Lament: A Struggle of Acceptance.
May 25, 2011 § Leave a comment
A Struggle of Acceptance
Sipping his morning coffee to clear the hangover from the previous night Christopher sat himself down on the kitchen chair wearing only a pair of blue jeans and a stretched out white t-shirt he had abused since the end of summer last year. The day seemed it would start out rather beautiful, gray clouds blocking the hot spring sun; Chris focused his attention on the calendars date and immediately knew that today was just as gray as the clouds outside. Despite the passage of time Chris could never forget his biggest failure, one he did not ever need to mark to remember, a date associated with the day he failed not only himself but someone very dear; one name came up as a reminder of his agonizing depression, Anya. Chris continued drinking the pure black unsweetened coffee; the bitterness was a welcomed distraction to his melancholic mood. Nothing truly ever distracted him, all Chris could ever accomplish was a temporary escape that was even then short lived; all pleasure was in the end a futile resistance to forget his troubles, one that his roommate Erika knew all too well.
Setting his mug down Chris heard faint footsteps coming from the bathroom, the falling water coming from the shower had ceased and the footsteps came ever closer to the kitchen. Soon Erika entered the kitchen in only a long white-t that clung to her tightly from the light moisture from the shower, though Chris paid no attention to her failed attempt of concealment and continued drinking his coffee. Erika lightly treaded her way to the fridge and pulled out a can of beer before downing the brew. Her pale face clearly made her easily to read, her cheeks flushed red from the change in her body temperature. It was a somewhat entertaining thought to know that his friend was a walking barometer, her pale face altering when she was bashful or frustrated which greatly aided in reading her.
Chris once again sat the mug down, pushing the thought of the previous nights fling and instead attempted to make a small conversation. “Alcohol this early in the day?” he spoke, cutting the silence and watched her part her lips from the now empty aluminum can. Erika tossed her hair back and threw the can into the air, the can flying and slamming against the trash bin across the kitchen and falling inside.
“There isn’t anything wrong with one brew after a hot shower.” She finished off, brushing her long black hair from her face and gazed at the mug Chris had, giving a slight chuckle. “That mug does not suit you at all.”
Confused by her words, Christopher turned to read the print on the mug and was taken slightly by surprise from the mug. ‘Excess sex can impair your vision!’ it read, and though Chris did not understand the joke he lightly felt embarrassed ever giving her the mug for her seventeenth birthday.
“I wonder why I even gave you this cheesy mug in the first place.” He answered a bit irate from the irony. He could not remember if the gift had some sort of well meaning thought put into it or if it was a poorly selected and unthought-of; in either case Erika loved the mug and she never threw it out despite Chris’s repeated offer to buy her another.
“Tis not as inadequate as you claim, after all I did enjoy the post-it-note that came with it.” She finished, teasing him. Chris could not remember what he wrote on that post it and no matter how many times he asked she would always say something witty to mess with him.
Erika and Chris had first met in their junior year of high school along with Anya. Erika’s first two years of high school she was mostly unnoticed until for no reason in her junior year Erika suddenly and unexpectedly ascended into the popularity ranks of the school. She had always had her nice figure complimenting her intellectual wit though suddenly being noticed made her uneasy and she closed herself off because of the attention; when Chris transferred in not long after he not only approached the silent idol but also attempted to talk to her unknowing of her status in school. At first she ignored him believing he was just another guy desiring to score with her, but it did not take long for Erika and Chris to become friends with the help of her friend Anya.
She was forced to stand on the sidelines as Anya and Chris were together during high school and now four years had passed since Chris and Erika met and with little contact after graduation the two managed to enter the same college she attempted to pick up where she left off. Despite her wishes Chris still bitterly could not get over Anya despite the feelings he had for Erika; Chris was being held back by bitter memories that kept him from moving forward and despite ample support and worry from Erika he knew she was close to the brink of giving up on him entirely. Four years of silence and two more years of a struggling relationship it was a wonder Erika still remained by his side.
Erika left the kitchen, heading to her room to dress for her first day of teaching; it would be her first time as a student teacher to teach the class. She would be in for a rough first day, the entire class she would teach was full of deviants that even her mentor could not control; a rowdy bunch of hormonal middle school troublemakers who could care less about their studies much less how Erika felt about the situation. Since high school graduation Erika wanted to become a school teacher and now that the opportunity had arrived; though troubled by many hardships she now had to face a harrowing first day and feared she would at long last break down.
Erika once again returned to the kitchen, leaning against the doorway in blue slacks and a white patterned designer blouse that gave her a sense of authority even if false. Adjusting her glasses she focused her gaze onto Chris and nervously hoped to get some sort of inspiration from him. “I’m heading off, wish me luck.”
Normally Chris would give her an answer by saying he’d wish her luck and that he would make something special when she returned. Today was not such and instead she got a light grunt from him, his eyes glued to the calendar and his mind focused on something else. Since the day they met Erika was dependent on the few true friends she had to distract her from the gawking men and spiteful women, now even after high school and her popularity lessened she still turned to Chris for inspiration to get through the day.
She shifted her gaze downwards disappointed by being ignored; she muttered something low under her breath and walked to the door and left though Chris took no notice. Silence filled the kitchen, time passing on while Chris sat idly staring at the calendar as if he were expecting something to pop out; in reality he was conflicting to either visit Anya or just continue putting it off, a yearly ritual he normally did before visiting her. After some long thinking he once again gave in and picked his black jacket and departed the apartment.
Sitting on his black 2007 Ducati superbike, Chris decided to head off and pick up a bouquet of flowers and head off to visit her this time. He would force himself to go see her rather than meet his expectations halfway and see it undone. Putting his helmet on and revving the black bike to life he slightly was jerked from the sudden acceleration, the g forces failed to push knock him off and Chris speedily got on the almost empty street making a course to Gabriel’s Flower Shop. The wind was a bit refreshing to him, the passing buildings and streets gave him a thrill, Chris was almost tempted to accelerate faster, to hear the buzz of his engine increase in volume and the scenery around him disappear; though reason obviously kicked in and resisted the urge, focusing on the street. Making good time he slowly decreased in pace and made a right turn to a parking lot before coming to a sudden halt, arriving at the shop.
Getting off the bike he took off the helmet and tucked it under his left arm, his eyes scanning the store front for a particular bouquet before he entered in the store and his nose was overwhelmed by the scent of fresh smelling flowers. The store had a great selection to choose from but so many in variations it was difficult to decide which would be perfect for the occasion. He had heard from Erika that different flowers each had a meaning, a language that he was not accustomed to being a guy. Chris carefully reviewed each flower but in the end he gave in and reached out for a large bouquet of red roses with an adornment of smaller white flowers that gave a small sense of comfort. Just before he reached out to grab the bouquet his mind advised against the obvious choice and Chris retreated his hand for the moment. Gazing around the store his eye caught sight of a bouquet of violet flowers smaller in comparison to the red roses he was gazing at, though not stunning in size or color these had appealed to him and the smell of vanilla was an unexpected bonus.
“Those are Heliotrope.” Spoke the clerk at the counter, causing Chris to jump up in fright. The clerk chuckled by his reaction stroking his long blue dyed hair, the ends of his hair had a pink tint to it that complimented the blue. “I’m sorry; I have that reaction to everyone.” He says apologizing for frightening him.
“That’s okay; I was somewhat out of it.” Chris told the clerk nervously. The clerk gazed at him curiously, giving a grin that made Chris feel slightly uncomfortable.
“So you planning on buying those for someone special?” he asked curiously. “Heliotropes after all mean ‘Eternal love, faithfulness, and devotion.’”
Chris immediately remembered that Anya enjoyed purple, most of her wardrobe were different colors but it was mostly filled with purple, violets, and dark blues. He gave a light smile and approached the clerk with the small bouquet. “I’ll take them.”
A bouquet bought Chris once again got on the bike, turning the engine on he carefully drove off towards the street and closer to his final destination. With each block passed he felt more and more nervous, his thoughts going grimmer the closer he was got to his destination. He had left the busy main street and made his way uphill out of the city, the dirt road guiding the rubber wheels and kicking a trail of dirt up in the air. It was natural of course that his destination would be so far from the city; people did not like to be close to the dead. Soon after the dirt road had led him safely to Augustine Cemetery, the iron gates wide open and in front seemed to be an ocean of tombstones and monuments for the dead. Flowers in hand Chris slowly walked through the threshold and made his way farther into the cemetery, each passing step he felt his right shoulder begin to ache in pain.
The pain in his arm was entirely psychological, caused by the shock of the accident two years ago. Chris and Anya had gotten into the biggest fight and despite how hard he thought he could not remember what the fight was ever about; whatever the cause he knew it was enough to have Anya storm off in a raging fit and leave for her friend’s house on the other side of the city. After some thought Chris hastily made his way to go apologize and found himself standing in front of a 4 story apartment Anya fled to, flames engulfing the upper floor and covering the sky with the blackest flame he had ever witnessed. Rather than staying clear of the burning complex and wait for the fire department Chris instead ran inside and fought through the fleeing residence. Not knowing which room or floor she was Chris kicked down every door and yelled at the top of his lungs, pushing through each level until he had reached the fourth floor. The scorching inferno had come close to consuming the entire floor but still he desperately continued on unaware the floor supports were weakened by the fire; taking a few paces Chris came crashing down to the third floor before the rest of the broken debris joined him. Attempting to get up he found his entire right arm firmly caught under the crushing pile of wood and linoleum, the material was still on fire and it did not take long before Chris felt his trapped arm blister in pain. The flames had begun to slowly cook his arm until shock had caused him to pass out and saved him from the pain.
Firefighters had managed to pull him out before the flames could do any more to his body, and when he awoke he found himself in the hospital with the lower deltoid and his shoulder covered in bandages. Chris had survived the inferno only to later learn that Anya had still remained inside the inferno; mourning had settled in and he simply desired to have remained caught in the inferno along with her. Even after he had finished mourning and his arm healing after the skin grafts he was far from returning to normal; apathy settled in and he closed himself off to everyone.
At long last Chris approached Anya’s grave, tears had welled up in his eyes and stubbornly he wiped them off. Setting the flowers down Chris remained standing upward, idly staring down at the tombstone below. After all the planning earlier Chris just stayed silent, memories flowing in his mind both joyous and saddening, nonetheless a slight smile rose on his lips. The many other times he attempted to visit each time he had failed, fearing that in approaching her grave he would lose part of her memory; now here he stood and nothing about the memories changed and the pain that prowled him had at long last ceased. The pain in his right shoulder ended and though he still was the same his outlook was slightly different. After a long two years of conflict Chris had finally come to terms with Anya’s death; the world that seemed bitter he now saw more optimistic.
Chris had remained in the cemetery for some time, the clouds above slowly became darker and the wind beginning to pick up. Gazing up he put his hands in his pocket and turned away from the grave, the sky would soon begin to rain but he did not care. Standing still for a moment, he turned his head to gaze at her headstone one last time. “I’ll be sure to visit you again.” He spoke, his mind imagining Anya sitting there with a smile on her face. It seemed silly but rather comforted Chris as he made his way out through the long acre of tombstones, leaving Anya and the other dead behind. Hopping on his bike he picked out his cell phone from his right pocket and began to dial, waiting for Erika to answer; not having luck he instead left her a voicemail.
“When you get off work make sure to wait out near the flag pole,” he paused and felt shy for a moment before he continued on. “I want to thank you for waiting for me this long.” Returning his phone in his pocket he turned the ignition in his bike and drove off, away from the cemetery; from now on things between Erika and Chris would be different now that he no longer was chained by his own troubles.