SEPTEMBER

Tears fall from the tops of the boy’s cheeks down onto the pages before him on which he records his thoughts, his purpose, furiously. His writing is not its usual free cursive, almost too elegant to belong to a boy. It’s scratchy, and messy, too quick to leave the pen as if he can’t get the words to flow from his hand fast enough.

Teeth clenched, jaw drawn tight like a marksmen pulling back a bow, the boy chokes back violent sobs; this is what he wants, what he must do. There is no other option, he has decided already. The words speak for themselves, and aren’t ones that come to mind lightly. This is a decision a long time in the making. Seventeen years, maybe ten alone that he can remember. But all vital, all important, all of them; every year, every day, every second of his life has built up to this climax. His climax. It’s inevitable, or at least very possible. He can’t give himself enough time to talk himself out of it.

The boy finishes the last sentence and then marks the entirety of his entry with a harsh, jagged, period, making this final. He closes the leather book and wraps the attached string around it, closing it tightly, almost folding the book in half in the process. He stands and shoves the book in his back pocket, the fit is snug, almost too small. But the book won’t be there for long, he thinks. The boy searches around the room for anything else he will need with him, wiping away some stray tears with the back of his wrist when he realizes, that no, there isn’t anything else he needs. When he leaves this place, leaves his home for good, he doesn’t want anything with him to remind him of why chose to do this.

So he hops out his window, letting the warm fall air kiss his face as he opens it, and scales down the side face of his house, with nothing but the clothes on his back and his journal in his pocket. It’s better this way.

Climbing inside his car, he keeps one foot out and slides the key into the ignition, he clicks it ahead once to unlock the gears and puts it in neutral, kicking off the pavement with the foot outside the car so it slowly begins to roll down the long driveway onto the road. He continues kicking until he is out of the driveway and about thirty yards away from his home, then shuts the door, resets the gears by turning the keys back and putting it in park, then turning the key all the way forward starts the car which roars to life with a loud, choppy, explosive growl.

The boy cringes at the sound, and glances over at his house, half expecting to see the light of his parent’s bedroom flick on. After a few long seconds, when nothing inside his home seems to stir, the boy lets down his guard; his shoulders dropping from their tightened state, his brow relaxing, his heart beating at a more normal rate.

The boy cranks the wheel around, making a smooth U-turn so he can make his way to a main road. He doesn’t know where he’s going, he just knows it needs to be somewhere else. Anywhere else. He debates turning on the radio for a while, but decides against it, not sure if his head is level enough to be in two places at once. He needs to think clearly, keep a rational head, not distract himself.

In the end though, it’s the silence that breaks him.

Surrounded by nothing but the rattling of his engine, and blinking traffic lights, the teenage boy slinks inside himself when the reality and the consequences of his plan slowly begin to sink in more and more with each green light he passes by.

In the distance, over the road before him, he notices the freeway bridge and entrance; and with the sight of it, an overwhelming feeling of doubt and fear washes over the boy entirely. His stomach drops, tears fall again for the millionth time tonight, and the road before him becomes a blur of lights and water. His chest tightens, his breathing hitches, and his head slowly begins to spin, picking up speed with every second until he can’t contain it anymore. The boy rushes into the turn lane, cutting someone off unknowingly in the process, and pulls into the parking lot of a large industrial looking building, he doesn’t take the time to look for any signs or markers, he doesn’t care at this point.

Throwing the car door open he leaps out onto the hard pavement of the lot, letting out a blood curdling scream as he lands on all fours; hands and knees. The tears fall violently and he is shaking from head to toe. He sets free the sobs that had been threatening him all night long, and watches as his tears darken the pavement where they land before drying up a second later. He sits up and tries to wipe the water away, cringing when skin touches skin, the corners and bottom lids of his eyes are raw from rubbing all night long. They sting. Everything stings.

It all hurts, hurts so much. And he just has to get away.

The boy sits up, trying to catch his breath and walks over to his car, he doesn’t climb in, but grabs a pen out his center console. He shuts the door and situates himself on the hood of his car, yanking the leather journal out of his back pocket. He flips it open to the end of the last entry, the one he wrote earlier tonight. Licking the tip of the pen he begins to scratch down new words, new thoughts, that only add on to what he had scribed earlier that night. Only reassured him that yes, this was the right decision.

Sometime later―the boy isn’t sure how long―he finishes his thoughts, the last word landing on the very last page of the journal.

Symbolic, the boy thinks as he closes the leather bound book and sets it next to him on the hood of the car, the end of this chapter. The thought brings him a sort of hope, hope that now he can start new.

“This is it,” the boy tells himself silently, looking up at the deep purple night sky, flecked with millions of tiny lights, all varying in size and luminosity. It’s time to leave this place for good and never look back.

Wiping away one last tear the boy climbs back into his car and starts it up. Too consumed in his thoughts, too absorbed by his own grief to pay attention to anything but the task on hand, the boy doesn’t notice the leather bound book fall from the hood of his car onto the pavement as he whips out of the parking lot and out into the night.

< RETURN TO PART ONE | CONTINUE TO CHAPTER ONE >

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