Madeline

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a story - not horror or fantasy, that deals with loss and what two strangers do that resolves their issues of getting over with their personal problems. Is it an act of faith? Some accidents in life are weird sometimes.

Submitted: March 15, 2019

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Submitted: March 15, 2019

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I miss her. I wanted for her to stay with me. The bus that ran to the volleyball game never got there when the bus skidded on the leaves that didn’t stop the bus on a dime any further. The bus tried to skip from the back-end of a semi when the controls on the bus didn’t compute and the bus didn’t change course on the road with leaves that are thick and brushy. It all happened in a matter of seconds when thirteen people where cut from this earth, lying a peel on the shade of the father’s world that is red and drunk every night when he comes home from the school with his mind crying for her, wanting her to be in this world that cheated her from it. He started drinking light beer when he got called from the principal about the tests that he is late on his class curriculum.

“They need to be finished by the end of the week or we will have a talk, Mr. Oris.” The principal gave him an ultimatum which he hated. He looked at the phone that is in his hand on speaker when he flipped the phone off and threw it across the room, cracking the cell phone plastic in many spots when he started to cry for his little Madeline that was only fourteen years old.

Then the shooting in Parkland happened that shook Eric Oris to the notion that he would move up the beer ladder and jump off of it, pointing towards liquor when he heard of the name of Nicolas Cruz that shot seventeen students with an AR-15 rifle. He was a former student of the school that started to think of dark thoughts of getting acquainted with a gun when he pressed towards the issue of shooting people. He posted a video the day before the shootings taken place and then went to McDonald’s and had lunch there the moment after he shot and killed seventeen students and wounded seventeen others. Eric drunk more when it happened, thinking of Madeline when he was close to the point of losing his certification at his job as he felt like his mind is going.

Two months later, the review board fired him under the pretenses of being under par when he now sits at home with a bottle between his thighs, thinking of offing himself in the bathtub when the news of his daughter continued to run through his head like a candle flame that will never burn out. He drunk to the point that he almost passed out when he woke up late in the afternoon, looking at the basket with his bills piling up to the point with the Final Notice stamped on the envelops. He knew that he is going to lose his house soon with the mortgage brokers calling him on the cell phone that will be shut off soon as well. He cannot get the horror of her death out of his mind when Eric Oris started to go out to the bars in search for something, anyone with his mind slowly leading to the point that he about to go into the white linen crazed factory soon.

The drinks continued to flow with the air in the tires of his car getting low and the fluids in the car getting low as well. He started to look into the mirror of the effects of the drug called alcohol that is flooding through his body, changing his face into something different as his eyes are getting redder and redder to the point that he cannot look into the mirror anymore. His savings are filing away as he continued to go to the bars every night in search of something that eased his mind from his daughter that is dead and his wife that died of Pancreatic Cancer some years before. He drunk his sorrow away, not caring anymore when he continued to drink and drink and drink some more. One night, Eric Oris went to the bar that is not far from his house with the shakes ramparting up and down his arms when he is accosted by a woman that is standing there in nice clothes that are not bought in a supermarket. Her hair is all pinned up in a bun and highlighted in golden strands when Eric looked at her for the longest time before sauntering into the bar where the music is playing and the people are clamored in by conversations that are many. Eric almost ran into a nearby table when one guy and one girl turned their heads to him with the man getting up on his feet, looking about thirty five with a shaved head, looking like a biker with no strand of TNT in his wick for taking any shit.

“You want to get skull fucked, asshole?” The man wrapped around the table with his fists clenched as the woman that is sitting down continued to smile as Eric backed away a couple of steps. That is went the bartender intervened.

“You get the hell back, Tom.”

“He just…”

“I don’t care what he did. One more problem out of you then you’re on skid row! You understand?” The bartender implied when the biker backed off, still looking tense as he sat down in his seat again.

“I’m sorry.” Eric repeated a few times.

“Fuck your sorry.” Tom replied when Eric went to the bar and ordered a cocktail.

“Don’t fuss about it.” The bartender made his drink with a flick of the wrist.

“His father was less than an asshole and five times as sweeter as his son.” The bartender looked at Eric Oris with worry.

“If you leave this bar before him – don’t.”

Eric is presented with the drink when he toasted the bartender and guzzled it down. The woman walked in with her bag close to her, looking around the bar when she sat down at the bar that is a couple of stool down from Eric. The sun is starting to set upon the western side of the world as the light is snuffing out on his little corner of the world. The sky is cloudy and will be cloudy all night when Eric looked at the woman, thinking of meeting her somewhere when he continued to drink his drink in silence as the people started to fill up the bar as the minutes flew by. The bartender went to the woman and she ordered a glass of Coca-Cola when the bartender shook his head as he poured her a red solo cup of the carbonated beverage.

“Why in the hell is she here?” the bartender mumbled with his back towards Eric when Eric looked at his backside before looking at her with his shoulders starting to hurt some. Where did he meet her? Eric didn’t know as he felt like getting up from the seat and accosting this woman. He waited for his courage to build up in his body when he started tapping his feet on the floor. Eric finished his glass to a quarter full when he got up and slowly walked over to her and sat down, looking around the bar and seeing Tom a little out of his peripherals when he turned back to the woman with her hair all pinned up in a bun. Eric looked at her some time, trying to remember where he seen her when he knocked the glass a little against his index finger. He looked at the nooks of drinks on the bar when he smiled a little when the woman spoke first.

“Can I ask you why?” The woman asked him when Eric looked at her and then looked at the nooks of liquor and whiskey that are on the shelves.

“I wanted to know if I saw you before. That is all.” Eric looked at his glass when he flagged down the bartender for another cocktail. Eric noticed that he is getting hairs on the back of his hands. Where in the hell did they spring up from?

“I don’t know if I saw you before either. I think I did.” The woman replied when she felt bad for asking her name before she let out her hand from the space that is between them.

“My name is Madeline.” She presented her hand.

Madeline. That is the same name as my daughter. Eric smiled a little when he returned the gesture with his own hand, pumping it three times when he let go and placed his hand back onto the bar again.

“I never had been at this part of town before. Do you know Sal that lives around here?” Madeline asked Eric when he rubbed the stubble that is on his chin.

“No, I never met a Sal before.” Then Eric realized that is the name of an 8th grade teacher that is in middle school. He is a short, Palestinian man with a brushy moustache, always wearing those tan sweaters that he bought and were mailed out of New York; Sal, what a character as he started to nod his head a little.

“Now I remember Sal Gupta. He teaches Intermediate Algebra at the local middle school. Is that the man that you are trying to find?”

The woman raised her head a little over the bar when she remembered the name of Sal Gupta. She nodded her head with her expression roaring up to complete surprise.

“Yeah, I remember Sal Gupta. I thought he teaches European history.” She cocked her head a little when she sipped on her Coke a little.

“I think he taught European history.” She sounded a little confused when she dropped the coke on the bar and rubbed her head a little.

“I work at the Insurance firm on the other side of town.” Madeline looked at the other side of the bar with the wood all red and robust when she rubbed her forehead some more.

“We were discussing on organizational properties when I felt like the world is spinning. I’ve been working so long that I had been sleeping very little. Then I started to remember names that were not ever in my head and faces that I never met before in my life. It’s weird.” Madeline stopped looking at Eric and then smiled with her face glowing.

“I’m sorry. I just had been stressed lately.”

“No problem. I know what no sleep feels like.” Eric smiled as well when he felt like a rock hit him in the heart.

“Yeah, every time I do I feel more tired than when I went to sleep.” Madeline drunk more of her Coke and set it down on the bar when she looked around the bar to all the people that are drinking, partying and other desires that are behind closed doors. Madeline then looked at Eric before looking at the glass that is before her.

“Do you know where Sal Gupta lives?”

Eric thought for a spell when he looked at his new glass that is before him, thanking the bartender when he looked at Madeline some more.

“I don’t really remember.” Eric looked out the window.

“I think he lives on the east side of town.” Eric shrugged when he felt the buzz of his cocktail come on, full and strident.

“So you went to school here?” Eric asked Madeline when she nodded her head.

“All of my life.” Madeline smiled when she remembered her high school life like it was yesterday. It was the youth that everyone remembers the most even as the years fledge by like a racecar that is peeling by the world that is slowly turning old and gray, year after year.

“I remember a creepy kid in class that liked to talk to him and smelled like smoldering, burning cigarettes.”

Eric knew who she was talking about when he kept that to himself, feeling embarrassed of talking about his past life when he knew that he knew her. They went to school together. That was enough said.

“I wonder what happened to him.”

“Me too,” He mumbled when he felt like shying away from this person fast. His youth was not the one to be talked about when he looked at his glass, bringing it up and drinking more greedily now when he set the glass down again. He changed his mood when he looked at her now.

“You know that the drive-in movie theater on Wallinbach is gone?”

Madeline looked at Eric with her face slacked.

“I didn’t know that. Still, I don’t know your name either.”

“My name is Seth.” Eric smiled.

“Oh Seth, I don’t remember you.”

“We were in different classes, I suppose.” Eric nodded his head when the bartender came over and asked if they wanted anything? Eric wanted some pretzels in a bowl and Madeline didn’t want anything at the moment when they were left alone. They talked most of the night about coincidences that happened in high school and other matters that they remembered. Madeline was more of a popular kid in school and Eric, A.K.A Seth was just a person that was lying through his teeth as he remembered the coincidences that is between his daughter and this woman that is about the same age as him. When they realized the time, they went home apart with Madeline’s head feeling better and Eric feeling less drunk than ever now. Eric stumbled home and closed behind him without locking the door when he dropped onto the couch and went to sleep for more than twenty hours. When he woke up, he didn’t feel a weight upon his heart anymore when he got up and felt the sunshine upon his face that is coming through the window. He felt better now. He felt at peace.

Madeline on the other hand went home and fell asleep for four hours, getting up and feeling better at most when she got ready for work. She came into the insurance firm a little late but with her soul feeling better at speaking to Seth at the bar. She didn’t understand where these memories are coming from until she woke up on this morning and forgetting them by lunchtime. Maybe it was something telling her to go back home and talk to some townies that never left. Why? She didn’t know. She didn’t feel depressed until two weeks ago when she got back to work, wanting to go back to the bar some weeks later when she showed up with no Seth to be around. She asked the bartender when he came to her and told him that “Seth” had not come back to the bar in the last two months. The bartender says that he found a job at a grocery store and had been working 2nd shift for the past twenty days. Madeline thanked the bartender and ordered a Coke and drunk it slim now. Her smile lit up on the bar when the minutes went later on and on into the night as sad tunes played on the jukebox. She felt at peace as well for somewhat helping a complete stranger. Life is odd but it is just.


© Copyright 2020 Adam Steele. All rights reserved.

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