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Unlike Frost

April, 2011
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It is just another Friday night. The Friday night he died.

The three of them are on their way to a party and everything seems normal simply because it is. They are walking down the street, bottle in hand, cigarette in mouth, smoking, drinking, smoking and drinking as if nothing mattered. They are as happy as could be. Hell, it’s Friday night, that’s how you usually feel, isn’t it? Walking down Main Street, they are laughing it all away, enjoying all of it. One ‘I’m so excited, dude’ here, one “Groovy, man” there. If it were a film, Stayin’ Alive would be its soundtrack. They have their whole lives in front of them and when you come to think about it the life of a teenager is simple. It isn’t such a long walk but the excitement is doubling with each of their steps that are getting bigger and bigger as time passes slower and slower. To their left is a dark alley, the kind that is full of graffiti’s and broken beer bottles; it smells like piss. The kind where kids go to lose themselves in some sort of chemical madness and spray paint their rage and anger on the trash cans and the brick walls, shoving their temper in the whole world’s pretty face. It is a shortcut and they take a look at it but their heads are already filled with enough madness for now, and so they turn them back and unlike Frost, they — they take the road most traveled by and it in fact makes all the difference. After about ten more steps and one more swig each, an intersection comes and there it is, the little orange hand shining into the night. Maybe they see it, maybe they don’t, but here they go, running across, running through life, running away from all their worries, from all the troubles of the world. And that’s when it happens, that’s when it just happens; out of nowhere. He doesn’t see his life flash before his eyes, he has no time, you see. I guess it’s better that way. Next thing they know, the warm puddle of his intoxicated blood stains their converse red and will never wash off; it will stay with them their whole lives. Now, life is only in front of two of them. The third has only pavement in front of him. Or rather what is left of him. There is nothing to be done or said but stand, foot deep in their friend’s blood, blankly staring at it all, staring at his body staining the whole street, staring at his life spreading across the cement. Adrenalin takes over, sobering them, just at the time when it would be a hell of a lot better to be drunk. They do not know what to do, hell, they don’t even know what to feel; it’s like everything is frozen, I guess that’s what shock does. It’s only then that they notice the orange hand turning to a green walking man, lighting up the scene in some sort of morbidly beautiful way. The light tells them to cross so they cross, and sit on the curb with nothing to do but finish the bottle of Jack. They drink without saying a word. The burn at the back of their throats seems much milder after they’ve seen their friend’s life so quickly replaced by deep red pavement and a few skid marks. Once it is empty, they smash the bottle out of anger, sadness, desperation or I don’t know what. Who to call first? There’s no use for an ambulance looking at how badly the body is torn apart. It would be like a sort of human jigsaw puzzle, which could in no way be pretty. What a goddamn nightmare. There’s no use in pinching each other either because they know very well that this is real. A warm breeze hits them and the meaning of life is blown away with the wind. Funnily enough, his cell phone survived and starts ringing to the tune of an 80’s rock song. Whatever song it was I’m sure neither will be able to listen to it again, a clockwork orange type of effect, you know. One of them picks up but hangs up as soon as he hears loud music in the background and without knowing who called, breaks down crying. It just becomes too much, way too much. They cannot look at each other and even though there couldn’t exist a deeper silence, they barely hear the sirens getting louder, closer, louder and closer. Somebody else must have seen it happen. The whiskey is kicking in and they can’t even hear their own thoughts, yet it all seems realer and realer. It must have been about five minutes but it seems like days to them. Not one word has been said and it doesn’t change when the police arrive. They are asked simple questions like the time of the accident but all they can hear is white noise, radio static fills their ears; it fills their whole head, their whole mind, their whole goddamn existence. They cannot bear to look at the body; they are scared of the horror that would grow inside them. So, they turn their heads and start walking. They walk and walk, in silence. Once the alcohol gets to sicken them, they cannot bear to walk anymore. So, they go home and do not say goodbye; they wouldn’t know how to. It all reaches them once they lie in bed. They cannot stay still for more than a second, their only wish is to wake up from it all. There is no sleep for them tonight.

It was just another Friday night.

 

By Samuel Bernier-Cormier

 
(Short Story Competition Supplementary Winner)
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