Saturday, January 16, 2016

Guest Fiction Series: Vinnie, Part 6

For a few months, will be taking four guest authors #fromblogtobook. Each week you'll be able to read a new installment from unique aspiring authors. This tale is from R. Preston Clark. Enjoy!

                                                                        (Read all parts here.)

Poor paintbrush. It feels so out of place. It wobbles, within an almost violent ricochet between my fingers. Quivers under the vibration of my shaky hand. The paint touches the surface of the formerly blank page, lacks all the precision it once possessed. I sit on my stool, decked out in the only attire I know now. Black short sleeve button-down collared shirt. Black loose-fitting slacks. Black socks. Black sneakers. Black laces. Black baseball cap, no logo.

I have sat in front of this easel, paintbrush in hand, attempting to find my muse. My hands have faltered. My creativity has waned. I stare at my walls. Paintings splattered across every inch.
The one of the last time we went to the beach. Perfect blue sky. Clear blue water. I can still hear the sea rushing onto the sand only to rescind its flawed offer at God’s command.

And the one of her sleeping that caught her by surprise. Not that I did it, but that I painted it from memory. Such detail derived from wanting to protect her while she slept, serving as her sole means of survival.
And the one of her standing, I on my knees, with my ear to her pregnant stomach, only I was the one she was pregnant with. A reminder as to where I am from, and where I have landed, and who is responsible for both locales. I am listening to our connection being formed over the course of nine months, a connection no umbilical cord could ever sever…

And the one…
And the one…

And the one…
My mother is dead…

The paintbrush shakes violently in my hand. I barely control it enough to place it in the cup of water, but not before splashing a mix of paint and water onto any nearby item – including my shirt. I quickly take it off, toss it into the dirty clothes hamper and open my closet door. The closet is black. Not in color but in literalities. I had to look that word up but apparently it is one.
Nine short sleeve button-down collared shirts. Nine black loose-fitting slacks. Nineteen pairs of black socks. Another pair of black sneakers. A backup pair of laces. An extra black baseball cap, no logo. Black boxers. But you don’t need to know that.

I grab one of the short sleeve button-down collared shirts. I put it on. It fits. No surprise there. My clothes are the only things that fit. Nothing else – fits. A 14-year-old motherless black male with an absent, overly ambitious father and nowhere healthy to vent his frustrations. This is not a combination for someone that – fits.
Where I fit was taken from me. I no longer have her bosom to rest my weary head. I can no longer listen to her breathe to soothe my angst. My heartbeat is out of sync without the synchronization of hers next to mine. I always knew I was alive simply because she was. What kind of son would I be to continue to live without her? How selfish would I be? She must be angry with me. The audacity to try to keep going. I go back and forth every day about whether or not I should just join her now, get it over with. But I have never been one for personal bodily harm…

My mother is dead…
My knees buckle under me. I collapse to the floor. Sprawled out, uncoordinated, pound on the carpet. Tears flood my face. Inaudibly, at first. I hold back any sound for as long as possible. Only sound heard is the heavy whisper of my fists hitting the carpet. I cannot stop crying. I try to turn off my memories. They clog my vision, carry me to a place where all I can do is surrender. Surrender to her death, and the emptiness it has caused.

My fight against inaudibility is officially a losing one. I cannot hold back any longer. I whimper. I wail. I bawl. I bellow. I scream… I mourn. Hours have passed since she left this earth. Her funeral is on the horizon. No one will recognize me. This level of emotion makes one unrecognizable. Look into my eyes and fall into a darkness only fit for those who have lost the loves of their lives.
Only thing I knew how to do was be her son. My paintbrush even knows she is gone. It has lost its ability to function properly, used to working under the guidance of my mother. It is sort of funny, I feel the same way. I have been unable to function properly without the guidance of my mother. She was the only one who could direct my tears in a different direction. I possess a certain level of strong sensitivity my mother could navigate to make sure I was in the proper emotional state. Without her, my emotional dexterity is off kilter.

It is quieting down. Whimpers stop. Wails halt. Bawls subside. Bellows silenced. Screams calm down… but mourning…
My mother is dead…

I lie on the floor. Face down. Arms sprawled out above my head. Breaths deep, and fluid, like someone who is patiently waiting for something better to come along…
I hear another heartbeat. I feel another cadence of breath. There is someone else in here. I slowly roll over to witness the sight of my father standing in my doorway. He just stares at me, my tear-stained cheeks announcing what has already transpired.

“Why are you crying?”
“Why aren’t you?”

He continues to look at me, study me. He looks at me like he has never seen me before, as if I could not be his son. Not this emotional child, unable to function without his mother on this earth.
“Wipe your tears. It’s unbecoming. It’s not what a Smith man would do.”

And he just… walks away. Walks away without once thinking about how many pieces of me he has broken and left in the middle of my bedroom floor. His exit brings the sound in my room back to the simplicity of my solo breaths. The calm pains me. His calm pains me. I do not think he has shed a tear since that first night. Since the night she left us to our own accord.
Silence, deafening. I have to do something about it. Screams are past their prime. I just need something for me at this point. There is only one place to go at this stage. A place filled with darkness. Darkness painted in red, ashy knuckles in between its crevices. Dripped and dropped in puddles of blood. Dents in walls, too familiar to fight back.

I stand up. Slow, methodical, with a purpose. Dust off my slacks. A little bit off my shirt. Prepare. Face flushed within the calm of my conscious decision to harm myself. Have not went to this place since my mother ---
My mother is dead…

My hand pounds against the wall. Slow at first. Paced, even. Slowly, the pain I feel is the pain I feel. The melanin in my brown-skinned hand fights the screeching red as it gushes with newfound energy down scared knuckles and stretched out fingers. A new dent created. A new attack on myself. A new journey to self-destruction.
I decide to use my father’s bathroom to clean up the steady stream of blood flowing from my hand. I rinse it off, put together makeshift bandages, wrap them around my hand. It is well-done, if I say so myself.

I make eye contact with my father, as he watches me tend to my wounds, my pain.
“How much is that going to cost me?”

How much are sons going for nowadays?


R. Preston Clark is an educator, screenwriter, poet and open mic host with too much to say in too many ways.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

"My paintbrush even know she's gone". Omg. I died .:(