Grave Marked Christopher Chapman
It's late. Much later than what I had thought. This could be the reason why the streets were empty of all life, with the exception of the 'lost souls' that wandered the streets at night looking for something, anything to make them feel alive. I keep my head down, so that they don't think I'm looking for something I'm not. That's all it takes, isn't it? A glance, and they come at you like vultures to a carcass. A shiver runs down my spine as I think about it, just keep walking Ethan, I think to myself. The sooner I get off these streets, the better. Just a few more blocks and you're where you need to be, in the safety of a place you could have called home.
No need to knock, I know I'm always welcome here, as long as Matilda is home. I haven't known her for long, but she is the only person that I can truly call my friend. I head up the stairs and to her bedroom, it's the only place she feels safe, in her mothers house. I stand there in the door way, and I watch her as she's working on something at her desk, probably tomorrows homework. She always did wait for the last minute to get it done. She crumpled up the paper and threw it to the waste bin that barely four feet away, and missed. And the reason she didn't play sports. She glanced over her shoulder at me, and I smiled. She didn't do or say anything to acknowledge my presence, she just went back to the new blank piece of paper in front of her.
After several long minutes she got up from the desk and walked over to her bed, taking the piece of paper with her. She placed it on the bedside table and took a few sleeping pills. Everyone knew that Matilda had problems sleeping, because her mother would stay up all night crying about her father. Her father had died over in Iraq, there was nothing left of the body to ship back, so Maria- Matildas mother- had buried an empty casket. She set the glass down and crawled into bed, pulling the covers up, just about over her head. She looked so small in the large bed. She looked to the ceiling and I swore I saw a tear glide down her cheek. I open my mouth to say something, anything, but no sound comes out. She looks to me, sadness filling up the bright green eyes that I used to know and whispers faintly so I barely hear what she says.
“I'm sorry, Ethan.” Another tear slowly makes its way down to her pillow. Sorry? Sorry for what? There is no reason for her to be apologizing to me, she never did anything wrong. Confusion runs through me, as I replay the past few days, trying to find a reason for this, but I come up blank. Nothing. No reason for this madness.
“What are you apologizing for?” I ask, my voice sounding distant. Another chill runs down my spine and Matildas eyes flicker something more than sadness. She turns over and pulls the covers up over her head, ignoring the question I had asked.
“Fine, I know when I'm not wanted.” I say, pain in my voice. “You should be sorry Matilda. You've never once shut me out before, why start now?” I turn and storm from her bedroom, I make my way back down the stairs and out the door.
The nights have grown shorter now that winter is no longer on us. Summer has taken over, and the cool summer nights are what I live for. To sit down by the river and watch the days go by, peaceful and satisfying. And that is just what I do, I head down to my favorite spot by the river and I lay there, thinking. Is there really a reason for Matilda to be acting the way she was, and if so, what is the reason?
I jerk upright, breathing heavily and soaked to the bone. Was it all just a dream, I think to myself. I climb out of my bed and rush over to my phone. No messages. That's strange, Matilda is always awake before I am and she always sends me a 'Good Morning' message to make sure I'm having a good day. I sent her a quick message, and wait for a response. After waiting for two minutes I hit speed dial one. It rings, and rings.
“Hello, you've reached Matildas voice mail. I'm currently unable to come to the phone, probably for many reasons, so leave me your name and number and I'll be sure to get back to you as soon as I possibly can.” Her voice smiles into my ear.
“Maddie, it's Ethan” I practically yell into my phone. “Call me, or message me as soon as you get this. Please!” I put the phone down and glance over at the mirror that hangs on the back side of my door. My hair is stuck to my face and neck with sweat, and the bags under my eyes are ridiculous. It looks like I haven't showered or slept in a few days. I peel off my soaked clothes and grab the towel that hangs on the back of my computer chair. Opening the door a crack and peeking out to make sure that my room mate is not in the hallway, it looks clear so I make my way out while holding the towel in front of me, to give myself some sense of decency. I make it to the bathroom and close just in time to hear the turning of the lock of the main door.
“Hey dude, are you up yet?” my room mate yells from the front door. “You know if you're late once more for school, they're going to have to send you to detention, or something.” I hear him drop the keys onto the side table that we have near the door. I lean on the bathroom door and run my fingers through my hair.
“Yes Marcus, I'm up and about to get into the shower.” I yell back “Thank you for being so fatherly, I should be able to get to school on time today.” I crank the hot water and the bathroom steams up almost instantly. I pull back the shower curtain and climb under the water. It burns as it pelts the back of my neck. The door clicks, and a gust of cool air is forced into the heat of the bathroom.
“Sorry dude,” Marcus apologizes, while laughing “I really had to take a leak, and I didn't know how long you were going to take.”This is nothing new to me, he does this more than not. It seems every time I am in the shower, he needs to use the bathroom. He finished up, flushed and washes his hands. My hot water turns ice cold and I let out a yelp while trying to get out from under it before the chill goes to my bones. He bursts out in laughter and rushes out of the bathroom before any profanity comes from my mouth.
“Asshole!” I yell after him. After several more minutes under the the comfort of the water, I turn it off and grab for my towel, only it's not where I set it down. I pull open the curtain and prepare for the blast of cold air that rushes over every inch of my naked, wet body. I quickly scan the floor, and my towel is no where to be seen.
“Marcus!” I shout, while climbing out of the bathtub. The roar of laughter makes its way up the stairs and to the bathroom. I glance to the left and see that there is a note marked into the fogged up mirror. Ethan, I'm sorry. -M. My heart drops into my stomach, and I rush out of the bathroom and to my bedroom. My phone is blinking at me. I have a message. I grab it and flip to my messages. None of them are from Matilda, they're all from my mother. I put my phone down and go to grab another towel from the closet. I glance to the pictures that I have tacked up on my wall. Pictures of Maddie and myself. She's my only real friend, nobody understands me the way she does.
I pick up my phone again and shoot her another message. I might as well check the message that mum sent, I think to myself. It's been far too long since I've talked to her, it'll be nice to hear her voice.
Ethan, I know you don't like people calling you, and that is why I'm sending you this text message. Please call me when you read this. It's urgent!
I read the message twice before I start to debate if it's as urgent as what she thinks it is. Should I call her now, or could it wait until I am home from school? I punch in her number and listen to the phone ring in my ear. Two rings. Three rings.
“Hello?” my mothers voice whispers into my ear.
“Hey mum, it's Ethan,” I state, remembering that she doesn't have caller ID.
“Oh Ethan,” She cries. The sound of a chair screeching as it's dragged across the floor. She sighs as she takes a seat “I'm so sorry.”
“Mum?” I ask, glancing towards the door to my bedroom. The fogged up mirror flashes in mymind. “What's going on?” I bark at my phone. I hear my mother sob on the other line, I've never seen my mother cry. She was always a rock in any situation that brought tears to everyone around her. She would be that shoulder of support, but here she was, crying. I didn't know what to do, or say. “I'm sorry mum, I didn't mean to make you cry.” I whisper, tears forming in my own eyes. “It's just been a really weird day."
“It's about Matilda,” she says in between sobs. “She killed herself last night.”
Silence. My mind goes blank. Unable to think. Unable to respond. I hang up and toss my phone to the bed. I look around, and everything seems out of place. The vivid colors of life have seemed to fade into shades of gray. The dream replays over in my mind, and then I see the mirror, again. I look down at my hands, but all I see is the floor rushing up to me.