Kurt died On April 22nd, 2011.
Kurt was an unlikeable person. At his crowning age of 23, he carried a rude and condescending expression in all of his dialogue, which only held value for him in professional circumstances of which he barely found himself. He was pompous, pretentious, and socially paranoid— avoiding conversation with everyone aside from the few that passed an arbitrary test of character and intellect. To put it simply, Kurt was a jerk.
His relationship with Cindy remains vague. She’ll tell you that they knew each other since toddler age, but anyone else will tell you that they started talking in high school. It is true that Kurt and Cindy knew each other as small children. She had vague memories of them playing with toys and dolls while their parents, who were ‘friends’ and provided the ‘link,’ lay on the living room couches; sometimes conscious and sometimes not, but always intoxicated to some degree. Yes, Kurt and Cindy were left alone. Free to do as they please, to speak of what they will, and to act without any real understanding of consequence. Kurt didn’t remember Cindy when they met in high school. In fact, their first conversation was both ignited and fueled by Cindy’s memories. Her attempt at an aggressive re-kindling of their relationship was successful even with her shy nature inevitably revealing itself. Maybe it was the hot/cold aggressive/shy changing approach that kept Kurt’s interest as they spoke through their U.S History II class.
Whether or not there was ‘anything’ between Kurt and Cindy isn’t known. People had their suspicions, and still do, but the facts show that Kurt and Cindy may have never even been in the same room
alone together; not since their young childhood of course. But there was always an expectation of connection. They were linked, bound together for eternity, brought together by a concept of
‘lover’s gravity’ that any romantic-eyed female is sure to enviously sigh about. Of course this was the belief of everyone that knew Kurt and Cindy and had seen them together at nights out to movie
theatres, restaurants, bowling alleys, and aimless walks about town. For Kurt and Cindy, neither expressed any romantic interest in the other. But even Kurt’s ex-girlfriends, as many as there were,
can tell you there was just ‘something’ about them. And yet strangely nobody can identify any ‘sincere’ moments between them. This supposed connection may have been an enigma.
It came to be that Tony, Cindy's boyfriend for several months, was stranded without a ride home from work. Apparently his car needed a new part, something with the word “intake” that sounded very serious to Cindy, but even with her concern Kurt was still reluctant to drive Tony home. Kurt was very proud to have avoided truly ever meeting Tony until this point. They met, people say, but they never "like actually MET, y’know?" Just empty greetings, and by greetings, according to friends on both sides, it meant that they maybe nodded at each other’s presence. Kurt was always happy to play primarily on his judgments, consisting of his usual belief in the ignorance of the general youth and their horrible aesthetic understanding, and Tony had entertained a sense that Kurt was more of an enigma than a real person.
Kurt's car arrived 20 minutes late at the indicated restaurant: “Kandy’s Diner” it was called. The truth is that Kurt, ever stubborn and ever reluctant to participate in Cindy’s mingling with the ‘wasted’ youth, didn’t give a damn about showing up on time. Tony, as far as Kurt was concerned, is lucky that he even showed up at all. It wouldn’t kill him to walk home.
Cindy's cell phone, which was unattended as she left it in her purse during her own late work night at a video rental store, had received countless messages from Tony in those 20 minutes: “is he
really coming”, “you did tell him 10:30?” “wtf Im gonna have to walk home” and so on. It was somehow her responsibility to make sure that Tony had a ride home, at least that’s what Tony meant when
he said to his co-worker: “I mean, it was her idea for this ass to come get me, she can at least make sure he does it!” The co-worker, Craig, did not care. Not one bit. It was unfortunate
that Tony didn’t have a ride, since it meant longer time listening to Tony’s banter as Craig mopped the floors and prepared to close-up. “Blah blah blah, wah wah wah”—that’s what it sounded like to
Kurt drove up slowly and opened the door when he arrived. There was a pile of books on the passenger seat, Kurt’s textbooks, yellow-tinted novels that Tony would never know of or hear about, and Kurt stared blankly straight as Tony had to haul them to the backseat on his own.
Their encounter was like a bad script from a botched Hollywood production:
“Hey, Kurt thanks for the ride.”
Car door slams shut
“Sure, it's not a problem.”
“Man this sucks, not having a car. Shit, how did I ever get around before I drove?”
“Well I had my bike.”
“So you biked. Same deal.”
“Can't just bike around now y'know? Working all the time. If you're our age you need a car, or you're fucked”
“Unless you don't work all the time. I personally love walking. Clears the mind of all the wax build up.”
“Yeah man sounds cool. But you got college, you're not used to working full-time like me.”
Kurt flicks the stereo on, they both sit quietly and listen.
“Kurt, you seem cool and all, but what’s with the cheesy tunes?”
“Yeah, I mean, dudes barely sung a word and it’s just kinda... boring.”
“You're insulting one of the greater artistic groups of our generation.”
“Never even heard of em. Let me pop in my iPod, I'll put some good shit on.”
“Don't you dare touch it. I know your music, and I prefer mine. Thanks.
“Relax! Damn. Your car, your rules.”
A few minutes pass. Tony lowers the volume.
“So Cindy says she's known you like her whole life?”
“Yeah, something like that.”
“Cool. I met her last year at this party. Pretty lame party, like 20 people came, but me and Cindy kinda hit it off right away.”
“You said you live on Fisher street, right?”
“Church street actually, next turn after Fisher.”
Kurt raises the volume again
And then there was an argument. Something like Tony made another comment about the music, and Kurt began yelling. Kurt used phrases such as “incompetent creation” and “misguided emotional outpouring” in order to express the “decay of artistic integrity.” Tony was dropped off at the edge of his street, rather than at his house, and left the car irately. He spilled some story about college kids in Pennsylvania that were responsible for a large amount of drug trafficking and a Doctor he heard about that was recently caught with thousands of dollars in stolen goods. But his argument went unheard to Kurt, who was rubbing the back of his neck in complete annoyance as he waited for the car door to shut. Tony began to scream “You think you're better than me!?” but Kurt had spiked the volume of his music to deafening heights. Speeding away with squealing tires was far too childish and predictable.
No humans heard their argument. No animals either. But the trees did, as they swayed in their aged beauty, living through human crisis after crisis and being written about distantly by poets and novelists. They didn’t care about Kurt, and they didn’t care about Tony. It was all just another turn, another revolution the wheels of the golden chariot: run by rusty spite and self-indulgence. Tony huffed and puffed down the dark streets and Kurt tried to convince himself that he was unaffected as he drove home.
Tony returned home very pissed off and energized. “Wide fucking awake” he kept telling Cindy on the phone, who continuously apologized for Kurt's behavior. Aside from constant apologies, her role during the phone call was to absorb Tony's repetitive complaints until he worked himself to a new breaking point. “I'll call you tomorrow, shit I wanna do.” Nobody really gives a damn to find out what Tony wanted to do that night, or did, but he was awake still at 3am to hear the ambulances.
Kurt stumbled into his bedroom that night. His mother had always told him to stay strong; that he could conquer anything; that everything happens for a reason. But he knew that his bones were mostly brittle and that his eyes were supposed to take in the world and feed him knowledge and yet only received shivers that coursed through perpetually opening wounds; shivers that spread so much through his body until the amount of overcome and rattled nerves outnumbered the “stasis” cells that calmed him and his body began shaking, wriggling, and jolting until he lost all control, with foam spewing from his mouth like a soda can in the hands of a six year old child, and thudded into the ground. Dead. Buried. Finished. History. Gone. Name it whatever you want, it still doesn't explain that there remains absolutely no trace of him in the world, that “Kurt” is just Kurt until April 22nd, 2011 and that any other mention of Kurt describes this very time period, impersonal, disconnected, and vague.
Cindy took it exceptionally hard, as can be expected. She too was still awake at 3am to hear the ambulances, but it wasn’t until the next day that she heard the news: Kurt had died. They didn’t say how, they didn’t say when (they being her parents), they just told her “Honey, I’m sorry…your friend…Kurt….” She had to figure out the rest through questioning and interpreting facial expressions.
Cindy stayed as far away from her phone as possible. She didn’t want to talk to Tony, who may or may not have known about Kurt’s death. Again, nobody really cares about Tony, so we don’t know what he did or did not know. But talking to Tony, right now, for Cindy, was such a detestable idea that she silenced her phone, vibration feature turned off, and buried it into her laundry. She spent most of the day crying instead. Truth is, she didn’t even really know Kurt that well. I mean, she knew him, but she didn’t "like really KNOW him, y’know?"
When it got to be late in the night, after her parents had just asked for the 11th time that day whether she needed anything and if she was okay, Cindy quietly left her house and hooved it over to Melissa’s house. Melissa was a couple of years older but had always been a "good friend" of Cindy’s. Melissa lived with 3 other guys, all around the same age (26 or 27) whose only personality bond was an interest in ‘crystal meth’—a bond that Melissa also shared.
“How’d you get here?” was the first thing Melissa said to Cindy after being called to the door by meth addict #1. Cindy remained silent until Melissa did her own facial expression interpretation, “wow, you hooved it all the way here? Are you okay? Is there anything you need? Come in!”
Of course, Melissa wasn’t any help. She was wide-eyed scared when Cindy broke down into tears in the living room, sobbing loudly and speaking broken English through gasps and heavy breaths. Melissa
thought Cindy had gone bat shit crazy when she started punching the couch cushion. Don’t be worried, that couch cushion was already accustomed to far worse beatings; with its burn holes, sliced
sides and ugly marks of God-knows-what. Meth addict #2 reacted at least a bit better than Melissa by fetching a glass of water. He was thoroughly surprised there even was a glass in the
door-less cabinet to offer her. It was meth addict #3’s idea to "hit up some crystal" with Cindy to help her forget Kurt, which Cindy ended up agreeing to, while streets away, at Kurt’s house,
Kurt’s mother (who had lost her husband years ago in a drunk driving incident) over-dozed on pain killers and would soon die.
And thus, Kurt merged with the imagination. Sadly, we still think of imagination as a series of mis-constructed realities, as thoughts that creatively differ from the world: useless really, a collection of inspired madness. Right where Kurt belonged! Go tell that to the trees!
© Copyright 2016 minusthematt. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Literary Fiction
Poem / Poetry
Short Story / Literary Fiction
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