Sebastian Bear : Invisible Pervert
one. (A. B. C. Bear)
I drank four Cherry Cokes before going to bed and even though I pride myself on not letting caffeine effect me, I was wide awake. A scowl had been on my face for hours now. My heart was beating in sad little morbid thumps against my chest. There was way too much to think about in the dark. I considered turning on a few lights but that would only prove to keep me awake longer so I clamped my eyes shut and threw a heavy arm over my face. Another deep breath and another stream of pointless and iridescent thoughts passed my minds eye. No one really knew me, not the real inner workings of me anyway.
I was a strange and I would be the first to admit that in random conversations. I'm scared of old people, no all of them but most. I hold my breath over bridges and count to ten when I'm scared. I'm in love with smart people and get embarrassed for actors on television. I play with ideas until they are so real to me, that nothing else really matters. I'm weird. I know this.
Three hours after this irritating realization, the sound of an alarm floated into my room. I recognized the bubble gum pop anthem quickly as my sisters. That meant they'll soon be barricading themselves in the bathroom and I'll have a little under three minutes to beat them to it. Scratch that. I heard the hurried footsteps and the slamming of the doors. My sisters were thirteen, identical twins, gorgeous blondes with big blue eyes, and had an obvious love for showers. I grunted to no one in particular before I felt a whoosh of familiar air. My blanket had been ripped off of me. I didn't bother to move my gaze toward the perpetrator. My tiny tot of a brothers giggle erupted into the air. David Michael was a five year old with a severe disliking for others having any sort of comfort a.k.a me and my warmth.
"I'm going to hang you from your toes little man." I mumbled. Even he had to laugh at my lack of enthusiasm. This was a daily routine with us.
"Yeah right Madeline." He stuck his tiny little tongue out in my direction.
"Would you prefer the big toe or the little one?" I inquired softly.
"Nanna-Nanna-Boo-Boo!" Was the next response followed by a rather juicy sounding razz.
"That's it Davie. It's time for your utter and absolute demise. Are you ready for it?" I asked still too calm for good taste.
"Whatever." And that's when I grabbed my little brother and tickled him until he was just about ready to piss himself. Then I allowed him to squirm away from me, filled with giggles, and one last toss of the blanket across my face. I sighed. Kid brothers. As horrible as they are ninety-nine percent of the time, there was always that one percent that they were just plain old cute.
I waited another three minutes before rolling off the bed. My room was what some might call out of control. It was painted an extreme shade of sapphire with white curtains and a white comforter. There was a dresser filled with half folded clothes, scarves, and socks. On top the dresser were various pieces of jewelry and figurines from my younger years as a dance enthusiast, and then those few hair ties for lazy days. My bed sat in front of my window, big enough to fit exactly two people, but only needing to fit the one...me.
And that realization was enough to make me roll my eyes. It wasn't as if I needed another person there. It wasn't as if my mom would even allow another person in there with me. But it was the mere fact that I had no one to try to get in there if I did want someone in there. Make sense? If not, oh well. It's much too aggravating to go over it again.
"Maddie, Anne, Sarah, David Michael get down here now. The bus is coming."
"Fuck the bus." I mumbled to myself. There was no time for a shower now, not there was any hot water left.
"Madeline said fuck!" One of the twins yelled from the hall.
"So did you, now get down here." Mom screamed in return. I grinned, wonder where I got it from.
"Maddie, stop with your cursing and get your ass down here. NOW!" And the grinning stopped.
"Score!" One of the other twins screamed at my getting in trouble. I mentally flipped them off.
"Shut up Sarah and get with the eating. I'm not signing any sort of tardy slips so you better hurry." Mom snipped.
I could practically see my mothers graying hair snapping in the direction of Sarah and maybe even giving her a pop on the head. Of course she would have a spatula in one hand. She probably had a pair of dingy gray sweats on and seeing as how it was a Friday, a faded pink t-shirt with the words "Kentucky" across the chest.
"Madelineeeee. Come onnnn." David Michael sang from down the stairs. I smiled and pulled myself into standing position. After a quick face splash and hair brush I was ready for makeup and clothes. I was set within ten minutes and hopping down the steps toward my family in two. Dragging was the better word.
The twins were already bounding toward the school bus and I saw them bump hips before jumping up the three steep steps onto the public means of transportation. I sighed with relief. As horrible as it was to say they were my least favorite siblings and I was pleased that there would be no confrontation with hells twins today. In the words of my beloved sister Sarah, SCORE!
"Bout time, Maddie." Mother gave me one of her stern smiles. "Breakfast is on the table." She pointed toward a plate with a batter covered spatula. I gave her a quick kiss on the cheek before plopping down next to my baby brother.
"Look Madeline." David Michael thrust a frog in my face. I chirped. "Isn't he cool."
"Very." My eyes widened and I nodded my head with extreme enthusiasm. "Show mom."
"Mommy!" David ran toward our mother who reacted near about the same as I did, cept with a scream.
"David Michael what is that thing doing inside the house?" She shrieked.
"Hippy-hippy-hoppy." My little brother then took off running only to come right back.
"Take it outside David Michael." My mom hissed, shrinking away from the hopping amphibian.
"Hippy says it's politically incorrect to say he's an It."
My mom and I exchanged curious glances before shrugging it off and allowing David to go run wild. Once the young boy was out of earshot she sighed and rolled her eyes. "Your last day's today huh." She grinned in my direction. "Excited?"
"Yeah I guess." I took a sip of coffee. Mom frowned and took the cup away.
"No more caffeine Maddie. You wonder why you can't sleep at night."
"I sleep just fine." I lied and tried to grab the coffee cup. She refused me access.
"I heard you tossing and turning babe." She patted my head affectionately.
"Fine. No coffee."
"Good girl." She let the remainder of the liquid flow down the drain. I sighed longingly toward the much needed energy booster. "I have to get David to school." She glanced at the clock hanging over the sink. "Don't skip your last day please." She kissed my forehead. I waited around for my ride and just as I heard the car horn honk from the street I heard my mother screech.
"David Michael get that frog out of my hair this instant!"
There was that one percent again.
My friend Nolan had been my friend Nolan since the very first day of seventh grade. He was tall, lanky, and totally awkward. He smiled at everything and sometimes I wondered if he really understood half the things he claimed to love. He wore a dark brown blazer every day over an trendy no named band t-shirt. His jeans, read skinny on the tag, but remained baggy on his thin lower half. He would always point at whoever he was talking about, no matter how close they were, or what he was saying about them. He was a constant target for scrutiny. I loved him. But I assure you this was strictly a platonic sort of love. There was no sexual tension between me and this boy. Sorry. This isn't one of those stories.
Just as I slid languidly into the passenger seat of his 97 model Jeep Cherokee. . .
"It's my favorite girl, in the whole entire world." Nolan smirked while I ignored him. "Right here in my very own car! I'm giddy."
"It's my only way of getting to school. Don't get too excited." I threw my stuff in the car while sliding myself in second.
"You love me. Don't try and cover it up it only makes you look sad." He pulled a strand of my hair.
"I was never a good liar." I feigned suffering. I was really very good at faux emotional distress.
"True." His noggin quirked to the side. Eyes blinking wildly at a passing big breasted female. One of the few things that he actually reacted to dramatically I might add. Otherwise my friend was extremely monotone. Highly intelligent, vast vocabulary skills, natural and admired sense of humor. But when it all boiled down he was a cliched cool glass of water. I loved him for it, platonic sort of love
"like what you see?" I laughed. He shifted his head toward me with the most indignant expression available.
"Of course not. I'm not interested in just anyone. Actually..." He teased. "you're the only one that makes me hot." The T was sharp and almost hissed in my direction. I grinned, patting my dear friend on the hand occupying the gear shift and shaking my head almost regrettably.
"I'm a lost cause."
"Are there really any lost causes?" He asked with a deep sigh. "I don't think so."
"You don't think though." I pointed out with a nod and raised brow.
"True." He grinned. "Takes too much time and energy." He exhaled as if the weight of the world was pushing on his narrow shoulders. "Actually. I don't even recommend talking about thinking."
"Fine Nolan." I laughed. "Fine."
Another four miles and three stop signs down the road we arrived at Central High. It was a smallish school, located just outside a funeral parlor ran by the Brothers Malone. There was often traffic jams caused by funeral processions and the odd casket overturn at the door. Aside from the strange occurrences from our neighbors, the school was relatively sound. There were no shootings, bomb threats, or even outbreak of hormonal rage. The air was thick from the quickly approaching summer heat, the mood lackluster. Even the soon to be absent seniors dragged through the already cluttered hallway with little humor and even less enthusiasm.
"Looks like the cheerleaders exuberance has been stolen by the evil Graduation 'the real world sucks and you're very close to being chewed up and spit out' monster." I whispered to Nolan. He was too busy tapping in his locker combination to notice my clever mumbling's. I bit my lip and squinched my face into a most unattractive squint.
"You're ignoring me. . ." I declared infinitively.
"No. I heard you. It just wasn't funny." He continued to spin the dingy dial, stopping at random numbers along the dizzy path. With one final spin and pull of the metal U he was done, or at least thought so. The lock was stuck, just as it had been every day for the entirety of our senior year. With a stream of overly used and some recently made up curse words, my best friend threw his head into the locker door and grunted.
"It was too funny." Maybe it wasn't. I didn't really care. He could've humored me. Then again, I knew he wouldn't.
"Fix it." He huffed like an angry five year old. I glared at Nolan with fierce eyes. He smirked. "Please. . ."
"Move." I really didn't have to say that tempestuous word because my physical reaction moved him enough. With a few spins and sudden stops the locker was open and my sarcastic and slightly over critical friend was digging through the neat innards of his metal box. He pulled out the last two books from the bottom shelf before slamming the door shut and smiling broad.
"I am turning these two pieces of literary crap into the library and then I am officially unbound by the ridiculous highschool laws. I'm FREE!" He stated plainly with two thin arms stretched into the air.
"Control your emotions Sinclair. You're getting soft." I pushed him in a mostly playful manner.
"I know. I'm done now." He went back to his straightlaced manner. "That was a rush."
"Yeah I know. You nearly changed timbre. . . weird."
"Aren't you going to your locker?" He asked as we passed by faded silver square.
"Nah." I glanced back toward the most loathed combination piece. "I turned in all my books a week ago."
"You didn't need em for finals?"
"Since when do I need anything but a large cup of java for finals?" I quirked. "You don't know me at all." I scowled at his lack of knowledge.
"You're just too deep, dearest. How am I supposed to remember every little detail about your thick and lengthy mind. There's just too much, just way too much. It actually hurts to comprehend the depth of your emotional sea.
I'm jealous, so very jealous of you and your complexity. It hurts even to look at you, because it's a reminder of just how beneath you I am."
If it wasn't for his monotonous nature he would've pretended to cry, sob, hyperventilate even. But because he was so very dull and absolutely loveable, he stated this as if he was yawning. I smiled at the sight of it. Best friends forever or at least until one of us died.
"You're kinda amazing." I told him.
Deep and angst filled sigh. Purely fake I'm sure of it. "I know." He nodded in agreement.
The last class of the day I was surprised I heard anything that the teacher said. Mr. Poplar or Mr. Pop as we all called him, was giving us the speech of our lives. He was instructing us on good study habits, refusal skills, staying away from parties, and of course the age old 'trust no one.'
"Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit." That woke me from my longing gaze directed outside the window. Curse words always seemed to drag you toward them. I focused on my bald and slightly pinkened teacher. He was wearing a baby-blue button up along with some faded gray jeans. His belt was small and black, just a shade off from his large and slightly intimidating pair of combat boots. He was holding his hands up by his face to emphasize the extreme amount of seriousness radiating from his being.
"You can't take peoples bullshit and when you get out into the real world" exasperated and pink faced pause.
"there will be enormous amounts of bullshit and I just don't want you to fall for it. And some of you, god have mercy on your extremely dim witted souls, will go out and be swindled, rooted, and hacked for all your worth, but then some of you will recognize the bullshit, call it out, and maybe even...survive it."
I smirked. It was an uncomfortable silence around the room. A few regular enthusiasts were struck dumb with our teachers overly honest words, opening and closing their mouths, exchanging concerned glances with each other, holding their anxious little breaths until lungs nearly popped.
"Got it? Do we understand this people? You're looking like a bunch of dead chickens. Responses?" The comparison made no sense but it didn't stop my smirk from growing. There were a few dumb nods, throat clears, rapid blinking of the eyes. I sighed deep. My fellow classmates, soon to be fellow graduates, were humorous as specimens. But just as such. I wasn't a snob, not by any means. I was a very nice person, especially to strangers. But there were really no intimate, friendly sort of interaction between me and anybody other than my beloved but strangely platonic friend Nolan. I would be a loner without him and I was the first to admit it. People got on my nerves, not at first, but in time. I didn't really need anyone else, not enough to go scouting for more attention hogs and most likely back stabbers named friend.
"I think Ms. Hunter here is one of the few who will understand the bullshit." Mr. Pop pointed at me with a crooked finger. I stopped with the grinning and self realization just long enough to understand I had about thirty or so curious looking eyes on my person. I raised an eyebrow. Explain please.
"She is what some might call socially inept." Hey! I nearly scowled at that. Did we have to say that out loud. "She hangs around with one person, that I know of anyway, who she puts her trust in. She doesn't have to worry about backstabbing and being manhandled because she hates most people. This, though annoying at times, will help her in the long run. She won't let anyone close enough to take advantage of her. See...anybody?"
My classmates finally looked away. I was blushing. My cheeks like molten lakes of liquid fire. I gulped and arched my brow in thought. How dare he! He called me out in front of all my peers, all my freaking peers! I crossed my arms over my chest and squinted out the window. Ouch. I thought vulgarly. How very ouch. It hurt to hear it out loud. And just as the very last bell of the very last class of the very last year of my highschool career sounded through the hall, I jumped out of my skin. I hadn't been that lost in my own mind in a very long time. I was so shaken up that I failed to run from the scene like I had planned. Instead I was the last person to gather my things and scuttle toward the door, only to be stopped with a deep and much hated voice.
"I didn't mean to offend you Ms. Hunter." Mr. Pop had offended me and I didn't believe it wasn't intentional.
"Yeah well. . . you did." He really wasn't my teacher anymore. The last grades were turned in. I had passed this
ridiculous highschool era. I was through.
"It was the truth though wasn't it, Ms. Hunter?" Why did he keep using my name? It sounded vial when he said it.
"Even if it was, do you think it was your place to describe my inner workings to the entire class?"
"The truth hurts." He sighed. "You have so much potential but you're wasting it with this antisocial behavior."
"I do hate most people Mr. Pop. You weren't one of the dreaded 'most' until today."
"If that's all it takes, Ms. Hunter, maybe you should work on your people tolerance."
"Maybe you should quit butting into other peoples business."
"I'm thinking it rooted from somewhere in your childhood, as most of these issues do. Something traumatic to force all your trust into that one friend of yours, Nolan is it?"
"Why do you know so much about me?" I crossed my arms for the second time that day. This usually happened out of sheer discomfort on my part.
"I know all my students Ms. Hunter."
"Yeah well. . . it's extremely creepy."
"You really should look into your past. It might clear a few things up. Explain why you're so scared of life."
"I'm not scared." I bit. Stupid, balding, pasty, boot wearing man. I hated him. No wonder I hated people. People sucked, people called you out, people were rude for no reason. This wasn't giving me any sort of reason for drudging up old and hated memories. I rolled my eyes at the belligerent middle aged man and began the few steps toward the hall. I was so nearly free. How in the hell had he held me up so long? I didn't remember wanting to have this conversation but I was.
"Ms. Hunter." He called. I stopped but made no move to look back at him.
"I was being honest when I said I believed you'd be one of the few to make it out there. I really do. You're a smart girl, capable of many great-great things."
I didn't thank him for his sudden lack of hatred. I didn't tell him goodbye, wish him luck in years to come. I didn't even yell at him for his overwhelming sense of acknowledgment. I just walked away. I heard the door slam behind me. It wasn't as comforting as I hoped it would've been. Instead it was scary. The halls were empty. The dulled down gray of the floor held a tiny squeak as my feet thudded against its surface. The lockers were all lined up down the hall, some open, some closed tight. There were a few random pieces of notebook paper stuck to tiles across my way. It was strange just how alone I felt just then. It wasn't as if I hadn't been alone in these halls before. There had been countless after-school tutoring sessions where I was the last one out, walking this same path, breathing this same recycled air. But today if felt different. I was noticing things. It wasn't fun with no one there to turn to, no one there to nudge when you just wanted to feel skin on skin, the comforting warmth of human. I could hear people on the outside of the building, people I supposedly hated. They were all leaving, slamming on the gas pedal in some lame attempt at quickening their ride home. I was hurrying to get to them. Without even realizing it, my steps had quickened. I burst through the double doors, glancing over my shoulder at the looming building before me. It had never seemed so wicked as it had right then. I sighed and closed my eyes, rubbing the bridge of my nose with my clammy pointer and index finger. This wasn't right.
So I kept my eyes closed and listened to the life surrounding me. Birds, cars on the highway, cars in the parking lot, laughter, voices, yelling, crying. They were all there. And just as I caught my breath a felt a strong grip on my shoulders, squeezing hard, but just as quickly letting go. I whipped my head around. In the process I had managed to slap my friend in the face with lose strands of hair. He gave me one of his most serious looks before narrowing his gaze.
"You're upset." His tone softened. "Is the end of school finally getting to you?"
"What...no.. hell no." I shook my head to show my disgust. "No."
"Then what's up with the look?"
"What are you talking about?" I know I sounded angry and at the wrong person no doubt. Nolan noticed as well.
"You're all pissy. What's the matter?"
"Nothing. Just had a run in with a not so successful mental battle." I exchanged my scowl with a grin.
"You're lying. . . at least partially." Nolan sighed. "But I'm ready to eat so let's talk about this over burgers, say, well done."
"Grilled to perfection." I nodded unenthusiastically.
An hour later I sat staring listlessly at a half eaten burger with crunchy mostly-burnt fries on the side. My friend, though thinner than most tree branches, was working on his second cheeseburger, third milkshake. We had been talking but the conversation was excruciatingly dull. No clever repertoire, no solid yet curious jokes. We were keeping things rather straight forward. In other words, Dullsville.
"Do you think I'm a socially inept?" I asked almost too casually. I was twirling a french-fry between my fingers, before pressing it into the ketchup like one trying to extinguish the burning end of a lit cigarette. Nolan brought the straw away from his lips, setting the deliciously sweet smelling vanilla shake on the table in front of him and giving one of those best friend types of looks.
"Aren't you hungry?" He asked. This wasn't like him at all. He was honest, critical, blunt. I widened my eyes at him. He smiled innocently. With his shaggy brown hair and big adoring eyes you might believe him, most might. I, on the other hand, didn't see anything but an annoying and not so subtle way of brushing me off.
"Nolan." Snappy tone.
"Madeline." Softer yet distinguished heir.
"Nolan." Snappy yet more irritated tone with a hint of pleading.
"Yeah.. Okay.. now that we've established each others names, and quite quickly I might add, should we be going?"
"Stop." I placed a steel like grip on my friends wrist before he could get away. I heard him grunt.
"Maddy." He whined, his slender yet noticeably shapely bottom lip popping out in a sort of pout.
"Just answer the question please."
"What's that?" Oh that was the last straw. He was really avoiding it. It must be true. I had to hear it though. Why?
Who knew. I was weird that way, very strange. I bit my tongue, rolled my eyes, and creased my brow all at the same time! Yes I was gifted.
"Am I socially retarded?" It was then the true struggle started. Nolan's little face squished until it was practically nothing at all. If not for the pink tinge of his cheeks I might think he had disappeared. He was very tall but managed to look a little over thirteen with emotion. I pondered quickly if that was the reason he was so vacant most of the time.
"Define retarded. . ." He winced as I slammed my body back into the booth. I was! I was socially, maybe mentally awkward. It's not as if I didn't know it before. I often struggled in public situations and the fact that I only had one true confidant other than my little brother and at times insane mother, made me wonder. But hearing it from this particular person hurt me somewhere deep within. I cringed at all those dominating thoughts. They were fighting for top priority.
"It's not as if you're stupid or anything. You're really smart, Maddie. It's just. . . you just. . ."
"It's fine." I mumbled with my arms, AGAIN, crossed over my chest. Step one, deflated ego. We were on the right
track to a stabilization and more healthy life. Oh wait, we were going in the opposite direction. . . shit.
"No, you don't get what I mean."
"You're hanging out with a freak, Nolan! I'm a weirdo, a stooge, a little girl in a woman's body."
"A woman's body?" He scoffed.
"Thanks." I rolled my eyes at his feeble attempt at humor. It was lost in this situation. Stupidity.
"You know I'm just trying to make you feel better. You're not a stooge or a weirdo, just different."
"Different like psycho serial killing murderer on a prostitute spree different or bouncing off of white walls, screaming love songs, eating my hair sort of different?"
"Stop it. Stop feeling sorry for yourself." Nolan snapped. He wasn't fierce, not by any means at all, just harsh. I rolled my eyes again, sinking further down into the booth. A crack in the plastic caught my hair and yanked it out, earing yet another frown to lurk around my countenance. I wiggled away from the stupid hair grabber and stared down at my, now chilled, food. It looked like a weirdo stooges plate to me. Why didn't I see it sooner?
"You're still doing it." He pointed out this unneeded information as if I didn't know. I stuck out my tongue.
"I'm being attacked."
"What?" Nolan cracked a grin at my expense. I didn't find it funny at all.
"Verbally assaulted by the likes of humanity. It's not my fault I don't like people but there I am, minding my own business, and out of the bustling alien fog comes Pop and his evil glares. . . telling me that I am socially discontent..that I, ME, that I am weird and that of course I will make it in the real world because no one gets close enough to hurt me."
"I do think I heard a compliment somewhere in there." Nolan pointed to the sentence now floating in the air.
"Doesn't matter. The fact is, he told me it started in my past, like he has a fucking clue."
"Pop. Poplar. . . Mr. Poplar." I was now leaning over the table and staring daggers at my companion.
"Oh yeah. The guy with the boots."
I don't know why everyone knew him by his boots. There was nothing exceptional about them. Actually, if you looked at half the punks walking down a mall corridor you'd see the same pair, possibly laced different, but utterly the same. Maybe it was the fact that otherwise he was exceedingly well put together. His shirts always pressed, jeans worn but nice. He was bald, so there was no need for a well groomed hair, but his face was clear of debris, and his teeth a startling white. Then there were boots. It's not as if he mattered anyway. So I quit thinking about him.
"Yeah." I finally replied, leaning back in my seat, and eyeing the ceiling. "That's the one."
"Maybe it was in your childhood. Could be. . .maybe?" He gave one last slurp from the straw. "Look into it."
"Like how?" I asked as we both stood up to leave. We tossed our trash in the bin just beside the door and paused so
Nolan could make 'love' eyes at the newest cashier. I pulled him along, away from greasy haired servers, and snapped him in my direction.
"Oh. . that." digging his hands deep in his pockets and looking most casual as he did so, he replied "Just think about it. What were you like as a kid, what'd you do? How'd you behave?"
"Yes, sir therapist." I rolled my eyes and walked ahead. "I'll get right on that."
There was an eerie silence in which I stood staring at his car. It was a funny shade of green, quite nearly black, then again maybe just a forest on a dark night. It was covered in a thin layer of dust so you couldn't see a reflection but you were able to write just about anything with the movement of your little finger. I could see my name etched in a silky green from days before, Nolan's trademark NS like some gangster rapper with no time for formalities.
"Didn't you have an imaginary friend or something weird like that?" I glanced over my shoulder. A shrug in response. I wanted to go home.
"I don't know." My irritation was obvious and well noted. "Care to analyze me more or would you like to bring me home now?"
"Fine..whatever..you act like I give two shit's about all this. I was only trying to help."
"Well I've had enough help."
The car ride was uncomfortable. It hadn't been like this since...never. We fought but even then it was loud abrasive sort of fights that you couldn't escape. Just like most cold medicine, this silence was disgusting, chilling, unnerving, and scary. I was the first to give in, look at my best friend and sigh as expected. He gave me a stern side glance with a sort of pig-like snort.
"Sorry." Was so tiny and whisper colored that it felt more like a thought than actual words. Nolan scowled.
"Look I'm sorry okay. It's been a hard day. I hate self-realization, I really do. I hate it more than all the broccoli in the world and I took it out on you because you were closest. So I'm sorry, really, really, really sorry."
"Maddie, are you sorry?"
And with that I threw my arms around him and squeezed tight. It resulted with him nearly running off the road. But with a short chuckle from him and an acute detangling of limbs he got back on track. Another five seconds of happy quiet before he started with the analyzation again. Asking me question after question until I was forced to ignore him.
"What was that kids name?" I stirred from my stupor and shrugged.
"What was his name..you know the imaginary kid you played with all the time."
"I don't remember." Deep sigh and widening of the eyes.
"You were always talking about him. It stopped out of nowhere."
"I really don't remember him at all. Must've blocked it out."
"You really don't remember that kid. The way you described him, black hair, purple eyes, always smiling...you two would always get into deep shit. I was so mad at you..and him..it..whatever. I guess it's really just you who would get into the deep shit but you get it. . . I was so mad.. At you."
"You...mad. Wouldn't that mean you have to shift your stoic expression?"
"Shut up and think hard."
Hmm. That would be difficult but possible. I thought back to elementary school. That was a long time ago. I went through birthday parties, Christmas mornings, Easter Sundays, first days of school, last days of summer camp. Then I remembered him. Somewhere between kindergarten and the end of first grade I had met him..made him up..invented him? Whatever. I first noticed him- in the backyard, singing some awful song that I couldn't remember the words to. He was gorgeous, even then. He would smile nonstop, tell me secrets, keep my own. He was the perfect friend. He was also nameless as I couldn't remember his official title it deemed useless to keep pushing at the brick wall I had built up around those haunted years.
"I remember him, kinda." I mumbled.
"What was his name?"
"Now that, is a mystery." My house was coming into view.
"It was a weird name, kinda long and ..he had an animal for a last name."
Nolan parked at my home while I fumbled with my seatbelt. We had gone through so many animals and none of them rang any sort of bells. The best was still naming off mammals long after I stepped from his vehicle. With one last attempt at remembering I said my goodbyes and shut the door. I heard him zoom off toward the opposite direction of me and for a second panic rose within my throat. I shook it off and teetered toward my home, balancing a book-sack full of nearly mutilated notebooks and three ring binders on one shoulder, with a plastic bag full of sweatshirts , sweat smelling uniforms, and girly equipment pulled from my gym locker on the other.
"Hippy, hippy, hippy hoppy!" My brother announced proud as he bounced the half-dead animal across the table.
I sighed at the limp creature. There it was, death lurking behind those glassy black eyes of his. Poor nearly dead animal, I know how he felt. David Michael had been crazy since getting out of his car-pool. The lady actually zoomed away from our home and I didn't even try to hate her for hating him.
"Disco!" He screamed at the top of his lungs, causing me to wince at the exact same time. I took another sip of my diet soda before scooping the runt up in my arms and throwing him on the sofa.
"Give me the frog, Davie." I held out my palm and half hoped my little runt of a brother would refuse.
"Why?" He held the amphibian close to his heart.
"He needs to be set free, little man." I kept my hand open in waiting.
"Why?" His scowl was replaced with a deeper set crease in brow and curious gesture with his pouted lips.
"Because he doesn't belong inside and he might get sick. . . you get it?"
"Yep." David Michael nodded enthusiastically as if putting together an elaborate puzzle.
"So let me put him outside. You can always find another pet another day."
"Okay." He giggled and put the frog out toward me only to yank it right back to his chest. "I wanna do it."
"Okay, man. You can go do it. Just put him somewhere around water. Maybe in the bird bath."
"Hippy!" His tiny little legs eased out beneath him in one fluid movement, running much like a humming bird flaps his wings, nearly impossible to see. I followed him outside. My pace was much slower but I still managed to catch him drop Hippy unceremoniously in our shallow birdbath. Almost three seconds after the unload did the poor animal hop off into a nearby bush. David Michael looked at me over his shoulder, expecting some sort of explanation, but only getting a quiet smirk and nod toward the house.
"You wanna snack?" I asked. He glanced off in the direction in which Hippy had not so mysteriously disappeared before running to catch up with me.
"What kind of snack?"
"Any kind you want, but in moderation." I pointed out by ruffling his messy brown hair.
"Moderation." He repeated. This was a daily thing, learning new words, defining, repeating, using. It worked.
"Moderation means not too much, to take it easy." His lips curved in thought.
"So I can have a decent amount of anything I want."
"Good job with using decent, man. Very impressive."
"I know what impassive means too!"
"That's what I said silly bear." He giggled like most giddy children do, running into the house and throwing open the pantry door. He was quick to grab a package of soft baked cookies and tear the box right down the middle. I sighed and watched as he devoured four of them instantaneously.
"Davie." I grabbed the package and handed him three more. "That's moderate."
"Moderate like Moder..."
"Moderation." I smiled at his tiny mouths attempt at such a big word.
"So okay." He grinned and suddenly I realized there was a large gap in his smile.
"Oh man look at you with that huge smile. Ah! You're missing a tooth too." I exclaimed. He nodded.
"Yeah Madeline. I lost it..this morning in my paste."
"It's in the paste. I popped out in the paste bucket." He laughed like a madman. "Sticky tooth!"
"You're crazy, little man. Insane!" I ruffled his hair for the second time and laugh as he squinted in rebellion.
"You are insane, Madeline." He smiled. "That is why you're my sister silly bear."
"Silly bear huh. Im gonna get you for that, little man." So that is when my brother abandoned his cookies and took off in a sprint toward the den. Once he got there he collapsed on the sofa under a mountain of dingy and mismatched pillows. I stood at the door watching this scene with a small grin. My brother and his antics, antics that I had taught him by the way, was hilarious. After he had made himself a fluffy and very comfortable fort I walked in the room.
"Where is David Michael?" I asked curiously, looking under lamp shades and behind picture frames. "Where oh where could the runt be?" Another few glances under the rug, behind curtains, around our family entertainment center. With a dramatic sigh I plopped down right beside the pillow fort. "I think I must've lost him." I stated to thin air. "Oh well. . . all this looking has made me tired. I think I need to take a nap" My acting skills weren't something to be jealous over. In fact, Nolan often made fun of my lack of theatrical attainment. But to a five year old I seemed very believable, the next Meryl Streep even.
Aside from the bad acting and obvious whereabout of my brother I went on, lying over to the right as to put my head on the bony armrest of our sofa. "I need a pillow." I said loudly, taking a huge lump of a cushion from the top of said fort. It was then that the tip of my brothers messy scalp emerged from the mass of overly used fabric. He gave me a steely gaze before letting out a gaudy war cry. I laughed and begin to tickle him. His little freckle covered cheeks burned with giggles as he fought to get away.
"Do you surrender Sir Little Man?" I asked him in a momentary lapse of tickle.
"Silly Bear, silly bear, silly bear, silly bear, SILLY-BEAR!" He gasped. And a light flicked on somewhere in the
back of my head. I stopped tickling, stopped moving, stopped breathing.
That's what it was; the animal that I had been fighting to recall all afternoon.
The first name would be another story. I doubt my little brother would suddenly call me a random male's name. If the name was in fact male. Yeah, I'm sure it was. I wasn't completely moronic to name my imaginary friend a girl name when he most definitely was not female.
"Hey Madeline, can we watch tv?" David cocked his head to the side expectantly.
"Sure thing. Anything to keep you occupied." I flipped on the television and moved away from the sofa.
"Will you watch it with me?" He asked. His big blue eyes flickering up to meet my own. I smiled and nodded. I loved the kid, name calling and all. I could spare a few minutes watching kiddy tv with him. He had, after all, reminded me of that name... something-BEAR.
Anna and Sarah were the next to arrive home. Dear David Michael was still occupied with dancing puppets when this occurred. He didn't even acknowledge their entrance. I rolled my eyes at the prissy way they walked. Was I ever so vain? Their little ponytail's bounced with every step, shining with every soft glow lamp.
"Mom said you girls need to get your homework done before she gets home." I mumbled. I had tried to get along with my sisters, believe me. One could not have tried harder. They were just so egotistical. I believe it's all rooted from their third birthday where they were discovered to be of great physical beauty, meaning they were spotted by some model scout in the mall. I was only eight at the time but remember distinctively the amount of fawning they received over that one little thousand dollar deal. Yeah, thousand dollars for a cheesy grin and cutsie giggle over sugar coated cereal. They said I was cute too, grabbed me by the chin, looked at my face in a thousand different angles. But they only found the one adjective, cute and nothing more.
"When are you moving out, Madeline?" Sarah sneered. I knew it was her by the way her hat sparkled. They had their identities, though subtle they may be. Sarah was obsessed with shine, glitter, sparkles, confetti, sequins, the works. Anne was fond of monochromatic ensembles, from her navy blue tank top, sapphire embroidered jean skirt, all the way to her cerulean tinted knee socks. She had topped the outfit out with a azure bow bout her shiny locks.
"Just go before I have to hurt your feelings." I sighed. I was in no mood to fight with a thirteen year old.
"Oh look, plain Jane is trying to hurt our feelings, Sarah." Anne clipped. I laughed.
"Plain Jain huh. Original."
"Laugh through your pain, Plain Jane." Another sneer coming from my beloved sisters. Did we really hate each other? I'm not sure. I knew that I loved them but did I care enough to tell them bye if I were leaving forever. I'm not sure. They were so evil, witches in training really.
"Stop being mean to Madeline snot-heads!" David Michael screamed in that annoyingly high-pitched sort of yell only toddlers can muster. "Or I'm gonna kick you."
I laughed and pulled my brother into a warm hug. Sweet little man.
"It's okay Davie. I can handle my own battles with the terror twins."
"Whatever." They both turned and walked down the darkened hallway.
I smiled at my tiny brother.
"You're a sweetheart."
"You're a sweetheart." He made a disgusted face. "They're mean."
"All the time." He poked me in the arm in warning. "They said they hated me this morning"
"No way man. They love you like crazy. They just have a bad attitude."
"They should use their bad attitude.. in moderation." He quipped. I rested my chin on top of his head as he took in yet another nonsensical five minutes of children's television trash. He laughed at something and I made a get away. I was tired of fighting with thirteen year old girls, tired of having to assure my little brother that they loved people, tired of being scared of everything. I pretended to be brave but in all reality things were starting to get to me, big time.
"The twins are out of control mom." I stated over the island in our kitchen. The rest of our little family was in the den watching more mind numbing dribble. My mother and me were cooking some sort of pasta with toasted bread and Juice for a beverage.
"What are you going on about?" Mom asked. She had changed out of her business attire and was dressed back in her regular pink t-shirt and baggy gray sweats. "Hand me that strainer and . . .Maddie!"
"I'm going." How annoying. One can't walk fast enough in this house. I handed her the piece of hole filled metal and waited patiently for gratitude.
"Yeah. Now about the twins. . ."
"What about them?"
"Oh nothing. . . they're just Satan is all."
"Really Maddie. They can't both be Satan." She was making fun of me and thought I didnt' know it. I did!
"Yes they can." I grumbled. "They are both Satan and have spun out of control."
"They are bitches mom. Straight up, run of the mill, snobby, gorgeous yet slightly evil, bullying, I think I'm better
than you, Bitches."
"They are a little high-strung but . . ."
"There is no 'but' mom. I'm eighteen years old, highschool graduate and I'm still having to defend myself against their sassy mouths. They have no respect for me and none for David Michael. It's as if they are completely self absorbed. I love them, I do, but this whole Demonic possession thing is a bit hard to handle."
"They are not demon possessed."
"That's all you have to say. Mom! I had an argument with a seventh grader today."
"And who's fault is that."
"Whatever." I rolled my eyes in pure disgust. "You're not taking this seriously."
"Nope. Now get the bread out the oven please. I only have two hands."
Dinner was short and uneventful. I made sure David Michael finished his broccoli while I hid mine beneath a mound of unwanted bread. I wasn't hungry. The twins chatted amongst themselves while Mom looked over papers from the office. Even later into the evening, after my baby brother was tucked into his Dinosaur sheets, after the twins from Hell were locked in their baby doll decor bedroom, long after mom had retired to her papers upstairs, I sat awake. I hadn't slept in such a long time. So very long. I took the deepest breath possible, staring at my ceiling with a growing intrigue. I wanted to call Nolan.
It rang three times before he answered. It was a dull sort of quiet talking to him. There was music but it was soft and barely audible through the crackle of the phone receiver.
"Nolan?" I asked unsure. I heard him typing away on his keyboard, only stopping to crack his knuckles and mumbled a quick "hold up" and "almost done' in my direction. So I waited until he was finished. He sighed into the phone. There was a few crunchy sounding sort of noises as he situated the phone on his shoulder. I was growing impatient and he could tell by the way my breaths were short and labored.
"Yes dear." He said softly.
"I figured out the last name. . . it's Bear."
"What?" Clueless boy.
"My imaginary friend that you insisted on drugging up from my past...his name was something-Bear."
"Oh yeah. And the first name would be. . ."
"Your mom?" I laughed at that and it relieved a small chuckle from Nolan. Not big enough to count though.
"Clever girl" Nolan grinned. "Now why did you call me. . . you never call this late."
"I can't sleep and I'm all messed up in the head. . . that's all. . . you're just friends with a freak."
"Yeah. Glad to know I'm not the only one who's noticed."
"Shut up." I dead-panned.
"For what?" He never apologized for random bits of sarcasm. Hell, neither did I.
"See I was gonna call you because I have something to tell you..."
"That would be. . ." Was I scared? I believe that's what this uncomfortable dropping was in the pit of my stomach.
"I'm leaving, tomorrow night. Right after graduation."
"Okay. . . and where?" I was worried, really worried, terrified.
"I'm going to Europe. See the world, broaden my horizon, meet thousands upon thousands, upon thousands of sexy little European girls that flock to my intelligence and impressive physique.
"I'll be gone for a few months. Two moths.. I guess that'd be considered a couple months rather than a few. I was gonna tell you much sooner but I didn't know how to go about doing it. You seemed to be having it kinda rough the last few weeks and I was waiting for the opportune time."
I couldn't talk. I sat and listened to my friend breathe. When did this happen? When did he get to be so refined? Sine when did he want to be refined? I held my words back, as biting as they were. I didn't want to regret anything said out of anger. So instead I waited for him to start a new topic. He never did.
"How mad are you? Come on, let it out, scream, yell. Do whatever. . . Maddie?"
"Send me a postcard." Was my lame reply.
"Well yeah. I was already gonna do that. . .anything else we should discuss/"
"Traitor." I slipped up but quickly fixed my inner workings.
"See! I knew you were pissed! Just go ahead and yell at me. I deserve it." He was louder than usual but more wise than ever before.
"No. Just because you've had this planned for god knows how long and you're springing it on me mere hours
before your leaving for another fucking country! I'm not going to bother with it."
"Look I'll see you tomorrow at graduation."
"Madeline." He was so soft then, much softer than I had ever heard him before. He sounded almost hesitant. My Nolan Sinclair wasn't hesitant. If anything he was too straight forward.
And I let the phone flip shut. I was hurt. I was so hurt. He was my best friend and there I was lying in a heap of funny colored sheets while he packed for an amazing trip to another country. He might as well be visiting another world. We weren't going to talk while he was over there. Imagine walking along gorgeous cobbled streets while these huge delicately designed buildings loom overhead. Would you be thinking about your pathetic hermit of a friend when there were gold coated fountains and outdoor cafes to be visiting? No. You would not. And then there was the fact that he had hidden it from me. It's not as if he just found out himself. Passports take at least a month to get there. Plain tickets are always bought in advance. Hotels booked weekends before. Yeah. He had known for however long and he had kept it from me. What was this shit? Since when did I get so pathetic? Since when did I ask myself questions that weren't reciprocal?
I was happy for him though. Who wouldn't jump at the chance to do such things? I was happy but there would be time to bask in the glow of that later. Tonight I would stew in self pity. Shrug my shoulders to the world and make claims on my depression.
As I lay back in my pillows and began the process that was breaking down, one question resounded in my mind.
What was that imaginary kid's name?
Bear. . . Bear. . . S. Bear. . . or was it M. Bear. . A. Bear B. Bear. C. Bear . . .