sears and pick one out."
"Wait, um, I actually found a nice looking one in the paper today. Maybe you could order it online? It says they ship and install for free if it's over a certain amount . . . and it is."
I took the ad from her and scanned over the machine of choice. Although it was a great model, the price tag was a bit high. Nothing is too good for my parents, though.
"Okay, I'll order it online and tell you when they're delivering it."
"Thank you so much, Michael." Mom hugged me. "How about some lunch? We can at least afford that right now." She went into the kitchen for her purse. "Pick Collin something up, too. That boy needs some meat on his bones."
When she said his name I froze. Upon arriving here I calmed significantly, but hearing his name aloud didn't do wonders for my already fragile state of mind.
"Uh, yeah," I mumbled. "I'll make sure he starts gaining some weight back."
She gave me a twenty and we talked a little more about the washing machine. I'm not absolutely positive, but this washing machine could potentially make things more difficult for me. Yeah, I can afford it, but when purchasing certain . . . other . . . things surprise costs can come up and if I'm not prepared for such surprise costs, then it could spell disaster for my current situation as well as my future financial worthiness.
While leaving mom to start her gardening I figured I'd give the search one last shot near downtown. It's later now so maybe he's come out of hiding, assuming he even was hiding. There was a considerable amount of people downtown compared to earlier. Not one of them was Collin, however. Feeling defeated once again I headed home. On the way I drove past a bird farm and a crazy idea popped in my head. I called Barbara telling her to meet me at Panda Express in forty minutes, and then turned around with the bird farm in my sight.
"Here you are, Jasper. Your new home." The bird didn't utter a sound. He only looked around nervously, eyeing his new digs. "You like?"
I purchased a young cockatiel from the bird farm. Having a bird around to at least make some noise in this now soundless condo would be music to my ears. Jasper is all grey with specks of white around his body. The woman who sold me his equipment said that cockatiels are one of the loyalist birds around. I remember thinking, finally someone that won't leave me. The grand total for his stuff was a little more than I expected and to be honest my depression is causing me to be reckless with money. First a new washing machine and now a bird that has cost me four hundred dollars. God help me if something goes wrong with the deal I've been working on behind closed doors.
Barbara was excited that I bought Jasper. She thought it would brighten my days now that no one else was sharing my home. I chose the name Jasper because of his color. Jasper sounds mysterious and sexy. My bird definitely looks a little mysterious and maybe even sexy if viewed at certain angles. Oh, who am I kidding? Jasper is definitely sexy.
Around ten o'clock the pain came at full force. Jasper and I were sitting on the couch watching a cop show when it hit. The tears came first, then the sobs, and finally the overwhelming numbness.
I went into my office to look at the note, setting Jasper on some papers.
"Shit on my papers and you'll be tomorrow's dinner."
The note brought anger. But it also brought something else. Recognition. Something in my mind finally clicked together. I carefully looked over the handwriting.
You make me sick
Your parents will find out
go to hell faggot
Your parents will find out
go to hell faggot
The handwriting looks so . . . I shuffled through some of the papers lying around on the desk. Jasper scurried away, flapping his wings in panic. I held one of Jacob's school papers next to the note and compared the writing.
Identical in every way.
Does this mean . . . No, no there's no fucking way. Even if the writing is an exact match there's just no way. I mean it could just be a coincidence . . .
I picked a hell of a time to quit drinking.
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