My unpublished manuscript ‘Knowing When You’re Too Young to Grow Up’ chronicles Andrew Brown’s struggle to reconnect with his best friend Pete Goodman as a lurid secret Andrew has never told threatens to break them apart for good.
As I mentioned in “A Reintroduction: The Prologue,” I intend to post edited chapters every few weeks. Here’s a sample from Chapter 10. As always, feedback is STRONGLY encouraged via the contact tab or comments section.
On the couch and all alone again, I scroll to Ant’s number. She put it in my phone after dinner the other night.
I should tell her, I think, not about Pete and Ms. Benevo, but about me and her, Ms. Benevo. She’d understand. She always understood even when I didn’t. Maybe. Maybe she won’t.
I feel my eyelids getting heavy. They flutter down, down, down like an angel on high descending. And I’m seeing through fewer and fewer crevices, fading into the shadows that surround me in my life, in my dreams – the ones that offer me no reprieve from the present.
Then, I’m not on the couch. I’m somewhere else I can’t see. It’s darker than a cave without a torch, a church maybe. Yes, it’s a church. And it seems familiar.
St. Peter’s, that’s where, and someone’s running for the bathroom. Without the sensation of my limbs moving, I’m following him. And I’m there and he’s rubbing his flushed face with running water, water as red as wine. He’s covered in it.
Under the incandescent lights that are uncomfortably bright, like we’re on a stage with the spotlights turned up, I see that the beads streaming down his face are glass. And although it’s blank, I recognize his face from somewhere.
He’s mounting the sink now and throwing his belt over the labyrinth of exposed pipes. What is he doing? I think, but I know what he’s doing with the strap fastened around his neck and when he jumps it snaps taut – the same sound my uncle’s did before he belted me.
Wheezing, gasping, and flailing, he squirms and kicks and tries to reach the sink behind him, but his legs aren’t long enough – only a few inches away, a chasm that could’ve been miles. The fear of the unknown bulges from his eyes. After one final heave, his arms fall slack and his feet dangle like a mobile from a crib.
His imperceptible face, lifeless and limp, is coming into view now. And those eyes with their sickly pallor, those eyes looking back at me are mine.