I woke up startled. My heart was racing about a million beats per minute and I had this sudden feeling of loneliness. I looked to where Zaq lay and I saw that he wasn’t there. In a state of panic I jolted up and went outside and ran up and down the hallways searching. When I came back to the room, Zaq was walking really slowly back to the bed.
I leaned against the wall and let out a huge breath of relief. I let my heart rate slow down and Zaq gave me a funny look.
“You scared the --- shit out of me,” I said between breaths.
“Sorry, man. Had to use the bathroom,” Zaq said lying back down on the bed.
“How ya feeling?” I asked taking a seat on the couch.
“Fine I guess. I just got a whole in my torso, no big deal,” he said sarcastically. I managed a smile and so did Zaq.
“Is the bullet still in there?” I asked.
He shook his head, “Nah, don’t think so. I’m skinny enough that it just went straight through me,” he chuckled a little bit and then stopped suddenly.
“Does it hurt?” I asked. Now I that I said it, I regret it. It’s one of the stupidest things that ever came out of my mouth.
“Yes!” He practically yelled. I smiled and put my hands up in surrender.
“Here, take these,” I handed two pills and water. He swallowed and drank thirstily.
“You alright?” Zaq asked me.
“No, not at all,” I answered back. I stood up and began to pace/limp.
“What’s wrong? Two girls that were innocent and our friends got murdered by you and you’re the least affected by it! I lived my worst nightmare and you think I’m alright . . . I’m sorry but that’s fucked up! I’m helping you because you’re my brother and that’s what they do for each other!” I snapped at him. My outburst got me feeling weak and a bit dizzy.
“I didn’t choose to kill her Chase! I was assigned to kill her. There’s a major difference,”
“No, there isn’t. A murder is a murder either way,” I glared at him and collapsed on the couch.
“What was I supposed to do?” he asked softly.
“You could have said no,” I looked at him and he took a deep breath. I closed my eyes and took a nice nap.
There was the smell of pizza in the room. I dreamed that there was a giant pizza coming at me with a bunch of zombies from a game I’m always playing and some hookers with guns. I was running away in the woods but then the pizza found me and ate me alive. That’s when I woke up and Zaq had a box of pizza in his hands.
“Hey,” I said with a yawn. I got up, took some pizza and ate it silently. After my outburst yesterday, things are awkward between Zaq and me.
When I finished, I took my phone out and called my buddy. I told him everything that had happened and he listened very carefully. He gave me specific instructions to leave tomorrow from the motel and exactly two thirty and to be at Doha International Airport at four fifteen. There will be a flight from Doha, to India and from India to Germany and finally, from Germany to Newark.
When I arrive at Newark Airport, I am to get a taxi back home. At home, I’m supposed to back a carry-on bag with clothes and lots of cash. Apparently some guy is coming to pick me up back to the airport the next week and I’m off to Dubai.
It’s a lot to do, but I can manage that. I just have to remember the flight numbers he gave me. If I forget I can always text him.
I told Zaq everything he told me and he nodded.
“Sounds do-able,” He said taking a drink of water.
“Yeah, so are you okay to move?” I asked.
“Yeah, I think so. Just as long we don’t do anything too drastic,” He shrugged and drank the rest of the water. I guess that means another run for water.
“Okay, you know that you’re going to have to go to the hospital back home right?”
“I can’t do that,” He shook his head and crossed his arms across his chest.
“Yes, if not it’s going to get infected and you could die from that,” I said matter-of-factly. Our gaze locked and after a while of epic staring he gave in.
He sighed, “Fine, okay I’ll go to the hospital,” He dropped my gaze and started at the carpet.
“Good,” I started to tap my foot and shake my leg. I always do that when there’s nothing else to do. I’m trying to stop but as the saying goes ‘Good habits die hard’.
* * *
The next day, I prepared us a carry-on with clothes, cash and toiletries. It’s about ten in the morning and we should get a head start to Doha because honestly . . . I have no idea where we are. I’d rather be there early than late.
So Zaq and I had a light breakfast of apples, bread and water and we took the car to a gas station about five miles from the motel. Lucky for us, there was someone who spoke English. He told us that Doha is about three hours southeast of here. He gave us a map and highlighted the route we’re supposed to take.
We got lost so many times because I had the map upside down. At this point, I don’t give a fuck anymore. I’m just so fucking done with everything and everyone.
I took a deep breath and just focused on the road in front of me. There wasn’t much to see anyways. We were still in the desert but on a paved road that leads to civilization.
We arrived in Doha at about one in the afternoon. So far, we were making good timing. We decided to take a pee break at the outlets near the Marriot hotel. I bought some snacks and water and we were back on the road to Doha International Airport.
“Do you have the tickets?” Zaq asked me.
“Yeah, he emailed them to me. I’ll just print them out,”
“Where?” He asked.
“At the airport,”
“They don’t have computers you can use to access your email . . . you know that right?” He lifted an eyebrow and looked at me funny.
“Course they do,” I glanced at him for a quick second and returned my gaze to the traffic in front of me.
“No, they don’t. Trust me, I’ve been to that airport before,” He nodded and I gave that a thought. He’s most likely telling the truth. I mean why would he lie about this? Then it hits me . . . I don’t have our tickets . . .
“Fuck!” I punched the wheel and gritted my teeth. That means I have to go somewhere with a printer so I can access my email and print out the tickets.
“Yeah, I know somewhere you can print it out, so it’s okay. You just gotta turn left and the intersection that’s coming up and continue straight until you see a row of houses on your right then what your going to do is turn right and stop and the second house,” Zaq said. I nodded and followed the instructions and ended up at a cute looking house that looked as if it came out of a magazine. It’s like one of those doll houses. It’s a light pink color with a nicely cut lawn with flamingos on either side with a cute small white fence around it. The window frames a hot pink with a white door.
I parked in the small driveway and Zaq was the first to get out. I followed behind as he rang the doorbell and an old lady answered the door. She had tan wrinkly skin with white combed hair and green eyes just like Zaq’s. Something tells me that they’re related.
Before I knew it, the old lady was ushering us both in and she seated us at a computer with a printer next to it.
“Yes!” I said throwing my hands in the air and laughing. Even thought the computer was from the Stone Age, it still worked. I was able to log into my email with no problem once so ever and was able to print out all the tickets in color so they looked legitimate.
“Thank you!” I got the papers and gave the old lady a hug. She laughed and shoed us out of the house and sent us on our way.
“I like her she’s nice,” I said still laughing.
“Yeah,” Zaq smiled only for a moment before he clenched his fists and gritted his teeth.
The rest of the road was silent. By the time we made it to the airport and parked the car, it was already two o’clock. We exchanged the tickets to boarding passes and we sat at the waiting room that belonged to our first destination.
“You doing okay man?” I asked Zaq.
“Yeah,” He gave a curt nod and tried his best to give a convincing smile. I gave him the last of the pain medication and he swallowed them.
“I’m gonna get you to a hospital back home,” I promised as I took out my mp3 player. I started to rock out to music and pretty much being me. I haven’t been myself in a while and it’s good to be back.
I lost myself in the music and missed the first call to start boarding the plane. Zaq had to almost knock me out of the seat to bring me back to reality.
We got into the plane without carry-on and found our seats in coach behind the wing of the plane and I took the window seat. We’ve got about ten hours to reach India. Then about fifteen hours to reach Germany and from Germany to Newark is about another ten hours.
I took the time that I had to contemplate on some things. I started to think about Dawn and Brooke. My heart squeezed when I thought about them. Especially Brooke. You could say I had sort of a crush on her, maybe I still do. I don’t know. She always brought a smile to my face no matter the day.
I remember when we were at band on time and we weren’t playing because the teachers weren’t there. It was me, Zaq and Amber and in front of us was Dawn and Brooke. Brooke was sitting on the edge of the seat behind her and propped her feet on the bottom of the seat in front of her. She started to rock and she almost fell forward. We all started to crack up and she dropped her phone which broke. We laughed even harder.
I found myself laughing and tearing up at the same time. Memories can be pretty fucking strong. I know I’ve known Dawn for longer, but she’s more serious. Brooke was fun and really energetic. Dawn took things seriously. She isn’t necessarily funny but she laughs at everything. She valued everything. She enjoyed life and focused on the important parts.
I remember when Dawn and I were close. We told each other almost everything. We
laughed and hugged and overall I’m pretty sure she saw me as family. We would text almost everyday and we were just comfortable in each other’s presence but ever since Brooke died . . . I distanced myself away from her. I have to admit . . . I took out most of my sadness and anger on her and it hurt her bad. She hasn’t been the same since. Things between us were awkward and there was a lot of tension. Now I wish that never happened. I was being a complete asshole to her and it’s too late to do anything now.
I pulled up the shade of the window and looked out. We haven’t moved yet and the sun is high in the afternoon sun. I tried my best to stop thinking about them, but I can’t. It always seemed that when someone you cared about died you’re always thinking about them. Like you’re trying to convince yourself that they aren’t dead. That you’ll see them in school next year or the next day.
I yawned and rubbed my eyes. The attendant handed out pillows and blankets. I fluffed the pillow and decided to sleep until we reached Germany.