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Das ist so eine Art Geschichte, bei der ich mich als Hauptperson f?hle. Mittendrin ab sp?testens der dritten Zeile. Und wenn ich bis zu Ende gelesen habe, halte ich inne und denke mir: 'Man, so muss man schreiben. So muss man schreiben.'



At one o'clock, Mikey sat on his bed, messy and unmade, turned on his stereo, and smiled. He was tired, tired in a lazy way, and glad to be alone. He was tired because, the night before, he'd gone out to a party that he hadn't wanted to attend, and he'd stayed later then he'd wanted to stay, and he'd gotten far, far more drunk then he'd wanted to get. His father had woken him up briskly at eight, because their arrangement was that Mikey got to use the car and got a meager stipend of twenty five dollars a week if he performed certain menial chores around the house. Saturday morning was always the day to mow the lawn.

He thought about taking a shower, but then decided that even that, even something so easy, was too much effort. It was spring, at last spring, and the sky was blue and the sun was bright and the air was cool, and he felt that he needed to give his heart a chance to air out, just as his mother was airing out the sheets and bedding. It had been a long winter, a cold winter, and he felt as though it were time to push up through the soil and burst into flower.

He laid still on his bed, on his back, with his hands behind his head, glasses off so he couldn't really see, singing along silently. It made him feel jubilant. It made him feel grand. He felt like life might not ever be so nice again, as it was then, in his squalid bedroom singing along to gleeful music that nobody else liked. If nobody else were home, well then he might lift his voice and sing loudly as he could, until the vocals of the song were eclipsed and it all started to sound miserable.

Somebody knocked lightly on his doorframe, and he looked up to see his brother in the doorway.

"What?" he asked, a little rude, but not as rude as he wanted to be.

"I'm going downtown to see that movie I told you about at that cool theatre on High Street," he said, sounding excited. "Do you want to come?"

Mikey sat up, lazily, and said, "What movie?" He knew, really, what his brother was talking about, but he was in a contrary mood and not pleased at having been disturbed.

"That movie," Gerard said. "We talked about it yesterday. You remember." He crossed his arms and looked a little upset. Mikey thought that maybe it was a terrible idea that Gerard hadn't moved away to go to college. He saved a lot of money by commuting, but he still was forced to pal around with his kid brother, or else have no friends at all.

"Oh yeah," Mikey said. "I guess I do remember." He rolled his neck and it cracked loudly. His brother winced. "It's supposed to be really good?"

"Definitely," Gerard said. "It's supposed to be great. I'm excited."

"Oh," said Mikey. "Well." He looked away towards the window, unwilling to go but hesitant to say that he had no desire to.

Gerard came and sat down next to him on the bed, and he laid down his sketchbook, which he'd been carrying with him. He flopped backwards and groaned a little, as though it were all too much for him to bear. Mikey picked the sketchbook up and rifled through the pages. Once upon a time, he'd loved to see what Gerard had drawn, and he craved the privilege of being allowed to watch a drawing in progress. But now all his brother's characters seemed sad and the same, mostly, and Mikey sometimes thought that maybe all this college wasn't teaching him anything.

Still, it was interesting to look and to see that his brother thought the world was such a bloody place. Mikey tried to think like that once upon a time, tried to pretend that he thought there were so many ghouls too, but it just didn't work. Maybe it was because his hair was blond, but his disposition was just too sunny. He tried to be glum, but he never felt anything quite poignantly enough, and perhaps that was his true failing.

He hadn't looked at Gerard's sketchbooks in a long while, and few of the images satisfied him. He remembered that once he had been obsessed with his brother. Once he had adored him, but now they were both older and they had grown apart, and Gerard seemed a burden, almost. Besides, he smelled like cigarette smoke and that did aggravate Mikey's asthma.

At length, Gerard said, "What are you listening to?" He sounded a little astonished, like he had never imagined any such music.

"Oh, nothing," Mikey said. He ran his hand across his chest and thought about coughing. "You know what? I think I'm going to pass on that movie."

Gerard looked a little sad, at that, but Mikey closed his eyes and didn't even watch as he walked away.

-----

At four o'clock Mikey sat down on one of the rickety swings at the playground and dragged his feet in the sand. It was still light out, full broad afternoon, and he was pleased. It was not really warm, but not cool either, and that sort of weather suited him.

Frank was tearing up a piece of paper that had been in his pocket and letting the pieces drop to the ground. The wind tumbled them a few yards away before they got caught up in the unkempt grass. Mikey almost felt like saying something, telling him not to litter because it was rude and wrong, but such a message seemed too didactic and terrible, and he couldn't bring himself to care.

"So," said Frank.

Mikey did not respond. He was digging a shallow hole in the coarse sand with the toe of his right foot. The sand was moist and had turned the toe of his sneaker orange, and he thought miserably that he would have to wash them soon.

Frank came and sat down on the swing next to Mikey, but because it was higher and he so much shorter his feet just barely brushed the ground.

"So," he said again, but this time he continued. "What do you think?"

Mikey didn't give him the satisfaction of looking up, but rather leaned backwards, so that the blood rushed to his head and his hair brushed the dirt and his shirt rode up and his stomach was bare. His glasses tumbled off and fell to the ground, and he had to get off the swing and retrieve them.

Safely back on, he said, "I don't know."

"Oh," said Frank, sounding deflated. "Oh. I thought..."

Mikey didn't know what to say, because he didn't want to make the situation worse. "It was fun," he said, at length, and his voice cracked and he cursed puberty for making him sound so squeaky still, at age seventeen and three fifths.

"Mikey," Frank said, warningly. "You know that's not all that it meant." He sounded urgent and his voice took on the strangely unreal tone, as it always did when he was confronted with an unusually dramatic situation and decided to take his cue from films or television programs.

Mikey sighed. He tried, awkwardly, to hook his leg around Frank's and pull him close, but failed and instead reached out with his hand and pulled the two swings together. It was a strange and uncomfortable position but even still Frank leaned over and kissed him, wet tongue and soft lips, until Mikey, growing impatient, let go of the other swing and they swung lazily apart.

"Jesus Christ, Mikey!" Frank exclaimed. He sounded a little disgusted.

Mikey leaned over and coughed, feeling something raw and sharp scrape low in his chest. Perhaps, with these longer warmer days coming, his allergies were starting earlier this year then they usually did. Perhaps it would not be long until all the trees were adorned with soft new emerald growth, and the flowers were in first bloom. He coughed until his back hurt and then sat up, even though the scratch was not gone.

"Mikey," Frank said. He sounded sincere. "Mikey, you know I really like you." The sentiment was so mawkish Mikey had to resist the urge to gag. "I just don't understand why it always has to mean nothing."

Mikey looked up at the sky, and hummed a bar of that song he'd had on earlier, and smiled. He didn't really know either.

Frank, all hangdog, looked at him and seemed close to tears or hysteria. From his pocket he took a cigarette and a lighter and he turned away as he lit the cigarette but Mikey heard the click of the lighter, and it was almost like he felt the flame and that same smoke.

"Listen," he said. "I gotta get going, Frank." From the pocket of his jean jacket he produced a cassette tape. It wasn't labeled at all. "I made this for you," he said, and he handed it to Frank. "I'll see you later, then."

He walked away down the street towards his house and did not look back even once.

-----

At seven o'clock, Mikey sat down at the dinner table with his mother and his father and his older brother. Saturday was the only day of the whole week they ate dinner together because his mother worked the late shift at the diner most other days, and their father sometimes had to stay late at work too. But Saturday, no matter what, they ate together as, Mikey supposed, any other family might.

Gerard, since going to college, had become a vegetarian, much to their parents' ire. He didn't any meat or any eggs, which left him with surprisingly few options. Mikey thought about being a vegetarian too, but it seemed like too much work and he had none of Gerard's conviction.

Their mother served them a soupy looking casserole she had made, and Mikey thought that just the sight of it was enough to make his appetite disappear. She was not what one could call an accomplished cook. Most of what she considered cooking involved opening cans or boxes and pouring the contents into the appropriate pot or dish.

Their father said grace and in silence they began eating, or in Mikey's case slowly sipping a glass of water and moving his food around his place. Shortly, he guessed, his mother would chide him, because she said that he never ate properly and was far too thin. He didn't have the heart to tell her that he couldn't stomach the majority of her cuisine.

"So how was that movie?" their mother asked Gerard.

"Great," he said. "It was really good." There was a spot of something on his chin, and Mikey had the strongest urge to reach across the table and wipe it off.

"Good," their mother said. Mikey guessed that Gerard must have borrowed her car. He had his own that he bought with the money from working at the comic book store all through high school, but he had to sell it when he decided to go to college because he hardly ever used it and couldn't afford the insurance.

"You should have come, Mikey," he said. "You really would have liked it." He didn't sound angry, just upset maybe because he thought that Mikey really would enjoy the film.

"Oh, I guess," said Mikey. "Maybe next time." He violently buttered one of the burnt little dinner rolls his mother had popped out of their cardboard container and then baked.

"It was a good movie," Gerard said. "It was right up your alley."

Mikey sighed and thought that maybe he didn't have an alley. After a moment, he pushed his chair away from the table and asked permission to go upstairs and lie down, because his head ached and he thought his allergies might be acting up. His mother fretted and made him take an aspirin, but she let him go. He paused on the stairs and listened, and he could hear his family talking quietly at the table, but he just pinched the bridge of his nose to stem the pain and went up to his dark bedroom.

-----

At ten o'clock, Mikey sat on his floor with his back against the wall and his telephone in his lap. Frank had called him and he was on the phone now, still, listening to him plead and reason.

"Mikey," he kept saying. "You have to understand. I love you, Mikey."

Mikey mostly just kept quiet and studied the shadows that the streetlights cast on his wall. His door was closed but he could hear his brother in the next room, playing music quite loudly for this hour of the night. That scratch in his chest was back, that little burr, and he kept coughing to make it go away. It wouldn't budge, though.

"Mikey," Frank said. He sounded shrill and Mikey thought maybe he was drunk. He couldn't tell over the phone but he knew Frank well and it was likely. "Why did you let me kiss you if you didn't care?" he asked, sounding pathetic.

Mikey sighed and said, "I didn't think that kissing meant caring, Frank."

Frank let out a little noise that was like a whimper.

Mikey rubbed his chest, because the dryness and the pain were worse, right under his ribcage.

"You're such a fucking psycho, Mikey," said Frank.

Mikey closed his eyes and coughed.

"You're crazy. You're like, a fucking robot," said Frank, growing hysterical. "Don't you care?" he asked.

Mikey stilled his wretched hacking, and replied, "You haven't been listening, Frank. I don't love anyone."

He hung up the phone before he could hear what came next.

-----

At one o'clock, Mikey snuck into his brother's room and stole one of the cigarettes from the pack that was always in Gerard's back pocket. His jeans had been tossed messily on the floor, so it wasn't hard. The whole house was still, sleeping, and Mikey slunk back to his own room and sat down at his desk. Because he didn't do homework often and didn't have a particular talent or hobby that would require him to use it, the desk was neat and hardly touched from the last time he'd cleaned it out and organized it all. The same song, the song from the afternoon, was still playing, but the volume was at the lowest level now, so it was just audible.

He had a lighter that he kept in his desk draw but he never used it. He took it out now, and tested the flame. It glowed nice and bright above his pale hand. He took his stolen cigarette and held the end in the flame until it was lit. Then he brought it to his lips and inhaled deeply, drawing in the harsh smoke. It was like his whole body was a desert and that smoke dried it out even more, made every last thing die.

He had never smoked before, because of the asthma and his weak lungs, and it burned. It burned, and he coughed and coughed until his throat hurt and his back hurt. The cigarette burned away lazily, sending up a tiny graceful ribbon of smoke, but Mikey didn't notice it. He was coughing still as he stubbed it out in an almost empty can of soda, and even with the smoke gone his lungs felt withered and his chest felt barren. Wracked by spasms, he collapsed on his bed, and hoped he wouldn't need his inhaler. He coughed until his eyes watered and his limbs grew weak and his body stilled, and in that way, he fell fast asleep.


~...was dich zu dem macht was du bist...~
6.12.05 00:55
 


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