A Small Visit
Written by MARU
I'm sitting alone in a dimly lit dining room, staring at a window.
It starts to rain heavily at 11pm.
"Clyde?" a girl of 14 years calls, sitting beside me at the round wooden dining table. She's dressed in an orange sleeveless with an emerald icon and black skinny jeans. Her hair is a jaw-length gold, her eyes toned green, looking at me with a sort of look.The kind of look you get when you don't know what to do, what to say. And she's giving ME that look...
I knew she'd give me that look at some point tonight.
"Sasha, I know he'll be here this time. I can just feel it." I protested, knowing what she was worried about. She just took my hand with both of her own, not saying a word. She looks down at them, that look still on her features.I just gulp. "S-Seriously, Sasha, he's gonna-"
"You aren't the only one," she cuts in softly. "You aren't the only one who wants him around.I miss him too. But you know how Zola is." She puts her left hand on my right shoulder."Odds are, he isn't going to come tonight."
I tug at the collar of my dark purple tunic. "Sasha..." I began. "He...he knows what day it is. We're best friends. Sure, we aren't so close now, but I just..."
I look at her, fighting back tears in my violet eyes. "I have this feeling... This powerful, undeniable sureness in me. He's gonna pay me a visit. Tonight. I know he will."
"..." Sasha looks to me with that same look; That worried look. But it seems... different. There's some back-up in it. In that same 5 seconds, I recognize the look. She's sporting my fourth favorite look to find on her.
We lean in, joining in a passionate kiss. Thank God for girlfriends. I really needed that. She wasn't just kissing me, but relieving me. She was kissing me to help me relax a little about this. And I'll admit, for a minute, it worked.
Too bad it just didn't last. When we finished our kiss, she got up, walking towards the hallway.Before leaving, she turns to me. "You have one more hour," she warns playfully, "and then you go to bed. Oh, and Clyde?"
I look up to her.
"Happy 16th Birthday, darling."
(AN: For the record, Clyde's hair is an unkempt black.)
Forty-five minutes pass. I'm lying my head on my arms, staring out the window. I can see the faint orange glow of a street light in the lower corner, giving the raindrops falling onto and down the window a kind of outline. It's actually kind of funny; When I think about Zola, everything comes into focus.
My best friend... I think. We always wondered, what drove us to be friends? I mean, me, a kid with weird tastes who lives with his aunt, and Zola, a boy with naturally green hair and the son of a scientist and a model. I can't even understand how that works. But we were friends all the same.
He was always so quiet and serious. He'd often come to my house just to wake me up. Zola always shrugged when you asked what he wanted. The only people he ever even smiled with were me and his litte sister Valencia, or Val. He even told me we were the two most important people in his eyes.
...But he left us...
How do you just up and leave like that? I mean, think of it like this. You've best friend runs away from home, then comes back eight years later, only to run away again because your sister got really sick. Now that last part sounds insensitive, but the friend didn't run away TO the sister. That's right, Zola ran away from Val. Poor kid.
See, it all started years ago, like, when we were 7, or rather, he was 8. The last time we saw each other as kids. He told me he was leaving for a long time and to try and take care of Val for him. See, I was okay with that. Even now, I take care of her.
What he NEGLECTED to tell me was that his parents died of some rare disease. I forgot what is was called. I just know it was some sort of flower-named syndrome. It didn't really help that Val knew nothing about it, or what Zola was doing. How was I supposed to explain to a 3-year-old that her whole family just left her, both figuratively AND literally?
Well, Aunt Amy did a pretty good job of it...
Anyways, a few months ago, Zola came back. I was fifteen, he was sixteen. I work part-time at a convinience store, he mixes chemicals as a hobby. I rode a bike, he rode a Harley. Where he even got the money for that, I don't wanna know. Point is, we kinda just...grew apart.
Val, whose 11 now, was incredibly happy when she heard he was coming back. She couldn't sleep, she was so excited. I would know, since we have to share a room and, well, you can kinda guess... When Zola arrived, she practically jumped into his arms and cried. I never saw Zola so happy. He didn't smile, but his face lit up brighter than a spotlight.
It was like he didn't want his sister's hug to end.
Now, I never asked what happened to him those eight years. I never got to. two weeks after he came back, Vallie got sick. She fainted in mid-sentence, as I recall. Zola looked like we witnessed a murder and was about to kill someone for it.
The next day, Valencia was lying in bed the entire day. Sasha and I watched over her for that long. Aunt Amy tried everything but she couldn't wake her until, like, dinner. But Zola... Val couldn't even calm him down.
That morning, Val wakes up to find a note on her bed and immediately starts crying. As soon as I read it, I started crying too.
Zola Tenacia left us again.
That was two months ago.
Two months ago, I abandoned those close to me.
I lean on the handles of my Harley, Faris. I'm looking up to the dimly lit second story window. Thunder and lighting drum up a white flash as the rain falls against my skin. I slip off my night-lens goggles with a deep sigh. Seconds later, I dismount Faris, leaving it parked in front of the building.
I begin to climb the concrete wall up to the window. I also ponder... Will anyone be on the other side of the glass? Will they have waited for me? Then again, I don't deserve to be waited on, do I?
But I still wonder... Was I missed?
Lightning flashes as I knock on the glass.
I growl at the wall clock next to the window. 'Some friend,' I think as I get up from the table. 11:50 and he isn't here. I swear,the next time I-
We just stare at each other after Zola was let in. We waited for one of us to break the silence. The problem was, neither of us knew what to say. I mean, I COULD say a list of things to him, but out of them all, I couldn't feel right with most of them. Not yet at lea-
'"Happy Birthday...Gauntila," Zola sighed, using his weird nickname for me. I never understood why he called me that. What kinda name is that, Gauntila? Maybe I'll look it up later. Right now I'm just glad he broke the silence!
"Thanks..." I uttered, looking at him with uncertainty. God, it felt weird talking to him. Like talking to a complete stranger. It was a few minutes before we sat down, eating a slice or two of the leftover cake.
"...So," I gulped down a forkful of the cake on my plate, "Where've you been?"
No answer. He had cake in his mouth, so I waited for him to finish chewing, but he didn't respond after swallowing.
"...Well?" I cleared my throat.
"Is Valencia still around?" Zola asked. Damn, Zola, not a fan of answers?
"Am I missing something?" I asked him.
"Oh sorry, was that too quiet?" Zola blinks. He always had a concern or too about his volume. But he didn't change it by much. "I was asking if my sister was okay since... That Day."
...So he admits it...
"...She's fine... Turns out she just had a surprise fever..." I explain as my head hangs. "She got it from a teacher from her school. Shouldn't have been grading those worksheets.Heh."
Zola just nods.
That does it.
"...So, that's all you want? Just..." I can't...think straight... "Just..t'make sure that kid's still alive?"
"...Well...She's my sister."
How Dare He!
"So nothing else matters right now? Nothing?"
"...Well, other than saying 'happy birthday'... I was wondering, would I still be accepted here?"
"I'm... sorry for leaving... I can promise, it won't happen aga-"
"Shut up." I interrupt. He looks at me, his eyes widening only slightly. I continue. "Don't feed me those lies anymore. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize bullshit!"
Zola stood up from his chair, squinting like I just offended him. Not that I cared at the moment. "I'm sorry?" he breathed. "I thought I heard you relate science to lies."
In the heat of the moment, I stand too. "So what if I did?" I taunt angrily. "It doesn't matter to you if I have opinions about anything, right?!"
Zola just blinked. "...You don't make sense."
"Y'know what doesn't make sense? Abandoning your own goddamn family!" I shout. "All you've ever done is leave us! Even when we were just kids, you ran away! You're SISTER didn't even matter, DID SHE? YOUR THREE-YEAR-OLD MOTHERFUCKING SISTER DIDN'T MEAN SHIT, AND AT ELEVEN, SHE STILL DOESN'T, DOES SHE?! AND DON'T GET ME STARTED ABOUT HOW I FELT FOR EIGHT YEARS! ALL THAT EVER MATTERED WAS YOU AND YOUR DAMN PROBLEMS! Y'KNOW WHAT? FUCK YOUR PROBLEMS, FUCK THIS DRAMA, AND FUCK YOU, ZOLA TENACIA!"
A few seconds of silence passed, if you don't count my tired panting. Tears were rolling down my cheeks, and my teeth were bared. And Zola just stood there, his hair hiding his eyes.
"...Are you done..?" he asked. I didn't reply, as silence was the response.
He shoves the tables out of the way. The next thing I know, we're on the floor. Zola's on top of me, hands squeezing my neck. "Take it back." he growled. I naturally growled more, since I was frantically trying to get free. "I can make it look like an accident, Gauntila. I don't want to kill anyone before I explain why I was gone for all those years. But if you don't leave my dearest Valencia out of this, I WILL choke the living fuck out of you."
I manage to choke 'okeygh, okeygh' out and he lets go of my neck, only to restrain me by the wrists. "Before I begin, I need to make sure I'm not interrupted."
Silence, other than our heavy breathing, filled the room. We just stared at each other for seconds, into only two minutes. Zola drew a deep breath before explaining.
"...Remember how my parents died...?" he began. "Probably not... They died from a rare medical illness. Blue Rose Syndrome, it was called... I ran away so I could find a cure. I ended up in the second-to-next town, under the wing of a scientist who just so happened to be working on a cure for Blue Roses.
"I'd lived with him for a few years. In that time, I learned a few things. Advanced Chemistry, How to drive a Harley, Stealth-Killing." He seemed to realize I was glaring. "Not that I ever needed to... Anyway, when I was ready to reunite with you again, I did."
He paused long enough for me to realize I could speak. "...Then what about when Val was sick...?"
"...Well..." Zola looked down. At this point we were sitting up beside each other. "...I was...scared... I was afraid to lose her... I thought...I thought she had a genetic case of Blue Roses... I was afraid that...if I hadn't gotten the cure to her in time..."
I just stared. Zola looked like he was about to cry or something. It was just...
"Okay, that's enough." a voice toned from the doorway across the room. We both turned our attention to woman with long, dark hair, so dark you could barely tell it apart from her black gown. She looked to be in her twenties.
"Aunt Amy...?" I breathed.
"I was wondering when you'd be back, Tenacia." she smirked. Zola returned it with a glance to the side. "Before either of you ask, yes, I was listening the whole time. Nice work telling him off, Clyde, but next time, don't let Zola take you down so easy. And hurry to your room. I'm sure Sasha's waiting."
I just blinked. "...Uhh..."
"Hey, what're you gawking at? Get moving." Amy grinned. I just did so. I was drained anyways... Who wouldn't be drained after all that?
But it still bothers me...Why was Zola so afraid?
"So, what brings you here, Gemstones?"
"Wait, I was listening...Val, right?"
"*sigh* Zola, look... I can understand how it feels, the fear of losing a sibling... But I can't believe you didn't even try to get the cure to her fast enough."
"...You know the Doctor...He keeps me busy when I'm stressed out..."
"Finally you say something... Well, anyhoozle... What're you gonna do now?"
"...As opposed to sitting around, just moping...? I'm thinking..."
"...I have an idea... That Harley of yours have a sidecar yet?"
"...What do you have in mind...?"
"Something along the lines of... 'Oh, my dearest Valencia, adoring sister, I apologize for all wrongs I've dealt you', or something like that."
"...I don't sound that dramatic..."
"Yes you do!"
"Heh... Well... What would you have me do?"
I woke up...weirdly. This wasn't my bed... Is was some kind of cart... attached to a motorcycle... Where am I? Isn't it the middle of summer? Why does it feel so cool? And what's that sound...?
Well, that explains it, I'm at a waterfall in some sort of forest... What?
"I'm glad you're awake."
It's a boy...about Clyde's age...with...green hair? Wait...Is he...?
"...'Huh'? Is that any way to greet your brother...Valencia?"
I jump out of the cart thing and fling my arms around the boy. I'm...so happy...I'm crying...
Clyde sighed at the table, which had been put back up since last night. He cut out a slice of pancake and stuck it in his mouth, chewing as he thought of last night's events. He was well-informed of what happened after he went off to his room. Amy was simply leaning at the kitchen counter, lit cigarette between her lips. They pretty much had the same thing on their minds. Then Clyde swallowed.
"So let me get this straight," he began. "Zola's moving in?"
"Eeyep." smirked his aunt.
"Whaddaya mean 'because'?"
"Aunt Amy, how long was he with us the last time?"
She lightly laughed this time, puffing her smoke in and out once before she explained. "Think of it this way, kid... That lettuce-headed drama queen's had it rough. You hear stories about orphans and people dying on the news, and, well, his life's about a third of that."
"...The heck does that mean?" Clyde didn't really like the response, earning a sigh for his guardian.
"Geez, Clyde, you're a smart young man, can't you figure that out?" Nevertheless, she continued. "All I'm gonna say is that there're three things in this world that're too important for him to leave for too long. Maybe if you're lucky, you'll get the other two out of him one day."
Clyde was still confused. He just ate his breakfast and climbed up to the roof after cleaning up. There he sat, staring out into the sky's nothingness and all he could see under it. He wondered... That's all. He just wondered. Why was Zola so hard to figure out? Why was everyone so sure but him? How come he wasn't?
He didn't like holding such a pressuring grudge...
He was snapped out of his thoughts by the distant...faint...audible...clear....loud rumbling of a Harley engine. He looked down. Zola and his sister Val riding riding up to the house. Val had the biggest grin on her face. Yet when Zola locked eyes with Clyde...he smiled...
And Clyde smiled back.