I’m doing something I haven’t done in years, 5 years to be exact – I’m going to school 2 days in a row.
It’s madness, this feeling inside of me. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I feel like I’m trying for something, that I want something… and that something is Maya.
I’m not sure what changed, how it changed, or when it changed; yesterday morning Maya Hart was just another girl, but today she’s the girl. Looking into the fiery depths of her eyes I realised that I’ve missed out, that there’s been this amazing, extraordinary girl right under my nose all this time… I just didn’t see it before… but now I do.
My dad’s back on the bottle again – it goes like that, he has days where he doesn’t touch a drop… were he’s sober and semi-normal… and other days he’s as drunk as a tramp and smells like one too. I don’t think he even heard me go out this morning, I left him on the couch snoring.
It’s another bright autumnal day. I like these days the best, where the sun is shining… there’s not a cloud in the sky but it’s cold and frosty.
First period we have social studies, and I know we have to work in our pairs… my stomach flutters at the thought of seeing Maya again, I feel a rush of warmth when I think of her smile, her cute freckles…
Sure enough, we’re put into our pairs and told to discuss what we’re going to do as part of our presentation.
“I don’t know much about you,” Maya smiles, “If we’re gonna do a presentation it might be an idea to get to know each other first…”
I shrug; I’m not big on divulging information…
“Come on,” Maya pokes me in the ribs and I feel a rush of heat at her touch.
“Why don’t you tell me about you…” I scribble absentmindedly on my pad, my long legs are sprawled out in front of me, and I’m slouching in my chair.
“Ok, well… you probably know it all… but I like horse riding… and my Dad’s a doctor… my favourite colour is pink… my star sign is virgo… um…”
“Are you good at riding?”
Maya nods, “I compete too…”
“That’s pretty cool…”
“Thanks, so now it’s your turn…”
I shrug and Maya laughs, “Fine, I’ll guess…”
I glance at her through my floppy fringe and she chuckles at me.
“You like to draw,” she gestures towards my note pad. I’ve drawn a horse… which I didn’t realise I was doing. I do like to draw… I suppose.
I shrug again and Maya rolls her eyes.
“OK, you like to be alone, you’re very private and you like the outdoors…”
“I’m right, aren’t I?”
“Jeez Yves, It’s like getting blood out of a stone! I know I’m right, I’ve seen you in the woods near my house… you’re there all the time…”
I turn to her, facing her, she’s seen me? How can she have seen me when I’ve never noticed her there before?
“You’re always there… and I’ve seen you fishing in the lake… you know that you need a fishing permit to be there…” she cocks her head on one side and smiles adorably.
“Permit, schmermit,” I say and continue to sketch on my pad.
“So, I think,” Maya leans back on her chair, “I think you need to teach me how to fish… and I’ll teach you to ride… then we’ll do a presentation on it.”
“Argh!” Maya groans with frustration, “You’re so non-committal! I’m going to take that as a yes!”
I smile, despite trying to keep up my cold guise… the thought of spending more time with this girl makes my heart soar and my body tingle.
I’m still smiling inanely at her when I see a vehicle pull up outside the school…
“Hey goth,” Finton smirks at me, “isn’t that your dad?”
My classmates turn to look at me and I stare out of the window as a man emerges from the beaten up piece of junk he calls a car. Curtis Black looks much older than his 45 years, his body tired and beaten through years of alcohol abuse and depression.
I’m out of my chair before I realise what I’m doing…I need to get to him before he gets to me… I run from the classroom and down the corridor, bursting out through the entrance door.
“Dad!” I yell across the car park, I know my classmates are watching, I can see their faces through the windows. “What are you doing here?”
“I woke up and you weren’t there…” he hiccups, he’s as drunk as they come.
I approach him and he falls onto me, nearly knocking me over.
“Jeez dad… you’re wasted…” I somehow manage to prop him up, “What are you doing? What do you care if I’m not at home?”
“I’m sorry…” he mumbles, flailing around on the icy car park. I can hear laughter.
“Yo goth! You gonna take poor daddy home? Or continue a family reunion in the car park?” I turn and see Fin yelling at me through the open class room window, I can hear the rest of the class laughing… I really hope Maya’s not laughing too. My heart sinks.
“Come on dad, let’s go home…” I prop him up and we stagger back to the car.
It’s around 7pm when dad’s finally sober, and once again he’s enraged. Sometimes I prefer him drunk…
“You tell me where you’re going!” he yells at me, spit flying out of his mouth and splattering onto my face.
“You wanted me to go to school…” I say, “You told me I had to… I was just doing as you said…”
I turn away from him, I’ve cooked us dinner again… OK so it’s only cheese on toast but seriously, if it wasn’t for me I think my dad would starve.
“Don’t you turn away from me, boy!” Dad grabs my sore arm, just as I’ve picked up one of the plates, and it tumbles to the floor, smashing into pieces at my feet.
I stare at my father and see the shock on his face, which soon turns back to anger.
“Now look what you’ve done! You’re good for nothing! You can’t even cook!”
I can’t be bothered to respond, I’m used to his constant whining, so I start to walk away.
I try my hardest to prove to him that we can be a family, that we can move on from my mother… but he refuses to see my futile attempts to repair our broken home. I just wish I could give up on him like he’s given up on me… but I can’t.
“Don’t you dare walk away from me!” he yells, I turn to him and that’s when I’m struck in the face with a sharp object. I feel a sting and then the vision in my right eye goes red. I can’t believe he’s thrown part of the plate at me. I bring my hand up to my eye and I’m surprised when I see a smear of crimson over my fingers.
I stare at my father who’s breathing heavily, snorting like an angry bull, then, I laugh.
It’s as if in that moment my father realises the seriousness of what he’s done, and his face falls… his eye brows furrow and his jaw slackens… his eyes grow wide with fear. “Yves,” he whispers, “oh my god, Yves…”
I touch the cut again; he’s never made me bleed before. I show him the fresh blood on my finger tips.
“Nice one, Dad, really, good going,” I sneer – he follows me through into the hallway where my coat is hung up, I snatch it from the peg.
“Yves,” he keeps repeating my name; it’s starting to bug me.
I shrug on my leather jacket.
“For god’s sake!” I turn to him, “What?! What do you want from me?”