PLEASE COMMENT A FLOWER EMOJI ON MY COMMEMORATIVE THREAD TO HONOR VAYD DANISH!!!!
Mom's eyes are empty. It's not as if they have nothing in them, because they do, but the something that's there makes you desolate inside. The first time I looked at my Mom, really looked at her, was when I was around five.
"Mom, I'm back!!! We did all these awesome things, with the coloring, and I got to run down the slide, and Joey was tagging everyone, and..." My eyes drifted into hers, the ice from her pupils seeping into mine. "Mom? What's wrong?" I tried to walk to her, to reach for her, but she turned away.
"Mom?" My small, five-year-old feet shuffled as if by magic, ran towards my mom. I couldn't understand, couldn't process why she seemed to be avoiding me. Had I done something wrong?
"Complete your homework." A cold, impersonal voice echoed from her room. "That's all I need to tell you. Good night." Only it was three in the afternoon.
Still, like all faithful, abiding children, I did my homework. I did well in school, got through college. Still, I feared that my mother didn't love me.
"Mr. Deswald?" The bank clerk's voice was like a water bottle, drained to the brim but still wet with gunk. It had never crossed my mind to apply for a job at a bank. If it had, I definitely wouldn't have paid it any mind. I walked into the silent office, surrounded by Jos. A. Bank and Gucci, standing out with my under-50 secondhand suit.
"Please, Joe, sit down." The Bank's Chairman was in front of me, fiddling away at his hands like a clarinet player. I used to play the clarinet. That was a long time ago, though, and I only played because my mom had.
"Hello, Mr. Claythorne." I had never met this man, yet he used a nickname for me as if we had been friends for years. I didn't like Mr. Claythorne, which is what I'd decided immediately. He seemed too free, too willing to do anything he wanted. That wasn't something I admired in a person.
"Well, we have reviewed your resumé and we think that you'd be a wonderful addition to the team here." That I wasn't expecting. I had gone out of my way to make it unappealing given my hate towards the profession.
"Sir, I think we're done here." A mere six seconds into the interview, I walked out. I didn't bother to look at his face after having seen the same time and time again. The open mouth wide enough to swallow an orange, the wide eyes saying Oh no he didn't!! Everything about these people was so predictable that it wasn't fun to give them the benefit of the doubt.
As everyone walked by, trying to push ahead, I turned towards McGinty's. That was the one bar I knew no one would question me, try to impose, or inspect. They would just leave me be.
I could still see the neon lights shining, the gentlemen's club and cabaret signs ingrained in my mind. The sickly green seemed as if it followed you everywhere, like a stain you don't want to wash out.
Some people waved to me, some growled at me, some even spat at me. I didn't know why, neither did they, but they did it anyway. After all, why not take out your anger on a random person you won't see again?
The bar was an old coffee shop, so it was still pretty small. I hadn't seen it in a while since I hadn't been in town, but it was still the same. Mom had never let me leave her, even after college. She kept me there to do her dirty chores. At times, I felt like I was born into servitude. She was my Mom, though, and I had a debt to absolve.
There was never any love between me and Mom, only a sense of what I needed to do, what I needed to say to be free. That was why I had walked out on Mr. Claythorne, leaving him shocked and misunderstanding. He seemed like a person that hadn't worked for anything he'd got. That was enough for me to condemn him.
"Hey. Lager or Champagne?" He already knew the answer. I didn't know his name, didn't care, but I did know him. That was all that mattered, and all that mattered to him was what I liked to drink. This was our own way of mutual respect, him living his life and me living mine.
Some people, some classmates, used to ask me about my life. They used to try and understand me, to make me feel better. What they didn't seem to understand was that I didn't want it. Just like I hadn't wanted that job, despite what everyone else might say.
"Hey man." John Galt plopped down next to me, the same resignation as I, not caring to ask how my day went.
"How 'bout them Red Stockings, huh?" He was the only person I really talked to because he didn't question over and over again.
"Eh, they could've played better." John liked sports, so I decided I'd try 'em. It wasn't out of debt to him, but because I trusted his judgment.
"I got the job at the bank today. They thought I actually wanted it!" John slapped my hand congratulating me.
"You always seem to get the jobs. You know, even though you turn 'em down, you still got 'em!" He didn't have a job either, but he did the same as I did, trying to wander around until I got a job I found fun. I didn't know what that was yet, neither did he, but that didn't matter to us. The process of elimination was practically our motto.
"You know, your mom called earlier." The bartender called over, stretching the phone out for me to pick up.
"Ugh, fine." I made a displeased face at John, and I knew he understood. It was like a landlord calling you to tell you rent was due.
"Mom, what is it?" my voice echoed the emptiness in her eyes.
"Drop the act, Joseph. The cat died, come pick her up and bury her." Her voice hadn't changed a bit.
"Fine, coming over now."