2 years ago
The apartment was dark when the little boy entered his home. He was a little black boy with small dreads held loosely in a ponytail. The boy took in his surroundings to see an area that contained the bare minimum of furniture, a couch and a TV. Curiosity sparked in the young child's mind as he looked through his house.
"Dad?" He called as he searched the house. Yet the boy grew confused as he went from room to room only to find each one empty. Fear gripped the young boy's heart. Where was his dad? His dad who would always be home during this time, always located somewhere in the kitchen cooking up some random snack with a grin plastered on his face. Yet, why not today? The thought was terrifying to the boy, but he stopped panicking when another thought took over his mind.
Could dad be at the store? The more he thought about it the more the idea seemed likely. He smiled at himself for coming up with such a great idea.
A knock was heard from the front door causing the boy to turn towards it.
Yet the knock soon became a multitude of knocks followed by a small voice, “Dami? Daddy?”
At the sound of the voice Damien raced towards the door opening it to reveal his little brother Dakota. A small black boy with a head filled with curly black hair. And beside him was a tall man dressed in a uniform that Damien recognized from Dakota’s daycare. The man looked down at him with a giant smile, “Good evening little man, is your father home?”
Damien stared up at the tall man, a smile on his small face. “No, he's at the store.” Damien said, still proud of his idea.
“The store you say? I see…” the man scratched his chin, “ Well, when your father comes back make sure to tell him that Dakota's pickup time is at 3 o’clock sharp. Okay?"
Damien nodded his head, “Okay."
The man gave Dakota a pat on the head, “See ya tomorrow little buddy.” and with that he left.
“Byeeeeeee” Dakota yelled, waving at the man’s disappearing figure all while Damien pushed him into their home.
Dakota looked up at his brother, then stood on his tiptoes in an attempt to see past him. His face showed confusion as he asked, "Dami, where's daddy?"
Damien gave his brother a smile, "Daddy's at the store. Weren’t you listening?"
A rumble erupted from Dakota's belly. "I'm hungry. Snack time without daddy?"
A similar sound emerged from Damien's body. "Yeah, we can eat lots by ourselves! Let's see what's in the fridge."
The two boys ran to their kitchen, Damien in the front with his little brother of five toddling behind. Damien opened the fridge and frowned. There was nothing in the fridge except for some raw hamburger meat and some butter. He then proceeded to the cabinets to only find some uncooked pasta, a loaf of bread and three bags of chips. He tossed a bag at his brother as he took one for himself.
"This should keep us fed till daddy arrives." he said as Dakota nodded, little crumbs already covering his mouth.
Yet Damien was wrong. Time passed and their father still hadn't returned to their small apartment. The boys' stomachs growled once more as night overtook the sky. Once again Damien looked in the pantry for something to eat, but seeing as how he could not cook, he decided to make sugar bread for him and his brother. With their stomachs content, the two boys prepared for the night. But while his brother was snoozing softly in their room, Damien waited near the door for their father to arrive. Yet he never came.
Damien awoke from his dream, tears sliding down his cheeks. He sat alone in his living room, his only company being a blank TV, a small digital clock and a picture of a smiling black woman. He sat before a small coffee table, with numerous papers scattered upon it. A lone lamp dimly lit up the room, casting light on a young man that was no longer a boy. His eyes sharper, dreads longer, so long that they reached his shoulders.
Damien brushed the tears that leaked from his eyes. Seven years ago… That was the first time he left us… and I guess this makes it the third time. He thought as he wiped the tears that had started to blur his vision. I... don't have the time for this. He thought as he glanced at the clock. 11:30 pm. Damien sighed as his gaze swept across the books and papers laid before him.
"11:30… That leaves me about nine hours before school starts… no…" he scratched his head, " I only have about 9 hours left if I exclude transportation to school. School is about an hour away with the bus ride plus the subway… Eight hours left …" his thoughts trailed off as he stared at the piles of papers and his textbooks scattered before him. I should organize this… as he organized them into neat piles, he continued to mutter to himself.
"….by tomorrow I'll have to read thirty pages of my history book… and my biology assignment is also due. So let's subtract about three hours from my eight hours of sleep." He sighed to himself. "That leaves about 5 hours of sleep. Plus I need some extra study time for my math test."
He rubbed his chin… "I can just study on the bus."
His attention then shifted towards the papers that he had finished organizing. One stack was junk, another homework, the last bills. He picked up the bill pile and started to shuffle through them. "Water… electric… and our phone bills are due tomorrow… About sixty dollars for the water bill, three hundred and sixty for the electric... and a hundred for mine and Dakota's phone bill…about five hundred and twenty dollars in all. But I don't get paid till next week and when I get my pay, it can only cover the phone and water bill…" he scratched his head harder, as a curse escaped his mouth. Well… I could dip into our savings in order to pay for the electric bill… but then that would cut into our food…"
His thoughts are interrupted by footsteps, light little things that echoed from afar. Quickly Damien opened up his textbook, sliding the open bills underneath it.
Damien turned to his brother who stood in the doorway. His worn neon green pajamas faded into a lesser green.
Damien scratched his chin, as the thought of buying new pajamas for Dakota went through his head. Yet, he took such a thought away as he was reminded of his limited amount of funds.
"Dami, your eyebrows look funny again." Said Dakota as he walked towards his big brother a smile playing upon his face. He sat by his brother, his eyes sweeping over the messy table.
"Ah.. sorry about that." Damien rubbed the space between his eyebrows loosening the crease that had formed. It always formed whenever he was deep in thought.
"They give you too much homework Dami… you should take a break " said Dakota as he narrowed his eyes at his brother’s textbooks.
Damien smiled, "I can't afford to take a break. If I want to keep my rank I have to keep my grades up.”
"But you look tired!" Said Dakota as a yawn escaped his mouth.
"Says the person who just yawned."
The younger boy pouted, "That doesn't matter! You should value yourself more! Momma always said so!" He pointed towards the photo of a smiling black woman with brown eyes, smooth chocolate skin and curly hair.
"She did used to say that…"
"Yep, Momma said that 'we' should value ourselves. So Dami... value yourself." Dakota yawned. "I'm sleepy now…"
Damien smiled at Dakota, his innocent little brother who somehow managed to stay the same despite their father's constant disappearances. He ruffled his brother's head, "I'll value myself, but really I'll be done with my homework soon. So, go back to bed. I'll be there soon."
Dakota nodded sheepishly.
Satisfied, Dakota stood up and made his way back to his room.
Once more Damien was alone. Yet his mind was still on Dakota's words. A laugh almost escaped his mouth. Yet he held it in, because he had lied to his little brother. A white lie, he called it, as numerous feelings twisted within him, writhing his heart.
Value myself…" he thought, "I can't even do that. I need money. A huge amount of it. And I have three bills due tomorrow that I can't even pay for. Plus I have to worry about homework too. He scratched his head in anger.
Why am I doing this? Why do I have to suffer like this? I'm only 17. I should be enjoying school or throwing myself at girls... something that isn't… isn't this! This shit ain't a child's job! I'm a fucking child! Why the hell should I be worrying about this? I'm obsessing over my brother not having good clothes, worrying about things being cut off, about having no food in a few days! "Why… why did you leave us Dad…." He took out his phone, and pulled up a message named "Dad" . The last text was sent three weeks ago and it was merely two words. "Good luck".
"Good luck… what a fucking joke. For three weeks I've been filling your shoes. Doing what you ran away from. Where's the luck here?" He leaned back as he allowed his emotions to leave. They were useless, they wasted time. He glanced towards the clock once more. 12:00am.
He had wasted time, what he needed was another job. Yes… he thought. Another job will solve everything. He thought as he opened up his textbook. Yet, Damien forgot to add one word to the end of his thoughts. The word "hopefully."
Alright... that's the end of chapter one. Hope ya enjoyed it!
Make sure to vote and comment to give support for Damien.
I wonder what "hopefully" means for Damien's future...