Fiction Friday: July 7th

Being with him was easy at first. It started the first time he drug me into the chaos, the first time he led me by the hand into the life of the party. And somewhere along the way, something fell into place for me. I no longer cared that I hated piercings and he had one in his lip. I no longer minded that he wore too much gel in his hair.. I suddenly didn’t mind that he was short, and didn’t have six pack abs. I just liked him. I found ways to make him smile, just because I liked his dimples. He made me laugh so hard my stomach was sore. He was silly and fun, and would skip across Walmart parking lot like a mad man without even thinking twice. But sometimes he was serious, and he would bite his lip and stare at me like he couldn’t figure me out but he wanted to. A weird brand of attraction that I had never experienced was born in me. And in the beginning his smile was quick and easy. That first night, it lit me up. It was infectious, and before the night was even over I was craving it. Thinking of silly little things that might make the corners of his mouth lift up just a little. But that was before. Before his smile disappeared. Before he chose brokenness over healing. Before he turned on himself and me.

Jaime slouched down in Matt’s custom made kitchen chair. His eyes stared, unseeing at a scratch on the table’s surface.

“Jaime?” I asked. “Jaime?”

His gaze jerked up to mine. “Yeah?”

“What’s wrong?”

A shrug. “Just restless.”

“Why?”

“I just don’t know what I want out of life you know?” His voice was barely a whisper. “I know I don’t want to stay here but other than that I don’t know.” I was surprised by the serious tone of his thoughts, I had assumed that he was just feeling cooped up because it had been raining.

“Where would you go?” My mind conjured up pictures of us racing down some highway together on some grand adventure.

Another shrug. “West I guess.”

“Nowhere in particular?” I pressed, leaning towards him in my own chair.

“No not really. I’d like to just go nomad for a while.”

I wrinkled my nose. “Ew I like showers, thank you very much.” He looked up from studying a crack in the worn table, startled and I realized in his fantasy I hadn’t been riding shotgun in his car. He was talking about going alone. I felt my face fall but I caught myself. Over the course of a few weeks I had gradually forgotten that this was a light and meaningless thing. Most days I was content to take it as it came and explore being twenty five and free but sometimes I caught myself looking for more.

“So would you get a camper?” I asked, infusing my voice with enthusiasm, determined to avoid making him feel like Ihad backed him into a corner.

“Maybe, or maybe just a tent and an old motorcycle.” He was daydreaming again. His mind going down some far off dust desert road. “Maybe if I just took off for a while, I would find my purpose you know?”

I thought about it for a second. Hours alone on the open road certainly would give a lot of time for introspection, but I wasn’t sure it would solve the problems he thought he had.

“Maybe, or maybe it would just get lonely.” My voice was quiet. Picturing him out there, alone with his thoughts, I was afraid of where his mind might wander. I played with his hand from across the table, tracing the ridges of his scarred knuckles.

“Yeah maybe,” he agreed softly. “What do you want to do when you grow up?’

“I don’t really know,” I scrunched my face up, “I mean I guess it doesn’t really matter. I just want a couple of kids, a job I don’t hate that pays the bills. You know, the american dream.”

He looked at me for a long moment, “I don’t know if I’m cut out for that. I mean look at my parents. I didn’t have a shining example growing up. I’d probably just end up screwing the kid up.”

“People learn from their parents mistakes. I know I won’t be like my mother. I would never take off on my kid.” I said it gently, but I meant every word.

“What are you lovebirds discussing?” Matt asked, bursting through the kitchen door, his dog, Sully on his heels.

“Kids,” Jaime answered.

“Oh damn, don’t make me an uncle yet please!” Matt yelpled.

I cracked up. “Relax Matt, there’s no babies on the way for us.”

“Thank goodness. I can’t be an uncle.”

“You do realize that being an uncle is the fun part right? You get to take the kid to do fun stuff, hop them all up on sugar then send them back to mom and dad,” I told him, amused.

He cocked his head, a shaggy brown lock falling over one eye. “I guess you’re right. That could be kind of fun. Well then for the kids sake, please no babies. You two are still way too young to be tied down to a kid.” Matt’s cynical appraisal of having kids young wasn’t a surprise. I had heard him make comments before about how he was the reason their parents got married and how it never should have happened.

“Got it boss, use protection.” Jaime saluted him.

“How about I just pretend you’re abstaining?” Matt made a face.

“I think I’m old enough for big brother to admit I’m sexually active Mathew,” Jaime teased, “It’s not like I’m your little sister and you’ve gotta protect me from all the boys just trying to get in my pants.”

Matt leveled me with a serious look. “What about you Taylor? Are you just using my brother for his body?”

The three of us burst out laughing. “No Matt, I’m here for the sparkling Flemming wit I keep hearing about. I have yet to witness it though.”

“Oh you wound me.” Jaime pulled his hand from mine to grab dramatically at his chest.

I threw one of the grapes from Matt’s fruit bowl at him. “Clown.”