The night came quicker than I realized. I guess that’s what happens when your day is eventful. I got home and all I wanted to do was go into my room, change into pyjamas, and pass out. Sometimes even if I don’t need the sleep, I can feel mentally exhausted and taking a nap can help with that. Uncle Mike locked himself away in his room almost immediately when we walked through the door. Apparently he had a deadline for on of the storyboards he’s been working on. He seems like a kid sometimes but when it comes to his work, that’s really when you see him get serious. I once walked in on him while he was drawing up something for one of his clients and he didn’t even hear me walk in. He was completely sucked into what he was doing. I liked that I got to see that side of him, it’s not a side he likes to advertise. I think he really likes just being branded as the ‘fun uncle’.
I was about to make my way to my room after tossing my bag onto the couch but suddenly stopped. I heard the familiar creaking sound that only the door to my dad’s room makes. My stomach tightened, I didn’t even know what for.
“Hey kid.” I turned around, hearing his tired and low voice. He had a way of saying things that always really made him sound like he was from the army. Which he was but, he’s been discharged for eighteen years now. I guess it’s not the kind of thing that just disappears with time though is it?
“Hey dad, how was work?” He went back to school when he got out of the army and got himself a computer science degree. He’s been worked with this one company for a few years now and they’re pretty flexible so I never really know what his hours are from day to day. I do wish sometimes that his schedule was more predictable.
“Same as usual,” He always gives me that answer, but I still ask every time for some reason. “how was school?”
“Just another day.” I wasn’t lying, I was just omitting some stuff. Well, all the stuff. I could tell by the heavy silence that followed and that non reactive expression he had; he knew there was something I wasn’t telling him. Even though I’m a good lier, my dad was still someone I had a hard time sneaking things past. My best bet is half truths and omitting things, but even that doesn’t always work. He wasn’t going to call me out though, he never dose.
“Exciting.” He finally said. That was his way of saying he knows I’m keeping something from him but he’s not going to pry. A thought popped into my head that I didn’t want to entertain but it popped up nonetheless. I still need to tell my dad that I never really stopped doing my night outings, as I guess you could call them. I promised my uncle I would do that some time this week. I should probably just rip it off like a bandage.
“Yup.” The silence was increasingly uncomfortable and even though I just thought of telling him about my nights, I found myself immediately bailing on that idea. I needed to find an out otherwise I was going to suffocate. “Well I have some homework to do so… I’m gonna… go do that…” I turned to walk away but only got a few steps in.
“No one…” His voice was different now. I turned back around to face him again. “…was mean to you… were they?” My stomach twisted with that nauseating gilt I hated.
“No… I’m fine dad, I pass so… no one knows anyway…”
“No um, that’s not what I meant, it’s just a new school, even if you weren’t… I mean… even if you were normal… I would still worry since, it’s a new school…” My insides twisted in on themselves and my stomach felt like it was trying to devour my heart. I knew the intent of what he just said but I couldn’t help but fixate on the part that made my breathing abnormal.
“Right, even if I was normal, which I’m not. Cool. Got it. I have homework to do.” I turned around and walked to my room, no intention of looking back. But then I paused hearing his next word. That name, why did he have to. In my head I corrected it but it didn’t take away the sharpness of what he had said. Hah, wow, fucking awesome. I went to my room and slammed my door, cracking it at its hinges. Shit. I needed to break something. I threw a hoodie over my clothes and grabbed my black scarf to cover my face. Usually I’d wait until it was darker but sunset would have to do for now because there was no way in hell I could stay in this house right now.
I jumped out my window, landing on the fire-escape outside our neighbouring building. It clanked loudly as I landed on it and I climbed up it. I reached the roof and took a deep breath. Then, I just sprinted. I ran as fast as I could manage and left dust in my wake. Every shape just turns into a blur of colour and that’s how I want it to stay. Every jump makes me feel like I can fly and I want to stay suspended. Fuck. Why did he….
Shit, I just missed a jump. My feet landed first but it wasn’t right and suddenly I’m falling. My body hit the gravel of the roof first and I skid. I let out a sifted sound of pain. My ears are ringing, or are they throbbing? No, it’s my arm, and my leg, it’s the whole left side of my body.
I stop moving. My momentum ran out. It was burning, my whole left side, fuck. I blinked a couple times, trying to get my bearings. My scarf unravelled from my face and I wasn’t going to bother putting back on. I How far did I get? I wasn’t even paying attention, I just wanted to get as far as possible as quickly as possible.
I sat up, wincing through clenched teeth as I did. I had my pant and sweater on but I could still tell I was bleeding. I didn’t have to see it, I could feel it. It was soaking into my pants and into my sweater. I needed to get home, or just somewhere where I could get patched up. I heal fast but not fast enough for me to leave this how it is right now. The sun was down, how long had I been running for? I stood up, taking a try or two to get my balance right, wincing the entire time. Once I was standing, I made my way to the edge of the building to take a look at where I was. God, I had gotten way further than I thought, and of course it’s one of the few time’s when I need to be closer to home.
The memory of what just happened with my dad flashed through me. My stomach twisted in on itself. I could feel the deep frown wrinkle my brow and my lips curl into a thin line. I looked down at my pants, not that I could see it, but I could feel the heat of my blood soaking into my sock. What a shitty spot to be in. I sighed. For now I just needed to make it down this roof, and climbing or jumping down we’re not options right now. I looked around the roof and saw what looked like a hatch. Hopefully I could get down from here ok.