Sunday Morning. It's 5am. I awake from my sleep on the carpet and stare above, at the female in the blue lighting. It startles me for many reasons.
"I know who you are. I've told you again, get the hell out and stop disguising yourself as my brother." She says this glaring down at me. What should I do? I'm tired, cold and embarrassed about yesterday. Oh shit-yesterday. It all sinks in the longer I lay there starring up at her. I stare at her face and I can't imagine her making those noises.
"Adam."She speaks again. This phenomenon, the illusion she is having right now, is called Capgras Delusion. Adam wants to have samples of DNA from Nell and like an egg or something. I think he's like a sick embryologist.
"Fine, I'll leave now, but watch out." Yes this is very cliché, but fuck off, I'm tired. When she leaves I change completely and wash up. I grab some money and a hardcover notebook. When I leave it's still dark outside. I go to the nearest coffee shop and order myself a pastry and a white chocolate mocha. I take out my sketchbook and began to look around. Understandably, it's almost empty.
There's an obvious business man in his forties, looking at the newspaper. He's a black man in a charcoal suit and has his hair graying a little near his ears. He has so much life left in him. He looks at the newspaper and shows up to work early because he wants to get ahead in his career no matter how old he is. He wears a napkin in his lap, happily. I didn't know you can do that happily. He looks like a dork but it makes me smile because he doesn't care.
The only other person I see is in great contrast to the first. He looks as if he is in his mid-thirties. This man has sickly skin, back hair, a medium shade in his jeans and a worn-out, once black, hoody that had a small UFO in the corner, over his chest. He sat there with one hand entangled in his hair and the other, shakily held the paper cup to his mouth. He has a hospital band on his wrist. I then looked at his eyes, curious to see how sad he was. That's when I noticed he was already doing the same to me. Alarmed, I look away quickly at my blank note page. My breath quickens and I wheeze slightly. I feel very anxious at the moment. I cup my hands around my overdone drink, hoping that the warmth will calm me down. I have a feeling that he was starring at me the whole time, wondering why a kid was up so early and by himself.
I notice UFO-Guy look away at the corner of my eye and look up again. This time, I want to remember as many things as I can about his face, I need to draw him. He has a sharp face with a big nose and sunken, almost gray, eyes. I like him. I like Successful-Guy too, I should draw them both, It'll make for a better picture. I sketch his face so that he looks at the audience… at me. At this point, I realize how desperate I am to find someone to relate to.
I take multiple intervals of, sketching, sipping, chewing and glancing. This goes on for maybe twenty minutes. When I look up again, UFO-Guy is getting up, I'm slightly disappointed to see him leave, but then he doesn't turn towards the door. This is making me extremely nervous. He looks directly at me and I glance over to see the coffee shop worker looking as well. I have a sudden fear that he is going to kill me. But the he smiles. He pulls up a chair loudly and sits.
"Hey kid, watchya drawin?" He sips his drink, giving me time to speak but I'm ashamed. I cover the paper a little with my hands as casually as possible but there was really no need because I'd bet you he already knew and even if he didn't, he wasn't looking at the paper, but at me.
"I-It's uh-" my voice cracks"-ahem. It's you a-and the guy that was sitting there earlier…" I look a thousand directions at once and pick at my eraser with dull, jagged nails. I feel like dying.
"Cannah see it?" I nod, sinking into my seat. UFO-Guy drags it towards himself with fingers belonging to his banded wrist. He stares at it a while. Now that i am sitting near him I can hear a faint wheeze in him. I cuddle myself in attempt to stop shaking and thinking. I also make a small prayer that I don't began to cry. It's hard to tolerate this human interaction.
"Thas pretty good, can I look through the rest off them?" He looks at me in the eyes and I want to say no out of instinct but I trust him a little more that others. I think instead of judging me, he'd understand. I take a second longer to decide because an artist's sketchbook is a diary and I just met this guy.
"Um… yeah, but… it's kinda personal." I look away trying to remember every page.
"Undahstood." He gently goes to the first page. It's of a guy hunched over and crying. It's sketched angrily with pencil. There's a couple curse words… terrible ones. His expression doesn't change much, it only seems slightly saddened. Then next few are of me violently killing my teachers and classmates in various ways. He passes a few drawings of Nell as well. I nom on my sweet bread and continue to watch his reaction. Mine is probably more exciting that his. He grows nearer to the more raunchy drawings. He turns the page and my face turns red. This one is of Nella in her T-shirt and underwear, on the couch sexily eating fun dip. He turns the page to find the same girl drawn many times with different lustful expressions. The next one, to my relief, is of a guy laying on his bed with a a dead, empty expression. There's one of me an Nell on my bike. He looks at me.
"Who's this girl you keep drawing?" I feel like everything he does is gentle as to not scare me off.
"It's… my-uh, my s-sister." My face is red with shame. I didn't feel the need to lie because I don't know the guy, who is he going to tell? It's a big city. When I look at him, I notice he's smiling down at the sketchbook.
"How old is she?" he says as he flips through more drawings.
"She's sixteen, her name is Nella." I'm feeling a little more comfortable now. "Can I ask you something?"
"Sure." He's still looking through pictures.
"Why do you have a hospital tag on your wrist?" I have a right to ask him something personal after he saw those drawings.
"Well, attabout 2 or 3 in the morning, I was in the ER for my ARDS, it's a respiratory disordah, right, and while I was sitting there almost ready to leave… I.. I uh saw, ya know, a p-priest… I have a fear of them, it's called hierophobia. I don't like expanding on it. Stupid, I know. Anyway, I bolted outa there." He let out a heavy breath as if talking wore him out. "Why are you up n' out so early?"
"Um, my sister has schizophrenia and she wanted me to leave cuz she thought I was someone else. I wasn't in the mood to argue." Once again, I feel blood creep into my face.
"So your sister,huh? You like her?" He smiles.
"N-NO,I-!" He interrupts showing me the graphic picture that I drew or her in heat, entangled in her clothes,"It's puberty", I try to reason.
"Puberty doesn't do this." He shows me another picture. "Not that Ah'm judging you. I just think it's…unique." He hands me back my book, with the page I left off of. "You're interesting."
"…Thanks…" When was the last time anyone has said something nice to me? Is this what it's like to have friends, or even family? I start to shake as the silence fills the air. Tears prickle the corners of my eyes when I try to choke down my sudden flow of thoughts and feelings. Oh, dammit. I just met this guy, and I'm going to cry. My face turns tense as I'm about to loose it.
"You alright?" And then I do. Why is he the only one who asks me that? I cough and choke as silently as possible but everyone can hear that unmistakable sound of sorrow. I cry terribly rasping for air to tell him I'm sorry. I try so hard to stop but I can't. The reason is because this is what I needed for the past 3 months. This release. While scrambling for my things, I apologize once again with my shaky voice. I run out the coffee shop door then around the side where I can cry in peace.
"Ey kid, where'd ya go?!" He actually sounds worried, what's wrong with him? I stifle my noises as best as I could, but it's futile and he finds me. It's 5:40 in the morning and I'm sitting here huddled and bawling next to a 30 year old guy who also has issues. He palmed my head and an I instinctually tensed up by another human touch. He did a mix of tousling my hair and petting me and I eventually relaxed into his touch. His affection causes me to sob harder. I lean on his faded chest because it's what I need right now. I feel him jerk from surprise then he continues to tousle my hair. His wheezes are more apparent. About 15 minutes go by before I start calming down. The realization sets in. I feel like I've committed a mortal sin, but I'm exhausted and it's dark and this stranger feels warmer than anyone else I know... I'm slipping from my conscious self and it's not okay. I slump lifelessly in his arms.
"Kehh…heh…" Breaths escape my nervous lungs. I wake up to the sound of typing. I look around to realize I'm in an office and on a small couch. This couch is loud.
"Hey, you're up. Are you alright?" He peers from the side of his computer.
"Uh, where's my bike? and my sketchbook? Where am I? I'm sorry, I shouldn't have put you in that situation! I'll go, don't worry." I try to find my things.
"W-Wait, Ah don't mind! Sit-stay…" He's standing now and opens a drawer. He takes out my sketchbook and hands it to me. He sits stiffly on the couch along side me. "Your bike is in my car." He rubs the back of his neck. This is the weirdest moment of my life, and my sister thinks I'm her pet. His office has an earthly color scheme. It's kind. I notice the Sigmund Freud mini plush still in the box. Every book on his shelf either had the words "psychology" or "interpretations" in the title.
"Where are we?" I finally break the silence.
"The university. I'm a professor here." He gets up only to sit again in his computer chair. This time it's only a yard away.
"OH THANK GOD!" I say this before I realize it and lean back with my hands on my face. "I was wondering why you are so weird and understanding! I was afraid you were going to sodomize me or some shit! When I was passing out, in the back of my mind I was praying to God that I wouldn't wake up missing either my gay virginity or my organs! I was just so fatigued that I wasn't worried enough! Shit! Oh, man! I am so lucky!" I laugh a little and sighed into my entangled hands.
"Wow. Sorry. Heh, glad to see you so relieved. Anyway as you just realized, Ah teach psychology, and your whole sister thing you got goin' on, that stems deep, REAL deep." He smirks. "This is late, but what's your name?"
"P-uh-Cameron." That was close.
"Dominic. Nice tah meet you." He nods. "I'm curious to hear any stories you want to get off your chest. Ah'm sure there's a lot going on that you need to tell SOMEONE. Maybe Ah can help."
Should I tell him? Yeah, he already saw my drawing and I HAVE been dying to tell someone. Who's he going to tell?
"I have a lot of stories, actually, if you aren't goin' to be creeped out." Dominic shakes his head and opens his hands in a gesture telling me to continue. "Heh, let me start with just yesterday. Fuck, I'm nervous-"
"It's okay, I understand." He grabs a notepad.
"Okay, so last night we were fighting, like wrestling, I was mad, and I started to get turned on. We stopped fighting and later that day, I went to apologize and I walked in on her, m-masturbating! I saw it man! I'm too young for this and I saw it! Anyway, I could't take it anymore and my legs gave out on the other side of her door. So right there, I jerked it… right there in front of God and everyone, not that I'm religious or anything. And before yesterday, I haven't masturbated or tried in more that 6 months! I haven't came in like a year!Am I talking a lot? Hey, Dominic… you're not even a real psychologist, you just study and teach it, how can you help me? Is that a stupid question? What time is it? Oh, God Nella!- "
"Calm down, it's 7:15. Now, just-just relax. Maybe you shouldn't have had that coffee, it's adding to your anxieties. Sorry, I'm prying too soon. I should take you home." He get's up with much effort.
"Du-Dominic! I…" His stare burns the longer I stutter." I… I don't want to go home…" Now I'm sad again.
"Why not?" Every time he asks me a question, I'm surprised he cares.
"…T-There's no one to talk to there…" Wow, Cameron, you're pathetic."-I didn't me that! Don't worry-" He grabs my arm with his slender fingers.
"Cameron… I study psychology. Don't lie to me, it's like saying I'm stupid. Here, I'll give you my card." He pulls one off of his desk and writes something down on it. "That's my home number. Sorry for my kindergarten handwritin', but that's the best way to reach me, believe it or not. C'mon, let me take you home."
"Alright." He opens the door for me but I end up following closely behind, with my things clung to my chest. I am really tired but I want to stay. What if I'm too busy to meet him tomorrow? Then it continues and I never see him again? This is my opportunity to make a friend. I'm in the company of someone that I don't have to be an adult around. There's a lot less pressure to be responsible. Though I still don't want to seem like a dumb child to him or anyone for that matter, but there's no one else to-- well there's just no one else.
I sit shotgun and notice my bike strenuously forced into the back of his car. So, what was going on while I was unconscious? He must've had to carry me to his car and buckled me in. Then he must've unstrapped me and carry me to his office, in front of all those people. I get chills, good ones. I wonder what those people were thinking. Maybe they thought he was my dad. No, then he would've mentioned me and he's kinda young. So maybe a brother, whatever, they saw us. Dominic…Do-mi-nic. Someone I met today. A guy with issues. I look at his wrist and see his birthday. It takes me a second but I do the math and come to the conclusion that he's 33. Exactly 20 years older, hmm. What if Dominic is me in the future? We've overlapped time and everything is messed up. Maybe we weren't suppose to meet and I screwed up the quantum mechanics that keep this world together.
"Dominic?" Wait that's impossible, Cameron.
"Yeuh, What is it?" He wants to make eye contact, but he's driving.
"Nevermind, i-it's nothing, really." I hate it when I do this.
"Are ya sure? Yah probably had something' interestin' to say, I bet. He grins at the cars ahead.
"Well, it's stupid. I was thinking if you were the future me, but then I remembered you have black hair…" I'm insane.
"Hahahaha! Don't make me laugh an drive at the same time, it's quite dangerous. But see, that is interesting. How many other people would think of that? Adds character, I say… Kay we're do I turn?"
We made our way to my house in a matter of minutes. The closer we got, the more anxious I became. I debated weather or not to give him directions to the longer route, but I figured he'd notice and didn't want to deal with the embarrassment. I've done enough of that today. We drive up and he gets out of the car as well. Struggling, he removes the bike from atop the folded seats. There's a desperate pause, where I just stare at him. It only lasts seconds. He opens his mouth to speak. For a small moment, nothing comes out.
"Um! Hold on!" I find the sketch I was looking for and tear it out with a shaking, clammy hand.
"Here… I mean if you want it. I-you don't…" my disconnected words fade out.
"Thanks, Cameron, I'll see ya 'round." He gives me a nod and turns towards his charcoal car. I stand still, near my bike until he turns the corner. He probably saw me in the rearview mirror and found me found me to be a creep. Or maybe not.