"Living in a perfect world requires having a perfect life to live in a perfect world. In a perfect world you can wake up in the morning to the sounds of singing robins and the warmth of the sun kissing your face through an open window just in front of your bed. In a perfect world you could go out into a forest surrounded clearing just past the wheat fields and just before a blue, soft flowing stream and find a full, green oak tree's welcome, with its wooden swing gently dancing in the wind." I paused thinking of what else to say. " In a perfect world," I began again, " you could sit against that tree or in the swing with bare feet and dream or think or even sing it you like and spend time living that perfect life there. In a perfect world you could then run from the clearing back through the wheat fields back to your house with its white picket fence and up to that special someone that's been waiting for you." Now, unable to see anything but a dream world in front of my eyes I continued with more enthusiasm now than before. You could grab that person's hand and go to the stream with the person to talk and be free to do what you wish and watch the beautiful sun set with the satisfaction of knowing that you were really truly living right then and there. And in a perfect world with that perfect life and someone you lay in the green grass beside the river bed on the flats of your backs and look up into the night sky at the billions of beautiful stars and the full magical moon with its soft glow. Then, in that perfect world, that someone could take your hand and lift it towards the heavens that you have been gazing at together for so long and place it upon a star that was either chosen by chance or destiny by god. Then, you could grasp the diamond-like star and pull it down to earth. You and that special someone could then gaze upon the beauty god has placed in your hand, and all is but of course ... perfect." I awoke from the daze and daydream suddenly. I found that Jimmy and I had been joined by a few others, which happened to be Liz, Cole, and Alex. What had started out to be a story for Jimmy had become a story for every one.
Alex stood up and said, " That ain't never gonna' happen though so you should just quit puttin' all that in ol' Jim here's head," giving Jimmy's hair a playful rubbing.
"Whatever," replied Jimmy throwing Alex's hand off his head with a grin.
"Where's that smoke coming from?" asked Cole leaping off the porch rail and looking around curiously. Everyone thought and searched for a minute until Sis took off.
"Oh no!" cried Liz as she ran into the kitchen. Everyone of course followed. She reached in the oven and pulled out a chicken that was as black a charcoal.
Alex laughed. "Looks like it's PB&J tonight eh sis?"
Liz hit him playfully with a dishtowel and chased him out of the kitchen.
"I's just messin' with ya," he yelled as she whacked him again with the towel and started to tickle him behind his neck. He hated to be tickled there.
Now sis was Liz's nickname that we all called her. This was because she acted like everyone's big sister. She was the one who kept us all in line, making sure we did our schoolwork, and did out chores and things of that nature. It's a wonder we all didn't call her mom because that's what she sure seemed like to me. Jimmy as well. He was the one who started calling her Sis. He was about seven when it started. His sister had just gotten into a fight with his aunt and he ran out into the night and into our house. Sis, Cole and I lived together and still do. She cuddled him and read to him until he fell asleep, still not knowing anything about him but where he lived. Just before she rang his aunt's doorbell to return him to his panicked aunt and sister, he said," I wish I had a sister like you." That's how it got started. Everyone else found it sweet and started calling her sis too.
"OK, OK" he said. "I give!" But sis still continued to tickle him. "I GIVE!" he yelled.
"OK" she said. "That'll teach you to make fun of my chicken."
They came back into the kitchen.
"I'll make some sandwiches," I volunteered.
Alex started to laugh and sis hit him again with the towel and grinned.
"Way to go cool whip," I said getting the bread from the cabinet with a smile.
That was one of Alex's nicknames, only used on occasion and as an inside joke. You see, Alex (unlike the rest of us) was an athlete (star football player to be exact) and one of the popular guys in school. I never could figure out how he got to be that way, because quite frankly he was just about as different from the rest of the popular guys as he could possibly get. While they ran around in their brand new Stangs and Ferraris that their parent bought them, he ran around in an old beat up paint-less 73 Chevy pick up truck. While they wore letterman jackets showing off the gold and blue school colors, Alex wore his 5-year-old black leather jacket. One reason he didn't wear a letterman and drive a fancy car was because he was broke just like the rest of us. The other was because, as he would say, "That just ain't my cup a tea." The jacket and truck were his pride and joy and he wouldn't trade either one of them for the world. Anyhow that was his nickname also used for when he screwed something up like saying what he did about sis's chicken. There was also the occasional Joe Cool.
"Well, HELLO neighbors!" we heard a voice say coming in the back door which happened to lead to the kitchen.
That was Mick. He lived in the trailer next to our house, which was next to Alex's trailer. Mick was the wild one of the bunch, the daredevil, the tough guy, the crazy of all crazy's. He wasn't really crazy but he sure could act the part sometimes.
He ran over to me and picked me up.
Now, they call me Jade on
account of my eyes being so dark green. It's almost spooky looking. You've
never seen green eyes until you've seen mine. They are as green as green gets.
I always had trouble talking to people because they would end up staring at my
eyes trying to find out if they were the real color or contacts. It was
annoying but in an odd way flattering at the same time.
"What's new? He asked spinning me around once or twice and then setting me down safely on the ground again. He then moved on to find Liz and give her one of his pick up hugs.
He ran up to her.
She just looked at him for a second. "No" she said trying to keep a straight face.
He just grinned and held out his arms.
"No!" she said again, this time fighting the smile and laughter even more.
"You know you missed me sis!" He said, picking her up. He spun her around and set her down.
"I hate to be picked up," she said after being safely set down on the ground for a second or so.
She hated being picked up because everyone tried to pick her up. This was because she was so small. Sis probably didn't weigh over 100 pounds and she couldn't stand it. Mick was a different story when it came to that because he picked everyone up except for the guys cause they were to heavy. He occasionally hugged them though, but she still wasn't a big fan of it.
Now Mick was a big guy, the exact opposite of Sis. We're talking BIG! It was all muscle and height though. He was 6foot 5 weighing 265 and he loved to fight. As a matter of fact, that's how he made his money. Alex offered to get him a job on the assembly line at the factory he worked at several times, but Mick wouldn't have it. He loved to fight and watched boxing on TV all the time. Every Saturday night he and any guy who was willing would hook it up first betting themselves. Then the usual crowd of about 30 or so was always there betting amongst themselves on who would win. About 20 guys all together fought, alternating nights. Don't ask me how it all got started and organized but it did and guys like Mick lived for it. He'd only lost once in the three years he'd been doing it. That was to a gang leader from out of town who cheated and wore a ring. He punched Mick right smack dab in the nose not ten seconds in. He broke it too. He still has a scar from the ring.
"So what's on the menu for dinner?" he asked rubbing his hands together. He was always hungry.
"PB&J" Cole answered.
Alex snickered and Jimmy joined him this time.
Sis just looked at them. We could tell she was amused even though she wasn't trying to look like she was.
" And of course popcorn" added Mick.
"Not again!" exclaimed Sis with a disgusted tone.
"Hey!" he said with fake seriousness. "Popcorn goes with everything."
"Maybe so" said Jimmy, " but you gotta switch it up a little every now and then.
"Ah bull corn," he replied.
"Uh, no," said Cole, " popcorn."
"Well I'm eating it whether you guys want any or not," he said exiting through the back door to go and get some of his precious popcorn from his trailer. He never went without any handy.
"Hey ya'll," said Sam coming through the back door just the same as everyone else did.
Now Sam was Jimmy's older sister and a tomboy if I ever saw one. She was about as big of a tomboy as a girl could get. She was fifteen and had a thing for cars. They were actually her obsession. She loved the sound of their roaring engines flying down the roads in the weekly races on Main Street, the smell of burning rubber and gasoline, the gleam of light the sun put on freshly polished chrome, the colors and shapes that they all came in and by the time she was 11 years old she had read at least 100 Auto Trader magazines that she got from the gas station on the corner of 5th and Maple that she could name the year and type of any car, any time, and any place. She dressed and talked like the guys too and wore a red raggedy bandana that never left her head. It covered up her long pretty jet-black hair. I always wished she would leave it down and take the bandana off, but the way she wore that thing, you would think she was born with it or something like that. She didn't take crap off people and she also never let anyone call her Samantha. One time about a year or so ago a boy started picking on her down at the auto shop (the owner was a friend of hers) and was telling her to "Go play with Barbie cars and leave the cars in there to the guys." He kept on with, "Go on you stupid tomboy and get outta here." Then he said, "What are you? Stupid? I'm talking to you Samantha! That was the straw that broke the camels back. She sent that boy home with three broken fingers and a black eye and sent his friend home with a twisted ankle and chipped tooth for the simple fact that he stood there and laughed at her while his friends was making fun of her. The mechanic found it funny. Later on the boy told his friends that some guy twice his size had been the one who beat him up.
Only her friends could call her Sammy and that was only on occasion, case closed.
"Hey," everyone replied.
She set two six packs of cherry coke from the gas station, down on the counter. We all had a thing for cherry coke too. Kinda like Mick had for popcorn.
You see, everyone always brought something to dinner and everyone always ate over at our place, and had ever since Sam and jimmy moved in down the street when he was 7 with their aunt.
Mick walked in the back door with popcorn and salt in hand.
"Well hey there Sammy," he said picking her up and then setting her down after a spin or two. She scowled at him, a scowl we all knew to well but we knew it was her kinda smile.
Mick popped three tubs of popcorn, Cole, Liz and I made the PB&J, Sam and Jimmy poured the cherry coke, and Alex popped the video into the VCR. We all went into the living room to eat and watch the movie.
We watched a movie and ate in the living room every night together. It was like an everyday tradition. Everyone sat in the floor, most of the time. If Liz's foot hurt she sat in the chair. The main reason we sat in the floor was because we only had two chairs in the living room and there wasn't a kitchen table to sit at.
The TV flashed the words The Fast and the Furious up onto its screen and Sam smiled when she heard the car motors rumbling and exploding. Jimmy just rolled his eyes. He simply couldn't understand his sister's obsession with cars. It was funny how he and his sister were so different. As a matter of fact it was funny how all of us were so different.
After we had all eaten, we went out onto the porch. Liz, Sam and I sat in the porch swing and the guys sat on the steps and rail.
"I'm stuffed," said Mick in a miserable voice.
"Well what'd ya expect?" asked Alex. "You ate three sandwiches, a bowl of popcorn and drank two cherry cokes!"
Mick flexed his muscles. "Well, It's workin' for me ain't it?" he replied with a grin.
"You didn't do so bad yourself there," Cole told Alex. "You were just short a coke and popcorn."
Alex burped so loud it echoed. He smiled at his accomplishment. Sis gave him that big sister look that said, "Don't be rude."
We talked until it was eleven o'clock at night.
It had been a normal Friday evening and a very fun one at that. It was pretty perfect though and seemed as if nothing could go wrong. Or so I thought.
Alex, Mick, Sam and Jimmy soon left and Liz, Cole and I went to bed. Even though it was a Friday night we were beat and decided to turn in early. Liz and Cole went to their rooms and I went down to the basement, which was my room. Liz and Cole had tried numerous times to get me to stay on the sofa bed in her room but, I preferred the basement. I wanted my own space and there were only two bedrooms in the house so I took the basement. It was quiet and had a window and bed and all of my belongings It had all the things that a room should have and was perfect. I even put down a rug for a more homey effect. The room was my own space, all I needed and perfect for me. It was my own little place to dream in.
Soon I heard the sounds of Cole's guitar coming through the floor. He loved that thing with all his heart. He would play from sun up to sun down if he could. He even wrote his own music. He was great at it too. He could even play a song he heard on the radio note for note after hearing it only once. He was amazing. When he played, he poured his heart and soul out into the music, whether it was his music he was playing or not and you could feel it with every note played. Later on he began to play a song I had never heard before. It must have been a progressing work of art because every now and then he would try something new in it. He didn't write his music down because he simply didn't know how to read or write music. He remembered all of it. It was a beautiful song even incomplete and I was almost asleep when I heard a big thump.
I turned to see Jimmy and Sam crawling in through my window and shutting it behind them. They huddled up on the floor gasping for breath.
"What happened?" I asked worried and scared.
They both shushed me at the same time and we sat and listened.
Then, I hear a car pull up in our gravel drive way and stop. Soon after we heard steps walking up to the house and circling it. He stopped by my window and we saw his cement stained work boots through the window.
"I know your in there you stupid little brats" I heard a man's gruff voice say. "You better come out now. I'm not through with you yet boy!" he continued.
I looked at Jimmy. Blood was streaming down the left side of his face. I couldn't tell where it was coming from but I could see his normally happy go lucky, quiet blue eyes in the moonlight. They weren't so happy anymore. They hard turned a dark gray and he was shaking and obviously scared. The poor guy was only 12. He had his knees pulled u to his chest and was tapping his left foot and biting his lip.
I looked at Sam who was also shaking. She looked just as scared if not even more scared than Jimmy. That's not something you see everyday.
"This is your last chance," he bellowed. After getting no response he threw his beer bottle and it hit the side of the house and broke spilling sticky booze down the side of the house. Soon after I saw it streaming down the window. The boots left and the car started again and he was finally, after what seemed like hours, gone.
Sam and Jimmy both took a deep breath and shut their eyes.
"What the heck happened" I asked wide-eyed and worried. I looked at both of them and Sam began.
"We were on the couch at home. Aunt Tracy's stupid boyfriend came storming in the front door drunk and swearing and yelling something about someone tearing up his car." She took another deep breath. "Then he saw us sitting on the couch staring at him. He pointed at Jimmy and said, "It was you" and next thing I knew, he'd knocked him upside the head with a bottle. It's a wonder it didn't knock him out or even kill him or at least something like that. Anyway I grabbed his had and we took off."
"Think he'll call the police?" I asked.
"Hope not," said Jimmy still shaking.
"Don't think so," said Sam. "He'll probably pass out before he gets home. Besides they'd probably just arrest him."
"Alright," I said standing up on shaky legs with a sigh. "Jimmy go get cleaned up and Sam, you go get some pillows and blankets for ya'll."
"What in the world?" yelled Sis flying down the steps down into my room. "What is going on? Who was that?" she demanded.
"Yeah!" said Cole not far behind her.
The story was told once more and I thought Cole and Sis's eyes were gonna fall right outta their heads before I finished. I could only imagine what I had looked like once told. But, that was nothing compared to Mick's reaction.
Morning came sooner than wanted and expected. Cole was up first as usual.
I walked in the kitchen. He was in there making his usual egg sandwich.
"Want one?" he asked still half asleep and staring at the bubbling egg in the frying pan.
"Sure," I replied grabbing a cherry coke from the refrigerator. It wasn't hard to find. There was only a dozen eggs, cherry coke, a package of cheese, a package of ham, some mayo and mustard and oh yeah, the burnt chicken. Alex wasn't the only one who was broke.
"Why didn't she throw that thing out?" I asked popping the tab on the can.
"Something about giving it to a stray dog," he replied flipping that egg with a spatula.
"Man I'm glad it's the weekend," I said to myself while walking into the living room.
Even though it was summer time, some of us had jobs. I was one of them. I worked 3 days a week at the gas station on the corner of 5th and Maple. The one that Sam got the Auto Trader magazine's at. It earned extra cash for rent and grocery's and stuff. I saved a little but not much. The little money that Cole, Sis, and I all had was used mostly for things like that.
Cole joined me shortly after and we ate egg sandwiches and watched Bugs Bunny. Real teenage thing to do isn't it?
In came Sam, Jimmy and Sis with a towel around her head all still yawning.
"Yo!" yelled Mick as he came in through the back door barefoot and still in his tank and pajama bottoms.
As you have probably guessed, not only did everyone stay at our house for dinner. Everyone was there pretty much all the time. It was the groups hang out.
He stopped in the doorway and a worried look came over his face when he saw Jimmy. He walked over to him and moved his head so he could see it better. A bandage covered the left side of his face and he had a black eye.
"What the heck happened Jim?" he asked still examining his head.
"Well, um. Ya see." He began with a shaky voice not knowing what to say.
"Tracy's boyfriend Jack hit him with a beer bottle," said Sam impatiently.
Now Mick was basically Jimmy's big brother. Mick loved him to death. He loved all of us but there was just something about Jimmy that Mick loved in particular that set him from all of us apart and he felt responsible for Jimmy.
After a moment of examining and silence he said, "Oh hell no!" as he began getting upset.
"Now Mick hold on a second," said Jimmy pleadingly.
Mick's eyes, normally dark brown with flecks of wild gold in them were turning dark and almost black looking. His wild side was coming out and when it does there is absolutely no stopping the guy.
"He was drunk and didn't know what he was doing," said Jimmy now very worried.
Mick stormed out the back door and walked as fast as he could in the direction of Sam and Jimmy's house.
"Mick," yelled Jimmy following him out the back door. "Mick wait," he pleaded.
"Stay there," he yelled in his toughest voice turning and pointing at him.
"Mick," yelled Cole out of the window. "Come back. What are you gonna do?"
" I mean all of you," he said now louder and tougher looking than ever before, still waling towards their house.
"What do we do? What's he gonna do? We gotta do something." said Jimmy running back into the living room in a panicky voice that kept rising and beginning to twist out of control.
We couldn't figure out what to do. So, we did the only thing we could. We just waited.
I've been writing this from a teenagers perspective, me being fourteen myself, I was wondering if any adults found this interesting even though they aren't really who it was written for.
Also, if you have any suggestions they are more than welcome.
It hadn't been five minutes since Mick left, but it seemed like hours, just as the few minutes hiding in the basement had seemed like hours. All five of us sat in the living room. Sis sat in the chair, though, because her foot hurt. Cole sat next to her on the floor. Sam and Jimmy sat under the window and I sat in the door way between the kitchen and living room. The only one I really looked at though was Jimmy.
The poor kid. I couldn't help but feel bad for him. He had been and was going through more than any twelve-year-old boy should be. I wasn't worried about Sam. She was tough, had us, and had found her click in life, cars. Jimmy only had us. It was good that he had us but he just needed more. More than we could give.
At twelve Jimmy had friends and a sister. No more no less. He had an aunt that couldn't be considered an aunt. She dated trashy guys, was lazy, and just downright didn't care about herself, Jimmy or Sam. She was their legal guardian. That wasn't necessarily by choice though. She came to be their guardian because there was simply no one else who could.
I guess my point was that all in all, kids, no matter what their age, shouldn't have to go through what Jimmy did.
He sat, again, knees tight against his chest, tapping his left foot scared. Lord knew that if I could have, I would have taken away Jimmy's fear and pain. I would even endure all of it myself. But I couldn't. All I could do was be his friend. It felt like it wasn't enough and just didn't cut it! It was though, all I could do.
Suddenly, the long agonizing five minutes of silence was broken by the sound of a 73 Chevy pulling into our driveway.
Alex walked up onto the porch and through the back door whistling the song from the parent trap. (He was always whistling that tune)
"What's up guys?" he asked walking into the living room.
We all just stared at him. What can I say? We were speechless. I would have been shocked if we weren't. It's amazing what can happen in less than 24 hours.
"Man, you guys sure are friendly," he said with a nervous laugh. "Ok, is something going on that I don't know about?" he asked now with a hint of nervousness in voice. The silence continued. No one even did so much as blink. They just sat in stared. "Alright somebody spill it!" he commanded now worried. Still, no one said anything. I turned and looked at Jimmy who was trying to turn his head so Alex couldn't see it. He was too late.
"What happened?" he asked Jimmy, walking over to him for a closer look.
After no one answered, I did.
"His aunt's boyfriend Jack, hit him last night," I said as quickly as possible. "We think Mick went to go pay him a visit."
"Uh oh" he replied turning to me. His brown eyes gave me a combination of a sad and worried look. He ran his fingers through his brown hair. His face showed his feeling of bewilderment.
"How long has he been gone?"
"About five minutes or so."
"OK, ya'll stay here and I'll go get him. Where is he?"
"OK, we'll be back in a little while. Now, I mean it. Stay here."
He lit out the back door as fast as he could. We all stayed put. What else was there to do?
We heard the slam of a car door, the engine start, and the crackling of the gravel in our driveway as the paint-less 73 Chevy pickup truck drove away.
© 2002 Copyright held by the author.