The Arrival - Part Eight of Angel
“ . . . Constantly in a state of waking
Mistaking the night for the day that I dread
It's understated and overtaking me
I'm losing it now, It's all in my head . . . “
Lately, it seemed like Macy was running late a lot. She'd been anticipating Adam's arrival for three days now, but she still had to rush out when she noticed the train would be arriving in fifteen minutes. She told Alex, her secretary, that she would be picking her nephew up and she would take the rest of the day off as planned. Macy quickly checked in with the rest of her staff to make sure everything was okay for the weekend. Everyone assured her it was, for once. She was grateful to have Alex to keep everyone on track. After saying her goodbyes, she rushed down the stairs and into her automobile.
As she drove through Morgan, she didn't have time to notice the sun had risen above the buildings surrounding the busy streets. Over the stoplight that separated Main St. from the Amtrak Access Rd., a black hawk sat watching the regular commute. Upon seeing Macy's vehicle, the hawk stepped carelessly into flight and pitched towards the sun. A single white streak fell through the sky and landed on Macy's windshield with a quiet splat.
“Gross!” Macy quickly turned the wipers on high and sprayed the windshield with cleaning fluid.
The light turned green. Macy sped onto Amtrak Access Rd. to find more traffic. She sat patiently until she was able to find a parking space on the side farthest from the platforms. As she approached, she saw Adam hugging a big, burly boy who looked close to his age. Thinking that maybe this might be a personal thing, she waited for them to finish exchanging their information.
Cole ran off to join his companions before Macy arrived to greet Adam.
“Who was that?” Macy asked.
“Some guy named Cole,” Adam understated. “He's really cool. We met on the train.”
Obviously, she thought. Poochie barked once and looked up at Macy, waiting to be greeted.
“Well, hello, Poochie,” Macy stooped to scritch the dog behind his ears.
Poochie couldn't help it. His hind leg came up towards Macy's hand and began scratching behind his ears.
“How was your ride, Adam?” Macy asked.
“It was okay,” Adam told her, “Kinda boring.”
“Boring?” Macy stressed the word and added an upward inflection.
But Adam knew what she was alluding too. They didn't. Really, they didn't.
He liked Cole a lot. But he was also sad to see him leave. When Cole left, he seemed to take Adam's happiness with him. He knew they were going to be in contact soon, so he didn't have to be too sad. But he still felt a cold wave of pain moving through him. The mailing address that Cole had given him was also in Pennsylvania. What if it was fake? He was probably just like Carol. He probably wouldn't be interested in hearing from Adam again. What if it was real? Probably not after everything Adam told him. Cole was just trying to get in Adam's pants.
Adam thought Macy looked stressed. He wondered if he was getting in the way of something that she needed to do. Macy asked Adam another question that Adam didn't catch. It might have been something about how long he was staying, or maybe if he was hungry. Whatever it was, it must have not been important.
“No matter,” Macy said, “Let's get your stuff in the car.”
Adam stuffed his duffle bag in the trunk. He took his backpack to sit with him in the front seat. Poochie jumped in to sit behind Adam. Macy started the engine and rolled down the rear windows for the dog. The woman hadn't noticed so much when she hugged Adam . . . . But, he stank. She wondered if he'd been able to shower the whole time he was on the run.
The first thing we'll have to do, she thought, is to get him out of those clothes and into the shower.
Adam's clothes weren't so bad looking. They were hardly any worse for wear, besides all of the wrinkles. His jeans were torn at the knee, but she figured that was just a look he was trying to pull off. His dress style reminded her of a 90's rocker kid. He wore his hair long, with a red band across his forehead, a Radiohead tee-shirt and pair of sliders. That was different than the last time she saw him. Then again, the last time she saw him, his parents were still dressing him.
Poochie raced [raced?] from window to window, catching air out the window and watching the scenery pass by. Adam sat quietly, internalizing his feelings.
Should I really tell Macy? Adam asked himself. Cole said I should. I hate my dad. But I don't want to get him in trouble for some reason. I know what he did was wrong. But I can't remember exactly what it was. All I can remember is Scott laying on the ground and bleeding. Fuck! Why is it so blurry?! Why can't I just see it clearly, so I'll know if it really happened or not?!
Macy's mind was wandering. She had been planning this meeting for the past few days. Everything she was going to ask, the things Adam would say, the way she would act was all thought out and planned. She was so sure that was how it would go. But now that Adam was there, and she was driving him, none of what she thought they would be saying was being said.
Once they got home, she would make Adam shower. That was the first step. She already had that planned out. But what of the coming weekend? What would they do? Macy wasn't sure how to treat Adam. Or even how long he was staying. That was another thing. She wanted to know more about what happened the night he ran away. When Adam had told her over the phone, he was very brief and seemed to skip over some very important details. There were a lot of questions she wanted to ask him. But now didn't seem the time. Macy wondered if she should try and plan that, too. It was a long silent ride home.
He must have fallen asleep in the car because Adam couldn't remember how he had gotten there. However, he could remember walking up the stairs and taking a shower under Macy's directions. He must have fallen asleep there. But he woke up when the water went cold and Macy was knocking on the bathroom door. After Adam had gotten out of the shower, he put on the clothes that Macy handed him through the door. They were his, clean and warm.
In the kitchen, Poochie was eating dry food from a dog bowl. Adam felt good that Poochie finally had real dog food to eat; and a real dog dish to from. But he also felt angry. Macy shouldn't be feeding his dog. Adam knew that was a stupid reason to be angry. Macy was just trying to help out. And Poochie seemed to like the extra attention. But what about him? Who was taking care of him? Shouldn't Macy be able to see the terrible things he went through? Why wasn't she paying attention to him, or asking him about what happened?
All of a sudden, it wasn't about Poochie being taken care of; or even about him having a place to stay. He forgot all about Cole. There was only Macy not paying attention to him. Adam knew, deep down, that he wanted to tell Macy what had happened. He saw her as an angel right then, something merciful and caring. He wanted to run to her and tell her all of the bad things that had happened to him. And about Scott, most of all he wanted to tell her about that. But he just . . . couldn't. He just stood there, watching Macy pet Poochie as he ate. He just got angrier at the fact that she was talking to the dog and not him. It didn't make sense, he knew.
Macy looked up and smiled. It was the same smile that she had given Adam the first time he met her. Adam's mind made a complete flip. He chided himself for ever being angry with Macy. He was probably just cranky because he hadn't gotten sleep last night. And things were a little intense right now. He needed some time to sort everything out in his head. Then everything would make sense again.
Poochie's crunching did very little to hide the sound of the cogs turning in Adam's head. Macy knew he was thinking of something. But she couldn't tell what it was. His face was scrunched up in a contradictory mixture of emotions. He looked tired, too.
“Adam,” Macy said, “There's a futon in the guest room. If you want to lie down and get some rest, I won't mind.”
His duffle bag was on top of a computer desk. A post-it note on the monitor told him that Macy had set up a separate account on the computer for Adam to use. The sudden urge to email Cole struck Adam. But the urge was shoved aside, along with his feelings and the sheets on the futon.
Meanwhile, Macy made a call to her friend, Helen.
“Hey, Hugh,” Macy's voice was a song in the back of Adam's mind. There, it was soothing. And he drifted to sleep with the words. “Is Helen there?” Okay. Hey Helen! It's Macy. Yeah, he's here . . . .”
Cole trudged along with his friends back up the hill to his school. It didn't really look like a school. Just a house with a big `ole barn in the back. But that was the way the administrators wanted it to look. If it were more institutionalized, then the students wouldn't be able to learn as well as they would if it looked the way it did. Plus the school started as a home school that quickly grew a reputation for effective alternative teaching and had to accommodate more students in a wider range of ages. Since it's conception (precisely twelve years ago) Renholder Academy had flourished to see 163 students in levels K-12. It was a local victory. And it was all thanks to Cole's grandfather, Jerald Curshe.
Here, among the plants and animals, students would be able to appreciate not only their surroundings, but also their peers. His friends went on ahead while Cole stooped to examine the sage bush he had planted in the spring. It was growing quickly, he noticed. Soon, the sage would demand clipping. His friend Arthur would like that. He was “way big” into Native American crafts. Making smudge sticks and listening to 49er songs was something Cole really liked doing together with Arthur.
He stood there, fingering the medicine pouch that he wore under his shirt. The sage bush was of less interest than the thoughts whirling around in his head.
In a few moments, he told himself, I'll be back in school for a few hours. I'll go home and check my email. I don't know what I'll do after that. But tomorrow, my teachers will want us to give a report on our trip. I wonder if Adam's okay.
“Cole!” Brock was beckoning Adam from the main doors of the house. “Cole, come on”
He set aside his thoughts to for later. Now, he had school. The boy trotted over to the door, took a slap on the shoulder and headed off to his classroom. It was more of a sitting room, really. One long side of the room was made of window while the opposite had a black board. All around the edged of the room were teenagers slouched on couches. In the middle, students sprawled out in front of the board on beanbags. Or they sat at a coffee table in the corner.
Macy took the dog around the block to do his business once she got off the phone with Helen; then she took Poochie in to sleep with Adam. As soon as Poochie nuzzled Adam's outstretched arm, he rolled to his side and lifted up the covers for the dog to slide in next to him. She watched as the boy held him close.
This meeting had not come anywhere near anything Macy had anticipated. At the very least, she had expected Adam to be awake. Maybe he would be more talkative after he woke up. Macy checked the clock. Adam had been out for about an hour now. She had not expected this at all.
For the past three days, Macy had been trying to call Jack to ask him what had happened. It would only be normal for him to want to know that his son was safe. That he had been in contact, at the very least. But no one answered the phone when she called. And the answering machine appeared to be unplugged because the phone kept ringing and ringing. She began to wonder what really happened.
None of her friends could think of anyway to contact Adam's parents, short of a letter. And she didn't want to do that yet. She poured herself a cup of milk and sat at the kitchen table. Macy had no problem with Adam staying a few days. Or even a few weeks. But what about his schooling? Was he missing school because he ran away? Maybe he could get transferred from the school he was going to. But she couldn't even do that until she got the okay from his parents.
What if Adam were to live with her? She had already thought about that before--even before she had received the call from Denver. On a number of times, she had told Adam she wanted to call the Child Protective Services. Adam reacted with panic. He told her it would be okay. Macy believed him, somehow. Probably because she didn't want to believe Jack was capable of violence. But now something really bad had happened. And she couldn't deny it this time. She saw the bruises on Adam through the bathroom mirror.
She felt dizzy all of a sudden. Things had gone very wrong, and she knew it. Even though Adam hated the situation at home, he had never talked about running away before. And, even from what Adam said Jack did to him, it wasn't enough that Adam kept it secret.
But Adam was lying. Macy knew it. And she knew something had gone very wrong. Macy felt sick to her stomach.
Damn it, Jack! Where are you?