Thursday, December 06, 2007

. . . And His Chivalrous Intentions

Category: Issue 8, Short Story Winners

The heavy rain had been obstructing Brian’s view out the second story window of his father’s house for hours. The streets, the neighbor’s houses and the finely trimmed hedges had all melted into an imitation Van Gogh set firmly into his window pane. He couldn’t believe the terrible timing of the storm. In about a half an hour Brian would desperately need to be able to see that road.

Half an hour . . . it seemed like such a long wait. Fitting comfortably into the concave of his bed, he attempted to take his mind off of it, staring uncomfortably at the patch of mold in the corner between his ceiling and the western wall. Upon seeing this on her last visit, his mother had told him to clean it up quickly as mold spores breathe out toxins that fill the air and can make you sick. He hadn’t noticed himself becoming sick, but he also knew that he’d never really been all that well to begin with. Lowering his glance, Brian scanned the rest of his room; mostly just books and old records. The walls were littered with posters of his favorite movies and bands. He’d often asked himself whether or not this was a childish or even preteen girlish thing to do, but he’d always come to the conclusion that he did not need to come to a conclusion as he would regardless be just as lazy and leave them tacked up in their oft meditated positions. Brian’s fingernails were too long. Staring at them intently for a good minute or so, the immobile numbers on the clock told him that he would need to actually do something to get his mind off of her arrival.

  His eyes shot wildly around the room as the rest of him remained dull and motionless. He stopped at his cheap, pawn shop acoustic guitar but found the desire to play it abruptly replaced with the frustration of learning how. In a similar flash he contemplated masturbating but quickly threw out the idea as he was too hungry, and the steak fajita that was dancing in his mind was doing nothing for him sexually. Conjuring a morbid chuckle at the similarities between the empty fridge downstairs and the wallet in his back pocket, he decided against the thought of exerting any sort of physical stress on his body, remaining on his mattress all the while.

4:10 . . . it would be completely hopeless if she arrived any later than 4:30, as she said she would. He would not be prepared; his faux manly but intellectual exterior would have long melted away by 4:35. It was ineluctable that he would end up thinking about her to pass the time, but he’d hoped he could have at least made it past 4:15. Every thought that came to his mind was obscured by her long, dark hair; his every initiative sunk deep into her lovely green eyes. Her eyes were almost too beautiful to be real, but they definitely weren’t contacts. She just wasn’t the type of person who would do something like that; she was all natural. An excited rush of adrenaline shot from his heart and through the rest of his body. Today would be the day that he would finally make his move. It had felt like he had just about gotten to know her well enough for him to really feel comfortable around her. Brian had never courted a girl before, but he knew that he had to take it slow if he wanted anything to grow from it; just dinner out. Often finding himself wrestling with the worn out idea of dinner and a movie, he could never decide how to go about selecting a movie. Should he let her decide, or should he take initiative and pick one out for her. If he were to make the decision, what if she didn’t want to see it? And if he were to ask her to pick one, what if she asked him to pick one anyway? It was too much for someone with his blood-pressure to deal with; dinner would be fine.

4:20 . . . he continually damned the rain for refusing to allow him to see clearly out of his window. If only he were able to catch her walking down the street early he would have time to prepare himself. Despite the consequences, he decided that it couldn’t hurt to start getting ready anyway. Mustering up the strength to commute to his bathroom, Brian took what he’d counted as a thirty-two second piss. He was dangerously close to beating Rodney Dunston’s record, though there was still room for improvement. As he zipped his pants back up, he looked into the mirror above the toilet, and examined his face. The mirror had been purposefully placed there, as it was in a very poorly lit portion of the room. Brian used it as a way to ease himself into how bad his face looked on that particular day before getting a look at it in the brutal, honestly lit mirror behind him and above the sink, which he had since turned to. It was, as always, significantly worse than the last mirror had told him. The acne had been hanging around since he was twelve, progressively conquering more of his face and back every year. Leaning into his reflection he found more distress, as only one lone soldier of an army of hundreds was pop-able. Tearing off a tiny square of single-ply toilet paper, he covered his fingers to avoid getting any more unnecessary oils on his face, and he squeezed.

There wasn’t much of a fight before the little bastard submitted to an oozy surrender. Brian was there with it through its dying moments, carefully wiping clean the blood that slowly trickled down his chin. As all of this whirled through his dwindling subconscious, he took steps towards taking care of the rest of his face. Brian wore makeup. He had never admitted it to anyone before, but when he was fifteen he’d stolen a bottle of makeup, the color of which somewhat resembled his skin, from his mother’s purse. He used it just about every day since then to help hide his facial flaws. He always figured that somebody must have noticed by now, but he wasn’t going to be the one to inquire about it. Just then the doorbell rang.

4:30 . . . right on time. He stopped to catch his breath as he felt his heart implode and disintegrate, spreading through his body like a disease. Running his fingers through his unfortunately and, until then, unnoticed greasy hair, he gracelessly leapt down the stairway.
“I’ll get it!” he screamed to his near comatose father who hadn’t heard the bell ring. Taking a second to unsuccessfully attempt to gather his thoughts, he pulled open the door, unveiling her beauty like a red drawstring curtain.
“Hello Anna,” he nervously sounded out. Her now wet hair was much shorter than he’d remembered; a hair cut, he’d supposed.
“Oh,” she spurted out in a surprised manner, “don’t I know you from school? Your name is Brainy, isn’t it?” Her delicate, red lips curved into a smile as she sounded out my nickname.
“Well . . . no, that’s just what people call me. My name’s Brian.”
“Oh. Well, is your dad here?”
“Um, yeah . . . but he’s asleep right now.”
“Oh. Well I was supposed to stop by here and pick up an old microwave from your dad.”
“Yeah . . . he mentioned that to me . . . I think that’s why he figured he could take a nap . . . ‘cause he figured I could take care of it . . . well enough.”
“Yeah . . . great.”
“So, I’ll just go get that toaster.”
“Right . . . I’ll be right back.”

Slowly, Brian turned around and bent over to pick up the microwave that sat only inches behind him. Anna leaned in as her now dirt brown eyes strained to see the appliance.
“Here you go.”
“Great, thanks a lot.”
“Um . . . yeah. You’re welcome.”
“Ooh . . . it’s so heavy!”
“Yeah . . . it’s not that bad.”
“Um . . . ok. I’ll see you around school.”
“Ok, bye.”

Quickly, he closed the door in order to hide himself. Of course he should have offered to carry the microwave home for her, especially considering the rain, but she was right; that thing was heavy! Closing his eyes, Brian released a sharp exhale. Maybe he would masturbate after all.

Posted by Evan Cox on 12/06 at 02:12 AM | Permalink
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