The kind of lazy day to stay inside with a good book or do some binge-watching of your favorite show.
That's why I decided to share this short story - Downpour - because it's a dark and dreary tale, heart-breaking even.
Maybe you've read this one of mine before? Maybe it's your first time? Or maybe you liked it enough to give it another read? Whatever the reason, here is today's #throwbackthursday post...
It was a good day for a storm. The clouds rolled in and hovered, almost like a spaceship, over the small, forgotten town. The late afternoon grew muggy and the air hung damp and electric.
Devin pulled the weathered hoodie over his head. It felt good on him, soft and familiar. He was relieved to find that he still appreciated something, even if it was for a brief moment. He checked the front pocket for his smokes and slammed the door shut behind him. He shuffled through the narrow hallway and down a flight of steps, the untied laces of his boots clinking against the chipped linoleum. Once outside, he breathed life into a cigarette and tossed the used match stick to the wet pavement. It sizzled.
He pulled the strings on his sweatshirt, tightening the hood around his face - eager to hide his bloodied lip and black eye - and took off in a near sprint. He scurried down the street, wasn’t sure where he was going, but sure he needed to put as much distance between him and that shabby apartment – and his ridiculous father – as he could possibly put between them.
A slow drizzle blanketed the town; this added to his misery. The last of the sun was snuffed out by storm clouds and an insatiable rumble roared over the mountains. In the distance, lightning fell from the skies.
As he ran from one storm towards another, the thoughts raged through his mind. How long would his father continue to use him as a punching bag? When would his mother come back for him? How much longer until he broke? How much more could he stand? Only a couple more years and he’d put this whole stupid town behind him.
“Only a couple more years,” he spoke the words out loud, trying to believe them.
On the outskirts of town, Devin finally paused to catch his breath, and coughed another cigarette to life. The rain came heavier now – turning into a deluge - and he fought with the ground beneath him as it turned from sidewalk to open field. He slipped a few times, almost wiped it once, but caught himself on the corner of a sharp turn sign. He chuckled aloud. Seems he always had to fight to keep from falling. It was a constant struggle to remain grounded these days. And he wasn’t sure how much fight he had left in him.
He was so tired of fighting. Every single day there was a fight he had to show up for…
He had to fight his teachers because he could never clear his mind long enough to concentrate; had to fight his classmates because he didn’t have the right kind of clothes, the right attitude, the newest technology; had to fight his father simply because he continued to breathe. He was an outcast. And he was so tired of always getting it wrong, when everyone else always seemed to be getting it right.
A horn blasted him back to reality. Devin jumped as a dark-colored sedan flew past him. He tossed a middle finger behind them, hoping the driver would see it in his rear-view mirror, turn around and confront him. Then, Devin could put the boots to him.
And hopefully there would be a family in the vehicle and he could put the boots to them too.
All of them.
And if he failed? Even better. Then they could beat the shit out of him. Maybe beat him near death or even cause his death. Then, he wouldn’t have to hate anymore.
It seemed that’s all he could feel. All he could relate to these days. And the anger swelled up in him like a balloon taking on helium. It was the only emotion that killed the numbness.
He wanted to cry.
Wanted to break down right there on the side of the road.
Let it all pour out of him like a fevered sweat.
Perhaps someone would stop and take pity on him. See all the bruises he hid so well. Call him out and take him away from his asshole father and locate his mother. Then - with his mother at his side - all would be right with the world.
A long, deep-throated horn blasted past him again. Devin jumped higher this time; his heart racing with the speed of the coal truck as it whizzed past him. He threw his soggy cigarette at the back of the coal bucket, its tires kicking up shale and tossing dirt into Devin’s eyes.
He coughed the dust from his lungs.
Spat the dirt from his mouth.
And in that exact moment - for some reason announced only to Devin - he snapped.
He had had enough.
Enough of the damp air and the cold rain. The loud coal trucks with their filthy exhausts.
He had enough of people. Couldn’t understand them or their hatred towards him.
Had it with his dumbass father; his bleak future; his mother, who wasn’t coming back for him.
He lifted his face up and out of the hoodie, letting the cold April rain hit against his skin. It burned his fresh cuts. It stung, but felt good. He closed his eyes and nodded to an unknown accomplice.
He heard the roar of its engine. The banging of its bucket as it hurdled the potholes of the curvy roadway. He fumbled for his smokes; shook only slightly as he lit its end. He breathed deep, refused to cough and bellowed out a yell. He screamed out as loud as his lungs would allow him.
Maybe it was his one last effort to be heard.
Maybe he was just tired of holding it all in.
He could smell the diesel exhaust. It was close now. He hoped its driver wouldn’t grieve too long. He thought of his mother. Bet she’d miss him now.
The truck barreled up and over a slight embankment. Devin took one more drag from his smoke. He exhaled and stepped onto the road.