Author: RedMonocle PM
"He was definitely here. And he loved me with all he could show me, all he could give me." No slash/boyxboy pairing here, unless you'd like to squint. One-shot (plus an extra prologue to a connected story). COMPLETE.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 2 - Words: 3,855 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 02-05-13 - Published: 01-12-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3091417
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hello, lovely people. :) This is story one (out of three) of the Elements of Fate Collection. The unique thing about this story is that, even though it's in English, I wrote it using Spanish dialogue format, mainly for practice purposes. I hope it won't be too hard to read because of that, and anyway, I tried to make the dialogue distinguishable from the commentary. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
Oh, and here are the warnings: mentions of character death and some minor violence.
"And I had to tell somebody that I was here…It's unthinkable to come to a universe, to live as a human being, and then to die and not have anyone ever know you were there."
-Jimmy Santiago Baca
–Hey, Rosa! Going out to buy a new dress?
–Yeah –I reply roughly, with a mocking smirk–. I saw a green one that will fit you perfectly!
Raúl's smile drops. He's pissed off now. I don't try to run. Maybe fighting with him again today will help reassure me of my identity.
He stomps up to me.
–Trying to be tough again, young lady? –Raúl laughs bitterly–. I guess you need someone to put you back in your place.
He shoves me against the wall. I grit my teeth, finally ready to hit him back. I curl my hand into a fist and try to raise it.
But it refuses to hit him. It will not hit him. Why will it never hit him?
He beats me up again and I walk home in defeat. He's laughing at me still.
And as I come in front of my house, I notice it. The blonde boy across the street is not at the window watching me. I remember him from school and know that he gets out of school earlier than I do. He was there, watching me, at that window every day.
I shake my thoughts away and enter my home.
I'm happy my mother believes I'm clumsy. She comes home around the same time I do, since she works part-time at the library nearby. My mother is always there, always ready to listen.
But she's not that one I need to talk to right now.
It's just my bad luck to have to live with only girls—my grandmother, my sister, my mother—right when I need a masculine influence in my life. My father's always gone. And even when he comes home, it's only for a day or two. There's too much to say, too much to vent. It's not like I can tell him everything in only two days. And it's not like he ever gives me advice anyway. If I had a brother or boy cousin who lived with us, I'd happily vent everything to him.
In fact, if I had another guy to talk to here, maybe I'd be so normal that people would actually treat me like a boy again.
Oh, mom, why'd you have to name your only son Rosario?
I know it's not her fault. She was raised in Italy her whole life and she wanted to name me after her father. How was she supposed to know that her father's name was feminine in Spain?
I start my homework on the table. I greet my grandma in the living room. I greet my mom when she comes into the kitchen. She tells me we have another foster child today. That's nothing new and it's not really my problem since they always turn out to be girls. It's not like I'm the one who has to share my room with them. That's Frida's problem. She always tries to be a shrink for them. I always hear crying and laughter in the middle of the night from her room. I give up on sleeping when that happens and sneak out to the beach. No one is out there at that time. It's so calming to be alone on the dark quiet Alicante seashore, before all the tourists flood the beach.
I finish my homework and store the papers away in my backpack.
–Put your backpack in your room, sweetie –my mother says. I waste no time getting to my room. I open the door.
Blue eyes meet mine. These are the blue eyes that stare wistfully out the window during ninth period. These are the blue eyes that watch me from the window across the street as I limp into my house.
Finally, someone I can talk to is here.
He nods his head.
I stick out my hand and he flinches. Slightly embarrassed, I pull my hand away. I could've guessed that he's not from around here.
–Do you recognize me from school? –I ask.
He nods and holds up nine fingers. Those are nine fingers for ninth period, good. But he's not talking. Maybe he's mute?
–Can you talk?
He pauses and then slowly nods. Then maybe he doesn't speak Spanish?
–Can you speak Spanish?
He nods his head shyly. If he can speak Spanish, then why isn't he? I can't think of anything else to say to him except…
–Do you even want to talk?
He doesn't answer.
–Be honest. I'll understand. Now, do you want to talk at all?
He shakes his head timidly. I look out the window to see the sun is gone.
–Sleep in my bed. I'll get the cot for myself –I say, hiding the disappointment of not being able to talk to the only foster boy I've ever met.
The next morning, I wake up in my own bed and see him sleeping on the cot.
I had no clue I was such a heavy sleeper.
–Who set the table? –my mother asks as we eat breakfast.
Tomás points at Frida as I sip my coffee. Grandma ruffles Frida's hair.
–And who made the coffee?
Tomás points at me. I glance at him quickly, knowing that I did not. I try to tell the truth, but Tomás nudges me with his foot. I look up at him and see him weakly shaking his head.
–Such good children! –my mother bursts out of her seat to kiss us both. She ruffles Tomás's hair.
–Rosa! –Raúl shouts to me from down the hall. He reaches into his backpack and pulls out a blue bra–. Stop leaving your bras at my house! –He throws it at me and I stick my tongue out at him. I walk away, unable to trust my fists despite the levels of my anger.
Suddenly, I crash into a wall, Raúl's hands pinning my shoulders.
–Aren't you going to say sorry, slut?
–What for? –I say, regretting my words instantly when his fingers clench around my throat.
–For leaving your junk at my house. Good girls clean up after themselves –he snarls.
He squeezes my throat tighter. I try to pull his hands off, but his grip is too strong. This is the end. I'm going to die over a bra I never left at his house.
Spit suddenly lands on Raúl's face.
He releases me and turns to the side.
I see cold blue eyes.
–Tomás! Get out of here! –I can barely say as I cough, aware of how small and wire-thin he is compared to Raúl.
He spits on the lumbering giant again.
–How dare you! –Raúl snarls, making a grab for Tomás. He slips away like a quick fish and grabs me by the hand.
Tomás pulls me away and we run off.
–I'll get you and your damn boyfriend next time, Rosa!
I look to Tomás and his eyes never turn to mine.
–No, I'm sorry! I don't have much make up left!
–Sis, I'm begging you! Mom's going to see the marks on my neck and know I've been lying about being clumsy! I'm begging you!
She slams the door on me.
I sigh and turn around, bumping into Tomás.
–Sorry –I say. He smiles and shakes his head, as if to say, "It's nothing"
He has a plastic bag of ice and a thin towel in his hand. He uses his free hand to pull me into my room and gently push me onto my bed. With gentle caution, he laid the towel-wrapped ice pack on my neck.
He smiles again with innocence that would warm anyone's heart. I adjust the ice pack and relax.
–Hey, how much Spanish can you understand?
He spreads his hands at about the length of his frame to indicate that he knows about enough.
–You want me to tell you what happened back there?
Tomás nods furiously.
–His name is Raúl. I've been getting beaten up by him for two years now. I told my mom I'm clumsy and she believed me. But I don't think she'll believe me once she sees fingermarks around my neck. It's sort of my fault though…
He tilts his head to the side in confusion.
–Why? –I say to confirm if that's his question.
–Because…because… –I falter, blushing in embarrassment once I realize how ridiculous my explanation is. I can't tell him. I can't tell anyone.
He'll think I'm a girl too.
–Please…be honest. I'll understand –Tomás finally speaks, hiding his accent. Pierced by his sweet blue angelic eyes, I couldn't keep quiet.
–It's my fault because most times I provoked him on purpose. I thought…I thought that if I got in a fight with him and willed myself to finally hit him back, I could prove to myself…that I was still a boy. Because, you know, when people keep calling you one thing, you start to believe it after a while. There are really no other guys in this house that I can talk to for reassurance. Almost all the other guys at school call me Rosa too. So I need to reassure myself. I need to hit him, to defeat him. But I can never will myself to hit him back. What does that…what does that make me?
–It makes you yourself –Tomás tries to say clearly–. It will not matter if people identify you as a boy or a girl. You are yourself, so long as you believe in who you are. Do you believe you are a boy?
–I'm not so sure anymore… –I can't help but shake my head. I know he's trying to answer my question, but all he's done is made me more confused. He turns his head away.
–This is why I don't like words. They make everything so confusing –Tomás mumbles in English.
He goes back to silence right after that for the rest of the week.
I find myself unable to sleep that night. I can't help but think about what Tomás meant. I'm trying to understand him. Lying in bed with my dripping ice pack isn't helping me.
–Tomás, are you awake? –I whisper. There is no reply.
I get out of bed, open my window and sneak out to the beach.
When I reach the very edge of the shore, immediately, I feel calm.
I wistfully stare out at the water the same way Tomás stares out the window in class. The sea is so dark that the horizon is translucent, nearly invisible. It's almost as if the sea and sky are one. The few stars sparingly sprinkled out above me are the only indicator of the difference between the two.
I skip stones across the inky water, the same water splashing against my feet.
I look to the horizon again and I can't see it. The sky and the ocean are one entity. The stars don't matter anymore.
Now I think I understand what Tomás was saying.
When Tomás wakes up the next morning, I hug him tight and cry hard. He hugs me back and I can almost feel his relieved smile though it's out of sight.
It's like I can see for the first time.
A week has passed. In the mirror, I see that the ice pack worked well and actually kept the finger marks from appearing. Tomás and I had a few encounters with Raúl, but we were never apart during those times. We stayed close together to make sure the other wouldn't end up cornered by the giant if caught alone. We managed to evade him successfully and after a while he just gave up. At the end of the week, Tomás wakes up feeling sick. I tell him to rest and take care of him. When the week starts again, my grandma takes care of him.
Frida tells me she's going to have Carlota sleeping over. I've met Carlota before; she's a very sweet girl, though quite shy. She usually stutters when she gets talkative.
I decide to hang out with them at school, seeing that Tomás is still sick at home today.
During lunch, Carlota points out how long my hair has grown. My sister giggles and agrees.
–I can c-cut it if you want, t-tonight –Carlota offers. I take a lock of my dark hair between two fingers and distance it from my head. It is getting a little long.
–Sure. I don't mind.
–That's great! I p-promise you I-I won't screw up! –Carlota squeals. I smile to see her so happy.
Was this how Tomás felt when he helped me out?
–Carlota –I whisper, stunned.
–How d-does it look? –she asks.
–It's great! –I smile fully. I rub out any loose hair. There are no uneven cuts. She did such a great job. I admire my hair in the mirror, amazed at how different I look.
–You look so handsome, little brother! –Frida squeals.
–It's so neat and professional…I feel like I need to pay Carlota –I laugh. The two laugh with me.
Mom calls to us, telling us it's time to go to sleep. I say good night to the girls and fall onto my cot in contentment.
In the middle of the night, I hear crying.
Quietly, I check Frida's room. The girls are still asleep.
I try to wake up Tomás. But once I feel the lump under the covers isn't a person, I lift the blanket only to find pillows.
I follow the soft sound of weeping to my closet and gently slide the door open. He quietly gasps in the darkness. I grope for the light switch to the closet lamp and the lights flicker on.
Tomás is curled in the corner with a photo of someone. His kind blue eyes are puffy and red. He looks like an angel with broken wings.
My heart breaks when he curls away from me with a choked sob.
–Tomás, why are you crying? –I ask gently, getting down on my knees so I can see his face better. With a careful hand, I cup his cheek and turn his gaze toward me. Fresh tears are streaming down his face. The sight is almost too much. Tomás is such a nice kid. What could he have done to deserve these tears?
He's shaking his head.
–No…please...leave me alone… –he whimpers.
–Please, Tomás…you can trust me with anything –I whisper, hugging him tightly–. You'll always be yourself to me no matter what happened.
He's shaking his head again.
–Please…I want to help you the way you have helped me –I say in English.
–You speak English? –he asks me in Spanish.
–Yes –I answer in English–. You do not have to speak Spanish. I will try my best to understand what you are saying. Just, please, tell me so I may help you.
Slowly, he pushes away from me. He holds up the photograph.
–This woman in the photo…was my mother –Tomás whispers hoarsely.
–Yes. She isn't anymore.
–What happened to her?
–She… she's dead.
–Dead? –I ask in Spanish. He nods his head.
–I'm from the United States –he continues on in English–. She, my dad and I came here, to Alicante for a summer exchange program at your school. The house across the street is my aunt's house, the sister of my mother. We were staying there until the program was over. One night…my dad got really drunk and had an argument with my mom and my aunt. My aunt owned a gun for protection and she told us where to find it in case of an emergency. He was so mad… so he got the gun…and killed them both. The police came and arrested my dad. I tried to hide, but they found me…
He tries to hold back tears.
–They put him in jail. There's no one to bail him out. I'll be stuck here in Spain for years…and I'll never get to see my friends in America again…and to make everything worse, my mom isn't here to comfort me anymore! She's dead! And I'll never see her again for the rest of my life! –he starts to fall apart once more–: No mother, no father, no aunt…I'm all alone…
I take him back into my arms and let him cry. I don't tell him that everything is going to be alright, because there's no way something like that could ever be alright.
And yet I look at him in awe, as if he were an angel sent down from heaven. Despite everything he's been through, he tried to comfort me in my meager complaints. He tried to do good to help others feel better, without thinking of himself and his own pain. That's the most altruistic thing I've ever seen.
And how are his good deeds rewarded? He's rewarded with tears and silent suffering, by the cruelty of Fate, the devil in the world wreaking havoc. That isn't right.
I can never make it right, but I can at least be there for him.
I kiss his forehead as if he were my child. I do not shush him. I hold him tight so I may share his pain. I can't bear to see him in pain. He is so precious to me. I've come to love him.
He kisses me on the cheek and whispers a tearful thank you.
If he's come to love me too, I don't deserve it, not from someone like him.
He falls asleep in my arms and I carry him back to my bed. I tenderly say good night with my hand over his weary heart.
He was an angel for me. I must be one for him.
But I get no more chances to do anything in return after that night. He disappears the next morning. I don't know where he went. He's just gone. According to my mom, he's now at the care of another foster family. And apparently he's no longer in Alicante. I don't see him at school anymore. A ghost of a memory staring out the window sits at his seat in ninth period. Eventually, someone else takes his old seat.
An angel has disappeared from sight. He's gone, never to be seen again by our eyes. And yet the world keeps moving, as if he'd never existed, as if he were some transient dream. It's inconceivable by my mind that somebody like him should live such a tragic part of his life here and go unremembered. I could not stand for such an injustice.
I pray for him every night, every Sunday in church, that he may one day soon be able to return to the United States with his dad. I keep his memory alive and help others as he would have. I get permission from the principal to paint a mural in the hallway, where my ninth period class is. Carlota and, surprisingly, Raúl offer to help me. I accept and we three paint a dove-white angel with closed eyes and open arms. The angel is set against a sky as blue as Tomás's eyes. "For Tomás" is written in gold paint above our pen-painted signatures. With an interview from me, Frida publishes an article about him in the school newspaper. Students and teachers are touched by the story and they constantly come to hug me or tell me that Tomás is in their prayers.
Eventually, time fades. The people who hug and pray become slowly less and less. And they soon forget who Tomás was.
But I will always remember. He was definitely here. And he loved me with all he could show me, all he could give me.
And as I continue living my life, I'll be able to die happy knowing that he is aware that I love him just the same.
Reviews are appreciated. The next story will be "Shattered Kaleidoscopes", which details into Raúl's past and gives light to his behavior in this story.
Anyway, have a great day, wherever you are! :)