Respect the Depths
by Sean Romano (Zay Nah)
Stomping through the house with his heavy boots on.
He was leaving a trail of caked mud. Like little puzzle pieces in the shape of the pattern on his army boots.
He was shedding the mud. Shedding the experience.
Shedding his skin.
She begged him to stop. It had gone all wrong from jump. Things often do when people take questionable advice.
But then again, in all fairness, isn’t it well established that we always ignore the best advice and we do so when it comes from people we love and respect the most?
Is it possible that the advice was not necessarily meant to be ignored but maybe, just maybe, applied differently?
Or just ignored because people just say shit most of the time.
“Where’s my bag?” Catkin was frantic again. Ramping back up. Pulling at his long dark hair. “Where’d you put my stuff ma please…PLEASE! Jus tell me please,” Catkin turned to his mother, and she stopped in her tracks.
His face was slick with tears. Eyes bloodshot and cheeks flush. For a moment the only noises were the ticking of the grandfather clock, a car passing in the street, the windchimes dancing in the gentle breeze. Nothing fancy, just a chill little number between the heartbreaking seconds.
He loved the windchime when he was a boy his mom thought as he looked at her and wiped his eyes with the palms of his hands. For a moment she saw a toddler and not a 14-year-old boy.
“I need my bag mom,” Catkin said softly. “You don’t understand anything. You’ve got this story about what’s up with me and it’s all wrong and then you take my bag? With my stuff?”
She thought she had an opportunity. The clock chimed in harmony with the windchime and for the first time since the argument began, she didn’t find herself praying someone would come home.
“I’m scared Catchy I, I just,” his mother stuttered, “we don’t know what to do like I said honey we’re just scared, dad too, you can talk to us please...”
She felt the air thicken in an instant.
It’s a delicate business, reading these situations. She thought she was so close to the line she had chalk dust on her shoes but had remained within her boundaries.
The opportunity, if there had even been one, was slipping away.
Sometimes when you lose your grip its subtle and you don’t even notice until you check or fuck up on top of fuck up reaches a critical mass and it all falls apart.
Other times its obvious right away.
This was one of those times.
“Yer scared so you took my fuckin bag and accuse me of being on drugs, ground me, and tell me I’m going to rehab all in like 2 minutes with no warning. What’s WRONG with you,” Catkin was screaming, crying, for the first time in years. At least in front of his mother.
“Catkin you’re my baby boy I just-
“Jhames is yer baby boy he’s the youngest,” Catchy said looking down at his untied boots. He was still serious but speaking calmly. In Catkin’s mind he was swinging on a vine from tree to tree. He almost wanted to say it out loud, that he felt best when he was in the air but once he planted his feet on something things got complicated.
But he didn’t. They were both already swimming in the deep end. Catkin elected to respect the depths of the circumstance.
“You’re my boy Catkin.”
Shits unraveling, Catkin thought. Where was Immanuel when he needed him the most? Where the fuck are people when you need them the most?
“When was the last time you called me Catkin mom?”
She felt panic setting in. What if he walked out the door because she pushed? What then?
“I, I just don’t want you to die honey you can talk to us.”
“Jesus fuckin Christ mom now I’m about to DIE! Do you hear yourself?!”
Catchy was calm a moment and took several deep breathes and then screamed “WHERE’S MY FUCKIN BAG MOM?”
“Its safe honey why do you need it?”
“Is this a joke? You haven’t even searched it? There’s no drugs. I’m not on drugs.”
“Then how do you explain your behavior? How do you explain school?”
“Oh the straight A’s…umm I dunno I fucked up somewhere along the line. Lemme unpack it with my guidance counselor, and we’ll see what strategies we can come up with JESUS MOM ARE YOU SERIOUSLY ASKING THIS?”
Catkin was breathless. “Are you serious I’m going to rehab cause I’m getting straight A’s and I’m hyper? I tested positive fer weed not meth or anything else.”
She walked out of the room and promptly returned with the bag which Catkin snatched out of her hands. His mother flinched but kept her composure as Catchy ripped through his bag and grabbed his journal and opened it.
There was writing and drawings, beautiful drawings of geometric shapes. They both loved books and journals.
She caught only a glimpse before he closed the journal. It made a sound that felt final. Both satisfying and haunting at once.
The sound of fate being sealed, at least for the moment.
“Can you at least tie your father’s boots?”