We were beautiful,
the four of us,
that soccer field,
high on mushrooms,
(more) an inspired pack
of fools, newly born,
soaring above the
Wrigley Building, the
Art Institute, the
Chicago was ours,
adrift on a current of air.
The Cubs were winning,
the bathtubs were filled
with gin, the Mayor was
singing the blues.
And the river, as always,
was running backward.(less)
(Please read the previous story I wrote for some context)
Sometimes to put a spin on things, she had me do other weird things people paid her to ask me to do. The soccer field at our school wasn't too big. It was surrounded by a 1/8th mile(more) dirt track. One day she had me run around the field in nothing but my socks (some weeds are pretty sharp). Another time she had me lick a metal fence and eat mushrooms off the ground. My stomach endured it. I never felt pain. I was just elated that she was happy with me.
As the weeks went by she started getting chummier with me. I was doing more for her than just humiliating myself so she can gain monetary revenue. I would walk beside her alone in the soccer field, with my shoes on, and we would talk. I don't know what we talked about, I forget. I think it was about movies? Whatever it was, that time was magical. I absolutely loved it. I cherished those brief moments. They filled me with life.(less)
Jake had me meet him down at Barnum Rec, on the grass, where the two of us played soccer in middle school. I floated around on defense, he was always in the net. It worked because people always misjudged his reflexes, which were much faster than you'd expect for(more) someone his size. People misjudged his speed, and they misjudged my stamina. Put us together and you got a man with some secret strengths.
Things had gotten bad. Jake'd always struggled with the idea of being liked, pretending that he'd given up on the idea of relationships without me there as a mediator, while he secretly shut down, slowly starting to hate everything about himself. Sometimes he'd get drunk and rail at me, demanding to know why he couldn't be normal. I despised him sometimes. But as we got older I knew I started letting him have a lot more control over the two of us, becoming less inclined to speak up.
But Jake had a plan.
We'd gone through my futile attempts to change him. I'd pushed nutritionists and gym memberships at him his whole life, even got him to start getting in shape once in high school when I convinced him to join the weight-lifting team. It made both of us feel a lot better. But then college hit and he was back to his old ways, eating when he was bored, sitting in front of his computer for hours.
It's a cycle, you know. He'd get so out of shape that he'd gasp for breath after a flight of stairs, exhausted. So he stopped taking the stairs, embarassed that someone would see him, sweaty and breathing hard, and think, well, of course. I told him no one actually thinks that. Jake had a plan.(less)
I hate the soccer field. Its so wide and spacious, almost like it could swallow you whole without so much as a warning. For the five years that I lived beside it, never once have I felt anything but pure resentment towards it. My friends think that I'm crazy,(more) claiming that my hatred is nothing but a farce. They don't know anything.
I once loved the soccer field. The small sinking feeling you get stepping into the dirt was my joy, and the smell of freshly cut grass was my haven. I couldn't play soccer well, but it did not matter to me. All I needed was to be there, enveloped by everything.
It was the night of my sixteenth birthday. As a special treat, my parents set up a tent in the field for my friends and I to enjoy. We were fooling around, having fun, and around midnight we finally went to bed. That's when he showed up.
Almost like a ghost, he appeared from the darkness and stood before me, his eyes glowing like the sun. He had a thin, frail body wrapped loosely with 15th century clothes made for women. He looked down at me and smiled, extending his hand.
I have taken this hand many nights before, so there was no reason to refuse that day. But I did. And I regret it more than anything. That night, when I refused his hand, a crease formed on his brow and, without a word, snatched my friends and disappeared before I could even move. No sound was made, and there were no signs of a struggle.
I ran back home crying, yelling, screaming, for my parents to wake up. But they were gone too. I was never to see them again.(less)