Plotless-- Chapter One
There are three kinds of people in this world; the ones that look for an opening in the wall, the ones that go under the wall, and the ones that go over. I’m the former, my mother and sister are the latter, and my boyfriend is the one that goes under, or the one that tries to avoid the wall all together.
I’ve been together with Kiyoshi for three years now, and in that time I’ve had first hand experience of his under the wall approach. It could be any kind of wall, a communication wall, a mental wall, an emotional wall, even a real physical wall. If there is any way to secretly go under, to be unseen, to dig a hole deep in the ground to hide from the rest of the world, he would do it.
Kiyoshi had lived in my house as a foreign exchange student, my twin Ariel going to live with his family in Japan, for a year. It had been difficult, since he didn’t know hardly any English and whenever I tried teaching him English he would try to get around the learning process. All he really wanted to do was write Japanese love poems about me.
I had only really found out about his crush on me when I found a scrap of napkin with his Japanese letters all over it, and went online to translate it.
Her eyes look at me,
I burn in my stomach.
It’s going to explode.
Maybe then the pain will stop.
Maybe she’ll love me too?
I’m going to die.
It was like a truck hitting my chest, I definitely was not attracted to him before then, but there’s just something about a guy writing poetry about you that just makes you reconsider any emotional disinterest with the personal. Forget about being happy, or in love, he wrote poetry about me!
At first I didn’t know how to deal with him, I wanted to wait for my opening in the wall. I ran around the walls, looking for an opening. I wasn’t finding any openings, and when I thought I could squeeze through, my opportunity was short and was gone too fast.
Suddenly, one night while trying to teach Kiyoshi more English, I saw my opening. He sat so close, he bent over the English lesson, and when he looked up, his dark eyes met mine. Maybe I was a bit forceful, but I launched forward and kissed him. Okay… yeah, I had a bruise on my upper lip for a few days, but I was victorious. My stomach lurched, and I thought, This is what love must feel like.
We spent the rest of his ten months wrapped around each other. There was more kissing than learning english going on. Kiyoshi spent as much time with me as possible. During school classes, he would sit beside me, writing poetry about how sweet I am. My mom was pleased with our relationship, but had banned any night time activities. It was hard to believe, but it was possible that Kiyoshi kissed me more than I kissed him, but any opportunity we had, we would be kissing. Kiyoshi refused to kiss in public, so we spent a lot of time alone together.
When it was time for him to leave, as you can imagine, we were both heartbroken. What broke my heart more than his leaving, was how relieved I was that he was.
Ariel came back, boasting of her Japanese love affair, with Kiyoshi’s next door neighbor, and how much fun she had. When she found out that I was Kiyoshi’s girlfriend, she nearly died. She screamed and laughed and would always bring him up into any conversation.
Kiyoshi and I stayed in contact, Skyping and emailing, texting and calling. It was definitely the communication part of our relationship. We kept this long term relationship up for a year, when I finally was able to go on a school trip to Japan for a week. We spent the week together. After all that time apart, I thought it would be a week long kiss fest, but it wasn’t. We grew uncomfortable with each other, finding it easier to communicate through technology than in person. Because it was a school trip, I had field trips every day, and I stayed at a hotel, but that did not stop me from coming to Kiyoshi’s house in the middle of the night.
I thought the nights would go differently, but we spent them, just lying next to each other, looking at each others faces in silence. He kissed me, and I kissed him, but that was it.
I went home, full of emotions and uncertainties.
We communicated better when I got home, we kept up our relationship, and our communication for another year. To this day.
I stare anxiously at my computer screen as I wait for Kiyoshi to appear. The past few days, he’s been distant, unresponsive and quiet. I can tell he’s trying to go under the wall that will separate us, trying to escape from me.
I’ve spent the whole night crying my eyes out, knowing that I have to find an opening to end it. I wait, and impatiently check the time. Five minutes. Ten minutes. Twenty minutes. If he doesn’t show up in the next five minutes I’m gone, I tell myself.
I shut my computer with a slam, and throw my head back, hitting my bed headrest with a hard thud. That’s it, I think, It’s over.
Ariel bursts through my bedroom doors, “What’s over?”
“Ariel, would you stop having my brain on your radar?” I ask irritably. “If you really can read my mind than you can see that my relationship with Kiyoshi is over. Done, caput.”
Ariel crosses my room quickly, her small figure looking fairy like, she hops up onto my bed. “Don’t say that, don’t think that!” Ariel reaches for my hands, her cold clammy palms cooling down my heated dry ones. “You can’t say that, you can’t think that. Everything is going to be okay, I promise.”
“Ariel, please, he hasn’t said anything to me in three days,” I look at her incredulously, and then look down at my lap. “It’s obvious, he’s found someone else.”
“Don’t be stupid, he loves you, he wants to marry you someday.”
My stomach churns at the thought, “Well what if I don’t want to marry him?”
“Shut up!” Ariel exclaims, letting go of my hands, “Oh stop, thinking that.”
“That I’m crazy and insensitive.”
“Well if you don’t want to know what I’m thinking than stop listening.” I cross my arms irritably. Of all the people who could have a mind reader twin sister, it had to be me!
She looks at me reproachfully. “Yes, it had to be you. Plus, I can’t help it, you know I can’t.”
“I know you can,” I argue, “Like you have no issue blocking out everyones thoughts when we’re out in public”
Ariel smiles slyly, “Okay, fine. I have some control. But not with you.”
“I have no idea, don’t ask me.”
I roll my eyes, “You’re ridiculous.”
“Want some ice cream?” Ariel asks abruptly. “I want some ice cream.” She bounces off the bed and skips over to where a pair of my shoes are.
“Hey, those are mine.”
“Duh, that’s why I’m wearing them,” she giggles and hurries out the door, reminding me of a fluttering scarf being carried on the wind.
I hop off my bed and put on a pair of blue flat soled shoes, then go out after my crazy sister. Despite her eccentricity, at least she knows how to distract people from loneliness and sadness. You can’t be lonely or sad around her, it’s impossible.
“Going out?” my moms voice asks from the kitchen as I head out the back door.
“You don’t have to come home tonight, if you don’t want to.”
I pause in the doorway, confused, but not surprised, at her words.I look into the kitchen to where my mom stands washing the dishes. “What?”
She looks around at me and smiles, “I know that sounds a bit odd, but I mean it.”
“Uh…” I look for a reason that she would say this, “Okay… why… why would I not want to come home?”
“Well, I know you’ve been upset, so I just want to let you know you’re free to go. You are seventeen and perfectly capable of--”
“Mom?” If there is anything my mom can’t do, it’s lie. “What’s really going on?
She laughs, “I have a date tonight.”
“Oh,” I draw out the world, a clear image of my what “a date” meant to my mom, and the last “date” my mom had with me in the house wasn’t what I would consider the best way to get to know someone. In fact, I don’t know anyone, other than my mom, would think that drinking someones blood a very good way to know someone. The more I spend time thinking about my family, the more it makes my skin crawl. “I think I might spend the night with Natalie then.”
She shrugs, “Sure, see you when I see you, hon.”
“Yeah.” I turn and practically run out of the house. Could it be that I’m the only “normal” person in this town?
Ariel waits in her car in the driveway. She honks when she sees me, she peers over the steering wheel to smile and wave at me. She looks like such a little kid in the front seat, and her eyes are so wide and innocently insane, it makes me wonderful if she should be in a mental hospital.
I trip down the cement stairs which lead from the back door to the cement driveway. The same driveway I used to sunbath on, the same driveway where Ariel would pedal her tricycle around on, pretending that she was driving to the moon, the same driveway I sat on and nearly got run over by my moms car as she drove up with a pale man in a business suit, who came in, came out and left my mother behind, thirsty for blood.
I climb into the car, smelling of Ariel’s rose petal perfume, and Ariel’s boyfriends cologne.
“No,” Ariel says as I buckle my seatbelt, “I’m not meeting up with Finn at the ice cream shop, if I was, I wouldn’t be bringing you along.”
I glare at her, “Turn your brain off, would you.”
“You turn your brain off.” She pulls out of the driveway, nearly hitting the already bent and battered trashcan.
I grit my teeth as she turns quickly unto the road, speeding up to pass the stop sign, cutting in front of the other car whose turn it was to go. “Ariel, that wasn’t nice.”
“What? What wasn’t nice?”
I roll my eyes. The car lurches forward, as old as the ice age but still treated like a new mustang. I can feel the car shudder and shake under Ariel’s driving. The car screeches in protest as she turn a sharp corner. I hear the car horns around me blare at us, as we illegally go through the one red light we have in town.
“Ugh!” Ariel wrinkles her nose, “Can’t these people control their thoughts? That’s the rudest thing I’ve ever heard.”
“Maybe if you drove like a normal person, safely, you wouldn’t have to listen to the death threats they think.”
Ariel laughs, “I drive like a normal person, that doesn’t mean it’s safe.”
“You drive like you’re in an action movie, it’s not like we have the cops on our tail… well, not yet.”
“Oh don’t be silly, life is an action movie.” Ariel pulls up without slowing down to the curb, and then hits the brake. I lurch forward, the old seat belt not catching me like it used to before. I catch myself with my hands against the dashboard.
“Stop cussing me, Annette, I don’t need it from you too.”
“I can’t control my thoughts, okay,” I exclaim angrily, undoing my seatbelt, “So, might as well get used to it.”
“Yeah, but you don’t have to think such naughty words,” she unbuckles and swings out of the car, her door swinging out dangerously as a car zooms by, honking at her. “Oh shut up!” she yells at it’s bumper as it drives away.
I shake my head and turn to look inside the ice cream shops window. The owner stands behind the counter, looking out the window at my sister and me. I can’t help but feel defensive as I notice the horror and panic that’s in his expression.
Ariel clunks forward in my think high heels. Her thin frame in the heavy shoes looks almost like a little finch, with the legs of an eagle. “C’mon. Let’s get some ice cream.”
I open the heavy glass door for Ariel, knowing that she would never be strong enough to open it, ever.
“I so can too,” she says as she passes me, stepping in onto the checkerboard white and black tile, “but thank you for your concern.”
The owner behind the counter, as if shocked into action by our appearance in his shop, suddenly bustles into the back room. A second later, his son, who we have known forever, comes out. He’s finally losing his adolescent pimples, and a bit of stumble starts to grow on his chin. His dark curly afro which he wore during high school, is gone. Why he still works he, when he could go to college, I would never know.
“Hey Abe!” Ariel squeals, running to the counter like she always has. She leans against the counter her long straight blond hair, hanging down like a curtain around her head. “How are you?”
Abraham grins and readies himself. He pulls on blue plastic gloves and reaches for an ice cream scooper, “Fine, you?” his voice, which used to be weird and scratchy, is now deep and rich, like dark chocolate silk ice cream.
“I’m awesome!” Ariel voice fills the empty ice cream shop, making me feel like the walls might crumble around us by the volume of her voice.
Abraham looks over Ariel to look at me. He grins, his top teeth slightly crooked, his nose slightly bent in the middle, his eyes small, his dark eyebrows thin and his face narrow, “How about you, Annette?”
The way he looks at me makes my blush and I hesitantly walk up to the counter, “I’m okay.”
He looks back at Ariel, “Mint Chocolate Chip?”
“Duh,” Ariel laughs, and puts her hands on her bony hips.
He nods, glancing at me with sparkling eyes. Working masterfully, he scoops up ice cream onto a waffle cone and hands it to Ariel. Ariel exchanges a knowing look with me, and her words from a few weeks back about what Abraham was thinking comes back to my mind.
“Did you hear him?”
“You know I didn’t.”
“Good Old Dog! His thoughts were so loud, I would be able to hear them from our house, I swear.”
“What was he thinking?”
“He was thinking how pretty you looked today. Then, guess what?”
“Ariel, stop screaming, you’re going to bust my ear drums. What?”
“He kept thinking about kissing you, it was so cute, as soon as he thought of kissing you he blushed bright red. Then he thought of… well, he couldn’t help himself he thought of--”
“I don’t want to hear this.”
“I have a boyfriend.”
“Yeah, a digital boyfriend, who might as well be a robot. You thought as much today!”
I shift, feeling my cheeks go hot. Abraham, cleans the ice cream scooper and then digs into the dark chocolate silk. I smile, “You’re a master at this, aren’t you?”
He looks up with a grin, “Black belt.”
Ariel giggles loudly.
Abraham gives her quick weird look and then passes the heaping cone of ice cream to me. “That’ll be two fifty.”
I pass my ice cream cone to Ariel and dig into my back pockets where I always stuff three dollars every morning in case of going to the ice cream shop. “Keep the change, thanks.”
“Thank you, have a great day.” Abraham’s pleasant smile lingers on me, his eyes dark with passion.
I quickly turn, grabbing my ice cream from Ariel, who looks at me wide eyed. I burst out of the store, leaving the door open for Ariel for only a few seconds. She flits out, giving me a surprised look.
“ Oh my Good Old Dog!” Ariel exclaims as I climb into the drivers seat. “Did you see the way he looked--”
I cut her off as I close the car door. I grip my cone in my hand and lick the cold silky ice cream tentatively. This is ridiculous, I think to myself as Ariel swings into the car.
“No it’s not,” she argues, her eyes gleaming. “Oh c’mon, Annette! Didn’t you said it’s over with Kiyoshi? Well then, pursue Abe! He’s perfect, he loves you, oh goodness, he really really loves you!”
“He thinks he loves me,” I argue harshly, starting the car.
Ariel takes a large lick of her ice cream and shrugs, “I’m not a love genius, but I think when a guy thinks about asking you out on a date, planning a dinner with roses and wine, and then kissing you on your doorstep, it means he’s madly head over heels.”
I pull out onto the road, and glance over at her, butterflies fluttering around in my stomach dangerously. “That’s ridiculous.”