|What we never talked about|
|Topic Started: Apr 14 2011, 08:24 AM (97 Views)|
|Martin Richter||Apr 14 2011, 08:24 AM Post #1|
The Too-Observant Human
It was late when I got back home - or Matt's place as I called it in my mind. It wasn't really home. The difference was subtle, but it was one of those many little things that made our situation so unique. I had put this off as long as possible, but could hardly refuse the ride when it was offered. I could also not avoid facing Matt sooner or later. The incident at the hospital had been no normal argument. It had been far more than that, something that had been waiting to happen for some time, and just seized the moment of barely restrained emotions to break out. Normal arguments you could forget about. This one not so much.
I opened the door, not needing a key. The place was never locked when either one of us was home, and sometimes not even when both of us were out. There simply wasn't anything worth stealing in the house, and any damage done to the locks, door, or window would probably cost more to fix than replacing anything a thief might find interesting.
Matt was still up and awake. Despite the light that had filtered through the curtains that had been my no means certain. He tended to fall asleep on the couch with the TV running and lights on. Tonight he was sitting there. The TV was on but the sound had been turned off, and the floor around the couch was littered with some empty beer cans and the second half of the bottle of wine. That was something I had suspected, but what startled me was the bottle Matt was holding. Vodka. Jesus Christ! When had he gotten a hold of that one?
I was still standing there, now leaning lightly against the closed door. This didn't put much distance between us. The whole house wasn't big enough for that. For a while we just looked at each other, both at a loss for words.
"You're late." Matt said finally. Not the brightest thign to say if you ask me, but it was a start.
Actually, it was such a start that instantly I fell back into the old habits. Smartass was just easier than what we really needed to talk about. "I don't think we ever agreed on a curfew." I guess that made us even with the not-so-smart comments.
"You really hate me, don't you?" Matt sighed and took a swig from the vodka bottle. As long as I'd known him, he never used anything as complicated as glasses for alcohol. It was only now that a fully realized that this bottle, too, was nearly empty. Matt could hold his liquor, I knew that. Amounts that would have others forget the difference between up and down hardly showed on him, but from the collection around the couch I marveled how he managed to stay awake.
I finally took the couple of steps necessary to get over to the couch, too the vodka bottle from him and perched on the arm of the couch. It was a two seater, so that already brought us pretty close. Had I sat down normally things would have gotten really cozy. This time I thought about my answer, very carefully. "No, Matt. That would imply more passion than there is. If you're looking for one word, it's disappointment. The usual story. The usual story, I saw my friends go camping with their Dads, play at the carnival, sailing, hiking, working together to fix a bike or paint the kitchen, but there was no one to do these things with me." There hadn't even been another guy to take the place, because Sybille never quite moved on to even look into anotehr relationship, and neither had Matt. In their own separate ways, both my parents had frozen in a time some one and a half decades ago.
I started rolling the bottle in my hands as I thought back to those days, the burning helpless jealousy as I watched the neighbors drive off to whatever weekend adventure they had planned this time. Once in a while they even took me along, but even though they would never do or say anything to indicate that, I knew I didn't belong there.
I'd found distractions then, sports, boy scouts, the church group, music, whatever could fill my day and that I could weasel myself in without incurring a lot of cost I did. With many instituations having special programs for children like me there was no shortage, and if there was hardly ever a parent with me during competitions and other events, then I only worked harder to forget about that. I could make it on my own. Whether I was proving it to myself or the world wasn't certain, but I did my best to prove it. "I used to fantasize that my Dad was just too busy to see me, that he was off far away, saving the world, so important that he didn't have time for anything else. So even if he wasn't that, I had to have this super-duper kinf od Dad. But for each child there comes a time when he has to give up the fairy tales and accept the truth. Of course, the truth turned out even worse than what I thought at first. You aren't just not interested in my, you are afraid of me."
The bottle felt heavy in my hand and I looked down at it. There wasn't much vodka left, maybe one good gulp. Not knowing exactly why, I drank it, instantly bursting into a coughing fit! Freaking hell! I'd heard that you could down ice-cold vodka like water, which made it so very dangerous at parties, but this stuff wasn't ice-cold. It wasn't even vaguely cold, and it burned every step on the way down. And Matt had drunk the whole thing?
|Martin Richter||Apr 18 2011, 02:52 PM Post #2|
The Too-Observant Human
Just as I was wheezing for air, Matt's hands appeared, first dragging me over to properly sit on the couch and then thumping my back with enough force to make me wonder about bruises. The bottle had dropped to the floor and was rolling to come to rest under the TV stand, but neither of us paid it any attention. The thing was empty, and even if it wasn't, there were enough stains in this carpet that one more wouldn't have made much of a difference.
"You shouldn't drink that."
Oh, really? I don't think the look I gave Matt then was entirely friendly, although I did have to agree with him. "That is my line." I croaked, once I managed to get a reasonable amount of oxygen back into my lungs.
"And that was my Vodka."
He had a point there.
For a few moments we enjoyed the distraction that my stupid stunt with the bottle had provided, but soon I stood up again. Since Matt had pulled me over and onto the cushion, it had gotten pretty cozy, and that was more closeness than I could handle, and that seemed to be the signal for Matt to return to his gloomy mood as well. There was no alcohol left within reach, but I saw his hand make an involuntary move toward the table. I made a mental note to make regular sweeps of the house again. Was it even of use having this conversation now when he had who knew how much alcohol in his blood stream?
"You are wrong, you know. I wasn't afraid of you. I was.."
"Afraid of the memories I would bring." I interrupted him. Normally I would have piled agression and quite a bit of accusation into my voice, but this time it was just like stating a fact. I was too tired for heavy emotions. "That's why you never called, wrote, or even sent greetings for my birthday. You tried to completely forget I was every born. My mere existance reminded you of him. Still does?"
Matt seemed to be in a similar situation as I. He sounded tired, too. "No kid, now I am just reminded of how much I have missed."
"Congratulations. Couldn't you have thought of that fifteen years ago? Because now it's a little too late." Tired or not, talking or not, I still wasn't taking this very gracefully. Holding a grudge takes energy but boy did I have practise with this one!
"There are a lot of kids without a father, you know." Matt shot back weakly. We were both tired and subdued right now, which was just as well.
It was a weak excuse, but I let it go because there was more to this than a father who had turned his back and taken to the hills. He was right, that was common enough, and while no child liked it they somehow dealt with it, right? "I know. And it may not have been so bad if I had known why that missing piece I felt was so incredibly big. It wasn't just you, it was both you and Mathias. But I only knew of you, so you got all the blame. Once I figured it out.. it didn't make so much difference anymore, really. Either way I knew then that I couldn't rely on anyone but myself. So that's what I am doing now."
There was a sigh. It wasn't very loud, but incredibly deep. And sad. "We cannot change the past, no matter how much we want to. If I'd paid just a little more attention.."
"Dad!" I had kept as much distance as the small room allowed, leaning against the window next to the TV stand, but now I took the necessary three steps forward, and only just stopped from shaking Matt. My voice, which had been mostly subdued before, turned sharp as a knife. "I've read the reports. What happened that night wasn't your fault. The following fifteen years were, but not that."
Alright, probably not the most comforting kind of statement, but it was the truth as I saw it in a nutshell. As much as I wished I still had my twin, that we had grown up together, all part of a happy family, I never blamed Matt for the disappearance. I couldn't quite explain why, but I knew that he couldn't have prevented it. In truth, I could even understand his self-loathing and the need to get away. But understanding the why wasn't the same as forgiving.
Lucky for Matt, he did not seem to have noticed the not so nice second part of my statement. Actually, I wasn't sure he heard it at all, except one word. "You know, kid, you only ever call me Dad when I am around."
Wasn't today a day of truth? Not that I had put much effort into hiding that from him. "You asked me to call you Dad, remember?"
"Yes, but I wanted you to say it and mean it."
Now, that was a wish I could not fulfill, and in this moment I actually felt bad about that. "Sorry Matt, but we're a still a long way from that."
|Martin Richter||Apr 25 2011, 05:01 AM Post #3|
The Too-Observant Human
It was strange how you could two such completely different things about a person. At times, like in this moment, I actually felt sorry for Matt, at others there was pride for the changes I'd seen in him since I arrived. Yet still I could not forgive him, not for Sybille's sake, not for mine.
What Sybille would have become had we had the chance to grow as a normal family I did not know, but I knew I would have turned out much different; happier definitely, less aggressive, more what generally owuld be seen as a good kid. I no longer felt the need to please or impress anyone, least of all my parents, and wasn't that a sad thing? You read everywhere that you had to be content within yourself, but the truth was that
we weren't made for that kind of isolation.
Finally I pushed away from the wall and went to drag Matt up from the couch. "Come on, let's get you to bed before you pass out right here again. I'll clean up in the morning, but right now it looks like you must have swallowed the equivalent of my weekly paycheck in alcohol."
Matt resisted for only a moment. We both knew this conversation was over for now. If and when there would be another neither of us could guess, but my thoughts were still running wild, and I had a feeling Matt would need some time to digest what had been said as well. He'd sleep a lot better, though.
The 'getting you to bed' of course only consisted of pushing him into his bedroom, but by the time I was done brushing my teeth I could hear his snoring.
I wished I coudl fall asleep as quickly, but after about an hour or staring at the ceiling I dozed off as well, leaving behind a day that had proven way too eventful for my taste.
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