a short narrative, part 1
Gary Baker, December 2012
My first experience with those that had been Touched was back when I lived in Gherglia, a small Germano-British outpost in the great city of Santa Carina. Until I moved there I had been under the impression that my life was a part of some greater scheme in the ways of how fate played out, and that if I tried too hard then the opposite might become more applicable in the coming future, as dictated by the push and pull of cosmic energies. It was only after I had met Lisa, however, that this notion truly hit home and made me realize just who and what was at stake by presuming such philanthropic ideals.
You see, it was when I was running on the boulevard in my attemptedly-habitual run, along the strait path of Columbus Boulevard at seven a.m., that my life was toppled into a whole new reality.
But first let me explain how I got there, how I found myself on the point of such beauty and grace that no one seems to see.
We’re through!” Hannah screamed, slamming the heavy oak door in my face. The tremor vibrated the house, and the dangly porch wind chimes behind me clinked together like breaking glass.
I stared in absolute shock, not even sure that this was really happening.
“But...” my hand reached for the doorknob again only to be robbed of the chance to metaphorically open the door to her heart again by none other than her father, the living epitome of He-Man, himself. “Mr. Ovinhald, please. I need your help. Hannah... has the wrong idea.”
His stare sent shivers through my spine, weakening my knees as I stood there in small clothes and a robe made of towel fabric. “Did you really do that?” He asked as if talking about a casual absence at work. “Is there really a man in your life?”
Not a conversation I wished to be having with whom I had once hoped to be my future father-in-law. “No,” I lied, “you know how Hannah gets.”
He arched an eyebrow and crossed his arms.
So I stared back, determined to be resolute in my stance. It was only a fling, after all. The guy, Rob, had never even seen the underside of my shirt, let alone what lay beneath. But still Mr. Ovinhald stood there watching me as if able to read my thoughts and listen in as I ranted in my mind about how I’d almost been willing to go all the way with this guy.
“That’s what makes me so glad about this,” he laughed silently with a lightning-quick glance over his shoulder to the stairs where Hannah had fled. His rough leathery hand reached to his unshaven chin and stroked his long brown mustaches. “I mean, this way it’ll be obvious to her how much Jesus wants her to be straight!”
I scowled without a single hint of humor even as he let out another deep-bellied laugh.
Then he chose to look me over as if I were set up for auction. “And you might want to get dressed the rest of the way, Lexis. After all, it’s a sin to be nearly naked in public.” With that he closed the door and left me to my thoughts in the middle of suburban Louisiana.
Suddenly I was alone and without a center. Hannah had been everything to me, she was my pillar of self-control and belief. If not for her I would never have left my mental closet, much less let my true colors fly for even myself. I no longer had a reason to live here, no longer had a purpose to exist within the Bible belt for more than another few days.
But Hannah’s bastard father was wrong, I wasn’t nearly naked; I was in a silken nightgown with a toweled robe over that. And it wasn’t my fault.
I knelt to the porch floor and retrieved my spares that Ovinhald had dropped for me; a pair of worn-out Levi’s, some thin leggings, and a long-sleeve thermal. I hastily threw them on under my robe, with just hint of improvised acrobatics so as to not show off my ‘sweet nothings’, then turned to the steps and vaulted down to the red brick walkway.
“It’s about time I left the south anyways,” I grumbled with annoyance.
Don’t tell me,” mom began, her voice dripping with greater disapproval than ever before, “you’re moving again...?”
It wasn’t a question. After seven years of doing this, ever since I had graduated three years early just to get the hell out and distance myself from the bigoted LGBT critics back home, she was beginning to know me too well.
“Yes, mother, I am.” I sighed, how was I going to tell her about what had happened between Hannah and I? How would she take the idea of me almost losing the one thing I called a significant part of who I claimed to be?
“Well look, dear,” and thus began another of her ‘don’t let me find you in a ditch somewhere’ speeches. “I understand the need to travel, in fact I am quite fond of this in you, but don’t mistake the need to escape with the desire to see new places.” She let out a long grumbling sigh as though she had just dropped something while cooking.
“Mom, are you making dinner?”
“Of course I am, Alexis, what else would I possibly do here?”
I smiled. Predictable, as always. “Mom you know it’s only two over there, right?”
“Yeah? Well it’s almost four where you are, so that means I have barely an hour until you should be eating a proper dinner.”
Her logic was odd, but it gave me an idea... “Hey, how about I come visit you soon?”
“What?” She feigned, “as in: come back to visit little ol’ me?”
“Yes, mom, as in: I’ll see you for Christmas this year.” But it wasn’t just that, and I figured she would decipher that shortly. Someone at the local Henley’s Late Night had mentioned a place on the coast of California that took people in so long as they had a good story to tell, that their goal was nothing more than to express the vastly different possibilities for how human minds could grow.
Finding it, though, would be the hard part. Especially since it changed locations constantly due to attacks by the Others.
I figured I might have to settle down for a while and scope out the area, that I would have to live with minimum wage for as long as it took to do some hardcore research. I would have to be more than thorough, too, communities like the one I was told about didn’t just hide themselves for no reason.
“Alexis, Christmas isn’t for another six months. Will you at least call me when you get settled in wherever you end up at?”
She sighed again, getting more and more callous with how obvious these sighs were getting over the years. “I’ll transfer the money tonight, then.”