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  • C.L. Brees

Sample of An Unsettled Past



1

It was a warm, hazy Thursday morning in early May in the small suburban town of Ridgewood Hills, Colorado. The only thing that could be heard in the Jones’ house was the sound of a blaring radio playing a top 40 song. Alex rolled over onto his side and slammed his hand down on his alarm clock. He rolled back over and said aloud quietly, “Five more minutes is all I need.” He closed his eyes when suddenly the phone rang loudly from across the room.

“Who in the hell is calling me at five forty-five in the morning?” Alex said to himself as he stumbled to his feet and reached for his phone, flipping “This better be fucking important…,” he mumbled harshly.

“Alex, are you out of bed yet?” a quiet voice on the other end asked. It was Amy’s voice, Alex’s best friend since the fourth grade.

“Yeah, unfortunately, I’m standing up now. What’s going on Amy? And an even better question; what’s up with the phone call so early?” he asked.

“Look, I can’t talk about it right now, there’s major drama going on at my house right now! I’m just calling you to let you know I’ll be at your house in like ten minutes,” Amy said quickly.

“Alright, the back patio door is unlocked, I forgot to lock it last night after everyone left,” Alex said as he heard the sound of a female screaming and breaking glass in the background.

“Christ, Alex, my parents have flipped their lids! One of them is going to kill each other before the day is over,” Amy said in a panic.

“I know, get your shit, pop a Xanax and get over here. I’m going to take a shower, so just make yourself comfortable when you get here,” Alex said as he sighed.

“Thanks, Alex. You know, you’re the greatest friend in the whole world, I hope you know that! I’m grateful for knowing you every day,” Amy said as she said good-bye and hung up the phone.

The phone call from Amy was one of many in recent weeks. Alex had seen her parents fights in the past, but nothing compared to as serious as it had become recently. Being there for her was something he knew he had to do; otherwise she’d probably lose her mind too.

Alex stood for a moment, gazing at a small photo that was in a chrome frame on his desk. He slowly picked it up and held it in his hands very softly. Suddenly, his thoughts flashed back to three weeks’ prior, the night that he wouldn’t soon forget. His flashback only lasted a moment and when he came back to reality, he set the frame back down on his desk. His mind had been running a million miles a minute for the past few weeks, which he wasn’t used to. Alex was always the calm, collected one of his group of friends, but lately his mind could only focus on one thing. He shook his head and walked towards the closet to pick out his clothes for that day. He sifted through pants and shirts to wear, finally choosing a pair of jeans and white polo shirt. He walked out from his closet and neatly folded them on his bed and turned for the bathroom.

Alex stood there, staring into the large mirror that took up a good bit of his wall in his bathroom. He looked at the reflection staring back in the mirror. The person staring back was full of pain and sorrow, but had to put on a smile each and every day as if nothing were bothering him. The past few weeks for Alex had not been his best, especially with high school ending in a short amount of time, he now had to focus on what he was going to do after school, did he want to get a job and work for the summer before heading off to the University of Colorado, or did he just want to take the summer off to spend with his friends? The decisions were overwhelming for him, but what hurt him the most was the fact that he always had to be the strong one, the one who never backed away from danger or fear.

He turned away from the mirror and opened the shower door and turned the water on hot. To him, there was nothing better than a hot shower in the morning to help get him energized. He stood there in the middle of the bathroom floor, the cold feeling of the hardwood floor beneath his feet, and thought aloud to himself,” Lord if you can hear me, please let things get better for me soon.”

His prayer was interrupted by a knock on his bathroom door.

“Alex, it’s Amy; Are you decent in there?” she joked.

“Actually I’m standing here naked, but go ahead and make yourself comfortable. You’re more than welcome to make my bed if you’d like,” Alex said as he chuckled to himself.

“Very funny. I think I’ll pass on that one. I’ll just find something on TV to pass the time if you don’t mind,” she said.

“Not at all, I’ll be out in like fifteen minutes or so,” he said as he stepped into the hot shower now filled with the steam that had built up while he was waiting.

The hot water rolled off of his body as he ran his fingers through his hair. A gust of crisp Colorado air blew through the window as he lathered up his hair with shampoo. He definitely wasn’t looking forward to the end of school nearing and not knowing exactly what he wanted to do yet with his life.

He rinsed the suds out his hair and grabbed his luffa sponge and poured some body wash onto it. He rubbed the sponge all over his wet body as the water rained down from above him. His thoughts quickly returned to school as he remembered he forgot to write a paper that was due in his literature class that morning.

“Shit! Maybe I should think about taking a day off from school to get that finished.”

He then remembered that it was Monday, he didn’t have literature until Tuesday this week. He rushed to wash the soap from his body. He turned both of the knobs off and opened the glass shower door to the steam filled bathroom. He grabbed the towel off the rack and wrapped it around his waist. He walked towards the mirror once again and wiped his hand across the mirror to clear the steam. He quickly dried himself off and put on his undershirt and underwear and walked towards the bathroom door. He swung it open to find Amy lying on the bed watching a rerun of some old television show.

“Well hey there Amy! You got over here a lot quicker than I thought you would,” Alex said as he grabbed for his pants and polo that were laid out neatly on the bed.

“Well, I kind of ran most of the way here. I was in such a hurry to get the hell out of that house. Can you believe they are fighting yet again over the American Express bill?” Amy said, shaking her head.

“What did she do now, go out on some wild shopping spree on useless shit again?” he asked.

“Oh you know, it’s the same thing, just a different month. I mean the woman must have something wrong with her! She went out and spent ten thousand dollars on furniture and crap that we don’t even need! Needless to say, my father was not pleased. He asked her what was wrong with the furniture she bought six months ago. She got pissed, flew off the handle, picked up a Chinese vase and threw it across the room at him. I think that vase cost my father like two thousand dollars. So guess what? Now she has to go back out and drop more money to replace all the shit she has broken. I really think she needs some help,” she laughed.

“Well I’m just glad that in a few short weeks, we will both be adults and we can do whatever the hell we want,” Alex said as they both looked at each other with grins on their faces.

“So I haven’t seen your mother around lately, where has she been?” she asked.

“Oh, she been putting in a lot of hours at the hospital for a while now, I hardly see her anymore. It seems like she’s putting all her energy in at work. But then again, that is her job and that is what is paying for me to go to school,” Alex said as he picked up his backpack sitting on the floor.

“Well we’ll all have to have a get together when she has some free time,” she said as she reached for the remote to turn off the television.

“What in the hell are you watching, Amy?” he asked.

“Andy Griffith, I think. It’s hard to tell anymore what is on here so early in the morning,” she said.

“I mean could you actually imagine what life would have been like for us back in those days?” he asked.

“Um, that would be a definite no! No cable, no cell phone, no skinny mochas minus the whipped cream, oh hell no! Knowing me, I’d probably have probably been a slut with six children running around the trailer park while I’m sitting there wondering who all these kids belong to,” Amy said as she laughed.

“So what you’re saying is you would have been a drunk and white trash,” Alex said as he flipped the light switch in the bathroom.

“Yeah, in a nut shell,” she responded.

Alex and Amy were the best of friends and had always been as far back as they can remember. They met when Alex and his mother relocated to Ridgewood Hills from Denver many years back. Along the way, Alex met John Smith and he also became his best friend. Much later down the line, Heather joined the group after her family relocated from Grand Junction a few months earlier.

“Well we had better get moving if we are going to make our rounds of picking everyone up,” Alex said as they both made their way towards the bedroom door.

“Sounds like a plan to me,” she said as she walked into the hallway.

“Do we really have to pick up John anymore, I mean really, can’t he drive his own ass to school?” Amy whined, glaring at Alex.

“Listen now, missy, he’s still my best friend. I’m not the one who slept with him, you are. Now you have to deal with the consequences of those actions. I’m not going to blow him off because you all couldn’t keep your hormones under control,” Alex said as he looked straight at her with that look he always gave everyone when they knew he was right.

“Ok whatever! I just can’t stand sitting in the same car as him for twenty minutes anymore,” she said.

“Well you’re going to have to deal with it, lord knows I have to deal with it every day too” Alex said as they walked down the stairs towards the foyer.

“I’m going to go wait in the car for you,” she said as she walked out the front door.

What could you say about John Smith? He was definitely a football jock, but he wasn’t dumb like you would think a jock would be. John ranked fourth in his class of 450 graduating seniors that year. Alex and John had become friends in the fifth grade when they sat next to each other in class. They soon spent most of their time together, and as they both got older, rumors began to fly about them sleeping together. Although Alex was gay, John was not. But Alex being gay didn’t have any bearing on their friendship and in fact it probably made them closer friends.

Alex set the alarm to the house and walked down the walkway to the car. The car, which was a present from his mother for achieving such a high score on the SAT’s, was a black, 1998 BMW 4-door with leather interior. The car had all the bells and whistles, but the only feature that Amy loved were the heated seats. As they opened their doors, Amy stopped for a moment and just smiled at Alex.

“What’s that for?” he asked with a puzzled look upon his face.

“I just wanted to tell you again how much I appreciate our friendship,” she exclaimed as they both hopped inside the car.

“Aw, sweetie, I’m glad you and I are the best of friends too. I’m always going to be here for you, no matter what!” he assured her as he buckled his seat belt.

“Promise?” she asked.

“I promise!” he said in return.


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