Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Elijah: Part Two

ELIJAH HAD always felt slightly claustrophobic in airports.  Ironically enough it was not until he was on the plane and snug in his small uncomfortable chair that he felt relaxed.  As airports went, this one was not bad and strangely not very crowded.  He sat with his roommate in a fast food restaurant that was in the airport and drank overpriced coffee with few words.  Both men were lost in thought and observation as one seems to find himself doing when waiting for a plane.  They began to ponder over the lives of the individuals walking before them; curious as to where they were going and to whom. 
When Elijah’s flight number was called the two young men parted company for the last time and promised to write and keep in touch.  It was not that at the time they intended to lie to each other, but somewhere inside they both knew that they would probably never hear from each other again.  Which in reality was fine by each of them; they had enjoyed each others company at times, but where never true friends.
It turned out that Elijah’s seat was not uncomfortable in the least.  He was placed in roomy first class spot, intact with its own small television, radio, foot rest, and almost fully reclining seat.  Near the front of the cabin, a small table was lined with assorted fruits and hors d'oeuvres , and while Elijah was not hungry he did take notice of how good it looked.  He was actually impressed with the entire layout of the upper level first class section and when he arrived at five o’clock Tuesday morning in the moist salt laden air of Norfolk, Virginia, he did so in much better humor than when he had left. 
He stood outside for ten minutes after finishing with his baggage check, before an immaculate Ford Bronco pulled up to the side of the curb.  With the excitement of someone who had obviously been awake at five every morning of his life without fail, Frederick jumped out of his truck and boisterously greeted his less than enthused stepson.  With non stop chatter from his chauffeur and in personal protest of verbal communication, Elijah, helped his stepfather load the Bronco and climbed wearily into the passenger's seat.
Frederick was a large man with a face that matched his cheery disposition.  He was the kind of man whom you would want to know but never truly wish to be around.  
“You know, Elijah, you are going to make your mother very happy.”  Elijah was chilled with disdain.  Frederick had a deep southern drawl that murdered the English language with regional stupidity.  As much as he loved to hear the soft, slow melody of Southern dialect, Elijah hated the sound of a hick drawl.  Regardless, Elijah made a mental attempt to be kind with his words, instead choosing to be silent.  “She is so worried ‘bout that boy of hers.  He’s really in some kind of a fix.”
“Yes, I was informed of the situation over the phone.  A troubled child, a helpless imbecile for a mother.  Even if I hadn’t gotten the debriefing I could have given you the scenario.  I’ve been here before, Fred.  Believe me.” 
Fred looked away from the road and let his eyes rest appraisingly on the young man beside him.  When he turned them back to the road he spoke: “You don’t care for me much?  Do you Elijah?”
Elijah did not answer directly but waited, listening to the sound of the waves that were crashing against the bridge they were on.  “No, I don’t,” he finally said, as if stating a well known fact.
“I figured as much.  Never did get any kind of feeling otherwise.  You mind if I ask you why?”
“You can ask if you like, but I’m fairly assured I won’t answer.  That would be a little too close to a conversation.”
“Fair enough.  At least your honest.  I like that in a person.  It is the one thing I believe you have to have in life.  Honesty.  A man is only as good as his  ____ 
“Spare me the clichés if you don’t mind.” 
“All right.  I’ll just tell you what I think about the whole thing.  See the way I figure it is that you are one of the most intelligent people a guy could meet.  You just finished four years at a big city school, graduated at the very tip top of your class, and you have people falling at your feet to hand you a job.  Now take me for instance.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not very bright.  Never have been.  I own a fishing company, which makes me and you as different as two fellas could be.  I think that that might be part of the problem.”
“You can stop right there, Fred.  I don’t dislike you personally, and I don’t dislike who you are or what you do.  You’re doing wonderful for yourself and you should be proud.  Under normal circumstances I’m sure that I would like you just fine.  The problem I have is that my mother can accept and love you, when she chooses to reject her own children.  You who in the grand scheme of things has very little to offer the world when it come to mental prowess.  Why can she? Because in the end you make money.  You make a lot of money.  However, she found herself unable to except, Ashley, who  ____    Elijah stopped as if he just realized who he was talking to.  “I’m sorry if I seem rough on you Fred.  It’s not you at all.”
“You mind explaining to me exactly what it is that your mother has done?  What evil she could have committed?”
“She killed my big brother, Fred.  She killed him and in the end didn’t really care that she did it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Never mind Fred.  Never mind.” 
“No sir.  You don’t make a statement like that and just say never mind.  Your brother took his own life, boy and I don’t know where you think you are going with such accusations ____ I’m still in shock that the words even left your mouth ____ but I’ll tell you that that was just an evil thing to say.”
“Fred, if you had a single clue you’d have left that woman when you had a chance.  She’s a viper ____ no a boa constrictor ____ she swallows us whole and slowly consumes what makes us individuals...what makes us healthy human beings, until what’s left is a group of disillusioned family members who now see life as a hopeless methodical chain of events that must be trudged through until we die.  No, it was not an evil thing to say.  For it to have been evil, would have required some kind of malicious intent.  I was rather stating a simple fact.  My brother was an artist.  An optimist who saw life through his own rose colored glasses and was good enough at what he did to survive that way.  It was only when she shattered his hopes and dreams ____ not until she stepped in and waved her magic wand ____ did he finally give up on life.  You only been around a short time, Fred.  Give it time.”

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Scarlet Hopewell