Sight: Part Ten of Angel
“…From the corner of my eyes
I see him in his sleep
In his peaceful slumber
I have to count sheep
I have to try not to remember
Something was chasing me through a forest. I couldn't remember how I got there: into being chased. But that was something I had no time for wondering. I had to run. My life depended on it. I ran as fast as I could towards a river. It was wide and the water flowed swiftly.
I jumped into it immediately, and without thought. It was imperative and natural, to be swimming through the water as fast as I could to get to the other side. But halfway through, it caught up with me. And I was pushed underwater. By hands, or paws or hooves . . . I don't know what they were.
I tried to struggle, tried to break free. But I couldn't. I just couldn't. And so I sank further. It held me down until I had to breathe. Until I was breathing water. Until I was choking to death. Until I was lifeless. And then I sank farther.
When I looked up, I saw the outline of my father above me. He didn't look down. He brushed past me, his boot hitting my side. And he walked to the other shore and away from me.
I sank so deeply that everything around me was dark. I closed my eyes for a long while and focused on how it felt. The sinking, the gravity pulling my body through the water. When I opened my eyes, I saw Scott. And my mother. They were both lying in a bed of flowers. The moon rose and the flowers bloomed into a deep red. They bloomed and spread outwards from their bodies.
I felt confused. I didn't know where I was. Or why I was standing over them. The water had disappeared, and so had the feelings of being chased. Scott was mumbling something in his sleep. I moved close, turning my head to listen more carefully to what he was saying. But I couldn't make it out.
Suddenly, my mother awoke with a shriek. And she turned towards me and said, “Run!”
Run . . . . What do you think that means?
Adam awoke in a panic. His dream had seemed so real. And his mother's words seemed to hold darker, more sinister meanings. His father was looking for him. And Adam knew it. That was a truth that was so clear to him that it didn't matter whether he found out in a dream or not. He knew the phone would ring today, and it would be Jack.
When he sat up, he didn't realize where he was. Even though it was light out, a storm arose from inside and blotted out the sun. The walls seemed to close in on him and his breathing grew labored. What was happening? He tried to take a deep breath and figure it all out. But, he couldn't catch his breath. He couldn't breathe. He cried out for someone, anyone who might hear him.
Macy was in the kitchen, writing pleadings on her laptop. She jumped back from the table immediately, started into alertness. Adam was in trouble! She hurried to the guestroom and flung the door open. Her nephew was rolled into a ball, crying.
His aunt came close, to hold him. He was cold, and shivering beneath her arms.
“Don't touch me!” He lashed out.
Macy was shocked. “Adam, it's your Aunt Macy.”
She'd never dealt with a situation like this. She didn't even know what kind of situation this was. Adam was crying violently. Macy placed her hand on his back.
“What's wrong Adam?” Her words were as panicked as his behavior.
Adam cried harder. He didn't have the words to tell her. He didn't have the voice. He was back in the hunt again; back in the forest. The image of his father was chasing him. Was it true? Was it true?
Macy hugged Adam close, “Adam, please tell me what's wrong. I want to help you.”
The boy was inconsolable. Macy could do nothing but rub his back and tell him that he was safe. He just had a bad dream. But he was safe now. Poochie stood on the opposite side of Adam and wagged his tail nervously, licking at Adam's face. Adam grabbed Poochie and hugged him close.
“It was horrible.” Adam choked out.
Macy asked, “What was?”
She wanted to know more. She wanted to know if it was really just a dream. Macy consoled Adam as he cried more. And when the shaking stopped, she stayed holding him. Poochie was lying beside them now. Adam watched the sun slope lazily in the sky as what seemed like an eternity passed. Macy could feel her nephew had calmed some.
This is something I shouldn't press, she thought, it has something to do with what happened back home. But I can't press it or he'll close up forever. Just like me.
Macy hugged Adam close to her.
“If you want to talk about it, you can talk to me any time.”
Her words seemed to bounce off him. He couldn't tell if Macy knew they did when he said, “Thank you.”
But you wouldn't understand.
Another boy sat, daydreaming, twirling a pen in his hand. The sun shone down on him, through a large window he'd found looming on more than on lonely night. His eyes cast their sight outward, across the dining room table and through to the neighbor's lawn. He'd spent a lot of time there lately. Everywhere he went; he sat there and stared at it. He'd begun to realize just how much a prisoner he was in his own life. This wasn't a particularly sunny realization; even though the sun beat down upon him - or, rather, off him. He felt like a shell. Somewhere around him, a woman talked on a phone.
This boy just had to wonder if the past was just a well-executed plot. No, that won't do you any good to hear out-of-context. Sam was really wondering if everything his ex-boyfriend had told him was just some well-orchestrated lie. He wondered if the cigar box, full of six months of memories and memorabilia was really just empty. If those pictures or pages or notes really meant as much as he thought they did. Or was he just a pawn in a game he never knew he was playing, and would never understand?
Why is this happening to me?
Macy and Helen had decided to introduce their two boys. They had been holding their weekly girls' night since the first time they had, almost three years ago. Helen and Macy had become good friends after Macy had rescued Helen from the terror of a testosterone-induced man. Macy is a strong woman. And she prides herself on her protectiveness and feelings of fairness, something that she strives to achieve every day. Excuse, not accuse.
It was just convenient that both boys needed cheering up. Neither one was trying to encourage them to become boyfriends. But both boys needed a friend and Macy and Helen would both find it a relief to have time to themselves.
Helen's son, Sam, had been in a rut for a while. For a week since his boyfriend, Jason had ended their relationship. Helen listened to her son lament. His whole world was crashing down on him. It was sudden, she had to admit. But there was something about that boy that she never seemed to trust, anyway. She knew Jason would end up hurting Sam.
It all started when Jason cheated on Sam. He'd told her son about his indiscretion one night on the phone. She wasn't listening purposely. But it's hard not to listen when someone is yelling. Even across the spacious house they lived in and through two closed doors. But things seemed to calm down. Sam and Jason seemed to have reached some sort of resolve with the problem. And so, Sam ascended back into his cloud. Helen loved seeing him so happy.
That was short lived. A month later, she would hear yelling in Sam's room again, and then crying. When Helen would come to his room to find out what was wrong, Sam lashed out at her. He was known to do that when he was feeling upset. But it bothered her every time; even if she knew his excuse. But Sam calmed down-or became less angry-and told her that Jason had broken up with him.
Sam was crushed. And, ever since then, he had been moping. He would spend hours alone, writing in the dining room; in the den, watching movies.
Macy brushed the hair out of Adam's eyes. “What happened Adam?”
Adam was in a storm. All around him lay the pieces of his past, all laid out before him, wherever he looked. Adam could point out the first time he had realized there was something different about his family. Every scream or yell or punch. He remembered playing in his room, wishing that someone was there to keep him company. He felt the same aloneness he felt then. It was the subtle cold that brought him back down. Adam could see it all now. And, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't hide from it. The images were burnt into the back of his eyelids suddenly.
Adam considered the possibilities. He knew they would go to the house to question him. If he hadn't cleaned up the mess, they would notice it right away and arrest him. Maybe he should call Scott's parents and tell them what happened. They would be worried sick. And his mom would want to know. He felt like he owed that to her. But, what if Dad wasn't home? What if he was already on his way? Would he know Adam would run to Macy? What if the police didn't take it seriously? What if Jack found some way to turn it around on him? What if he found some way to make this all an elaborate story that Adam made up to explain why he ran away? What if he had to go back?
Poochie stirred. Adam and Macy watched him race out of the room. They heard the sound of fabric shifting in the entryway, then a loud thunk. The sounds of dragging rushed towards them. Poochie had returned with his leash. He stopped in front of Adam and dropped the leash in his lap.
Macy couldn't help but laugh. “Go walk your dog, Adam.”
“I wanted to explore anyway.” He sniffed.
“Go explore,” Macy's smile felt like a ray of pure sunshine.
As soon as Adam left, Macy sat down at her laptop again. She tapped out a few lines and then stopped. She closed her laptop and flipped open her address book.
“Hello?” A quiet, male voice answered the phone.
Helen was right, Macy thought, he is depressed.
“Is your mom there?”
Macy could hear the phone touch down on a surface, somewhere. Sam called out for his mother. Another line clicked.
“Got it,” Was Helen's greeting.
“Want to bring Sam over for dinner tonight?”
“I thought we weren't going to have girls' night, tonight? Did your nephew not show?”
“Yeah, he's here. And there's something going on with him.” Macy looked into the bedroom, where she could still se Adam in a panic. “He needs cheering up. And Sam does, too. It might be good for them to have a friend.”
“Well, I don't know if Sam will be up for it, but I'll ask him.”
Macy could here the muffled sounds of Sam and Helen speaking to each other.
“Okay,” Helen said, “When's dinner?”
“In two hours.”
“We'll be there.”
“See you then.”
The neighborhood was quiet, suburban. It was closer to rural, but there were still too many houses around to actually be rural. Poochie lead Adam around as if he already knew the place and the boy followed. There was one house at the bottom of the street that Poochie loved. It was a big red house surround by a cedar fence. Over, beside and under the fence grew flowers of all sorts. And the trees were alive with the sounds of playing squirrels and bird song. Adam let Poochie do his business as he pondered the size of the giant cedar in the front yard. Places in L.A. weren't like this at all. He wondered who lived there. But Poochie began pulling again and Adam was lead off to someplace new.
Adam came back a few minutes after Macy hung up with Helen.
“Do you know how to cook?” She asked Adam.
“Of course,” Adam told her. “Why?”
“We're having a big dinner tonight. A few of my friends are coming over. They're all really nice people. You'll like them.”
“Okay,” Adam needed something to get his mind off things. And a dinner party sounded like fun. “When do we start?”
“Now,” Macy put away her laptop and brought a cutting board and a sack of potatoes to the table. “I think you know what to do.”
“Come on!” Macy goaded him, “This will be fun. Besides, one of my friends is bringing her son.”
Adam looked up at Macy, who grinned.
“Hey, I just thought you might want some company.” She said, “Besides, he needs cheering up. Helen said he was going to bring some video games. So you two can just, do whatever. You still like video games, right?”
Adam started peeling, “Yeah, they're okay.”
“Good,” Macy was rummaging through pots and pans, “You'll like Sam.”
“What's he like?” He turned a potato over in his hands, feeling the word roll around in his mouth. He'd never met someone named Sam before.
“Well, he's shy.” There was Adam again, not with a sack of potatoes and a black-handled peeler, but a red fire truck and a Sesame Street brownstone that just hit four-alarm status. “He's smart, he reads a lot. And he writes, just like you. I think you'll like him. I showed him something you wrote for me a while ago.”
“Remember that poem about snails you wrote?”
“You showed him that?!”
“He thought it was great.”
“Is there anything else I should know?”
“I can't believe you.” Adam really wasn't as shocked or offended as he tried to be.
Macy realized what Adam thought she was implying. “That's not what I'm saying at all. You don't know anyone here yet, so you might as well meet my best friend's son. Besides, it's not like you two won't have anything to talk about. You're both gay!”
Adam couldn't argue with that. “When will they be here?”
“In two hours.”