My stomach full, I licked my lips with the meal fully conquered and resting peacefully down in my belly. Content was a small word to use how I felt, but it would do for now. I was indeed, content.
Thankfully for me, my Aunt had a late-night swimming class tonight. It wasn’t too late, I glanced at the clock earlier and it had been ten til six. The Spring time air greeted me with a swift wave along the front of my body. Zipping up the front of my jacket, I continued down the street.
I had left a note on a refrigerator. Told her I was going to be out with Johnny for the next few hours. Promised to be back before eleven, all of that. It was a school night, after all.
Sticking my second-to-last clove into the corner of my mouth, I sucked in the charred smoke and continued down a series of blocks. John didn’t live too far off from me. We exchanged when we’d be over at the other’s residence. His turn this week. He owed me for the shit that I pulled him out of during school, last Friday.
That thought made me grin. My mind raced back to that moment almost in slow motion, Johnny’s pale, red topped head diving under a lunch table. One of the school’s “big-baddies” thought it was him that had nudged him earlier that day. Must’ve been easy to deduce it to good ol’ John-boy, the way his lanky, skinny body could produce enough force to toss the “Goliath” a few feet.
The guy had been pissed off. Wasn’t interested in hearing any reason or going with any sorta logic that still bobbed inside that useless head-can of his.
Blowing out a puff of smoke from the clove, I made it to Johnny’s. His nice had been nicer than my Aunt’s. The garden had been tended to recently, the windows were dutifully cleaned, and the painted still have that new house glitter that you somehow noticed when you were a little kid, peddling down a street in your bike, zipping past everyone in a hurry. Even though the air was gripped by the fresh, cool feeling of Spring Johnny’s house gave me a feeling of warmth.
Sorta like I belonged.
Before I arrived at the front door I flicked away the now dead clove. Johnny’s parents knew I smoked, it was hard not to smell it on my heavy jacket. They let me live my own life, mentioned something about “kids always had a reason to rebel”. Didn’t know what I was rebelling about, but that worked just fine for me. Knocking hair, I was welcomed with the insightful eyes of Johnny’s father, Bill.
“Hey, Bill.” I called him by his first name, didn’t like me saying ‘Mr. Houston’, or ‘Johnny’s dad’. Liked it better as Bill. “Came over to check up on Johnny, he hanging around?”
Bill nodded in his usual way, smiling as he opened the door as an invitation. “Sure, Jackson, he’s right upstairs in his room. You know the drill, you know, for the lady.”
I always gave Bill an odd look for that added bit. He did it every time, but I understood. Tossing my shoes to the side of the door, I trotted up the stair case past the kitchen. Juliet, Johnny’s mother, had made something magnificent. I didn’t bother commenting on it. Johnny was likely going to fill me in when I arrived upstairs.
Blasting past his sister’s room I got to the one with an AC DC poster hung on the front. Knocking, the loud music had covered up Johnny’s welcome as I walked in.
It was probably when I walked in that our adventure, and our problems, started.