Tegan Clicking through the pages on his computer screen, Charlie couldn’t bear to hear the songs Jesse had at one point introduced to him. Even after all this time, groups he had once enjoyed now only reminded him of a period of his life he wished he could forget. It seemed like only yesterday he was rolling around in bed with her, his hands under her Black Dahlia Murder shirt, tickling her ribs until she inadvertently socked him one. He missed her, and it didn’t seem like the memory of her was getting any more manageable as the years flew by. He had given up the world for her; caught a bus on a whim to have a life with her leaving behind relationships it had taken him an entire lifetime to create only to end up living in some shelter for months on end without so much as a word from her. At the time it was almost as if all the planets had aligned and she was part of some prophecy he wanted so badly to fulfill. But notions like these were but memoirs of feelings he knew were childish. They were both so young, and young love can be so unpredictable, or at least that’s what his parents said. How could she have been so cold Charlie thought to himself?Didn’t she know what he was going through for her? He reasoned that she had to have realized how hard it must have been living on the streets for all that time, and that perhaps Jesse shut him out of her life because of the guilt and embarrassment she felt regarding her role in his demise. Whatever the case, he was hurt and it was difficult for him to forget about her the same way she had so easily forgotten about him. It just didn’t seem fair. On that note, Charlie rose from his computer and headed to his father’s shed. After pumping the tires on his bike, he impulsively headed downtown. He wanted so badly to meet new people, as all the friends he had made in Denver were still in Denver, miles away from where he was now. Pedaling through a city he had grown up in, he was in awe of how unfamiliar it was to him. He had only spent two years in Denver, but it seemed like a lifetime in retrospect. Charlie had about twenty dollars in his pocket and he was determined to put his mind at ease. Once he got downtown, he elected to visit the record store if only to thumb through the overpriced and outdated tunes they had to offer. It seemed like something to do, but it only took ten minutes for him to lose interest and exit the store. Charlie leaned against the wall of the store and lit a cigarette.
As he lit it, he thought of the running jokes he and his friends had made so long ago in the studio apartment all of them had shared. He laughed to himself, wondering what they were all doing at this moment in time. He missed those memories, and he wanted more of them. Charlie walked around with his cigarette, pondering his next move for the day. Just then, he heard some suspicious coughing coming from the alley behind the store. Looking into the alley, he saw a group of teenagers smoking pot. “I knew it,” Charlie said to himself. Cigarette in hand, he walked towards the group and asked if they were selling. One of the taller teens nodded and made a deal with him. Desperate for any kind of human interaction, Charlie forced small talk on the group. He came to understand that they were waiting for a friend. In the midst of conversation, he decided to share his weed with them before things started to get stale and they wondered why he was still around. While they toked, a tiny girl walked up to them. “What took you so long?” said one boy. “I was looking for that Black Dahlia Murder CD, but of course they don’t have it,” the girl explained. “Funny seeing you here, dude. Didn’t you just come out of the store?” “Yeah, that was me,” Charlie reacted realizing she was talking to him. This was the first time in a long time he had met a girl that interested him. He wasn’t sure if he liked her taste in metal or her piercings more. “I didn’t see you in there,” he said. At that moment, the group erupted into laughter. “Yeah, I’m pretty short. Name’s Tegan. That’s T‐E‐G‐A‐N, not T‐E‐A‐G‐A‐N.” “I’ll try to remember that. Call me Charlie.” Charlie knew he had to play this cool if he was going to get her number. Just then, one member of the group exclaimed, “Well are we going or what?” “Israel, I’m going to need you to calm down,” Tegan stated jokingly. “Are we bringing our buddy here?” “That’s up to you. It’s your place,” said a voice from the group. “Well, I hope you don’t have anywhere to be, because you’re coming with us, guy.”
Without any kind of opposition, Charlie walked with the group to a house not even a block from the record store. They all sat and smoked more weed in the garage, taking shots of hard liquor while simultaneously taking turns playing table tennis. Before long, the sun had gone down and several members of the group had gone home. “Aren’t you going to take that jacket off?” asked Tegan. “Well, I’d rather not…” said Charlie nervously. “What’s the issue? Got something to hide?” probed the tiny girl. “Well, no… it’s just that, well…” and with that, Charlie removed his jacket only to revealdozens of scars on his arms and one particularly long scar that ran underneath his forearm. They were red, angry scars that were raised because the skin had grown in excess in order to compensate for how far it had been cut open. Charlie felt the entire garage shift its attention to him as if he was suddenly the most interesting thing there. He felt so embarrassed and could only imagine how pathetic they must all think he was. Thoughts ran through his head: how much pain he was in when he put these marks on his body, what he went through, the things he saw, and what a wash this evening ended up being. It was too much to feel at once, and Charlie shut down keeping his eyes on his arms. All of a sudden it seemed as if being alone wasn’t such a bad option anymore to Charlie, as he had obviously had enough of the world during his short stay in Denver. What an idiot for thinking he could start over again. Just then, he felt a hand on his arm rubbing the ugly memories he was trying his best to forget. Charlie lifted his head up, only to see Tegan staring right back at him, her mascara running down her face as tears dropped like atomic bombs from her eyes. She then rolled her sleeves up and let the world gaze upon her mutilated flesh. “I get it,” she said. With that, Charlie couldn’t contain himself anymore. Tears filled his eyes and wet her arms. Before he knew what had happened, they were holding one another and the little girl had put her pierced lips on his.
It was almost as if all the planets had aligned and she was part of some prophecy he wanted so badly to fulfill. Author: Alex Wells Country: United States To Read More Short Stories: http://www.shortstoriescorner.com