Sadie and Seamus speak via a Facebook chat [author’s note: unlike most of the main characters, Sadie and Seamus prefer FB over Myspace]. The dialogue between the two begins as a casual catching up with things lately (Sadie talks about the group getting together again at last and the awkwardness), but it turns into something of closure for the two. Sadie and Seamus come to the conclusion that they aren’t to blame for what almost happened and that even Chev isn’t entirely at fault since he was not really in his right mind (that doesn’t entirely excuse him, though his sobering up shows that he gives a shit about himself and others). Seamus and Sadie come to terms, as well, with their unrequited love (Seamus for Sadie; Sadie for Dizzie) that will never actually come into fruition because the other person does not/cannot feel the same way. Their friendships remain most important (d’awww!). They realize they’ve been talking for a very long time and about more than they intended. Though it is daytime for Seamus, Sadie states that she is unusually tired and states she will sleep well (having had a burden finally taken from her). The end.
Tag Archives: Seamus
I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, so I decided to go by ship. Maryland has treated me well over the years, but I need a change of scenery. So, to Ireland I go. My dad was disappointed I didn’t want to go to Italy; my mom was scared for me because she’d grown up in the thick of the fighting between the IRA and the Protestant government. Thanks to my mom, I never had a rivers of Guinness and Lucky Charms view of the Emerald Isle. The Irish have their bastards and assholes just like everyone else.
But still, this is what I want to do. The environment I’d lived in was poisoning me to some extent. Granted, I’d let that happen, but I had to go somewhere else to break past ties and past habits. Especially after everything that happened with Chev and Dizzie, it was hard to show my face around the house. I think I knew then that as soon as I was out of high school, I was going to go somewhere else.
The ocean is beautiful but it’s not really as blue as everyone says. There are greens mixed in and if you stare hard enough, the darkest blacks. I felt like that’s how much of my life has been, though growing up I never really used to look down at the darkness underneath. The younger Seamus would have looked down and saw only blue; now I can’t stop staring at the water, now mixed with reds and oranges from the sunset.
Having always lived on the East Coast, this is my first time seeing a sunset on the ocean. I can only say that I would recommend it to anyone. There are a lot of couples on the ship, holding hands and watching. The captain told us that the conditions are right for a green flash. He quoted Jules Verne, who called it the “true green of Hope.” I’m not sure what to look for, but I’ve never been so intent on the sun. I don’t care if it ruins my eyes. I don’t care. I want to see hope for myself, to know that what I’m doing right now is the right thing for future Seamus.
I can see heads turning as the sun turns a deep blood red. Ahead of me lies the greenest hills and the darkest beers. Ahead of me lies old family ties and a new beginning.
The horizon eats away at the sun and I wonder if the green will ever come out. Maybe some eyes don’t see it at all. And then, just as predicted, a tiny dot of the brightest emerald green glows at the apex of our setting Sol. And just like that, it’s gone.
I sit there long afterwards amidst the newlyweds sucking face and wondered if all there was to hope was just a flicker. For some reason, maybe because I’m a hopeless romantic, but I feel like I have experienced a change this day. My childhood has officially ended.
If I had a dime for every time I had this dream, I would shoot myself. I’m walking down a hallway and Sadie is sitting there with blood on her hands. Sometimes she says it’s her own blood. Sometimes it’s mine. Or Chev’s. Or she’s licking it off her fingers. Occasionally Chev comes by with an axe or a chainsaw. Sometimes he sneaks up on me and I turn around and the dream ends. There are nights when the dream repeats over and over again. I will wake up in my bed only to see Sadie there with blood on her hands. At first it freaked me out, then I got angry, and now I’m just exhausted. When I wake up to see Kira standing over me, I know that it’s probably just another dream again.
“Why haven’t you returned any of my calls?”
I think it was at this time I realize that she is real and I panic. I shoot up in the bed and hit my head against the wall trying to get away from her. I’m not sure why the real Kira standing there is more shocking than a dream Kira. Just unexpected, I guess.
“Whoa, Diz,” she was cracking up. “I’m sorry. I just wasn’t–” she catches her breath, “I wasn’t expecting that.” She wipes away a tear. “Are you okay?”
Seeing Kira in my room laughing at me makes me want to cry, and not because I’m upset at her. It’s almost a release seeing Kira here again. I want to unload all my worries on her, but still…
“Why are you in my room?” I ask, rubbing my head.
She stops laughing and pulls out her phone. I watch her with my jaw locked and my gut tells me something bad is coming. Maybe this is a dream after all.
From underneath a pile of clothes comes The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.”
Kira clicks the phone shut. “That’s my ringtone, is it not?”
“Mhmm,” I grunt, palming a hand over my eye and through my hair. I probably look like a mess.
“So why haven’t you been calling me back. We can’t get through to Chev or Sadie, either, and your mom just said she didn’t know what the Hell was wrong with you. So?”
“So what?” I snapped. “I didn’t feel like calling you back. It’s fine.”
“It’s not fine.”
“What do you even care anyway? You’ve already moved on, started a new band.”
“I’m sorry. I thought we were still friends. I didn’t realize I was just your lead guitarist.”
“Don’t try that guilt trip shit on me.”
“Get dressed and be downstairs in ten minutes. We’re going for a walk. You don’t come down, I’m dragging your sorry ass down.” She slams the door on the way out.
Red lights on the clock tell me it’s almost noon. Why do I feel so tired? My head keeps humming with Sadie mumbling about blood on her hands. Outside the window, the jays are chirping. If only the world could stop and be quiet just for one moment.
It only takes me two minutes to get up and get dressed but I was sitting in bed the other eight. Kira is in the kitchen having a cup of coffee and chatting with my little brother.
“Morning, sunshine!” Kira says, chipper and put together. Her jeans and shirt look washed and her hair is tied back in a ponytail. I must look like a mess. My hair always sticks up in strange places in the morning.
Seamus was smiling but now that I’m here, he’s staring gloomily at the table. We haven’t talked much since that night. And when he does, he only talks about visiting Sadie. I yelled at him about how she’s a dyke and he needs to stop getting in her pants. We haven’t spoken a word to each other since then.
“Want some coffee? Breakfast? You guys have real maple syrup here! I’m so excited about it.”
“No, I’m okay.”
“Let’s just get this over with.”
Kira sighs and pushes back her chair. She pats Seamus on the shoulder and says something in his ear. He’s smiling again, though I can’t help but wonder if it’s at my expense. Whatever.
Silently, we grab our coats. It’s one of the warmer days so far since the beginning of the month. I can’t even see my breath when the door opens and I wonder if I need a jacket. I glance over at Kira and she doesn’t say a word.
In fact, the entire walk occurs in silence. It wouldn’t be so bad if my head wasn’t tumbling around in a million directions.
“So, what’s up?” I ask. Kira stops abruptly. I turn to see her standing with her arms crossed.
“You tell me. Why has everyone dropped off the map? Seamus says he doesn’t know what’s up but he’s a terrible liar.”
“At least he knows when to keep his mouth shut.”
“So that’s it? You’re keeping something from me? Why? Because I haven’t been there to hold your hand?”
Kira breaks her stance to free up her hands. She puts a finger at my nose. “Come on, Diz! Are you really such a fucking baby all the sudden?”
I can’t meet her eyes.
“It’s none of your business.”
“Fine. I’m heading over to Sadie’s house next since it’s on the way to Chev’s. Maybe they can tell me something.” She spins on her heel and walks back to her car.
“Seamus didn’t tell you? About Sadie?”
“What about her?”
“She won’t be home right now.”
“Don’t fucking play games with me. Where is she?”
“She’s under surveillance at the hospital.”
Kira taps her foot three times and sighs deeply. “Get in the fucking car.”
“You can explain or not explain but you’re coming with me.”
“I can’t.” An image of Sadie with blood on her hands and Chev sneaking up on her with an axe comes to mind. It makes me shiver.
“Why? Tell me, please.”
“I just… please don’t go to Chev’s, Kira.”
“Does that mean you’re coming? What else are you going to do all day?”
Stay inside and watch T.V.
“Fine. Let’s go.”
Maybe I’m still dreaming, I think as I buckle the seatbelt. The wheels scratch against the ground as the car pulls away.
“She’s not answering,” I had called Sadie’s phone five times in the last two minutes. “Should I call an ambulance?”
Dizzie’s mouth was scrunched up in deep thinking. I tapped my foot impatiently. “Dizzie? Should we—”
“Shut up! I’m thinking!”
I kept tapping my foot. I needed to do something. I’m not sure why, but I felt partly responsible for Sadie. Maybe it was because I liked her or maybe because I was guilty about what happened with Chev. Dizzie would never forgive me after tonight.
“We don’t know what happened to her. She could be fine.”
“She could be dead.”
“Shut up! Shut the fuck up!” Dizzie was shrieking like a banshee. There was a wild look in her eye and she stepped on the gas pedal. I didn’t say anything for the rest of the car ride, even though I was scared for my life and, above all, for Sadie’s.
We pulled up to her duplex and Dizzie kicked me out of the car. “I’m going to find parking. Keep knocking on her door and don’t stop.”
I ran up to the door and began pounding at it. Someone the next building down shouted at me to shut up. I didn’t stop, and he eventually poked his head out.
“Shut the fuck up!”
“I need to get in!” I yelled, still banging on the door.
“I’m calling the police!”
Fine with me. Dizzie ran up to me by this time. “Nobody’s answering!” I told her, a little out of breath.
“Fine. You can stop knocking.”
“Someone’s next door says he’s calling the police.”
“We don’t need this,” she said under her breath. “Can you drive?”
“I’m not leaving.” I sounded braver than I felt.
Dizzie looked at me for a moment before scratching her head. “We don’t have time to argue.” She looked up at the building. “Window’s open a smidge. Give me a boost.”
Fueled by Chev’s meth, I cupped my hands and pushed her up to the window. “A little higher,” she said. I was also feeling the ass-whooping I got from Chev, but Dizzie was able to slip her fingers under and pop the window up. “Yes!” She kicked my head crawling in.
I looked around, panicking about people watching. Aside from a few moths in the streetlights, the streets were pretty empty at this time of night.
“Dizzie!” I whispered shrilly to the window. She didn’t answer. “Diiizie!” I tried to jump up but it was slippery on the ledge. A hand shot out of the window like the saving moment in an action movie.
At the other end was my big sister’s scowling face. “Get up here and help me!”
I dug my feet into the wall as she hoisted me up. Dizzie pulled me through the window frame and fell over backwards. “Phew! You really shouldn’t be so heavy if you’ve been taking meth.”
“It was just that one—”
“Come over here for a sec. I need your retard strength.”
It’s pitch black in the room except for one light coming out of the back.
“I can’t hear anything coming from inside,” she said quietly, though the room seemed to make even our breathing seem obscenely loud.
“You think she’s all right?”
“I don’t know.”
I ran to the door and began pounding on it. “Sadie? Sadie! It’s Seamus!” My mind kept running to the worst case scenario, that I would find Sadie sprawled out, pale as a ghost with vomit running caked to her cheek. I rammed my shoulder into the door and busted a hole in the exterior after the fifth time.
“Seamus! Hold on!” Dizzie pushed me out of the way. “Sadie! Can you hear us?” She knocked again. “It’s no use.” She pulled out her phone and tossed me the car keys. “I’m calling for an ambulance. Check the drawers in the kitchen for a screwdriver.”
I darted off toward the kitchen and started throwing open drawers. I could feel my heart trying to tear itself out of my chest. I kept repeated the word in my head: screwdriver, screwdriver, screwdriver, screwdriver. I was amazed to find it already in my hand. I was so excited that I nearly stabbed Dizzie on the way back.
“Shit! I’m sorry!”
“The door!” she screamed. “Get the fucking hinges off!”
I started at the top and then removed the bottom hinge. I held on to where my shoulder had cracked through and pulled the door toward us. A bright light filtered into the room. Dizzie ran in as soon as I had the door out of the way. I threw it aside and heard it thump against a wall.
Dizzie had already reached Sadie and was checking her pulse. Sadie lay there wide eyed and moving her mouth open and closed like a suffocating fish. The bathroom smelled a little acrid.
“She vomited before we got here. That’s good.” Dizzie was mumbling to herself. Without even taking her eyes away, she said, “Get her some water.”
I threw open all the cabinets in the kitchen before I found a plastic Scooby Doo cup to use. It went under the tap and then into Dizzie’s hand.
“Drink,” she told Sadie and poured the water gently into and on her mouth. “Help’s coming.”
Sadie coughed. “I. Wanted.”
Dizzie shushed her gently.
“N-no. I wanted. Let. Go.”
“I’m not letting go of you, Sadie. I’m right here.”
I wasn’t sure what to do or say then. Watching my sister folder her arms around her, I felt embarrassed that I ever thought that I loved Sadie. It was ridiculous to think that I could be as strong as Dizzie had been tonight with Sadie and Chev. Though I guess that wasn’t really my fault. I guess I was mostly ashamed for making her go through the trouble of taking care of me and being my big sister. She didn’t deserve a screw-up brother like me.
“Seamus,” Dizzie said, this time looking straight at me, her face like stone, her friend limp in her arms. “Go home.”
I left out the window and took the Mini Cooper to our house. I tried to drive slowly and it just ended up being sporadic toe-tapping on the gas and the brake to keep with the speed limit. There was one police car out on the way home. I immediately made a right turn just to get out of the way of him. It took a lot longer to get home than it should have. All the while, I was thinking about Dizzie and Sadie and Chev.
When I finally got home, I couldn’t sleep. I was incredibly parched so I grabbed a glass of water and paced around back and forth most of the night. Dizzie got home the next morning and reported that Sadie would be okay.
After this, my sister did something I’d never seen her do: she cried. I stood there for a moment just watching her face get rid and contort until I didn’t even recognize her face anymore and she was just a sobbing mess. I folded my arms around her like I’d seen her do.
“They’re gone, Seamus. I don’t have anyone left.” I don’t think I really understood what she meant back then. Still, the words caught me in the throat. We stood still for what could have been at least ten or twenty minutes. All the while, my heart was beating hard against my chest, trying to break through.
After that awkward kiss with Sadie, I needed something harder than wine to keep my head clear.
“I’m sorry,” Sadie whispered.
“It’s okay. Don’t worry about it.”
“That was my first kiss.”
“Why are you telling me that?” I stepped on the gas.
“I don’t know. I just want…”
I’m not sure why I was so tense. Maybe it was Dakota’s physical absence or Chev’s absence of mind or Kira thinking she’s just better than us now that she’s in college and doesn’t have enough time for us anymore.
“Sadie, I can’t give you what you want. I’m not gay, for starters. And you don’t even want to be with me. Trust me on this one. I’m not worth it.”
“I’ve never wanted anything more in my life.”
“Then you’re not at smart as I thought!” I immediately regretted those words. I wished I could have taken them back. Why was I even mad at Sadie anyway? I glanced over at her and the look she was giving me just broke my heart. And it scared me a little. I think she’d always tagged at me like a puppy dog, and I had just kicked her. Now, she was hurt and confused. But Sadie’s not an animal, she’s a human being, and I caught a very human sense of loathing in those eyes.
The rest of the ride was silence.
“Are you gonna be okay?” I asked. She shut the door and walked inside.
I needed something stronger than wine. But where was I going to get it aside from Chev? Grinding my teeth, I make a u-turn at the stoplight on her corner and head in the opposite direction of my house.
I was drenched in sweat that evening from the humidity. It was going to rain. New England weather sucks anus, but summers I can take. Winters on the other hand. Well, at least it’s not… Canada. I step on the gas.
* * *
I pull up to Chev’s apartment. He lives with his dad but he’s always away on work, so Chev usually has the place to himself.
“It’s me!” I shout, knocking on the door. “Open up, mother fucker!”
He takes a while and I imagine at this hour he’s either passed out or maybe with some bimbo. He finally cracks open the door and looks like he’s seriously tweaking.
“Hey, Dizzie. What’s cracklin’?” He hovers at the door.
“Can I come in or are you just going to keep getting in my way?”
“I’ve had a bad night. Weed and alcohol, please.”
“Well, since you said please.” He thinks he’s being charming, I guess. I’m beyond caring at this point.
” ‘Kay. Musta been killer. Let’s start with some shots.”
He pours something from a Jager bottle but I’m not even sure it’s Jager at all. Tastes like rocket fuel and the tears of a newborn child with some urine mixed in for kick. I hold out the shot glass again. “Hit me.”
“She’s feelin’ it tonight!” He can’t stay still. He keeps scratching at stuff on the counter.
I put the next one back and it tastes even worse somehow. My throat feels like it’s coated in venom. “You know there was a band meeting, right?”
“Oh, was there? Shiiit! I bet Kira was mad.”
“Kira didn’t come. It was just Sadie and me.”
He comes back with his bong. It’s shaped like a cock.
We light it up and he keeps staring at me. He has the most terrifying bags under his eyes. “What?”
“You’re sexy right now.”
He leans over and kisses me.
“Chev! What the fuck!” I push his face away.
“What? Let’s do it!” He reaches for my crotch and I smack it.
“Me likey!” he whoops.
“Chev, no. Chev. Chev!” He doesn’t listen. “Chev, what is wrong with you?”
He keeps kissing my face while I’m moving it away. His tongue feels dry like a lizard’s. I’m tired of being kissed tonight.
I start hitting him but he takes this as a cue to put his entire body weight on me. He’s lost his fucking mind.
Someone else is in the room. “Chev! What the fuck? That’s my sister!”
“Fuuuck,” Chev whines. He’s upset about being interrupted. “I told you to leave out the fire escape, bro.”
“Chev, get off my sister… Chev. Get. Off. My. Sister. Now.”
Seamus tries to pull Chev off unsuccessfully. He tries punching the bigger guy but Seamus has always been built like toothpicks. Chev gets up and knocks my little brother over. I don’t even try to yell at him. He’s too far gone. He knocks over Seamus and starts kicking him. I go for the closest lamp, which doesn’t come with me, probably because it’s plugged into the wall. Chev is still beating the shit out of my little brother. I pull the plug on the lamp and run over to Chev, swinging the lamp into his face. Something shatters. The lamp hits the ground and breaks.
I pant heavily, my heart thumping in my chest. Seamus is back on his feet already, hugging himself with and rubbing his arms. “Ow! Is he okay? Should we call an ambulance? We should call someone.”
“We probably shouldn’t for both your sakes.”
We stay for about twenty minutes to plug up Chev’s nose. He may have had a concussion but he looks fine. “Seamus, get in the car.”
“Get in the fucking car. I don’t want to deal with you right now!”
Chev is holed up against the wall with a freezer bag full of ice against his face. “You’re a fucking bitch,” he spits.
How had it come to this? What had happened to our friend to make him such an incredible douchebag? I’d met his friends before, but so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. But to get Seamus mixed up in this? I want to kick some sense into him. Or just kick him. But it’s really not my problem. “Get some help, asshole.”
Seamus is pacing impatiently around the Mini Cooper. “Get in the car, Seamus!”
“It’s locked!” Whatever. I’m too angry to think straight. I dig for my keys and click it unlocked.
“There! Now get in!”
We pop into the car. Seamus tries to run his mouth. “Dizzie, I–”
“We’ll talk about it later. I need to focus on driving right now.” The car is silent for a moment. In spite of my own words: “You’re such a fucking idiot Seamus. What were you even thinking. No, don’t even say a fucking word.”
My phone, which had been plugged into the car charger, starts vibrating.
“It’s a text from Sadie,” Seamus says. “You have eight. That doesn’t seem normal.”
I sigh and run a light just as it turns from yellow to red. Someone honks. “Shit! She’s probably just upset about tonight. Don’t worry about it.”
Seamus is already pawing at my phone. “Put down my phone!” I smack it out of his hand.
“Dizzie. We need to go to Sadie’s.” I want to laugh at Seamus’s shaky voice.
“Really, Seamus. It’s not an emergency.”
“She says she needs you there. She took some pills.”
What the fuck is with tonight?
Sadie had changed. We all saw it, though Diz never seemed to notice or pretended like she didn’t. I can’t say whether the change was bad or good. She seemed more driven, she had direction, so I wanted to say “good,” but I’m not sure where this drive came from either.
I decided a while back that though I think I liked her, I am too young and too much of a screw-up to be of any interest to her. She is Dizzie’s friend and I’m Dizzie’s brother and that’s just weird. That’s what I decided.
“There she is!” my mother cries. “You see her? She looks so gorgeous!”
It takes me a moment to realize she’s talking about Dizzie. Mom is giddy with excitement. She never actually graduated from high school, having run away from home weeks before her own graduation.
Even though I’m here to see Dizzie graduate, I find my eyes firmly locked on Sadie. She looks vaguely like the ghost I knew when I first met her, but now her hair is tied back and her eyes set straight out in front of her instead of at the floor. If she is still a ghost, she has become one that can affect the tangible world, kind of like a poltergeist except she doesn’t throw stuff around so much. Maybe that was a bad analogy. Well, anyway, she definitely seems more… present. Lately.
The valedictorian makes a speech about this year’s theme: rising to the occasion. It all seems very canned. She talks about how her friends have helped her make it through high school and the challenges in classes, especially Mr. Boon’s Chemisty class (laughter from the audience), however she rose to the occasion as we all have to graduate. But her especially. No, she didn’t say that. I just added that part. I guess I’m being mean, but it doesn’t seem right to me to put the most successful student up front to talk about rising to the occasion. Maybe that’s just me.
After that, it’s alphabetical, so Dizzie walks first. They made her remove her lip ring and eyebrow ring for the graduation, though I guess a few years back she wouldn’t have even been able to walk with her hair dyed purple. Sadie’s eyes follow her the entire way down and she looks like she’s in pain. I wish I could take away that pain.
Dizzie grabs the diploma greedily. It’s her ticket out of this school. She’s bitched about it for so long now and finally she’s free. Even though we’re not supposed to, our family cheers like crazy. We planned this out beforehand to wait until she has the diploma in her hand so she doesn’t have to go back to her seat and walk again. Our school is really like Nazis when it comes to graduation. I mean, people want to cheer for their family and friends. What’s so strange about that?
In contrast, Sadie grabs the diploma with hesitation. She doesn’t smile at all while the principal is shaking her hand. In fact, her eyes never really meet his. The principal’s lips move in the standard congratulatory pattern. Sadie turns and walks back to her seat, adjusting the cap on her head as she walks. She twists the tassle in her fingers. I want to be that tassle.
We all rise from our seats and applaud like mad. Someone brought a beach ball and it gets passed around a few times before one of the teachers confiscates it.
We go to the Olive Garden where everyone else seems to be. I’m not sure why Mom and Dad chose this place because there’s a wait and we’re all hungry. Dizzie starts whooping and hollering in the entryway. “Eat it, school!” she cries triumphantly. She already has her piercings in their rightful places. “We did it!”
Sadie smiles. For the first time, I see her smile. Dakota and Chev are eating at a diner with their friends to celebrate, but Kira shows up to meet with us.
“You guys finally did it, huh?” Kira rubs Dizzie’s hair playfully and gives Sadie a hug. And as all this is going on and we sit and eat I keep watching them and wondering: what’s waiting for me at the end of the tunnel? What am I supposed to do until then? How do I cope with myself after dreaming of her for so long?
Sadie smiles and looks at me. I stare at my breadstick.
“Dude. Ballerinas get mad chicks.” Chev takes a hit and passes the blunt to Seamus. A muscular dancer across the street is doing handstand push-ups and backflips off a fence. “Showoff,” he says, blowing out a curtain of smoke. “Makes us normal guys look bad.” He offers Seamus the roach.
“I don’t think they’re called ballerinas if they’re guys.”
“Then what? Ballerinos?” They laugh.
Chev stares up at the clouds. “How’s Dizzie been?” he asks. The ballerino jumps into his mini cooper with his buddies. Seamus starts coughing.
“Pain in the ass. Completely insane. The usual.” He takes the roach from Seamus’s hand.
“Seamus, Seamus, Seamus,” he blows out a little smoke, examines the tiny nub of weed between his fingers like it’s holding out on him. He shrugs. “All women are crazy, my man. That’s just their nature. But the really crazy ones also put out like crazy. You’ll figure it out when you’re older.” He pushes last bit of the roach into my hand. “I’ve got to bounce, little dude. Coda and I have a Halo tournament to rock. You want to come?”
Seamus hesitates. “No. I should get home.”
“Guess I wouldn’t want to further contribute to your delinquency. Later, Seamus.”
Seamus stares at the blunt burning out in his palm. With no one to give it any air, the cinders die out. He looks to see if anyone is around, then pushes the thing to his tongue. It tastes like ash. Seamus spits repeatedly. For reasons unknown, it finds its way into his pocket. It made him feel powerful. A little suburban White kid testing fate.
He takes his first step, but his feet feel like lead. His breath catches and he tries using his hands to pull his leg up. No use.
Of course that won’t work. Use your leg muscles, a distant voice tells him. Seamus knows it’s his own voice, but it sounds like it is coming from behind a curtain. Walking in a straight line is harder than one might think. Seamus is already a relaxed person but get him high and he’s practically catatonic.
A line of ants makes a beeline toward a fallen ice cream. Seamus scratches his head at the line of ants, going about their daily routines. Ants have to be the busiest little bugs on this entire planet. The ants all work in a straight line, moving back in forth to feed their colony and their queen—all except one little one. It looks lost. Seamus puts his shoe down to turn it around and it walks right under where my toes curve up. He finds a small twig and put it down in his path and he walks right around it.
“Hey,” he says to the ant, “you’re going the wrong way. Why would you want to leave your home?” Seamus is not an ant but he thinks he knows the answer. He can’t count the times he’s wanted to just pick a direction and just wander off, but then he’d probably starve or get mugged and killed. He read ants from other colonies will just bite each other’s heads off and he’s sure humans do the same thing to each other. It’s a harsh world: much easier to let one’s mind wander than to actually do the wandering itself. Seamus is sure the ant will figure it out. He steps past it and continues on home.
[continue edit here]
I put Gavin DeGraw’s “Chariot” on my ipod and chill for a while with one earbud hanging loose and the other caressing my eardrum. I’m ready to start walking again. This time I know which muscles to use and it’s easier to start. As I walk home, I think about when I was a little kid. I used to daydream all the time. I remember one time I yelled at some kids for squishing an anthill. They seemed a little guilty at first, but then I guess they thought better of it. Stephen and Nick spent years tormenting me after that. They’d call me names like “Shayla” and “semen” that made me curse being half-Irish and having a ridiculously patriotic mother. Maybe all women are crazy like Teek says.
But why am I thinking about these things? Home is just a block away, a block away. My ipod shuffles to Modest Mouse’s “Float On.” And I do.
By the time I get home, I’ve got Jello Biafra screaming in my ear. I turn off my ipod. I’ll head straight for shower and bed. I’m not feeling well, I have to tell myself. I’m not feeling well.
Dizzie opens the door. I hold my stomach, ready to repeat my rehearsed lines.
“Are you high?” She looks like I brought home a dead skunk in my teeth.
“No. I’m not feeling—I’m just dizzy.” My sister does not think this is funny. I, on the other hand, start giggling into my hands.
“Shhh. Shut up. Do you know what Mom and Dad do when they find their little baby high?”
Other people’s thoughts scared me. Other people’s thoughts shut me up. I hadn’t thought about other people’s thoughts. It frightened me when she called me “their little baby.” That’s a big responsibility to live up to and I hate it.
“Who’s been selling you weed? Where—Teek, that goddamn motherfucking cocksucking Nazi slut! Am I right? It’s him, right? I’m going to rape that fucker with a tire iron!”
I’m a bit dismayed that I’m so predictable, that there’s only one person that could possibly be my dealer. Am I that see-through? “No! It’s not—”
“Fuck that motherfucker! I’ll fucking kill that fucker fifty times before he realizes I fed him his own cock through his asshole!”
I let her vent a little while longer. Sis had a temper sometimes, though I’ve rarely seen her quite this angry. “He wanted me to tell you he said ‘hi,’” I finally say, but I find it’s the wrong thing to say. She puts me in a headlock and drags me upstairs.
I can hear my dad from the kitchen. “Seamus? Is that you?” Then my mom: “How was the ballet?”
“He’s in the bathroom!” Dizzie yells, almost squeezing my head right off. She tosses me into my bedroom and slams the door behind her.
“Really, Seamus. What was going through your head? Why would you do something like that? You’re not even in high school, kid.”
I feel small, tiny, minuscule. Like an ant.
“At least you’re not actually going to watch ballets and musicals in your spare time,” she rubs the area around her eyebrow piercings. “Okay. Here’s what you’re going to do, Shemp.” That’s Dizzie’s nickname for me. “You’re going to take a shower, go down to the kitchen, act natural… and there’s a plate of leftovers in the fridge. We had porkchops. Do not eat anything else. Just dinner. Then bed. Understand.”
She’s talking too fast but I nod. “Why are you helping me out like this?”
She looks at me like I’m retarded or something. “I’m your big sister. You act like I’m going to bite your head off or something.”
“Well—” I consider telling her about the ants.
“You know what? I don’t care. Don’t eat everything. Shower and change. Now!” She kicks me in the butt so I go hurdling into my bathroom.
“Where are Mom and Dad?”
“Watching a movie. Something boring.”
I turn on the fan, then I peel off my clothes, getting my shirt caught around my face and my pants caught around my ankles, but they come off and I guess that’s the important part. I almost forget the pot I have in my pocket. I wonder again if I should eat it to get rid of the evidence. Maybe flush it? But I really want to keep it, kind of as a keepsake. Something about this day has already made me feel nostalgic. I take a picture of it with my phone and then take a picture of me looking like I’m about to toss it in my mouth. Happy that I’ve recorded the day, I feel better about flushing the burnt out roach.
The water shooting from the shower nozzle feels like a million different sensations balled up into one, so that I can’t distinguish one sensation from the other. After a while, I don’t even try. I’ve probably already been here for a while just staring at the floor. But how long? Could be five minutes. Could be fifty. Time gets all distorted in the shower, which is probably why I’m always late for school. I take my loufa (Mom loves these things) and scrubs some fruity-smelling gel on my skin. When I get to sudsing up my crotch, I get a little too friendly. “No,” I tell my hands. Bad hands. I’ve already done enough today to make me feel guilty without filling the drain with my spunk on top of it all. Maybe tomorrow. I turn the water a bit colder to rinse off then I reach blindly for a towel. The world outside the shower is cold and lonely, but at least I have my towel. I feel a little like the curtain is finally lifting.
Kitchen scene: Mom gives me a kiss on the head. Dad is sighing and looking listless. It must have been a sad movie.
“What did you guys watch?” I ask, trying to sound normal. At least, I think I sound normal.
“The Darjeeling Limited. It was a really weird movie. I don’t know if I’d watch it again,” she’s in a good mood for some reason. “Your father liked it, though.”
The giant Italian sighs delicately. “Yeah. It was really good. Just so sad, though.”
“Hon, it was a comedy.”
“That doesn’t mean it can’t be sad.”
My mom rolls her eyes. “We just had leftover porkchops tonight, Seamus. You want me to heat up a plate?”
“Sure, mom. Thanks.” A perfect act. She’ll never suspect.
“Are you all right. Your throat sounds a little hoarse.”
“Oh, uh. I’m not feeling—I’m not feeling well today.”
“Well, you’d better get some sleep after you eat. That’s the best thing if you think you’re getting sick.”
“Yeah. That’s what I was thinking.”
“So, how was the ballet?”
“Good. Good.” I pause for a moment, thinking of the ballerino king. “It was A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The costumes were really well done.”
Mom and Dad exchange looks. I cringe. They think I’m gay. Well, yeah, I guess it’s better than the truth. Dizzie walks into the kitchen, giving me something between a worried look and the stink eye. I pour some milk. “You want some milk, Diz?” She gives me the stink-eye and grabs juice instead.
I cut into my porkchops and I realize I could eat ten thousand of these things. I can hear the meat bounce of my throat and it echoes in my ears. Life is good.