Chapter 4:

Chaos is like a parasite

I watched Life Spring into my eyes

“-uck!!!” “Bookmark here

Hey! We’re closing, so you have to hurry up and get on the line now.” someone shouts out to me from the other end of the aisle. The loud and deep voice help bring me back to reality and out of my infinite queries.Bookmark here

My widened eyes looked from the worker--who was already heading to another part of the store--then to the television above me and then quickly to the mess of toys behind me. “Damn it I can’t even focus anymore, I might have some unopened blister packs at home. Aghhh! Whatever.” I say to myself and quickly make my way out of the store and into the parking lot where my mom waited for me.Bookmark here

*click* *BEEP BEEP* *click* Bookmark here

Before my mom could even turn her head to see what the origin of the commotion was I was already strapped in telling her to take us home. “What is it, Theo!? Did something happen?” she exclaimed while starting up the car and putting it in reverse. “No, nothing mom...umm here..” Bookmark here

I reached into my pocket and pulled out her debit card. “Thank you,” I said as I anxiously tapped the tip of my shoes against the floorboard of the car, trying my best to get my thoughts in order and slowly piece everything together.Bookmark here

“Well alright.” She says as she focuses on the road ahead and drives us home. Bookmark here

*ding* *ding* My phone rings loudly and breaks the silence that engulfs the car. “Hm? I hope It’s not...I-it can’t be.” I thought to myself while reaching for my phone. The phone was now before me with its blinding light burning my eyeballs and illuminating the rear portion of the car, almost like the headlight of a passing vehicle. After briefly rubbing my eyes and squinting to both get some moisture and slightly adust them to the light, I looked at the most recent notification towering above the cascading list waiting to be read.Bookmark here

“Message from Ari: Hey! Howz the head ((:P))” it read.Bookmark here

In just a matter of seconds, my stomach had imploded three hundred times and my hands became so sweaty they looked like droplets of rain on a windowpane after a thunderstorm. Bookmark here

*chick*Bookmark here

 I locked my phone and shoved it back into my pocket “No...why?...why would she….no but if I don’t respond she’ll probably be put off...or maybe she doesn’t really care after all she is an IDOL….AGGGGHHHH.” I literally and figuratively started to pull my hair out while regressing to my chaotic internal self-conflict.Bookmark here

My mom glanced at me through the rearview mirror and with a slight chuckle lingering behind her words said “Are you sure you’re alright there bud?” Bookmark here

“ isn’t really the best time...” I replied, rubbing my cheeks in an almost grotesque manner, almost as if slathering some sort of lubricant onto my face. But surprisingly that seemingly grotesque action calmed me down a bit.Bookmark here

“Alright well, we’re here.” She said with a playful giggle and turned into the driveway of the house. Once the car came to a halt and the engine had audibly ceased its mechanical hums, I raced out of the car and into the house. Interestingly, the fear of darkness and bugs was much more prominent in me than death.Bookmark here

Once at the front door of the house I exasperatedly searched for my keys patting every inch of my body, even my sneakers...yes my sneakers. Before I could turn and head for the car mom was already beside me dangling her keys and telling me to step aside. Bookmark here

“Mom...I think I might’ve left my keys in the car, can you unlock it so I can check?” I asked in a low voice. Bookmark here

“Yeah sure hun, I’ll start making dinner so don’t take too long so you can freshen up.” She replied while opening up the door and holding out the car keys towards me. Once I took the keys from her I could hear the patter of her flats against the wooden floors dissipate into the background.Bookmark here

“Alright! Hopefully, they are in there.” I said as I let the front door close raced to the car and crossed the moist grass blanketed across the lawn. Once at the car I thought of every possible instance that I could have lost my keys throughout the day--there was a lot--trying to avoid the worst possible option of having lost them at the park. Bookmark here

“Please god make them appear here.” I cried out into the darkened world.Bookmark here

Inside the car, I began by checking all the creases between the rear seats than all the nooks and crannies of the floorboard and cupholders. After about fifteen minutes I cease my fruitless expedition and with an exasperated sigh, close the door and head back to the house.Bookmark here

“Any luck??” My mom shouts from the kitchen on the other side of the house down the semi-long corridor. “No” I reply with an unenthusiastic tone. Now removing my sneakers and placing them strategically by the entrance making sure they don’t obscure the path to the doorway. Bookmark here

“I think I might head back to the park tomorrow to see if I forgot it there,” I say with a bit more tone in my voice and head down the corridor and into the kitchen where she stood peering over a silver pot that rested on an electric stove. Bookmark here

“Mm? Want me to take you after work?” she inquires while taking a sip of the yellowish broth she conjured from the belly of the silver pot using a ladle. After some smacking, she scrunched her face slightly inciting the need for more salt. Bookmark here

“Mmm, well you should get freshened up for dinner, it should be ready in about five.” Bookmark here

“Oh ok, here are the keys by the way.” I gently place the keys atop the kitchen island making sure I don’t scratch the marble, nor murder the relaxing silence with that disgusting scratchy sound. Bookmark here

Mom nods and I take my leave, turning back towards the corridor I came from but this time taking a left on a door a few feet away from the entrance. The face of the door wears a small silver plaque reading “employees only” in black scratchy writing. I chuckle and head into the room.Bookmark here

“Ahhhh...nothing beats the man cave,” I breathe in deeply and the slight tinge of antiseptic hits my nose, and then like a tidal wave it all washes over me. *cough* *cough* got to love that heavy disinfection by yours truly, I grunt while pacing around the two-hundred square foot room, the size of it never failing to depress me.Bookmark here

While I lavish in this master bedroom that my mom should be in, she takes one of the smaller rooms. And just like a stoic, she smiles it all away. Bookmark here really makes me hate myself even more. Knowing all of this, and I still don’t satisfy her with at least a sliver of my happiness, maybe I will try tomorrow to be nicer...maybe.Bookmark here

I head into the bathroom and straight to the bathtub at the far back end of the bathroom, it sits plastered against the wall and dressed in almost every possible safety piece of hardware ever made. Outside of the tub resides a small stool for support in case I can’t stand while taking a shower, but this is usually where I place all of my clothes. Bookmark here

I now turn towards the bathtub where I push aside the curtain and turn the hot and cold knobs; making sure the water stays at lukewarm but with just a bit more heat. “Ah yeah...that's nice.” I think to myself as I slowly slip into the tub while holding the safety rail fitted to the wall in front of me. “Th-there we go,” I say feeling slightly accomplished. Bookmark here

“Now to forget about everything.” Bookmark here

I draw the bathtub curtain and hum softly trying to clear my mind of the chaotic day but each instance--the horrible parts that is--slips back into my memory like a parasite leeching to a host every chance it gets. Each moment from the awkward introduction to the embarrassing falling then to all that cringe stuff I said. It makes my face beet red. But just imagining the softness of her fair skin, the deepness of her hazel eyes and the tenderness of her voice makes it all worthwhile.Bookmark here

"Damn, is she really that runaway idol. I really hope she didn't run away because of something horrible." The words escape my lips slowly as I reach for a bar of soap sitting idly inside a plastic pokemon soap dish on one of the corners of the tub.Bookmark here

And then I remember.Bookmark here

“Oh god...I completely forgot she texted me.” The bar of soap slips out of my hand and plops into the water, sinking until it is cradled by the rubberized grip mat underneath me. Bookmark here

“DAMMIT!!!” I howl.Bookmark here

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Bookmark here

After about half an hour I finish up in the bathroom and suit up in some basketball shorts and a t-shirt. Then after some moisturizing and minimal dancing, I make my way to the dining room where mom sets up the dinner table for the two of us.Bookmark here

“What’d you make?” I ask as I grab two plates and help her set up.Bookmark here

“Some chicken noodle soup and Cuban sandwiches to go along. Hungry?” She replies while bringing two soup-filled bowls to the table.Bookmark here

“Meh,” I grunt in response and pull out a seat for myself and sit down before the bowl closest to me.Bookmark here

“You can get started on the soup then sandwiches are almost done.” mom yells out as she heads back to the kitchen.Bookmark here

“Oh ok,” I respond in a low voice while almost instinctively motioning for my phone in my pocket.Bookmark here

 “Hmm, I think it's about time I responded but what should I say?” I tap the face of the screen while simultaneously pulling a spoonful of the hot broth towards me.Bookmark here

*sip* [Theo: hello] *siiiiiiiip* Bookmark here

“No…something like..” [Theo: hey...sorry about the late response. Got a bit caught up in another fall LOL ((:P)) ]Bookmark here

I bring another spoonful of broth to my lips but this time with some noodles. *sip* “Hmm, the LOL seems forced.”Bookmark here

“Yeah...I think so too.” Mom says while sliding the toasted Cuban sandwich on my plate.Bookmark here

In a split second my cheeks flush red and I lock my phone “W-what the heck mom??” Bookmark here

“Oh calm down” she replies as she heads back to the kitchen “No seriously calm down, you know how you get when you get too excited. But make sure you invite me to the wedding!” she exclaims while giggling out loud, just like a pack of teasing children. Bookmark here

I scoff in response and resume the attention to replying and eating.Bookmark here

[Theo: hey...sorry about the late response. Got a bit caught up in another fall! ((:D)) ]Bookmark here

I chuckled “eh that's alright I guess, she won’t even care to respond anyway,” I thought to myself as I sent the message and placed my phone down. Now preparing myself to devour the mouthwatering meal before me. Bookmark here

*ding* *ding* Bookmark here

Not even two spoonfuls into the soup and she had replied.Bookmark here

“Hmm? Could it be her already….what am I even saying, of course, it's not” I thought to myself as I tapped the face of my phone checking the notifications, and what do you know--“It’s her?? So fast??”Bookmark here

[Ari: probz. I just got home as well. By any chance did you happen to lose your keys??? ]Bookmark here

*ding**ding* Bookmark here

[Ari: Image: tap to open ]Bookmark here

A sigh of relief escaped me when I opened the image to find a picture of my keys cuddling the palm of her hand. I instantly noticed the way my mini spiderman keychain lay on her fingers, most of its color fading. Bookmark here

[Theo: YEAH!!! Those are my keys I was literally just looking for them, where did you find them? ]Bookmark here

“Why am I screaming?” I thought to myself as I picked up the sandwich and took a bite, the crunch of the bread resounding through the room.Bookmark here

[Theo: Yep! Those are my keys. I was literally just looking for them, where did you find them? ] Bookmark here

“Mmmmhmmm das bedder,” I say with a full mouth and send the message. Bookmark here

“How’s the food?” Mom asks as she takes a seat at the table bringing her own toasted Cuban as well.Bookmark here

“Really good!” I replied excitedly as I went in for another bite of the sandwich.Bookmark here

She didn't reply for a bit but by the time she did, I had finished my meal and had prepared for bed. “Maybe she’s also getting ready fo- What are you doing, thinking about this random girl you just met. Get a hold of yourself man. WE’RE LOSING YA!”Bookmark here

This inner monologue got a bit dramatic and persisted for a minute or two.Bookmark here

I chuckled at myself and slipped under the blue linen sheets of my bed. Bookmark here

“Ahhh. Now to text mom”Bookmark here

[Theo: Goodnight mom]Bookmark here

“There we g-”Bookmark here

*ding ding*Bookmark here

Just as I had pressed the send button mom replied with a paragraph of cringy emotes.Bookmark here

[Momma <3: ....make sure you took all your medicine, it should be in the weekly pill organizer on top of the nightstand. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3]Bookmark here

“Ahh shoot I almost forgot,” I say to myself in a whisper while leaning over to the nightstand right next to the headboard. I grab my phone and use the flashlight to find Sunday engraved on one of the lids of the small cubicles. Once found, I pop open the lid and take a peek at the contents Bookmark here

“Ah, perfect a bunch of multi-shaped skittles...or m&m’s. Just like dessert, heh...bottoms up.” I chug the pills and swallow them. The only lubricant to aid in this excruciating exercise is my saliva. Once all are swallowed I cough for a bit to clear my throat “definitely going to grab a cup of water next time.” I say in a hoarse voiceBookmark here

But the truth is...I’ll probably never stop being lazy until the day I die. For reference purposes, that is too short a time frame for me to actually care to try and viva la vida loca.Bookmark here

*ding* *ding* Another push notification, this time it isn’t my mom but Ariana.Bookmark here

[ Ari: oh wow really? Well lucky you, I had forgotten that I had to go back and drop off some registration papers for my high school.]Bookmark here

“She totally forgot to press the send button,” I say to myself with a slightly smug expression. “But before I reply let me get snuggled in. Alright, time to see what’s up with this whole idol identity. I’m dying to know and now’s the perfect chance to ask about her ‘past’.”Bookmark here

[ Ari: Totally didn’t forget to press the send button by the way ((:P)).]Bookmark here

I chuckle while typing.Bookmark here

[ Theo: Yeah right (o_O). And wow that's a surprise, did you just move here?]Bookmark here

“There’s only one high school here right?” A quick google check confirms my query. Then after a couple of seconds, she replies.Bookmark here

[ Ari: Something like that.]Bookmark here

I pause for a moment, “hmm...what should I say now?... Oh yeah”Bookmark here

[ Theo: Sadly I’m not able to even attend school anymore...or more like there's really no point ((T_T)).]Bookmark here

And just like before after a few seconds she was typing and then a reply.Bookmark here

[ Ari: (oOo) Really? Is it by chance related to what happened at the park?]Bookmark here

[ Theo: Bingo! It sucks but I get more time to play games (^_^)]Bookmark here

This time she took a few minutes before responding, but I could tell she had read the message. Maybe she got busy.Bookmark here

[ Ari: Yeah I kinda understand. Just want to enjoy something everyone gets to enjoy for free Am I right or Am I right? ]Bookmark here

“Hmm” I rub my temple as I think it over for a bit. “I guess the idol biz was tough on her and cracked down on all aspects of her life even school. Maybe that or I’m overreacting. Let's see...”Bookmark here

[ Theo: Yep Yep. Enough about me though...almost the whole day has been about me..literally from the moment we met and I went all Snow White on ya. ((X_X)) How are you and your family liking the town? Also, if you don’t mind me asking, why’d you guys move?]Bookmark here

This time she didn't reply for almost a whole hour but just like before she had read the message.Bookmark here

“Damn, maybe I pushed too much, should I say, maybe that will somehow make it worse. Damn it, you always ruin it, Theo, always.” Bookmark here

I laid in the dark with my phone beside me, almost slipping into the realm of dream, exhausted from the mental battle I just had and the actual physical toll I had taken today, then to top it off the thought of her feeling uncomfortable because of me. Why do I care so much? Bookmark here

"AGGGGGHH. I DON’T KNOW." I howled again.Bookmark here

*ding* *ding*Bookmark here

*ding* *ding*Bookmark here

Once I heard the ring of the notifications, it was the fastest I had ever grabbed my phone for anything other than pokemon go. Bookmark here

[ Ari: MM they like it, as for me...after I go to school I’ll give you a better response, but so far it's guys have the actual Snow Whites just walking around. ((:P)) Don't worry I don't mind you asking, the city just got expensive.]Bookmark here

[ Ari: I’m going to head to bed anyways, I have to wake up early for what may be my first day of school tomorrow ((^_^)). If you want we can meet up after I finish up school so I can give you back the keys...maybe the same park?]Bookmark here

[ Theo: Oh wow that’s good, I can totally imagine though, the city living prices are rising like crazy. Sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable asking by the way!]Bookmark here

After a few seconds, I sent the message. I was, both, not really thinking about how fast I was responding and in a slight daze because it had already reached one eleven-thirty in the night. Only a true early worm can understand my pain.Bookmark here

[ Theo: hok, sounds good. Just tell me the time and I’ll be there!]Bookmark here

“Damn a typo,” I thought to myself as I hit the send button but then the very next second I was battling with my eyelids.Bookmark here

[ Ari: Nice typo LOL. How does 4 PM sound?]Bookmark here

[ Theo: Sounds great, so tomorrow at 4 we meet up at park laberinto!]Bookmark here

[ Ari: Yep! Sorry for keeping you. G’Night ((oOo))]Bookmark here

[ Theo: Night ((oOo))]Bookmark here

Even though I was dying of exhaustion I stared at the message for a couple of minutes after, just letting a bubbly warm feeling seep through my skin then escape through my pores and out into the world. Letting it bathe me in all its warmth. Bookmark here

“It was only a Goodnight. Why am I blushing? Aggghhhh” I throw my phone onto the nightstand and drop my hands on my face causing a smacking sound to light up the room. Bookmark here

“...todal birgin oment…”Bookmark here

Real Aire
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