I walked up to the curb and sat down, not sure what i was waiting for but not ready to do anything. feeling like the world was hurling at me from every conceivable direction and yet the air was perfectly still. I pulled out the packet of roll your own tobacco and the little hand rolling machine and began to build a cigarette. I wasnt sure why i opted for roll your own cigarettes and why this ritual felt important. As i was working the mechanism of the little rolling machine a boy walked to up on me, he looked about 17 or 18 and had a bright smile and intense eyes, as if he was on a sugar high or over caffeinated. His pupils looked over dilated or something. I knew he was actually 22 however but other than his name that was all i really knew.
He said "hi, i'm Robby. what's your name?
I replied that my name was Steve and he nodded and smiled a bit too enthusiastically.
Robby asked "what are you doing?" and quickly added he thought he was drunk
I replied "making a cigarette and why do you think you are drunk?
Robby said "he didnt know why he thought he was drunk but imagined this is how it might feel
I asked: you've never been drunk before?
Robby stated he couldnt remember but didnt think so
I asked if he had been drinking and he replied he had a diet pepsi awhile ago and did i want one.
It was obvious he wasnt entirely right.
I looked around his front yard and saw stacks and stacks of obama posters and what looked like a homemade pulpit or stage or something but it had been partially torn down. and some of the posters were torn and piled in one corner of the yard. I asked Robby what happened here and he flatly stated that Dad is a republican without further explanation.
I remembered why i was here and began to bait Robby by making fun of him for being a farmer and country boy and something about redneck this and that , but he remained jovial and seemed oblivious that i was insulting him when he suddenly grabbed my bicep and squeezed like he was sizing me up
Robby then announced he liked to look at pretty girls and sometimes they seemed to like for him to look at them, but other times they didnt and acted strange or cried.
I didnt ask what he meant but was having a hard time maintaining my animosity towards this boy.
A middle aged man that i assumed to be Randall Garret, Robby's father stumbled out of the house at this moment yelling to Robby to finish cleaning this shit off his lawn and how could he have been so stupid to disgrace the family like this in the first place. Randall looked to be a man in his mid 50s, he wasnt remarkable in any attribute other than the fact his hair was unnaturally black for a man of his age. He glanced over at me standing near the edge of his lawn on the curb and asked "who the fuck are you?" and i said that i was just walking by when Robby decided to talk to me. Randall said well Robby isnt allowed to talk to strangers and to leave him be. I nodded and acted as if i was walking on down the street long enough to satisfy Randall who barked something more at Robby and went back in the house. I moved over to the driveway where there were three late model Mercedes' parked, one on blocks on with the hood slightly ajar.I Positioned myself to look through the front door and could see Randall sitting in a recliner drinking a beer and reading a magazine through the screen door. Robby was carrying posters to the growing pile in the corner of the yard and muttering to himself.
My Cell phone rang and i knew who it was without looking at my phone due to the personalized ringtone.
I answered "yeah?"
Melissa replied where are you?? in a semi frantic almost hysterical tone
I answered with a question that i intentionally made sound cold. What does that matter now?
Melissa tearfully pleaded with me to answer her and i told her i was in Iowa.
Melissa gasped and then began to sob saying "oh my god Steve, what the hell... My god... please, please,. don't .. Steve please i cant take this . oh my god what are you going to do??, please god no, answer me, what oh my god please...
I didnt reply and let her plead and cry into her phone and waited for her to pause.
She then collected herself and sounded almost resigned when she said "it isnt Robby's fault, please Steve, dont.. he wasnt in control, please he wasnt the one..he didnt have any choice either. OH please Steve. Randall... was the..oh Fuck!
I said nothing and she asked if i was there and demanded i answer her
I said Melissa i havent anything to say.
She said Steve, as much as i hate them all and everyone, i hate you the most.. I cant stand you, you hurt me worse than anything they did and besides it was my fault!
I said i love you Melissa and will always. And i can learn to forgive and NO it wasnt your fault.
She said I hate you so much for teaching me how to hope again making me want to believe and NO i dont believe you, you will never forgive. I HATE YOU.and she cried incoherently.
She then composed herself and in a very distant voice said i have to go, i have something i have to do.
I said what is it?
And she answered she had to go again
Again in a more demanding tone i asked her what she had to do
and she replied i cant tell you and i am sorry. you wouldnt like it.
I raised my voice nearly screaming for her to tell me
and she meekly said i cant and i am so sorry i fucked up your life, you were better off without me.
and she hung up
I said you are the best thing that ever happened to me. but she didnt hear it as she had already disconnected the call.
my eyes filled with tears.
Melissa reached for her pill bottle as she silently wept
I pulled out my buck knife unfolded it as a bitter coldness crept over me i called out to Robby saying on second thought i would take that pepsi and we both strolled to the screen door.
Melissa's hand fell open and the empty pill bottle rolled off her bed and onto the floor as i opened the screen door and closed it behind me.