I can't stay here.
I can't take any more of this imprisonment. I need to get out.
Blindly I splash a glob of red ink onto the stretched canvas. Hot air escapes my quivering lips. I can barely breathe. I find myself searching for that box again
There's got to be something better tasting than this crap. I open a gilded window to let the thin trails slither out from my lit torch. Only when I can think clearly again I look back into the depths of my private studio.
Well, actually, it's my bedroom. My dad's refused to set aside one of the countless rooms in the house for my only source of pleasure in this strange world. I take a deep token before coughing again; I keep on smoking to ease the mental tension, "I want to get out."
This is only wishful thinking. I've always thought about running away, but then
I look at the stretched canvas again, running fingers across my mother's hair, deep red. I prop my hand's tips to the background and prod continuously and haphazardly to create blossoms on the leave's green. Wiping the ink away, cigarette still in my mouth, I take up a brush and dip it into oil paint, watching it create wild blue streaks around her, above her for the sky
A dove in her palm takes on a definitive look. I fight myself from changing her into an angel, wings and halo and everything.
She needs to be alive.
With the color still drying I place the half finished work next to a raven, the yellow of its eyes staring me down. I try not to trip over a small stack of blank paper and pens on the floor, backing away to observe the rest. A myriad of senseless patterns and shapes and many hues overwhelms me. Yet, here in the isolation of my own little world, I'm home, away from Home.
I can't just leave my art here!
I need more paint.
"Don't call me that, Yoli!" putting out the light against the window sill and striding across the hardwood floor to reach the door. I open it and poke my shagged hair out, "Something wrong?"
It's a shame that my father would take this wonderful, exotic woman and reduce her to nothing more than a servant out of many in this estate. The afternoon sun glistened on dark mahogany braids and shone on her deep tan complexion. I barely paid attention to the direction of the corners of her bright red lips,
"Bradley! You been smoking again??" She smelled the tobacco on me and within my room. No use trying to hide anything from her. Yolanda knows about life far more than I ever will.
"Yes m'am." I about scoffed at my sad attempt at formality, "He doesn't care what I do."
Her face nearly fell, "Don't say that, mi'jito." She places her sweaty palms to my face. I just realized I'm about her height now. "I'm sure he loves you very much. He just can't show it well."
You've got to be kidding me... I feign a smile.
"Can you bring your dirty clothes to the laundry room for me?" She never buys it.
Sometimes I wish she could. I need to work on my acting skills.
I force a part of my head through the iron gate and play "jail time" with my hands gripping the bars.
You think I'm playing? Getting out is not as easy as asking, "Hey Dadcan you let me out? I wanna go somewhere."
It's harder when you've developed the inability to make close friends that can bail you out.
Whatever they spin about my dad, whatever wealth he might havehow famous he is among those big company namesI don't care.
Not about what he has. Not what he is, either.
I let go of the bars and whisk my way back to the mansion. My personal Alcatraz. What I wouldn't give to visit that place; we're all the way on the East Coast. New England. The place itself, where I live (unfortunately), is rather secluded. Walled in, whitewashed concrete slabs covered with ivy like an infestation. Nothing but trees with fallen leavesa meadow practicallyfor a good 5 miles all around. It would be easy to follow the paved road to civilization
My dad would freak.
He always wants me home, besides time away at school. His excuse? "I won't lose you like I lost your mother." I'm smiling now, peering up at the cotton clouds, shot with the brightest pink imaginable. It was almost nauseating, had it not been for the warm orange ribbons leaving their marks as well.
Yeah; good plan, Dad. I don't want anything to do with you. A small breeze brushes my hair; it's in my eyes, "pfft!"
It's gotten chilly.
I can't be back in there. Not now.
I finally spot a foreign car parked next to our own on the opposite side of the gate
Not back there.
"Why are you here again?"
That wasn't actually said; it was just thought out loud. A buxom woman settled in a seat a far ways next to me, I shuffling farther away. She let out a tiny pout before trying to get on my good side again,
"Please, Bradleylet me get to know you this time" I pull my hand away from hers, burning holes into her being with a leer
"You know me very well. I don't want you here!" This faceless lady flushed like the rest of them before distancing away, just in time for the host's entrance.
"Is my son giving you any trouble??" I turn away from his stern face.
"Not at all" she giggled. Makes me want to
Calloused, rough hands run through my hair. I can't tell whether he wants to harm me or comfort me, "Bradley. Pay your respects
One of the servants rolled in with the dinner cart and gave me a knowing look.
I can't look my father in those soiled, mossy eyes. I bite my lip. "She's our guest."
". . . Yes, Sir."
My appetite was long gone. My energies were spent on this lady. It was obvious she wanted to gain his intimate trust. "Business meeting" or not, she was a flirt. "Elaine" needs to get out of this house now, before she gets any ideas. Any attempts to reach me were answered by my cold shoulder. I'd only talk to her openly if he happened to be there at the table with us.
I could see Elaine getting annoyed with me now. Finally; she should be going home
It was now a quarter past tenlong after our mundane meal. I've been spying on them ever since they left the dining room, after helping out wash some of the dishes (there was little else to do). What could my dad see in her? What chance could she have to be a replacement for
True to his word, they were talking about the adult world of business and nothing else, sharing their third glass of wine together. While wondering how he could ever control his drinking in front of his guests, it was time for this Elaine to leave.
But not without a goodbye kiss. He returned it on the cheek before leading her out the door and into the yard; I stayed behind. To see what they might be doing now would be devastating.
"Bradley?" Yoli startled me, "Why aren't you in bed?"
"I don't have curfew." My baggy eyes weren't helping my cause.
"Tomorrow's a school day, young man."
The light's still on in my room; I can't sleep. I felt a need to continue the painting of my mother. My angel. The reason why I exist!
There was no right to take her away so soon. If she had been there longer, "things could have gone differently."
I had forgotten to check the time on my red digit analog clock.
"Kid." My skin crawled when he opened the door.
It was far too late to hide away my work, which my dad caught sight of.
Clearing his throat, "She told me how rude you were being, Son."
This was typical of most women. With their sweet deceitful wiles. It made me sick.
Alphonse Uppercrust is only a foot away from my perch on the stool. He strode past by me and felt around my open window, "What's this??"
I continue dabbing the color back into Lillian's face. The gilded pane is shut just in time, "What are you doing?"
"Painting." He grabs my collar to force eye contact"No, kid." holding the discarded torch in front of my face, "Where'd the hell did you get this? At school?? On the street." My face is stone; I dare not say a word just yet... "Was it from one of them?"
"You got a lot of nerve, Dadbunching up your servants with criminals."
He nearly threw me off the seat; I made it much easier on him and landed on my feet. He was right; a servant did sneak it to me, but only with a hefty bribe attached. We are filthy rich, after all.
"You," he breathed, "have a lot of nerve to be talking back to me, Bradley Uppercrust. Don't forget where you came from, and don't forget who you're destined to becomeI had to laugh at this new scrap of a monologue
"I came from Hell, and I'm destined to become another You? Not a chanceWhat now?? You're going to hit me again after 3 accident-free years?!"
Dad was livid, hand raised and my back against the wall. The sight of my art to my left assured me that everything was going to be all right.
I'm just glad he was still relatively sober for those moments.
Son, I'm trying." No pity from me this time. "I really am." The hand goes down on my shoulder where he keeps a strong grip, "I'm not doing that anymore, the affairs. Don't worry. I've learned to control my fleeting emotions
Except when you're drunk"Are you ever going to forgive me?"
My neck still craned to see past his fašade; I'm trying to see past the reddened eyes and the watering of his sockets"No, Dad. Never." I wrench myself away from the wall and, out of personal rebellion, I fish out that box of independence, imagined freedom
3 years of not hitting me when he's sober. That's a good record. I'm sure he felt bad after
I could see the dejectedness in his whole frame as I continued breathing in toxins, "What? You drink. I smoke. It's only fair."
Immediately he resumed composure; weakness is not an option in this household if you want to survive for 16 years.
"Know what, kid? I understand what you want now. You want to follow what the outside world has to offer. The common folk? I'll tell them to unlock the gate. You can get out of this house whenever you'd like. No restrictions. No curfewI'll let you live your own life!"
I've kicked off my shoes and sat in my bed, close to the backboard. My eyes and ears are open wide to this titillating information
"You've proven that you're so mature now. Let's all hope you make the best of it!!"
The slamming of the door shocks the hallway. I'm puffing out rings and singing a little tune to celebrate a premature victory.