Home, Part 5
November 16, 2011 § 1 Comment
Here’s the new part! No need for warnings this time, just read and enjoy.
The home was quiet on Tuesday afternoons. It was usually quiet but it was more quiet on Tuesdays. I wonder if things can be more quiet. Isn’t quiet complete? Pipes would ping sometimes and I would hear the unfamiliar sound. Or someone would walk across the floor above me and the old wood would creak like it was dying. And we were downtown, so sirens would go weee-wooo weee-wooo all night sometimes. When that happened I would look at Hulk and hope that nothing bad was happening, and that those sirens would mean that someone was being protected from the bad men or the fire.
Hulk smiled. Hulk always smiled. Hulk must have really liked yellow.
I shuffled over to my fridge. Shuffling was the one thing about the home that was better than being at Home. There were thick carpets, which were fun to walk through with both my feet on the ground like trains.
I missed the streetcar. We weren’t allowed on the streetcars anymore. We weren’t allowed outside unless we had a reason to be there. Mr. Finnegan was very serious about that. Mr. Finnegan was always serious. And fat. He never smiled, and when he talked to you, he spoke very quickly and very madly. I didn’t talk much to him. Or the nurses. They were very cheerful, and Nurse Gloria was very nice, but I didn’t know what to say. Once, Damien, who lived next door, said something to the nurses and then he had to talk with Mr. Finnegan.
I didn’t want to talk to Mr. Finnegan again.
I had to do it the second week after Aunt Amanda and Richard helped me move in. I wanted to watch some of my wrestling tapes because I felt bad. When I felt bad, I sometimes liked to watch the classic matches, like when Machoman Randy Savage fought the Ultimate Warrior. I knew how it was going to end, but it was still fun to watch. Machoman lost, which made me mad the first time I saw it, but Mom took my hand and said, “It’s alright, honey. You’ve just got to fight harder when you lose. That’s how you win in the end: just fight harder than the other guy.”
But the home didn’t have a VCR. I needed a VCR, so I asked the nurse. She didn’t care and just told me to watch Jeopardy. But I cared, and I wanted to watch Randy Savage fight in his custom gear. I wanted to, just like at home, and the nurse wouldn’t let me. So I got mad and started to get loud. No-one listened, so I knocked over a vase. Then the nurses listened to me, so I guess it worked.
Mr. Finnegan talked to me the next day. He is bald, and gets very red when he gets mad. He looked like a big tomato when I saw him. He didn’t shout very much, but he still talked in an angry voice that I didn’t like. He said that we had to “live together”, and “keep the peace”, and “not have violent images or do violent things.” I didn’t see how wrestling was violent. Violence is things like bad movies or angry video games. My tapes are happy. How can they be violent if they make me feel like I’m back at Home?
When I got home from class the next day, my tapes were missing from my room. I was very sad, but I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to talk to Mr. Finnegan again. I started to draw pictures of scenes that I remembered from the fights, and this time, I didn’t show them to anyone.
I was waiting on my bed in the quiet because Aunt Amanda and Richard wanted to see me today. They were going to take me to get dinner at a restaurant and we would talk. I was happy, because I didn’t see many people that I wanted to talk to. Some of the others in the home weren’t very friendly, and some were like me who couldn’t talk so well. We tried to talk sometimes, but it got frustrating when we couldn’t understand each other. So I spent most of my time not saying anything.
It was easier.
They were late, but it was alright. Richard often said, when I called them on the phone, that they were “too busy to talk right now, too busy to talk”. They were really busy, because sometimes they said it even on Sunday afternoons when Richard didn’t work. It was alright, but I still wanted to see them so I could talk to them. So I could see them. They were my only family now.
It still hurt sometimes, but I blinked away my tear. I didn’t want to cry anymore.
I paced around my room while I waited. It was still mostly white and mostly small. I put up as many posters as I could find, but some of them were “inappropriate” and I couldn’t leave them there. Hulk was still up. Hulk was never coming down.
But today, Richard and Amanda were coming, so I was happy. We were Going Out To Eat, so I wore my nice clothing. It took me a long time to tie a tie, but I did it as good as Mom showed me, and I still wore my favourite suit. It was brown, but it fit, and I liked how it made me look. Like a businessman.
There was a knock at my door, and Aunt Amanda walked in.
“Hello, Aunt. Where’s Richard?” I asked.
“Oh, you’re dressed nice.” She wasn’t. She was wearing shiny black pants that were very tight and a big sweater and flip-flops. She took me by the arm though. It was nice to be touched by someone else again. I hugged her, but it was only a short one. “He’s in the car. Let’s go, John. We’ve got a big afternoon ahead of us!”
It was a lot of fun! I thought we were only going to a restaurant, but we also went to a baseball game! It was mostly empty, and I didn’t really like baseball, and Richard and Amanda just tapped on their phones the whole time, but it was fun! I talked to Aunt Amanda a bit, but she didn’t say much when she answered. They must have been so busy, to keep needing their phones even when they weren’t at work.
We left half-way through, but it was alright because the Jays were losing 11-3 at that point. Bautista wasn’t going to hit them out of that hole, no he wasn’t. I was starving and hot because of my suit, but I was excited because now we could go somewhere nice to eat. Somewhere where you would Go Out To, where you had to wear nice suits like mine.
We drove for a bit while I chewed the bubblegum that Richard brought me. I didn’t like it and don’t remember ever saying I did, but he brought it for me so I felt bad not enjoying it, even a little. We turned into the parking lot of a McDonald’s, and I was confused.
“What are we doing?”
Aunt Amanda turned around to look at me. Their new car wasn’t very big, but it was fancy. This must have been why they were so busy, to afford fancy sportscars like this. “We’re going to get some food. You like McDonald’s, right?”
“Yes, b-b-but I thought we were going out for dinner.” I said, slowly.
Aunt Amanda was confused. “But we are, aren’t we? We’re taking you out for dinner?” Her face looked confused, and then laughing. “Oh, you thought…oh no, honey, we don’t have time for a big meal right now. We’ll just get something quick, because Richard and I have to go soon. But we’ve got something exciting to tell you!”
We ordered meals. I wanted to get the purple one, but Richard just told us to sit down and got me a Big Mac instead. He didn’t hear me when I said I wanted a purple one. He was talking to someone with a little phone in his ear. They were talking about investing and stocks. I don’t know what those are. They might have something to do with his job. Richard works in an office, but I thought it was a dental office.
“What did you want to t-tell me?” I asked after eating all my fries. I ate them one at a time after betting my own ketchup. I didn’t ask Richard to get it for me, I got it myself. The pump was a little quick, but overall, it was a good pour.
Richard talked a little quieter into his ear and Amanda took my hand. “Oh, it’s exciting honey! Richard and I are moving to Ottawa! He got a big, uh,” she looked at him but he was looking away, “bonus at work, and we can afford to move back to Ottawa now. Richard’s parent’s are sick, and they need out help!” She smiled at me.
“That’s good. You should help them then. B-but what about me?” I asked, suddenly a little mad and a little sad. I didn’t know why, but I thought I did. I didn’t know where Ottawa is, but I knew it was far away. Too far away to visit easily. I always wanted to see the Parliament buildings where Mr. Prime Minister lived, but Mom was too old to make it, she said. It was too far for her, and that made it too far for me.
Too far for Mr. Finnegan.
“Um, what about you, honey? You’re living at St. Charles now, remember?”
Of course I remembered. “Yes, but when will I see you? Can I call you? I’m l-l-lonely sometimes.”
She patted my hand. “Oh, but we’ll be far away. Far, far away. It’ll be hard to visit often. We’ll come see you at Christmas, though, and when Richard and I come to visit the city, but yes, it won’t be often. You’ll have to make some friends in the home while we’re gone.”
I was very sad and mad now. I didn’t want them to disappear like this. It was hard enough not seeing them more than once a month, but they made it sound like they were going away forever. I didn’t want that. I wanted them to stay, even if they didn’t stay for long, or talk to me much. They were family. Mom said to stay close to family.
“You shouldn’t go. You should stay here.”
“Oh, but honey, the house has already been bought! And remember how sick Richard’s parents are? They need us every day. We need to be with them, just in case something happens.”
“But I want you here.” I was mad. Hot mad. Really hot mad. I was going to get loud.
Aunt Amanda looked sad and annoyed. “I know, but we’ll come visit! You can call us if you need to. We won’t be that far away! It’s just Ottawa!”
But I did call you, and you’re too busy. What about now, with Richard’s sick parents? You could come visit me any day, and you don’t. What about now, that you’re in Ottawa? You are too far away for Mr. Finnegan now, what about when you’re in Ottawa?
Why was I being left alone again? But I didn’t know how to say it out loud. The thoughts were there but the words weren’t. I was still getting hot mad and squished my Big Mac.
“Stupid…b-burger! It’s stupid! It’s all stupid! You’re stupid!’ I shouted. I wasn’t mad at her, but I was, and I just didn’t know how to say it. I tried, but it came out wrong.
“John! Stop that! We’re in public!” Aunt Amanda said. “Richard, do something!”
Richard looked at me. “Hold on Gerry, my wife needs me. John, calm down! Calm down! You can’t talk to your Aunt like that! Say sorry!”
“No! You say sorry! To me!” Say sorry for leaving. Say sorry for not visiting. Say sorry for not fighting more for home. Say sorry for not coming to see Mom when she was sad. Say sorry for not being there when we needed you. Say sorry for not helping when Dad left. Say sorry for not being family.
I said Richard, you say sorry.
He got mad too, but I was madder. “No, Johnny, you’re the one who said something bad. You say sorry to your Aunt.” He grabbed my shoulder because I was rocking in my seat. “Say sorry.”
I was tired of it. They weren’t fighting for me. They were fighting me. And I was going to be sure that I was fighting for my own side.
I stood up and threw off Richard’s arm. I must have thrown him off harder than I thought, because he fell on the ground. It looked like I hurt his hand. I didn’t care. He hurt me.
Aunt Amanda was yelling something at me, but I didn’t listen. They didn’t listen to me anymore, so I didn’t see why I should listen to them. I walked to the door and looked back. Richard had climbed back into his seat and Aunt Amanda was chasing after me.
No. She was Amanda now.
“Why did you do that? That was very, very bad of you John! You hurt Richard! You can’t do that!”
I opened the door to walk out.
“What you you doing, John?”
I looked at her for the last time.
“I’m going to say my prayers, take my vitamins, and never go wrong.” I said, and then I walked away. And took the streetcar home.