“WELCOME TO WELLINGTON” read the big blue and white sign in front of the old Mill Bridge that took you from Lexington into Wellington.Under the bridge sat still the Majestic Mill Lake.Us kids just
called it “The Old Mill Lake.”We moved here when I was three after my dad got a high paying job as an engineer at a well respected firm in downtown.My mom gave up her job in Orlando and all her
friends just to make my dad happy.I assume three times a night wasn’t enough for him.It might also have had something to do with my mother’s second miscarriage.That last one lasted 7 months.
My name is Christopher Miller, but most of my friends just call me Chris. I was getting ready to graduate from William Wellington High School and move on with my life.Hopefully I would be lucky
enough to get out of this God forsaken town and move to New York City with my friend Julie Conway.I was getting sick of Wellington and all the preppy and rich families – my family included.But
something was holding me back from leaving Wellington in search of my dream of becoming a writer.That something was Michael Flynn.We’ve been friends for some time now and I feel our friendship is
growing into something more.I hope he thinks so too, but if we were to become boyfriends, than would I still move with Julie?I wasn’t about to let some guy ruin my dream, although he wasn’t just
It was the last Friday before graduation and I was becoming stressed out from all the excitement and expectations.I took a walk to this old dirt road about a mile outside of town.On the right there
was a great view of Wellington and on the left there was a large field of sunflowers.It was a hidden gem of the whole town, a giant golden field. I use to run around through them, trying to see if
I could find my way back to the road. I giggled as I thought of my younger years and how innocent I was.I guess times change for the best and sometimes, in my case, for the worst. A car pulled
aside next to me and inside was a handsome boy who worked at the local deli.His name was Matthew Beale.He had strong religious views but inside I knew he was wild. I saw him at a couple of parties;
he would always be the one who got too out of control and be escorted outside.
"What are ya' doing way out here?" he looked me up and down. "You can get hurt walking out here with no shoes on." he scolded.
"My shoes got wet earlier so they're at home dryin'" I remarked.
He began to blush, he smiled and drove off. I waved, hoping he would see my friendly gesture. I swatted at the flies and kept walking. I wasn't planning on going anywhere, wasn't on any walk for
exercise, I just wanted to get out and walk somewhere - It seems that I have many of these walks to find fresh air. They help me get my head together, especially nowadays when I have all this shit
about Michael and my parents on my mind - things can get pretty stressful! I was almost back and it was starting to get dark. I'm sure my mother was worried sick, trying to figure out where I
could have gone off to.
I ran to the front door and pushed it open and caught my breath.I steadily walked into kitchen; it was empty. I walked into the living room; it was empty. I quickly went upstairs. There was a long,
narrow hallway decorated with family portraits and I heard crying at the end of it. It was my parents room and a as I got closer to the room, the crying got louder and much more intense. I creaked
open the door and saw my father holding my mother in the bed. I opened it all the way and stepped in the room.
"W-What's wrong?" I quietly asked my parents.
"Nothing!"My father yelled.
"Mom? What happened?"
"Go ahead, please tell him. He needs to know." My mother said over her tears.
"But I'm sure I'll be just fine” She interrupted. "No need to worry." She then smiled.
If I had known that my mother wasn't well, I would have stayed home instead of taking a walk.Could my suspicious ways with Miguel have caused her to stress then make sick? But if it was just a
normal cold, there would be no reason to cry unless it's really serious and they didn't want me to know something.
I had to get my mind off of my problems at home. I decided to call Michael. I wiped the one tear from my cheek and hurried to the phone. As I was waiting for someone on the other end to pick up, I
listened to my mother and father talking upstairs. I couldn't help myself but to be worried. Finally, someone answered.
"Hello?" A woman's voice whispered.
"Hi, hello! Is Michael there?"
"Who is this?"
"Christopher, Christopher Miller"
"Sure, hang on."
I could hear her yelling for Michael to get over to the phone in the background.
"Hello?" He asked.
"Hey, it's Chris!"I said with too much excitement.
“Oh, what’s up Chris?”
“Nothing much, just family drama.”
“So, the usual?” He joked.
“HA-HA! So what are you up to?”
“Studying.” He sighed.
“Hmm, I was going to see if you and Julie were interested in hanging out at Old Found Lake.”It was a popular hang out place among teenagers and drug dealers.The two go hand in hand. “But it’s cool;
I’ll let you get back to studying. Bye.”
“Talk to you later, Chris.” He swiftly said and hung up the phone.
Damn!I really wanted to hang and talk to him.Asking him about our relationship on the phone wasn’t so Wellington of me. “Oh well” I thought to myself.My fingers wanted to call him back but I
didn't want to come off as a creepy gay stalker. The thought turned my frown into a small smile. Maybe my usual walks would help me escape from the thought of my mother dying a horrible death! As
I turned to the front door, my father yelled for me.
"Christopher!" He called.
"What?" I yelled back.
"You're gonna have to take your mother to the doctors tomorrow!"
"It wasn't a question!" He scolded.
I nodded in response and then started for the door.
It was chilly; kind of those off days in the beginning of summer that are unusually colder than the rest. I looked up to the night sky and prayed. Prayed for my mom to get better and then I ran.
As I ran on that dirt road, I began to remember a day when my mom took me to the park when I was really young.
It was a Tuesday in the middle of spring and we were one of the only people there. I had the swings all to myself! My mom looked so beautiful in her long pink dress. Nowadays, that beauty doesn't
come out of her anymore. The everyday house work and alcohol shattered it and only does some come through.
I stopped, and took a deep breath. But nothing could hold back how I felt and how I wanted to go back to that day in the park and relive it over and over. I turned back and started heading home. It
was time I faced what I needed to confront and no longer run away from it. The tears running down my face were being blown back toward my ears from the wind against me as I ran.I hurried across the
blank yard and up the front steps and into the living room. I called to my mom and went up the stairs and down the hall to her room. I fell to the bed and hugged my mom.
"Christopher James Miller!"
"I love you, mama!" I cried. "Nothing’s gonna happen to you!"
"I know, I know." She whispered.
I closed my parents’ door behind me as a walked to my room. I went to my desk and pulled out a blank notebook and a pen and began to write. The pen shook in my hand. I tried to keep my hand steady
so my note wouldn't look so terrible.
"Hello!" Someone at the front door called. "Chris! It's me, Julie!"
Julie, my best friend who lived just a couple houses down. I dropped the pen on the desk and ran down stairs to the door.
"I'm sorry but I just couldn't stay home and listen to my mother cry and beg for my dad to come back!" She explained.
I let her in and led her to the couch. She sat down and dropped her bag beside her.
"Are you thirsty?" I asked.
"Yes, yes please.” She replied.
She was always very kind and polite ever since I met her in the second grade. Her dad first left her and her mom when she was born and came back when she was four. Now, he leaves and comes back on
a regular basis.
Bringing her glass of water, she started to vent.
"Why can't my family be like yours?" She wondered as she wiped the tears from her pale face.
"Why do you want to be like this?" I murmured. "Do you have any idea what I go through?"
"No!" She confirmed.
"Now drink your water."
I think all this craziness with my mother and the knowing of not being with Michael triggered something in me, a side of me I've never seen nor wish to see again. Maybe when my mom gets better, my
madness will heal and so will my lust over him.Julie and I sat next to each other on my couch that entire night. Neither of us got up and left the other. She was my best friend and she was more to
me than I could ever imagine. Her reason for traveling to New York after graduation was to never look back. For me, forgetting everything would be the hardest thing I could ever do.
It was early in the morning when I got up and I found that Julie was still clinging to me. I turned to her and smiled. An expression I hadn't shown in a while. She woke and looked at me and asked
what was the matter. Nothing, nothing was wrong. Everything was perfect in that single moment. She giggled and laid back down.
© Copyright 2016 J R Sweazey. All rights reserved.