My mother’s words they played over and over in my head coming home from the hospital as the mourning process began. Zoe started hers down a bottle of tequila, as for John I had no idea but was sure he had it pinned down the right way.
The family had split as the glue that held it together had died and left everything in shambles. I could honestly remember everyone reeling into obscurity as days past. Zoe was in shambles lost somewhere in the world, most probably at the bottom of a drink. My father was lost in a pile of litigations and contracts that seemed to never end. John was at work attached to my father’s side as I was left alone to deal and move on.
It was one of the hottest spring days I could remember, a feverish heat that had hit the city that left me feeling burnt out and at a loss. As my phone rang with Zoe fixed and sober ready to meet for coffee.
I had watched the spring crawl in through my apartment windows, as I was unable to leave the comforts of my home. I couldn’t pinpoint my feelings of anxiety clearly but an overwhelming fear had swelled up within me at the mere thought of sunlight hitting my skin. I knew that I had to go see my sister who had finally returned to civilization and in away was coaxing me to join the human race.
I hadn’t heard from Zoe in what had been a month and I was willing to deal with something that wasn’t me for just a moment. Every hour and second of my day was devoted to everything that had no emotional attachment to my feelings as I had found myself working nonstop and socializing like a drug addict.
“It’s so good to see you Jem Mon Cheri.”
“Oh, I see somebody has been spending their time in France.” I smiled at her as she flaunted her bob cut and pierced nose.
“I’ve had an epiphany, James.”
“Have you now.” I laughed
“No, I mean it. I realized who I want to be after mom’s death and just how much I hated the person I was.” Zoe was honestly having a self-revelation as she had sat across me drinking a Matcha tea.
“Look Jem I’m drinking tea. I use to never drink tea, and that’s because I was hiding.”
“You need to stop hiding Jem and drink the tea of life.” Zoe encouraged me, I wasn’t sure weather to think she was high/crazy or if she actually figured out the secret of life itself.
I had left the coffee date feeling a sense of pride for Zoe that I hadn’t considered before, this was a feeling that only John had given me and I was sure my mother would have been proud of her need to break away from our father and pursue her own life’s mission.
Zoe’s declaration of independence had me thinking of all the things I had got my father to do for all my debts. I was still lost and dependent on him, and I needed to get out from under that shell he had created for me. Or that I had somehow made for myself, for some reason believing that it would relieve me from my lack of sleep and haplessness.
I had left to go see the man that I found to be my debilitator as the evening faded and my courage increased. My father’s office where darkly light as half the staff had left due to the heat and the light spring showers didn’t help a bit with cooling down nor did the air cons in the office building. Walking into the building was like entering a sauna that just kept getting hotter and hotter the longer you stayed in.
“Evening I’m here to see Mr. Rothko.” I relayed to the security at the information desk showing my ID from the first floor.
“James!” a familiar voice catched my attention as I walked through the glass doors.
“It’s been a long while, James, how you are? Your father he left the office a while ago if you’re looking for him.” My father’s sweet P.A Janice informs me pointing to the empty office that was filled with streams of paperwork and files that looked disorganized. The sight of the office was very unfamiliar and discomforting to me as my father was always a man of order.
“Oh, thanks, Janice. Is my brother here?” I asked her as she swivelled around swiftly letting her high blond ponytail almost direct me. She pointed towards a direction I was unfamiliar with as she begun to leave and the lights turned off behind her.
“Don’t forget to hand in your ID card once you leave.” She called out to me as she entered the glass elevator
I had began to walk down narrow path that I had never been down before and wondered if my brother John had been promoted. The thought of John’s promotion had left me feeling distant from my brother as he always shared any big news of his with me. It wasn’t like him to achieve something and never tell me. My thoughts were cut off when a clash of files and papers falling had stopped me in my footsteps. I turned to notice a woman bent over on her knees attempting to pick up the fallen prints. I headed towards her in order to offer my assistance but stopped in my tracks as my brother appeared walking in through another set of doors.
The lady reached out her arm towards John allowing him to lift her up from the pile of papers that were spread out on the floor. Her long red nails wrapped around his arms as she drew closer to him completely at ease. I knew that she couldn’t be my brothers wife Lucie as she was out of the country and on some expedition on ancient relics.
The unknown lady began to talk to John as if they had known eachother for so long and were much more than work acquaintances. “Thank you for getting me this job Jay.” I could hear her speak in a sweet tone. The voice sounded so familiar, but I couldn’t place it, especially with John. I had known he was interested in someone but had warned him against the idea of an affair. Our father was the body of a cheating husband and his escapades didn’t fix anything but caused a rift within our family. John was always the most moral and ethical driven person I knew. He always did the right thing regardless of how it would hurt him or make him feel. For John it was always about what others needed and how to help others in need and this made me respect him even more.
The lady spoke again as her fingers danced through my brothers hair, now some reason, the lady seemed to sound like Anna my ex girlfriend. The familiarity of her voice had set me back as I watched her fixedly wanting to spot out her mannerisms. I wasn’t sure if my ears had deceived me or if I simply was having a delusions from my lack of sleep. I had pinched myself as a reassurance, but the pinch had no effect apart from aggravating my anxiety.
“Your welcome. It wasn’t a big issue. I wasn’t going to let my crazy family get in the way” John responded confidently as he had run his hands through his short comb over. He had always made that move to entice the ladies and it apparently always worked as the mysterious woman fell for it.
I wondered what he meant by crazy family? Of course our family was dysfunctional and far from normal but what does normal really mean. The woman turned around slowly revealing her white buttoned up blouse and as her head spun round it was clear she was Anna. I had never been as shocked as I was in the few moments that her face was registered in my brain. I was unable to speak or think as the interactions that her and my brother had exchanged replayed over and over in my head making a mockery of me.
A rage had built up within me that seemed to grow stronger every split second. You could call it lack of sleep or killer instincts. I had entered the office room to hear their explanation but knew whatever they said would never suffice. My body had gone into self drive as a haze of anger and disgust had washed over me and all rational sense had disappeared from me. I was an animal following its instincts, I had tapped into another state of conscious as I looked at the two people I had trusted most who betrayed and lied to me.
I hurled all the files, books and papers I could get my hands in their direction as Anna tried to explain how she didn’t mean to fall for John but my sleep deprived body had gone for her throat as John tried to stop me from harming her. My mind had cracked as all I saw was flashes of red pulsing through my eyes like blood vessels passing blood. I restrained Anna till my brother pulled me aside. I was never a violent person but something was different this time, I was no longer the timid James that was too afraid and unable to do anything without his mother or brother.
This may sound crazy or seem as if I am attempting to make an excuse for my actions but the truth is that I had unleashed something within me that had been edging its way around my psyche. It was as if I had undergone an evolution that shifted my nerves to a heightened reality.
John had grabbed onto me allowing Annie to escape from my hungry hands that wouldn’t let go of her striking red hair. I watched as she finally escaped from my clasp attempting to regain her breath. John had blocked her from me but he had failed to calculate the level of threat that I was to him as my hands picked up a pair of scissors that had appeared from nowhere. The flashes of red had increased at whopping speed as my hands had dug through my brother, putting a stop to his heart from beating with a tiny pair of scissors.
The scent of blood had filled the printing room well papers were drenched in splatters of crimson. It was the amount of blood that had been dripping down my arms and on the tips of my short hair that had made me realize I had killed my brother, father, and friend over a girl who’d meant nothing more than just a sentiment to my dead mother. A dying wish that I thought I could never achieve that was denied to me by a jealous brother.
So here is to chapter one of my story. Like I said I’m not looking for sympathy or a reason for your understanding I needed to tell my truth before my father coverers it all up again like he always does to protect his name. Maybe, John, you’ll forgive me, and maybe I’ll learn to live with myself.
“Mother I’m no longer afraid of death but of living…”
To be continued