Disappear Here. (Part one, Chapter Three: The Roach Motel)

Disappear Here. (Part one, Chapter Three: The Roach Motel)

... This is a chapter ... so many may be lost. In the previous, one of three friends, Nick, died; he was hit with a truck in front of Lewis.


Literary fiction


Lewi Lewis (United States)

To explain how Ethan handled the situation with Nick would be nothing but pure speculation, a projection of my own feelings onto someone else; I don’t know how he took it or what, if any, kind of lasting impression it had on him, and if I did at one point, then it has gradually become muddy, more opaque, as the years got on, until I have totally forgotten. I am sure that it did, of course something like that would imprint itself onto someone, but the feeling I get now, the memory – whether fabricated or not or simply lost, is that we never talked about it.
After the funeral, we continued to play with one another for a couple of years. We saw each other in and after school. We both began to play soccer on the same team, but steadily, as we neared Junior High, different interests began to form and lead down different paths. By high school we saw less and less of one another; we had different friends, were part of different groups. Aside from the unusual quick chat of how’s it been going, we were little more then nodding heads in passing on our way to separate classes.
Eighteen is an age that paradoxically marks both the beginning of your life and the end of it, and i realized, as i snapped the television off after hearing the news that Janet Reno had announced the independent investigation into the Waco fire, Nick abruptly appearing, bobbing up and down in my thoughts, a bloated corpse face down skimming the top of a dirty pond, that the whole of my youth had been sacrificed to a delusion.
I held on as long as I could, but I knew as I walked out of the house and started walking toward the school that something had just changed for me. I didn’t know what it was, and I would be still hard-pressed to accurately describe what that change had been even now, but I could feel it, like a switch had just been flipped. Everything was different: the smell of the neighborhood mixed with oncoming fall, the way the houses I passed looked, the din of traffic, the sound of my own footfalls on the concrete; all of it had taken on different meanings, abstract definitions. All through school that day, I walked with a quiet ineptitude of understanding, I was in a dream where the movement and actions of all the other students seemed to make less and less sense as the day marched on.
I don’t want to suggest that Nick’s death actually had anything to do with Waco, Texas other than they both happened on the same day, fortuitously shared the same date: the people there, albeit different circumstances, they shared the same fate as Nick; they all suffered the realization of mortality, but again, so had how many untold thousands of others scattered across the earth? But for me, then and now, there was something else, something that I fear I will never be able put my finger on. It was like the two incidents had a causeless connectedness between them that I would have to involuntarily shoulder the burden of for the rest of my life.
Once you allow the idea of the spinning wheels of fate to take hold, once it enters and begins to course through your veins, its integration into everything you do, see, hear and feel, becomes impossible to ignore. It is a one-way ticket. Especially at such a young age.
Like I said, I held on as long as I could, but I did so in an almost catatonic way: zombied myself around school, listlessly stared into textbooks that were more empty and devoid of anything than ever before, I ignored friends; after school, work transpired much in the same way. I no longer cared much about earning, or spending for that matter. Any free time I had was spent in my room with the door closed, doing nothing much at all. I was waiting, but for what I didn’t have a clue, nor did I really have a desire to find out.
About three months after that, a measly six months before graduation, without ever really coming to any sort of conclusion – I was on autopilot – inconscient of what I was doing, I walked into the principle’s office moony-eyed, yet somehow deliberate, and informed her that I would be leaving school.
“Are you sick?” She asked as she continued to stare at the computer screen, edged with annoyance at such a triviality.
“No. For good.”
“What does that mean?”
She looked up from the screen, eyeing me, willing me to get on with it.
“Well,” I responded, “if I have to use the phrase, which, by the way, I was hoping to avoid – it’s so … it’s so damn needlessly dramatic – I’m dropping out.”
She briefly argued against it, but being the institution that public school is, it didn’t last too long. She was overworked, busy as she already was with matters more important than a nobody, future deadbeat.
She asked who I was and then wrestled my file out of a dented file cabinet in the back corner of her office, looked it over, and retrieved some more papers in a different drawer, and handed them to me.
“Your parent’s consent, they will need to sign these.”
“No, she doesn’t,” I said, already halfway out the door. “I’m eighteen. It’s time for me to start making my own decisions.”

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