I have been deleting like crazy. A better way of putting it, pithy… less is more. My head baffles me sometimes. How can I write in so much detail and dialogue really not needed? But I do like it. I see my story like a movie in my head. I know what everyone looks like and I know their little idiosyncrasies. I will reveal them little by little and not all at once. This is still one chapter and it’s part 4. LOL! It has been a difficult task to delete stuff but I feel better about the work.
Thanks for reading.
“What is it?”
“I have to go check on him. Now!”
Lauren got out of the bath as quickly as she could. The feeling in the pit of her stomach was like a magnet. It led her to the open door of the den and the open gate between their yard and Alex and Donovan’s yard. David grabbed his robe and ran out behind her. David had a spare key and opened the kitchen door to the Scott household. The alarm was not on. Alex had gotten into the habit of disabling it just in case Joseph would come by.
“Damn it! How does he do it? And why?”
“Come on love. You know how his mind works. He can’t help it. It’s like a nervous tick.”
“This is not a nervous tick. This is an obsession. We should consult someone.”
“Oh shit! – Donovan?”
“Yeah Dave it’s me. I heard some rustling and I came down to check.”
“You startled me buddy. He’s here. Isn’t he?”
“Yes. He’s here.”
“No, no worries. Come take a look at the two loves.”
The three of them went up the back stairs as Alex was walking into Matl’s bedroom. She was smiling. Again. He does it so many times and every time Matl rolls over close to him putting her little arm around him. The thought of Joseph holding Matl and falling fast asleep made her smile. The four friends stood at the foot of Matl’s bed and looked lovingly at the pair. Their embrace was sweet. They were in a deep state of sound repose. No sooner would Joseph climb into bed with Matl than he would fall fast asleep. To him it was a necessary element in his life. Like breathing. For Matl it was peaceful having him close.
Donovan shut the window. David wanted to wake him and take him back home but Alex and Lauren did not agree. Lauren held her husband back.
“Leave him. They’re just sleeping.”
Alex whispered leading them out.
“Alex, I’m so sorry…”
“Listen we should talk about this but honestly the only concern I have is Joseph’s safety. I think we need to give him a key so he can come any time.”
Alex said firmly.
“No! He needs to stop this. I’ll have a talk with him.”
David said concerned his son might be going crazy. They walked down quietly. Lauren kept shaking her head.
“He’s not crazy you know. It’s his mind. He’s so advanced that his brain, his heart… everything about him is intense. Everything he goes for, he goes for one hundred percent and then some. She’s like anything else he loves. I don’t think we can shake him from that or her for that matter. She’s in tune to him. She asks him all the right questions and discusses things with him that only they understand. Not even I can measure up to that. I know she loves him as much. Even with the age difference, you can tell she’s his match.”
Alex smiled hearing Lauren’s words. She felt at peace knowing that such intense love was part of Matl’s story. She was intensely loved. She wasn’t worried about it. Donovan knew exactly what Alex was thinking. He knew that she was happy with the connection. He had it with her. She was his obsession, his intense love. The story was repeating itself only this time without interruption. He intended to make sure of that.
“Good morning Matl.”
“Good morning Joseph.”
“Did you sleep well? I had the best sleep.”
“Yes. I like it when you come to stay with me.”
“Me too. I have to go get ready for school now. I’ll see you later. Okay? I hope you learn a lot… and those large words… I’ll help you with them after school. Deal? I’ll show you how to break them apart so you don’t forget them.”
“Okay. I’ll be the smartest girl in the second grade.”
“You are already smarter than anyone I know Matl.”
“No. I’m not. You’re the smart one. I’m just lucky you’re on my side.”
“Matl… you’re so cute.”
Joseph said laughing. He kissed her head and started off to climb out the window. Alex caught him just in time.
“Joseph why don’t you try the door this time. No need to risk hurting yourself.”
She startled him and he swallowed looking up at her with his big blue eyes. Alex smiled reassuring him.
“Yes, ma’am. See you later Matl.”
“See ya, Joseph.”
Alex came and sat on the bed next to Matl who was stretching and tossing.
“Hi precious. Can I ask you something?”
“Yes. Ask me anything and if I don’t know the answer to it I will find out and get back to you.”
Alex laughed. She was starting to sound like Joseph.
“How do you feel when Joseph comes over?”
“Oh… good. Sooo good. I sleep better and I feel smarter every day. That was too easy. Ask me a hard question.”
“How would you feel if he didn’t come over like he does and didn’t spend so much time with you like he does?”
Matl got up and put her arms on her Mother’s shoulders and began to fidget. It was part of her way when she became nervous or upset. Her eyes began to well up. Her big brown eyes expressive and telling.
“Why Mommy? Does he not need me anymore?”
“Why do you say ‘need’?
“Joseph says he needs me like oxygen.”
“He does? He tells you this?”
“Yes. All the time. I don’t want him to die. You can’t live without oxygen.”
Alex grabbed Matl and held her tight. Tears started to slide down her face for her daughter. This is love, she thought. Matl and Joseph. Matl began to cry now.
“I don’t want him to stop coming. I need him like oxygen too. Can you talk to him? I need him too!”
“Oh, sweet girl. Not to worry. He’ll come to see you often but don’t be sad if sometimes he can’t. You are both the best of friends and you need to understand that sometimes there are things bigger than the two of you. You may be separated from time to time but you will always come back to each other.”
Matl began to feel better after hearing her Mother’s encouragement. She wiped her eyes and looked at Alex.
“I know. He tells me when he can’t visit me. I always know because he tells me everything.”
Alex took a deep breath and decided not to rock this boat. Let it sail on, she thought, even during a storm. It was pointless to interfere when love’s force was so severe with these two.
“Aww… you wish you had the guts to beat me.”
Marcus said as Joseph stood in front of him. Alex and Lauren sat on the side watching their two boys during their Judo session. Matl sat next to her mother. She liked watching her brother and Joseph in the choreographed battle of Judo. They had gotten very good and it was their third year under the same instructor. Joseph smiled at Marcus. He found it curious how he always wanted to wrestle him and fight with him. Joseph did not care for fighting but he did like Judo a great deal. He found that Judo allowed him to find a center. He sometimes felt unbalanced and it gave him the balance he needed. He liked the idea of having balance. He also liked the feeling of being strong and powerful. He couldn’t and wouldn’t show it though. It was not his way. Marcus, on the other hand, was quite the opposite and looked to fight him all the time.
“Come on Joseph! Give me your best shot!”
He did. Without saying a word. He went at Marcus and flipped him. He held him down and the instructor called for them to keep going. Marcus was not happy. He was boiling over.
“That was a lucky turn! I’ll get you for sure this time!”
Marcus tried and tried, but each time Joseph was successful in pinning him down. It was easy for him. Joseph kept a serene face the whole session. Marcus was wasting his breath, he thought. Joseph decided to break his silence.
“Marcus stop talking so much. Concentrate. Don’t get so angry. It’s clouding your mind.”
“Shut up Joseph! You can’t tell me what to do!”
“I’m just saying… you’re my best friend. I wouldn’t say anything to you otherwise. Just be quiet and center yourself.”
“Center? Man! You are weird.”
“Fine! Come on then!”
Marcus tried but to no avail. Joseph flipped him each time. Each time Marcus’ fever in his heart rose. As they were standing ready for the next move Marcus could not help himself. He was so angry that he rammed his head into Joseph’s stomach like a bull. Joseph, anticipating it, hardened his core. It didn’t hurt but it did knock him down and caught the teacher’s attention.
“Marcus Scott! Do I need to sit you out of the rest of the session?”
Marcus got up from on top of Joseph and swallowed nervously.
“No Sense. Sorry Sense.”
“Perhaps you two would benefit from changing partners.”
Joseph sat up and noticed Matl looking at him. He smiled and she smiled back. He sat there mesmerized by her. He wasn’t listening to the Sense or anything else. It was as if he was looking through a tunnel and there was only Matl, nothing else. So much for Judo giving you a center, a balance. Matl disrupted all of that. Joseph did not mind one bit. Not at all.
© 2019 Mel Gutiér