The first part in a long story of how certain events led me to be the man I am today.
Tales of a Boy
A Man and His Father
Hello there! I am going to start right off saying that I am pretty terrible with grammar. I deeply apologize for this but I have a story I wish to tell and I feel that it is something that I have to do. I will try my hardest to lookout for my own mistakes and accept any feedback but I never paid much attention in my English class in high school and now I am paying for it haha... My story will get dark and enter into adult situations at times but I feel that that is all part of the human experience and if I censor my experiences then it will end up lacking in the human department. I have no idea how many chapters this story will be but it will be as many as it takes to tell the story of how I became the man that I am today, or maybe the man I pretend to be. I really hope that for anyone who stumbles on my story that it can help them in whatever way it can. I think telling the story will help me. If you have any comments, feedback or questions do not be afraid to speak up! I have been known on the off occasion to be quite friendly! I cannot think of anything else to say for this warning so let's get on with the show!
My name is ConstantConversations, but you can call me by my first name, Constant. My life has taken quite the turn in the past few years for both better and worse and it has made me very pensive on those years. I sit back in my folding chair in front of my open apartment window and take in the desert winter air. In terms of a plot line or "plot mountain" as others have coined it, I currently reside at the end of the falling action and on the verge of the resolution. I have lived through the climax and survived the falling action and now as things are winding down for me I thought I'd take the respite to look back on all the stories, the pain, love and loss that I went through and that I caused. I am the protagonist in my story but I know that in most I am simply an ancillary character and in some I am even the antagonist. It is so easy for me to blame it all on being young and naive but I need to be held accountable for my actions just as everyone else should. As I get started on this part of my story I will ask you one question and request that you keep that question in mind to think on as a sort of homework. Would you consider your father a good man? Not a good provider or a good dad but a good man. I do not know about you but for me the question elicits a deep descent into my mind, into my memories. This first story is about my good friend, John.
A Man and His Father:
I sat and observed John. I'd see how he interacted with others, or more accurately how he chose to stay away from others. John always looked so angry, always scowling and never saying a word. He intrigued me but to be honest he scared me as well. I did not know at the time that he would be one of my greatest friends in high school. He was very small for our age. We were both sophomores in high school but it seemed his body did not fully develop. I'd guess John was 4'-11" and about 100 pounds, He was all skin and bone. His skin was as white as porcelain and he had long brown hair that reached all the way down to the small of his back. His face looked like that of a rat and in fact one of my friends would cruelly call him rat for that very reason. John's most unique feature though was that the front few teeth were dead so they were black as the night. I remember it looked as though someone had taken a black sharpie and drew on his front teeth.
I had seen John around school through freshman year and finally in sophomore year we had a class together. We had only spoken once that whole year and that one encounter was not the best first impression. Like I said earlier, John always kept to himself in his own little world just sitting at his desk, scowling and never saying a word. But one day for some reason John breaks his usual cycle and decides to mess with me. He takes some of my stuff and tries to play keep away with me. I get close to him and tell him to give me back my stuff or there were going to be consequences. He laughed and tried to run away but I grabbed him by the collar and pulled him back and with all of my strength I shoved him as hard as I could into the surrounding desks where he collided and ended up dazed on the floor. I stood above him and I saw the anger and shock in his eyes and I quietly and calmly told him that I had warned him. I then collected my stolen items and returned back to my desk. That was my last interaction with John for sophomore year but to my surprise on my first day of junior year we were not only in the same class but we sat side by side with each other.
Needless to say I was pretty worried about sitting next to him for a whole year. Things were awkward at first for a month or two but eventually through small talk we learned more and more about each other. I confess that I do not remember entirely how it was that we became so comfortable with one another but after time we were helping each other with homework and even talking about our personal lives. John was an interesting man. He would go a whole day without saying a word but then there were some days when he just would not stop talking. I learned that he was a third degree black belt, that he had a girlfriend and that he had lost his mother very early in his life, how early I never found out. He liked to be rough and tough with me and seemed to always feel like he had something to prove to me. I wish he hadn't felt that way, he had nothing to prove to me. I had brought up the situation that had gone down between us during sophomore year one time and he got so embarrassed at the remembrance of the situation but was able to laugh it off and admit that he thought it was funny too. There was a little game that John liked to play with me that would make me wish he didn't enjoy making it a regular event for us. He liked to grab one of my thumbs and in response making me grab the thumb of his free hand and we would apply pressure to each other's thumbs with the intent of breaking the thumbs. The goal was to not be the first person to give into the pain. It was completely reactionary, we kept the pressure equivalent to the pressure of the other person. If he applied more pressure then so would I and vice versa. He was always so determined to win and part of me knew that he was crazy enough to do what it took to win. Sometimes I would give in and let him win because I was afraid to let the fate of my thumb literally be in his hands but then there were also times when I could tap into a darker part of me and prevail. The times I did win the game I would have to resort to intimidation to do so. When he would apply enough pressure for me to know that any more could possibly cause damage to my thumb I would get close to him and whisper 'John, if you intend to break my thumb then you better be ready to deal with the consequences because the first thing for me to do when you break it is for me to break yours in response and then to beat the living shit out of you for breaking mine. If you are okay with that then full steam ahead but if you aren't then I suggest you let go now.' Once he would hear me say that he would give me a huge toothy smile that went from ear to ear and do a goofy half laugh half snort where he'd give me a front row seat to see his black teeth and he'd slowly let go and concede victory to me and we would have a good laugh about it afterwards. The rest of junior year with John was nice. We talked about girls, our families, school, music and shared memories with each other. We grew very close in that time but senior year was when things changed very badly for my friend.
Senior year started off well enough but I was disappointed to find that John and I shared no classes this year. It was hard for us to keep up with communications but we still would talk in the halls and around lunch. We would text each other every now and again to make sure the other was doing well. The most consistent form of interaction for us was early in the morning before school. I always liked to get to school very early and I would see John standing at the front of the school most mornings where we would talk about new things in our lives and crack jokes. After a few months of this routine I started to get worried by a change in the routine. As winter approached I noticed that John hadn't been standing in his usual place for a couple of mornings and he wasn't answering my texts. I would stand in his place and wait there hoping that he'd show up. Day after day he refused to stand at his usual post and every day I got more worried. One very cold morning though after a little over a week oh his absence I had arrived to see him standing alone and staring off into the mountains and the sunrise that was peaking over it. When I think back to that day the conversation is fuzzy but I will always remember seeing him look off into the golden light that shot out like rays and seeing him standing completely still where the only sign of him being alive was the visible breath escaping from his mouth. I approached slowly from behind and stood next to him and stared off into the light. I told him that I had missed him and asked him where he had been. He didn't want to look me in the eyes but softly he told me about how last week he had woken up just like any other morning, got dressed and ate his breakfast but started to get worried that his father had not joined him for breakfast. It was just John and his father living together. John gives his dad more time but as it started to become apparent that he was going to be late for school John entered into his father's bedroom to see him lying there asleep. John called his father's name but with no reply. He approaches cautiously to his bedside and calls his name once more but to no avail. Finally he starts to shake him but he still would not wake. Panic ensues and John starts to violently shake his father and scream at his face to just wake up while tears streamed down his face. After he told me the story I could not believe what I had just heard. I apologized over and over to John and gave him a hug but he was so distant. I did not blame him. John was now a 17 year old orphan having to deal with the death of his father while most of the kids were worrying about who they would take to senior prom. He told me how his brother had come down to adopt him as his guardian and would take him back to where he lived. John had left the school a few weeks later and I never saw him again. He had texted me probably a year after graduation to ask how I was doing and to inform me of his new life and new whereabouts but I haven't heard from him since. I went probably two years without even thinking about him but within the past few months I've thought about him an unusual amount of times. Especially the last time I saw him, staring off into the mountains and the sunrise. I wonder what he was thinking as he stood there in the cold like a statue. I do not know why I think about him so often but I miss him terribly and wherever he is I hope he is well. He was a better man than I.
Thank you to anybody who took the time to read this. I will work hard to get the other stories out as soon as possible, if not for your sake then for my own. Best of wishes from Constant!