The lives that we lived
In the room where Walter Wathkin's mom lay dead on the floor face down was as quiet as a mouse scurrying towards it's next meal and as still as a sunset setting upon the mountains. There was no blood, weapons or evidence of struggle, just her face pressed up against the hard wood floor, eyes wide open. It wasn’t like she had a face of agony or shock, not even a face of realizing she wanted to live, her face had a calm, pleasant expression. There in the living room is where she was found, not too long after Walter began his walk home from another junior year day of high school. At first he thought she was playing dead or maybe drank too much of the white wine she liked so much. After not responding to a few witty comments, Walter began to panic and sprinted towards his mom. Flipping her over so her face was towards the ceiling, Walter checked for a pulse but found none, then he started to commence CPR. His every try spelt failure but his cries could be heard down the block, cries for help and cries that brought out every single tear that his father found him with. There they sat, holding each other, not speaking because words could not express the pain and shock they felt not knowing it would be nothing compared to what would happen next.
The following months were rougher than anyone had expected. Harry's mom and dad were so in love, together twenty years without a single regret or thought of being with another. They went through college, buying a home, and raising a promising son together. Now she was gone. Forever. Walter was a mess inside, but tried to keep busy with school and friends, things that eased his mind of the torture his moms death brought upon him. He was a regular normal boy, he had never really tried drugs besides that one time with pot at a high school party, offered by his long time crush. Now he slowly started to smoke pot every weekend until it became so routine, it even slipped into the school week. He enjoyed how free it made his mind, the possibility of being caught gave him a rush like nothing he had ever experienced. This phase continued for about a month,so did the new disregard for homework and friends. One day he decided the weed high wasn’t enough, also that he wanted something more than the munchies. Walt started going to more and more parties, searching for harder drugs such as coke and ecstasy. He found them with ease and when he used there was no pain, suffering or any of that bullshit, just him and the universe in complete harmony. He had no job, just a weekly allowance, that small amount of money never went to food or even a token for the bus. It went straight to the cravings, the things that set him as free as a bird. The measly allowance wasn’t enough so he started selling his belongings and even things his father owned. His father, who had developed a bit of a drinking problem caught wind of this when his 1988 Dan Marino signed football went missing. He sat Walter down and confronted him about his missing property, but when he did Walter denied the whole thing and said his father's drinking problem was making him go crazy. Walt's dad then called him a useless junkie,which took Walt to a whole new level of disgust, not just for his dad but for himself as well. Walter stood up off the couch and pushed his own father to the ground. Soon after that the two exchanged a few fist and went their own ways, Walter into the street and his dad to the kitchen. The young Watchkins went to the block where he scored many a time and scored bigger than ever before. The older Watchkins set several shot glasses in a row on the kitchen counter and filled them each to the brim with vodka. Not to say the two were in rhythm but they both hit the floor at the exact same moment, Walter on the curb a few blocks away and his father on the hard wood floor in the kitchen.
The next morning Walter came walking home when his dad was walking to his car to get to work. No words were said but the tension in the air could easily be felt and nothing but dirty looks were exchanged. Crashing on his unmade bed, Walt tried to sleep but after a few tries he realized it would be damn near impossible to sleep after a high like last night. For the first time in months he could actually feel, feel the thoughts and expressions coming from his head and heart. He pondered how he handled his moms passing so far and how far off it was from the way he should have handled it. When he closed his eyes he could see her, walking through the garden in the backyard with her favorite white dress on, shining like a angel in the sunlight. Then she whispered his name, clear as day, sounding like she was right beside him. Opening his eyes he saw the room spin, tears rolled down his face and he begged and pleaded for her back. After crying for a few hours the young man fell into a deep slumber, catching up on all the hours he missed when he was out in the street wasting his life away and rotting his brain. As the days and weeks went by, Walter's drug use became reduced but still present. He was back to pot only on the weekends as his grades started to see some life again. His dad on the other hand stuck to his ways and refused to put down the bottle. Even though he drank like before, he was now tolerable, the two could go days without arguing. Months went by, the leaves outside went from green to yellow to brown before descending to the ground. Life was somewhat good in the Watchkins house. Walters mom's anniversary of passing away was coming up in a few days and he had no idea how to take it or what to even do on such a day. After days of thinking, he decided he would just make dinner at home for his dad and watch his moms favorite movie,“The Titanic''. Walter was out of school and walking up to his house when he stopped, standing there in completely surprised and puzzled. In the driveway of the Watchkins home was a car, Walter's dad's car. He usually would still be at his tax company desk job at this time, or at the bar if he got off early. A brisk walk turned into a frantic jog as Walt eagerly sought to find out just exactly what was going on. He opened the door and saw his father on the ground, dead and covered in blood. Next to his right hand was a pistol, the one he had always kept in his sock drawer in case there was ever a break in. On the television was “The Titanic”, but it was paused on the scene where the unusual lovers stood on the very front of the ship, arms in the air and on each other. The stereo was playing opera music but it wasn’t from the movie, it was his wife's favorite CD. Walter sunk to the floor, eyes fixed upon his fathers body. He was completely numb, he couldn’t move or even open his mouth to say a word. He knew his dad was depressed and had a bit of a drinking problem but he never saw this coming. Pulling himself off the floor, he made his way to his room, and when he got there he sunk once again to the floor, face first this time, shattering his nose. No tears were shed, no screams were let out, in fact he could hardly open his eyes. He felt so empty, every emotion was downstairs in the living room, dead like his family. In the corner of his eye he saw it, poking out from underneath the bed. It was a white plastic box that he called “Desperate Measures”. Inside that box lived a needle, a plastic band, and at least a hundred dollars worth of crystal meth. Rushing to pull it out, Walt crawled across his floor, mouth watering at the idea of an extreme high. After Walter injected himself a few times, there was nothing left, just a kid with a fucking grudge against the world. For a second Walter forgot that both his parents were gone forever but once he remembered he instantly felt sadness and hatred pour down all over him. He had never felt an emotion this strong, he hated himself and life itself, or perhaps just the unlucky cards it dealt him. Maybe his heart was just cold for so long, maybe that’s why this emotion is so intense he thought. Walt got up and walked down into the living room and layed down right next to his father, feeling the warm body sink into his clothes. He picked up the snub nosed pistol and put it to his head. Although bloody, the gun shined in certain spots, catching the sun from the window's glare. He was so sick of losing, sick of feeling so lonely and sick of coming down from the constant highs. His eyes were dry, his body was calm and his breathes were regular paced. Then his eyes closed and the trigger was pulled, his arm hit the ground and for the first time the Watchkins shared silence.
The sound of crackling woke Walter up, after rubbing his eyes he realized the sound was coming from a television placed in the middle of an all white room. Looking around he saw nobody else, or any means of escape for that matter. Stepping away from the black and white television, Walter moved backwards but after awhile stopped, there was no wall or end behind him. Walt slipped into yet another anxiety attack and took off running, sweat dripping down his brow and landing on his beaten up brown Nike's. He was in terrible shape, it was now that he regretted skipping P.E. Every day of senior year. Knowing he couldn’t keep going, he did, feeling like his heart was going to burst out of his chest in a bloody fashion. Up ahead in the distance he saw something small, resembling a square, blinking on and off repeatedly. He figured he was probably going to die soon so he ran to the figure that he had no idea about in a place his mind couldn’t even fathom. When he reached it he fell to the floor, completely terrified and ready to puke, which he did a few seconds later. In front of him was the noisy black and white television that he ran for his life from. The noise stopped and the screen went blank. A message came up in red letters telling him he had to make a choice. He could have his life back but only one parent would be able to come back with him. His second choice was that his parents could be alive and healthy again but he would not be able to come back with them. At first he didn’t believe a television was giving him an ultimatum, and that it could make either choice possibly happen. The screen faded to black again and told him it would show him what both options would be like. This intrigued him more than anything in the world. He scooted closer as the opening scenes of option one started. Walter himself knew his dad would keep drinking if his wife wasn’t around and the television was already one step ahead of him. It showed him life with his mom again. They would live in a smaller house than what they currently had. They both worked two jobs and barely got by. His mom never found love again but loved Walter more than life itself. Walter would sooner or later get picked up for defaulting on his college loans and selling pot to kids a nearby middle school. His mom then lived alone, becoming a sad and bitter old woman, falling victim to a heart attack when finding out her son was killed in prison. The television went black and all he could see was his hands over his mouth, searching for his breath. Light came back to the screen as it started to show him option two. His parents lived in a bigger house then the one they died in. The two owned a chain of gardening supply stores and were very wealthy and madly in love. They never had a child and didn’t plan to. The two grew old together and passed away a week within each other. The screen then told him when he made his choice to say it aloud before going to black and white, emitting a crackling sound again. Tears poured down his face like a child falling of a bike for the first time. He loved his parents with everything he had, he felt so bad for all the trouble he ever caused them and knew how deeply they loved each other. Walt stood up and started to walk into the blankness. He was about to do something he never intended to, sacrifice himself for the better good of two people that gave him the world. Tears still coming, Walter shouted out “Let them live together! Give them their lives back please!” With the biggest smile on his face, his body rose and floated up, the surroundings around him becoming brighter and brighter. Though Walter was gone, his parents lived long and happy as ever, always feeling like they were protected by somebody in the sky. Someone they never knew but thanked for the rest of their lives.
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