the peculiar case of life’s irregularity

Safety was my number one priority. That was exactly why I’d have my helmet on my handlebar at the ready in the case of a worst case scenario like a car crashing into me or Gertrude, who sat 2 seats away from me in class, confessing her erratic love for me on a bike of her own. I devised that if I were to fall I would reach for the helmet’s straps and flip the helmet onto my head just before I crashed to my most untimely death, that I could only hope to miraculously survive. I had thought about this marvelous plan last night with Robert, my seatmate, and a penguin with the head of a Chihuahua, called Frank.

Unfortunately, out of the two cases mentioned it was exactly the latter that happened after school. Gertrude, with her insane smile, had a bunch of roses clasped in one hand, the other on the handlebar so that she could keep up with my frantic turns and circles through several streets to put her off. Apparently Robert thought it would be funny to give her a bouquet with a love letter and say they were from me. It went a little something like this:

Dear Gertrude,

Please come to my house at 9 and we will have a lovely fuck with candles lit everywhere on a bed of satin and silk.

Yours,

Alasdair

I did not want to have a lovely fuck with Gertrude. Robert brushed it off and said that I’d have the time of my life; perhaps her acne would start popping like popcorn from the overwhelming heat of the candles surrounding our “sexual territory”. I could only groan.

“How’d you get her to go away anyway?” he said, pitting the cigarette he had had in his mouth.

“I hid in the bushes and told her I wanted some time alone to have a good wank.”

I could sense the grin on his face now as he looked at the street in front of us. We were sitting at my porch.

“That’s it?”

“Yeah, she left and told me to have a good one.”

I preferred not to mention how Gertrude had actually jumped onto me from the side beforehand, making me stumble onto the pavement with our bikes clashing together. Sadly the helmet plan didn’t work, but the helmet did work as a good weapon to get her hands off my legs as I scrambled into the bushes. Telling her about my beastly need to wank in the midst of nature had gotten her to leave, but something told me that she’d still be at my door in less than ten minutes.

I looked at Robert who was now smoking his fifth cigarette. His eyes were boring into the wall of graffiti across, whilst mine were hysterically checking the trees. It would have been logical to run or hide under my bed covers, but we both knew all too well that it wouldn’t help. I took a quick gaze into the sky, then to the fence, and then to the neighbour’s gnome. Then I looked at him again, this time with a bit more calm. Something had clicked.

I slowly turned my head back, and Robert twitched in return. He exhaled, slowly shaking his head to himself with an ashamed grin that was quickly wiped away. He gave me one deadpan look, and told me it wouldn’t work.

*

of darkest colours

I was expecting the cries and mourns, the black umbrellas and words of remorse. I expected women to be blowing their noses with tissue, grieving in hushed voices and struggled breaths, but it was nothing like that.

I’d entered the house and greeted everyone like it was a normal day on June, except this time they were eyeing me with a solemn look. My mouth was zipped a bit more than it usually was, and I found myself looking at the floor instead of the fifty or so people who had their eyes locked on us, my family.

My grandmother was hysteric. As tears poured out and as she cried out my father’s name in desperation, she held onto him like a toddler who had just lost her toy. A leg was wrapped around him like she wanted to be carried.

A child was yelling for his iPad in the midst of my father’s speech. Some were trying to take photos of the body. All I could hear was the repetitive sound of people low on their batteries, and their pre-set ringtones.

It was barbaric to me, but I knew about the suffering that both my grandfather and everyone else had gone through. The rest of the people didn’t matter to me. At least now it was over. At least now he was in peace.