A month had passed since I first kissed Ian martin in his bedroom. Which also happened to be the only good thing I remembered about the days passed.
Summers were leaving and though the colleges had started admitting students, I was still working at the store.
There was something pleasant about the world. Or at least it seemed so. And all the pleasant things have a relation about their proximity with the silence, it’s when you stop guessing about the world. When the certainty takes over the oblivion. And when, for a brief while, all the voids are filled.
Ian visited me often at the store after Mr. Patrick would leave, which he would, sooner those days. Maybe Martha was expecting a child.
He mostly talked about Louisiana, where he was expecting to leave after taking some exam at his college. He would convince me about how moving there was a better option than working my ass off in Texas for maybe the rest of my life.
He was right about most of the things, moreover it was not all about the money because most Texas colleges required an almost perfect GPA to get accepted and even after this, LSU could still be a much less expensive option.
And when I would refuse to understand the sole of it, he’d tell me how beignets at Cafe du Monde tasted better than tacos from in here.
I could not leave my mother, she was ill all the times, fading away like a little scar on my wrist. Just when I started talking to it and just when it was the only friend I realized having. She would look at me every night when I’d be back from the work, and say
“You look beautiful, honey.”
She had started saying it in recent days. I believed that she knew of the fall and that it was important to see the beauty before a fall which is treacherous and does not promise a rise again.
I would tell her that she looked beautiful too. People start becoming beautiful at some point in their lives when they occur to realize that the end of life is not subjected to death, it’s way before that, when the life stops giving and only takes back.
But I was glad, she seemed to have some time. I’d see her each night lying on the softest mattress we had. She struggled to have the air from the world, and her chest would heave like sadness of a caged rat.
Her nose, from which the life seemed to escape in bits. In the moon when her freckles would lighten up like a thousand stars from the sky and the wrinkles would go away for a while.
I liked her, and most importantly I did not want her to go. I did not want a night to come when I would roll over to ledge of my bed after a disrupted sleep only to see her absent.
Maybe it would be easier to sleep on the floor then, I thought.
Everett was lesser around us now, he was planning for a road trip with the Porter girl.
“Tomorrow we head to the red mountains, flower valley and around the lake Travis and until the end of horizons.”
He’d say with a shape on his lips that looked more like excitement than a smile. I figured out he would have wanted to smile more than he could.
“So, would it be next month or sooner that you would be leaving?’’
Everett asked Ian last night in the park.
“Not any sooner than the next month for sure.”
I grabbed a small branch from the ground and scribbled my name on the grass.
“What do you think about that, Cheryl?”
“I can think about people.”
I replied. I plucked out a leaf of grass and smelled it. It smelled like life. Dead things sometimes smell most like life.
“And what do you think about the people?”
Ian asked, looking at me.
“The life is afflicted. You don’t get to have a say in when things come and go and what you get from them. Most often, people get what they want and they start believing this is the secret. But the secret is not this. The secret, is that people can have their wantings but they will always be deprived of what they deserve to have.”
Ian leaned in, I could see his eyes reflecting my face. He took the branch out of my hand and interlaced his fingers in mine. And in his ever soft voice he said.
“Unlike you, I am not very well in acquaintance with the secrets of this universe. But I am pretty much sure that the only wanting I have is you. Maybe, our lines if drawn on a ‘who-deserves-who’ graph would never intersect. And maybe it proves your theory true, but it would still be relishing for me to have you in the end of everything.”
I smiled lightly. He planted a soft kiss on my lips.
“Oh I so badly want to kiss Amanda now.”
Everett said in between with his lips turned downward felling into a chortle.
Today was a Saturday evening, Everett left for his road trip. It was a public holiday for the Labor Day which falls on Monday. So we all had a Saturday night, a Sunday in between and then a Monday of vacation.
I would not be at store, and the time was rare so Ian and I planned to visit somewhere. Maybe the Padre Island at the Cameron County. I would have liked Alamo as much though.
Before Mr. Patrick left he paid me my salary for that month.
“You have done a great job, Cheryl.”
He said, handling me the cash. His fingers seemed to have touched my skin more than it was necessary.
“Thank you Mr. Patrick.”
I passed on a formal smile.
“Call me will.”
He said with trace of a disappointment in his eyes.
“Thank you Mr. will.”
“My eyes would miss the beautiful sight of your face for a while now.”
A wide smile overlapped his disappointment.
I did not respond.
This man was weird.
I left the store at eight and told my mother about my plans with Ian.
He was ready with Alaska at my house after two hours.