The Mirage Boy
"You're just as clueless as your mother!" I spat on the boy that now lay on the ground, covered in scratches and bruises inflicted on him by my friends and I. My friends laughed at the small boy with shiny black hair and thick glasses. In the distance, I saw a small boy with blonde hair and bright blue eyes staring at me. His eyes shined with disappointment, yet his face was still. I looked at the mysterious boy, my eyes full of sorrow as his blue eyes reminded me of better times. “Well what are you staring at? Kick him Jamal,” my friend yelled, ripping me out of my despair and placing a mask back on. I ignored the mysterious boy and kicked the boy that laid motionless on the ground. As we walked away, I looked back and saw no signs of the mysterious blue-eyed boy.
As the school day went on, the seconds felt like hours and the minutes like days. When I was finally released from my daily cage, I walked with my friends to our bus stop. We chatted like always, laughed and joked yet something was missing. My mouth smiled, yet my heart didn't. I tried to ignore the unusual feeling I was having and continued the bus ride home.
When the bus finally came to a stop I quickly got off and continued my walk home. The trees changed from beautiful dancers in the wind to limbless trees, chipped ever so ruthlessly, hang in such sorrow. As the beautiful trees faded so did the beauty of the houses. They appeared like ships torn apart by a storm, standing by one or two single pillars. My house hung at the end of the street, drooping like a willow tree.
I swung the rickety door open and was welcomed by the smell of trash and desperation. "I'm home!" I yelled as the door hit the now bruised wall. My little sister Jamie came running to the door with a wide smile on her face. "Hey Jamal! Look look!" She yelled as she held up a tooth.
I picked up my sister and said, "Wow, did you lose your tooth?" She nodded happily and smiled as I stared into her small, familiar, hazel eyes. She wore her hair in two pigtails that bounced when she walked; she had just turned six recently and I fourteen. I set my sister down and began to search the perimeter with my eyes.
"Where're Jordan and Chris?", I asked, confused. My sister’s head hung sadly like the houses in our neighborhood as she told me where they were, "They're out looking for Dad."
My brows pushed in sternly, and my smile turned to a frown. "They know he's....well... gone."
Jamie nodded and said, "Yes big Sis and big Bro know that. I mean, even I know!" She stared up at me.
“And mother?" I asked, still searching with my eyes."
She's at Chuck's." She replied.
"Of course she is,” I sighed. I bent down so I could stare into my sister's eyes. "I'm going to go get mom. You call Jordan and Chris back here, okay?" She nodded and then made her way towards the home phone. I set my backpack down and then headed towards Chuck's Bar & Diner.
The bells on the door welcomed me into the shabby place Chuck called a bar. I walked towards the woman that lay fully spread out on the bar. My mother's hair was frizzed and her under eyes pitch black. I sighed at the sight of my distraught mother and placed my hand on my mother's dark blue shirt. I rubbed her back tenderly and her head went up slightly as she grumbled in response. She looked up at me indirectly; it appeared as though she was seeing multiples of me and couldn't determine which ones were hallucinations. “Let’s go mom,” I said as I used all my strength to lift my inebriated mother. As I struggled to lift my mother, the blue-eyed boy from this morning smiled at me as he leaned against the door frame. I stared at him and feigned a smile, then continued to help my oh so dependable mother.
My mother and I slowly stumbled home. When we were on the opposite corner of the street my brother Chris noticed us and came running. I smiled gratefully as he helped me carry our mother into the house. Once my mother was safely in bed and peacefully sleeping, I quietly conversed with my siblings. “Jordan, Chris, you guys are too old to be pulling stunts like this!” I hush yelled. Chris held his head in shame as Jordan rolled her eyes. “Do you have something to say Jordan?” I sighed. She crossed her arms in retaliation and said “You can’t tell me what to do Jamal. You’re not my father.” I sighed at my rebellious twelve year old sister and said “You’re too naive, too young, and too foolish to understand that I’m protecting you.”
“You sound like an old man Jamal!”
“Well age has made me wiser.”
“Wiser my butt you don’t know anything! So you can’t tell me what to do and where I can go! You’re not my parent! I-“
“DO YOU WANT TO END UP LIKE DAD!?” I yelled interrupting my sister.
“You want to be shot up and left on the side of the road like an animal?! Well! Do you?!” The scene played over and over again in my mind. My Father’s bright hazel quickly became dim, bright red blood enveloped me completely. He lay motionlessly in my hands as I screamed, I was answered with nothing...just the sound of my own despair and the taste of pure hatred. As I remembered the scene, my overly talkative sister became speechless. So I continued “Dad is DEAD! Gone! Extinct! 6 feet under! So stop doing such foolish things like looking for him!” My sister’s dark brown eyes began to glisten with tears. I moved my hand to comfort my soon to be crying sister but held it back, for I knew I was saying what needed to be said. Her twin brother Chris gave her the comfort I could not supply as I held my head down slightly…
I walked into the kitchen and cooked for my fractured family. Chicken and rice for the children and chicken burrito with a side of coconut water, for my hungover mother. After cooking, I put on my leather jacket as I made my way to the door. The sun was slowly setting as I exited my dumpster of a house. I walked to my backyard, took my green and white bike and went to McDonald’s. I walked through the door as I set my hat on my head. “You’re late,” my manager said as I took my jacket off. “I apologize!” I said as I made my way to the cashier counter. I stepped behind the counter and began to greet the customers with a smile. My smile faded as a familiar pair of blue eyes made their way into my sight. His eyes smiled as he stared at me, he leaned against the wall near a trashcan. “Thank you come again!” I said with a smile to a leaving customer. The boy held his smirk, and irritation started to bubble up inside of me at the sight of him. “Jamal! Stop staring at the trashcan! Even it won’t fall in love with you.” My manager joked as my co workers all laughed at her comment.
When I got home the sun was starting to shine through the clouds. I quickly threw off my work clothes and slipped into the shower. I let the cold water crash against my dark brown body then quickly slipped out. I walked around the house to make sure everything and everyone was accounted for. When this was done I then deemed my day over and began to fall into a deep sleep.
“Hahaha, Jamal!! That’s not how you get a girl.” My father’s eyes glistened with tears as he laughed at me. He held his stomach and tried not to lose his balance, he wore a dark blue shirt with his usual light blue cross. I tilted my head in confusion “What do you mean that’s not how you get girls? They don’t like it when you tease them?”
“Haha, what you’re doing is plain old bullying. I mean, you flushed her fish down the toilet!”
“Hahaha, yeah not my finest moment I admit.” I shrugged my shoulders.
“Aye Aye Aye… I got a lot to teach ya.” He placed his hands on my shoulders as we walked down the street. He began to teach me things I never even thought of doing, like buying her flowers and such. I was so excited that I asked him if we could go and get some tulips, they were her favorite. He nodded and gave me an encouraging smile. Little did I know that, that one decision would change all our lives…
We were walking back home, my dad’s arms full of tulips and roses. I smiled at him and said “Mom’s gonna love the white roses! They’re her favorite!” He smiled back at me and said “Yes yes, I am aware of that fact.” A big red pickup truck came flying towards us, music intensely blaring. There were a total of five guys in the truck, each holding Daewoo K3. I hesitantly stepped behind my dad as he reached a protective hand in front of me. The stopped as soon as the saw my father and said “Yo, are you Jacob Williams?” My father stuck his chest out and nodded his head. The driver smiled as he raised his Daewoo K3 and pointed at my dad. “You angered the wrong person.” I looked at my dad as he smiled at me without a care. “I’m sorry you have to see this.” The earth shaked and my ears rumbled. My vision became blurry as his blue cross crashed to the ground. My hands began to shake as I stared at the ground. My hand transformed into a fist, “...I’ll kill you…..” I mumbled as anger erupted in me. “What was that little one?” The driver said with a smirk. I stared into his eyes and growled “I. Will. Kill. You.” His eyes shook slightly and his confidence faded. He lift his gun back up and yelled “That’s enough you little brat!” He pulled the trigger as I shut my eyes.
The blaring sound of my alarm clock went off. I quickly sat up, drenched in sweat, I tried to clear my mind by checking the time. “7:45!” I yelled, devastated by how late it was. I put on some clothes and ran down the hall to get my siblings up and ready. Chris, being the overachiever that he was, was already in his school clothes, while Jordan and Jamie still laid in a deep asleep. I made my way into Jamie and Jordan's room and quickly shook them awake. Jordan grumbled and cursed me under her breath while Jamie walked sleepily to her closet.
When my truly dysfunctional family was finally ready at a record of 10 minutes, I quickly rushed them all out the door. “MOM!” I yelled. “Please try and make it to your job interview! It’s at noon, since you hate mornings!” There was no response but I knew she heard me. Before we left I looked at my father’s light blue cross necklace and quickly prayed to him.
Jordan and Chris walked to their school together, while I rushed Jamie to her’s. “Ja-ma-al!” she said in broken pieces as she held my right hand and skipped happily. “Yes honey?” I said as I looked down at her. “Nothing” She continued to skip, I laughed “If you say so.” She looked up at me and said, “Jamal?”
“Why is the sky blue?”
“Well the sky is blue because molecules in the air scatter blue light from the sun more than they scatter red light. So we end up seeing blue rather than red”
She stared blankly “Jamal?”
“Who decides on what the color blue is?”
“Well all of us.”
“Well yes honey.”
“No, I don’t remember voting on it.”
“Well that’s because you didn’t.”
“Then how did we all decide it?”
“Well, it’s always been called that so that’s what we call it.”
“I don’t like that.”
“Don’t like what?”
“Just because it’s been like that for a long time, doesn't mean we have to keep it that way.”
“You’re right.” I said as I looked down at her with a smile. She smiled brightly at me, then resumed skipping happily.
I walked into the classroom as my teacher began to transfer into second hour. She stopped me in the middle of the lecture, and said “Well look who’s decided to grace us with his presence, good ol’ Jamal” Ms. Jackson feigned a smile. “Why have you now decided to join us?” She continued. I was not interested in her little investigation in my private life and said, “Actually, I don’t know. Maybe I should wait until it’s Mrs. K’s class, she is a better teacher, and more appealing to the eyes.” The whole class giggled at my comment and Ms.Jackson shook with anger. “GET OUT!” She roared like a dragon. I plugged my nose and said, “She smells better than you as well.” I took my leave.
As I sat outside the school under a tree looking up at the bright blue sky, I recalled the boy’s blue eyes. I pondered over his annoying, smirking little-eyes and his clairvoyant attitude. As I began to drift off into a sleep, an upside down shadow enveloped around me. I opened my eyes to find the same boy I was pondering over. He smiled at me and said, “You’re not like the rest of them.” I sat up, intrigued by his words and said, “Not like who?”
“Those little friends of yours,” He said smiling. “Why do you hang out with them, even though you’re not truly happy?” I closed my eyes slowly and said “ ‘cause that’s the way it’s always been.” He frowned and said “We taught you better than that.” He looked straight into my eyes and I held his stare. I could see my friends walking towards us in the distance. His stare didn’t waver and his eyes shined like the sky as he whispered with a sly smile, “Choose wisely…”