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10. Something in the Water

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His real name was Linkon.

And he worked in a movie theater. This was the great opportunity that he presented me with. He was in close with the owners and all – he basically ran the place. I’d have a job. I didn’t make much there, but it was money, and I had plenty of time to keep up with writing. And I got to spend lots of time with the theater rejects, but I didn’t form too many attachments. I planned on going home still, back to the city, at some point. I just wanted to hack it in suburbia for a while, make sure I could handle it. And I could.

I had been working there for about a month, getting used to the swing of things, when Linkon had a new idea. We were both hanging out in the projection room, bored to tears. There was still an hour and a half left of the movie. This wasn’t the most glamorous job in the world, but it paid. He was leaning back in a chair, reading to himself. I was reading in my own corner of the room. I heard his book close suddenly, the chair fall back on all its legs with a flat thud. I glanced up from what I was reading.

“I have a great idea.”

I rolled my eyes. Guys always think their ideas are great. “Yeah?”

“You should come live with me.”

I started laughing fit to raise the dead. I had to hold a hand over my mouth so the whole place wouldn’t hear. It really was hilarious. I stopped laughing after a few minutes when I realized there wasn’t the faintest hint of a snicker out of him. He was dead serious. I shot my eyes to the floor.

“I thought you were joking…sorry.”

He never wavered in his expression. “Well?”

“What do you mean – live with you?”

He shrugged. “I mean, you pack your stuff and come stay with me.”

“Why?”

“It’d be cheaper, nicer, and you’d get to live with me,” he replied, smiling this wide cheesy grin. He knew that he was full of it.

“As appealing as the first two aspects are, the third determines the final decision – thanks, but no thanks. I’ll make it just fine on my own.”

He nudged his chair a little closer. “What is it with you? You won’t let anybody help you. Why is that?”

“Because I don’t need to be saved.” And I went back to my book.

Two weeks later I was living with him.

It wasn’t foreshadowing or anything. But he was right. The place I was staying at was a rattrap, and the cost was ridiculous for such a hole. So I packed the little I had and moved in with him. I had my own room in his place. He was the only one who lived there and I could use the extra cash. And I could use the extra livability value.

It wasn’t really all that bad. Between working with him and living with him, we grew a better tolerance of one another. Why and how he put up with me is uncertain. But he did. Over time, that grew. And that’s what all this is really about. This is about us. This is about what happened when I got home. This isn’t about now. This isn’t about my father’s madness. This is about him and I. Fallen and Lost. This is what it’s truly about.

I developed a sort of “abused puppy” syndrome as I got older. Angyl took care of me, introduced me around, so that I’d always get respect wherever I went, like she did. But there were happenings…drunk people aren’t always reasonable and high people are seldom rational and push came to shove a few times. I was used to being smacked around. My father had problems with being abusive. My mother knew, and she tried to go against him. But she paid for my complaints. And hence, I resolved to stay silent and trust no man.

It took Linkon awhile, but eventually, the impenetrable wall gave way. And little by little, piece by minuscule piece, he was let in. To my mind, my soul…my heart. And the big bad rebel that I had become wasn’t so big and bad in his eyes anymore. I was more…human. I’ll get into a rant about him later I imagine. In a constructed sense, in a rational sense. Straight through, beginning to end. I’ll explain, in the best terms that I can, what happened and how. Because every so often, I’m not really so sure. There was something very different about him though, something that got under my skin and changed how I was. And no matter how much I gritted my teeth and pushed on, I couldn’t make it stop.

Was I in love?

These days…it’s difficult to be certain. About anything. But love especially.

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