Identical, page 29
be. I could tiptoe around the real
reason I’m here. But why waste
time? “I want to know why Daddy
won’t have anything to do with you.”
Well, that’s very direct, isn’t it?
Why is it important now?
I could lie, tell him I want to
know him, learn all about my
roots. But I suspect he’d know
it was a fabrication. “I need to know
why Daddy is like he is. Why I am…”
Who you are, he finishes. Hesitates.
I’m not sure where to begin.
Oh, I can help him there.
“I don’t need to hear any
happy stuff, if there is any
to tell. I need to hear about
when everything went to shit.”
He Winces Slightly
But agrees. I don’t know you from
Adam, but someone should hear this
story. Your father would carry it to
his grave. How much do you know
about Charlotte, your grandmother?
“Only that she walked out when
Daddy was a boy. Something
about your messing around?”
A nice way to put it. Yes, I cheated.
I was lonely. Charlotte shared most
of her time with a whiskey bottle,
and so devoted little to your father
or me. When she left, it was a relief,
or would have been, except I had to
work long hours. Your father was still
young, so I placed him in the care of
a neighbor, a woman I had known,
or thought I did, for many years.
Turned out I didn’t know her at all.
One day I came home early and
went to pick up Raymond. I knocked
but no one answered, so I went
around back, where I heard voices….
He pauses, clearly unsure
whether to tell me the rest.
“Please. Don’t stop now.”
I found your father, on a swing
with a young girl, about his age.
They were naked, playing with each
other. Miranda was directing them,
and her boyfriend was taking pictures.
His voice breaks a little, and
his eyes—Daddy’s eyes—spill
the tears of this horrible truth.
Your father gained his manhood,
if you could call it that, at the age
of ten. His photographs appeared
in magazines, for the pleasure of
pedophiles. And he blames me.
His words don’t so much sink
in as they are pounded in, down
through my skull, into my brain.
So much explained. So much
insight gained, in the space of ten
minutes of ugly monologue.
My grandfather’s voice quivers.
He wasn’t hurt, not physically.
But emotionally, he was scarred.
I tried to tell him how sorry I was,
but he wouldn’t listen. Wouldn’t
forgive me. For eight years, we
barely spoke. And after he left
for college, I never heard another
word from him. I followed his career
as best I could. Was happy that he
did well for himself. I kept thinking
with time, he’d come around….
Oh, no. Not Daddy. Once you’re
on his shit list, forget it. But one
burning question remains.
“Why did you call about your
ex-wife coming back? Did you
really think she wanted money?”
He crumples like a candy wrapper.
I didn’t know what she wanted.
She’d been gone so long, I wasn’t
even sure she was still alive
until she knocked on my door,
wanting to know about you.
I thought—hoped—it might
be a way back into Raymond’s
life. Your life. I’m…all alone.
A Half-Assed Honk
Signals my ride home is curbside.
Better not leave them waiting
too long, or I might get stuck
watching Joel fish for tuna.
Did I just think that? Fuck!
“I have to go. My ride is waiting.”
I consider what else to say.
I’ll start with a hug. Grandpa
…um…weird…stiffens a bit
at my touch. “Thank you.”
No, thank you. For giving me
the chance to maybe get to know
you. I don’t want to die without
family knowing or caring I’m gone.
Please stay in touch. Please?
“I’ll do my best. But Daddy
won’t like it if he finds out.”
We exchange phone numbers,
and he walks me to the door.
I turn. “Can I call you Grandpa?”
His smile is weak, weary.
I’d be grateful if you did. Tell
your ride to drive carefully.
I’d hate to lose you now.
The door closes behind me.
Ugly Little Movies
Replay themselves over and over
in my head on the ride home.
Thankfully the return trip is faster
than the outbound was. If I hear
one more frigging giggle, I’m
going to blow it completely.
I down yet another painkiller, chase it
with a swig of the Turkey stashed in my bag.
We drop over the top of the mountain,
where the hills bump and grind toward
the valley. I’ve admired this view
hundreds of times, but today it’s different.
Today the hills are haunting,
vague as spirits fooled into being,
each blurring into the next in cool
bronze succession. Indistinct.
Yet somehow not quite meaningless.
Like information gleaned, but not
completely absorbed. Like ugly little
movies, in semiconstant replay.
I Should Go Home
My cell has four voice mails,
three from Daddy:
Where are you?
Where the hell are you?
Why did you leave without
telling me where you were
Where the fuck are you?
When will you be home?
Are you okay? Do I have
to come looking for you?
I have to call him, but first
I pick up the fourth message.
Can’t believe it, but it’s Ty:
Hey. Sorry I took so long
to return your call. Been
away at a seminar. When
can I see you? Call me.
If I call Daddy, he’ll want me
to come home, and who knows
what kind of mood he’ll be in?
(I’ve got a pretty good idea.)
But seeing Ty—and getting
wasted—is way up on my
priority list. If I get high
enough, I can deal with Daddy,
as long as he doesn’t actually
come looking and find me.
He wouldn’t come looking,
would he? And if he did,
could he find me way out
in the boonies at Ty’s place?
Nope. No way. First I call
Ty. He answers, second ring.
“Hey. I’m in town. Can you
pick me up?” He agrees,
so I have Brittany drop me
the ride. See you.” Off they go.
I chance a one-sided call to Daddy.
“Hi. I’m fine. I’m with friends.
Be home in a while.” Click.
I’m Living Dangerously
And I def know it. I power down
the phone. I’ll have to deal with
whatever consequences Daddy
decides to deal me. But meanwhile,
I won’t have my evening disturbed
by the incessant interruption of a cell.
It takes Ty forty minutes to get to
me, too much time with nothing
to do but think about today.
And that means thinking about Daddy.
No wonder he didn’t want Kaeleigh
and me to have a childhood. He didn’t.
I have no idea how I’ll feel when he’s
punishing me, but right this moment,
I can’t help but feel sorry for him.
Finally the BMW cruises into view.
I wave and Ty pulls against the curb.
I give him my hottest smile. “Hey.”
Hey. Great to see you again. Get
in. He opens the door for me, not
quite a gentleman. My place okay?
Is exactly what I have in mind.
The top is down on the Beamer,
the sun low in the sky, and it’s
cold outside. So why am I hot?
Feverish? Maybe. But I’m not
going to tell him that and maybe,
just maybe, the fever is hunger,
not sickness. I’m starving.
Starving for a high, a place to
hang out inside my own head.
Starving for touch. Pain, even.
A way to feel. I need to feel.
Funny how when your life is
mostly bullshit, you turn off
feeling. Sometimes it’s hard
to turn it back on again.
Last time I let myself feel was
up on the mountain with Ian.
When he turned away, I flipped
the feeling off switch.
But now, just imagining what
Ty has in mind for me, for us,
I flip it back on again. Good
or bad, I’m ready to feel.
Is the perfect place to hang out
inside my own head. The first
thing he does is disappear
up the hall, toward his bedroom.
He comes back with a party in a box.
You want to get buzzed, right?
I nod and next thing I know,
we’re smoking black African
bud. It’s not really black, but
it’s definitely purple, the buds
big around as my fist. And it
tastes like absolute heaven.
Almost immediately, my eyes
grow heavy and my tongue thick.
“Incredible,” I manage, sounding
more like “increthible.” We both
laugh, and I slide into a comfort
zone. Part of me keeps shouting
a warning. The other part tells
the first to shut up, quit trying
to fuck up my high. I realize
Ty is a dangerous man. But I
so want to walk that razor’s edge,
take feeling to a whole new level.
He senses my eagerness.
His breath warms my ear
and my heart double-times.
How far will you go with me?
He kisses my mouth. My throat.
Will you let me draw blood?
He bites my neck, and a moan
escapes my mouth, unbidden.
How high will you let me take you?
For once, I want to relinquish
control. For once, I want to
completely let go. “You decide.”
His grin is pure evil. That’s my
girl. He yanks my blouse over
my head, spills me from my bra.
He kisses, bites. I’m already lost,
but hungry for more. He pulls
me to my feet, hands all over me….
And the Doorbell Rings
Not just once, but three times,
in quick succession. Fuck!
Did Daddy find me after all?
Who the fuck is it? Ty yells.
No answer, but another ring.
And another. I try to tug on
my shirt, and am halfway there
when Ty opens the door. I stare
at the face framed there, eyes
wide with anger and hurt. Ian.
He pushes past Ty. Kaeleigh.
What are you doing here, with
him? You promised me…
Promised? What did I promise?
I shake my head. Kaeleigh promised,
not me. “N-not Kaeleigh.”
Ty takes Ian’s arm. Get the fuck
out of here. He tries to muscle him
toward the door,
but Ian yanks away, comes over,
puts his hands on my shoulders, looks
into my eyes. Who are you, then?
I’m…I look at him, so full
of love for me. Me. Am I Kaeleigh?
No. Goddammit. I’m, “Raeanne.”
No, no, no! His head twists
from side to side, until I’m sure
it will spin off his neck. Raeanne
is dead, Kaeleigh. She died
in the accident, remember?
Listen to me, Kaeleigh.
What is he talking about?
I’m not dead. I’m right here,
and I’m…too fucking stoned
to deal with this now. “What
are you talking about, Ian?
Can’t you see I’m not Kaeleigh?”
Ian’s eyes are wild. Scared.
Confused, like an animal
in a trap. Please, Kaeleigh.
Why does he keep calling
me that? I’m not Kaeleigh, I’m…
Wait…What did he say
about an accident? Yes, yes,
there was an accident. Daddy
was driving and they took…
Mom and Raeanne Away
Not me. Didn’t
take me away.
Raeanne. My sister.
My identical twin.
I called out to her.
She didn’t answer.
Mom came back.
Ty turns vicious.
Ty? Who’s he?
Look, she said she’s not
this Kaeleigh person, so…
But I am Kaeleigh.
Wait. Who am I?
Who am I? The room
begins to spin.
Goddammit. Too much
fucking good bud.
Is that the problem?
Don’t think so. Afraid
that’s not the problem.
Ian turns toward Ty,
and his look stops the
bigger man’s approach.
with her, but she is
Kaeleigh, and her twin,
Raeanne, was killed
in an accident years ago….
“Stop saying that!
I’m not dead….”
Yes, you are.
“…can’t be dead.
I’m standing right here.”
Someone is, but
“I don’t want
to be dead….”
I Think I’m Dead
Voices. Arms around me.
Hands, familiar. Ian’s hands?
They don’t belong to me.
They belong to Kaeleigh.
I am. Lights. Floating.
me. Come on, Kaeleigh.
Everything’s okay. I’m here
for you always. He says
I’m not dead,
but he still thinks I’m her.
Am I her? If I’m her, where
is me? I can’t go away, not
all the way away. Kaeleigh
is weak, no match for Daddy.
If I die,
she’ll die too. I’ll always
be right here. Ian doesn’t
have to know. Daddy
doesn’t have to know. Even
know I’m still here. I’ll
have to hide better, always
be Kaeleigh. It’s a new game,
but necessary for me to
I Wish I Were Dead
I’m sick. Confused. Hot.
My muscles ache, twitch.
They tell me it’s withdrawal
from OxyContin. I smell
sweating death from my pores.
Three days now, and nothing
feels better. I keep puking…
did I once puke on purpose?
Is that part of me dead if
I’m not dead,
and if it is, am I half-dead?
I don’t understand. I don’t
understand. Big blocks
of my life are lost to me.
Big blocks of time, spent…
Other author's books:
- IdenticalPerfect - 02Crank - 01TricksGlass - 02Collateral
Welcome to BookFrom.Net Archieve
The free online library containing 500000+ books
Read books for free from anywhere and from any device
Use search by Author, Title or Series to find more
Listen to books in audio format instead of reading
Quick bookmark is available by clicking on the plus icon (+)
Bookmark loading occurs by clicking on the arrow icon (<-)