Alone on High

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A family that has all, losing control...

Submitted: February 24, 2008

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Submitted: February 24, 2008

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Alone on High

By Landon Gray

The family sat around the table. The light entering the dining room from the tall windows was growing dim. Only one light was on despite the ample light fixtures, and it was just enough to illuminate the room adequately. No one took the responsibility of turning on another light; they all sat, looking tired. Everyone looked worn down, except the youngest. Rudy, sitting in his high chair, was gazing with curious eyes at the family. He couldn’t understand why his baby food jar still had its lid on.

He was hungry, and tired, but didn’t want to incite scowling by crying. With desperate eyes, he glanced at his mother. Lucky for him she caught his eyes, and saw the jar. With a soothing tone and words he couldn’t yet understand she walked over, opening the jar and slowly giving him spoonfuls of food. His brother said something in a solemn, afraid tone. The calm atmosphere changed like adding a catalyst to a chemical reaction, what seemed to be harsh words were exchanged freely now from across both sides the table. His mom stopped feeding the baby and started to weigh in her words. Rudy looked down at his spoon, back at his mom, then to his dad. He was hungry, and it was that simple. Why had his mom stopped? With little hands he began to grab for the spoon. It was difficult, his motor skills still developing. He managed to get his fist around the end of the spoon, and with careful concentration he began to put it into the jar. He focused on keeping the spoon level like he’d seen his mom and nanny do. With all his might, he was able to get the spoon into the jar and manage to pull out the mush. It was delicious, though he had no idea what it was. On the jar, he saw red circles and some sort of weird shapes with curves and dots. He was young, and eating was a prime way of having fun.
He knew not of television screens, or of passing a football. He didn’t know about things like women or the complicated world beyond him. He didn’t know the complications of those around him. He was hungry, and no one would feed him. So there he was trying his damnedest to pull the mush out of the jar with the weird shapes and red circles on it.
His mom came back from the argument to feed him after a few minutes, tears in her eyes. She tried to act normal, but her voice quivered with every soothing coo to the baby. His brother was crying with his sister, a large black object that sometimes showed funny moving pictures on the wall shot out sparks, the dad recoiling from throwing the candle holder at it. It was all very unsettling for Rudy, he was only one and a half years old. His mother still fed him, and even though he was full he continued to eat, trying to make his mom feel better by not crying in fullness. He didn’t know what to do, and even as an infant he felt like he was helpless to better the situation. He saw red drops drip down from his moms nose.
A family crumbling at the merciless actions of its own members.
Really, what more could she ask for? She had two kids and a beautiful baby named Rudy. She had a four story house, a deck and pool. She had a lavishly decorated interior. She had nannies to take care of her children’s every whim. She needed not what she was indulging in. Still, a housewife can get bored with nothing to do around the house. She had deep bank accounts, she had every fur coat and every piece of jewelry a woman could ask for. She had looks. She had a personal trainer and a Ferrari. All this and more ran through her head as she emptied the canister of powder on the high chair tray. Rolling up a one-hundred dollar bill, she ingested the substance into her nose and slipped off again for the second time that day into an opiate state. The high would last until dinner.
A woman with everything that meant nothing.
He looked out the window, wondering what kind of man he had become. He was a father of two children, and had a beautiful baby named Rudy. The woman in the bed asked him if it had been a worthy lunch break. He sat on the chair until she left, holding his face in his hands. Agonizing realizations that he had married the wrong woman this far into the course of raising a family entered his mind. He was successful, at corporate executive for a large shipping firm. He had seen and done things that most people dream of. In his younger days he traveled across the world, learning of other cultures and traditions, hoping to become wise and honorable. He had been a top football player for his high school. He attended two ivy-league colleges. All this had let him up to what? To find himself in another woman’s house, on his lunch break. He left work early, he needed to be home for dinner.
A man with honor lost.
He thought of his baby brother Rudy as he watched the streetlights pass by from the backseat. He had learned quickly that even though he was only a freshmen, the world is still a dangerous place. He had learned quickly the tools of his trade, like adding oregano to a bag to make it heavier to increase profit. He learned that anyone can be scammed with the right words. He learned that it was easy for any scared kid to rat him out. He made a deal with the officer, he would tell his folks at dinner, and face the legal consequences tomorrow.
A desperate kid in the back of a cop cruiser.
Here at this pivotal moment, she needed to make a decision. She thought about how lucky her baby brother Rudy was to be too young to make decisions like this. She looked at her best friend mercilessly beating a punk who made fun of her. She saw pain in the punks eyes and blood drip down to the pavement making a little pool. She could save him or watch this punk die here. She wouldn’t know the consequences of her indecision until she saw the white sheet go over the body as she was walking away. She wouldn’t know until she saw her best friend handcuffed, when all along she could’ve ended it before it became fatal. She wondered how she was able to get away. She hurried home in the snow, she didn’t want to be late for dinner.
A young girl with her future held in the hands of her own guilty mind.
The family sat around the table. The light entering the dining room from the tall windows was growing dim. Only one light was on despite the ample light fixtures, and it was just enough to illuminate the room adequately. No one took the responsibility of turning on another light; they all sat, all looking like wolves. Everyone looked engulfed in rage, except the youngest. Rudy, sitting in his high chair, was gazing with curious eyes at the family.
Rudy sat in his high chair, wondering why things were so unpleasant, so angry. Why the air was thick with tension. He was a hungry baby, why couldn’t someone just feed him? In his high chair, he grabbed the spoon, trying with all his might to understand.
The End.


© Copyright 2017 Victor Gray. All rights reserved.

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