Thursday, June 8, 2017

True love, by Petr Horký

True love

This short story discovers love between two teenagers, which then eventually prevents the main character from committing a suicide.


Special thanks goes to Sarvisha Kuchkarova and Jana Čapková for inspiring me to write this short story.

I am standing in front of the orphanage, not minding the rain which is soaking my clothes. I am still replaying the last few days of my life, which probably won’t be ever forgotten. It is common to see orphans in movies, except this time, it is a cruel reality instead of a made up story. I am alone, devastated, and I have absolutely no idea of how things will go inside of this weird looking and terribly smelling building. I take all my courage, open the door and step forward.
            The first thing I see is a table with a chair behind it. Probably a reception, from what I assume. I hear footsteps, louder and louder. The man introduces himself to me as a director of the facility. His short black hair is greasy and a big scar decorates the man’s face. His bright blue eyes are looking straight at me, but I look away. His mouth opens widely, revealing perfectly white teeth, which are even brighter than his eyes. He tells me to call him Mr. Green.
            We have a brief conversation; he expresses his grief over my recent loss and reassures me, that I can stay as long as I want. I am relieved to hear at least some good news. Sadly, the rooms are exactly as I expected them to be. There are sixteen beds in a single room, fifteen of them occupied. Only one bed looks empty. It is standing all by itself in the further right corner of the room. I take off the wet clothes and lie down. Instead of getting to know the other kids, I take out my Walkman, one of the few things I have got with me. I insert a Jazz disk, crank up the volume and close my eyes. I fall asleep before the first song reaches its final note.
            We are just leaving the restaurant, in which we had the best steak of my life. My father, my mother, my brother and me. It is Friday night and we just celebrated my fifteenth birthday. We get into our car, tighten our seatbelts and open the windows to get in some fresh air. My dad starts the powerful engine and we head home. We are passing by the baseball stadium in Komárov. I carefully observe the players training there, when suddenly my dad steps on the breaks really hard. I look forward, but before my eyes can properly recognize what is in front of us, I hear a deafening sound of another car crashing into us.
            I wake up, sweating as never before, not aware of the time. I check my watch and it is one in the morning. I am not able to fall asleep for the rest of the night, because the memory in haunting me. Tears are slowly leaving my body, falling onto the pillow. That day I lost everything I had. It is a miracle that they all are dead and I got out with no consequences. Or at least physical consequences. I am devastated from inside and I doubt that I will ever get over this accident. What pisses me off even more is the fact, that the one who crashed into us was high. He is fine and it seems like he has got no regrets. What a drug-addicted, selfish and careless prick. My dad was nothing but an inspiration to me and no one cared that much about me as my mom. I fought with my brother often and we had a countless number of arguments, but there is always that special kind of love between siblings. These three innocent human beings joined our grandma and grandpa in heaven a week ago, but they will stay in my heart forever.
            A lady comes into the room at 7AM sharp. She tells us to dress up and go to the dining room. I walk straight to the table with food and choose bread with honey. I put it on a plate and I head to the only not-occupied seat. I feel the stares of all the other kids. I feel like all of them are gazing at me. I feel like they are all wondering who am I. Without thinking about it, I raise my head and look around. Nothing. I don’t know if I appreciate that everyone is minding their own business or if I am disappointed that no one cares about me.  
            Nothing catches my attention for a while but then it all changes. I look behind my back towards the opposite table. ‘‘Wow’’. That is my first thought that pops up in my mind when I see her. She seems to be my age. Her lovely brown/black hair is just long enough to reach her lowest rib and she seems to be slim as well. That’s all I can see, but even without seeing her face, I immediately fall in love with her. I am well aware that people aren’t supposed to be judged by the way they look but by their attitude, behavior and thoughts, but this is different. I am also well aware of the fact the she just kissed the guy sitting next to her. But I need her, I want her and I will get her. Nothing will stop me.
Its 7AM and I haven’t slept for more than an hour, same as the previous night. I was trying to figure out a way to get to talk to her. But I know one thing certainly. It is going to be hard, since every time I see her, my mind goes blank, I feel butterflies in my stomach and I am not able to say a single world. I am fifteen, but I never felt this way. She is special.
            She is just leaving the orphanage, probably going to Vaňkovka, which is a mall here in Brno. I still can’t believe her beauty. I rush to the wardrobe, pick up my jacket and run to the exit. I see her entering a bus number 36 which is logical, because it is the only one heading to the center. I run as fast as I can to the bus stop. I wave my hands towards the driver, who sees me. He opens the door again, I jump in and we leave the stop. The seat next to her is free, so I take it. This is not the way in which I wanted to talk to her for the first time because I am sweating a lot and breathing really heavily, but it is better than nothing I guess...
            She is shy at first, but that changes throughout the journey. Her name is Katka. I learn that she is not an orphan. She just visits her boyfriend every morning in the orphanage. She also admits that they are together just few days and she didn’t even tell her parents about him yet. Good. I feel like she starts trusting me a bit more when I admit, that I still hear the sound of my parents screaming right after the crash. The sound is following me everywhere. There is no escape. To that, she nods, smiles, hugs me and tells me that it will be fine. The hug meant a lot. Maybe not to her, but certainly to me. It is probably just way to show her compassion. The bus reaches its final stop, Česká. We walk together to the mall, but then suddenly, she says “Bye” and leaves me. At first I don’t understand, but then I see a tall, handsome man and a model-alike woman. They are standing near the mall entrance, waving at her. It hurts me a lot to see her with them; it just feels like torture, because it reminds me that I have no parents. Lucky her.
            It’s morning again, time to go for breakfast. Everything is as usual, except the fact that there is someone shouting loudly in the bathroom. The voice is male. I don’t have the balls to open the door, but eventually I dare to look through the key hole. I see my crush with her boyfriend. They are arguing about something. I guess one should be sad in these kinds of situations, but their argument actually painted a smile onto my cheek.
            This time, I join her on the way out by the exit. She seems upset, so I am trying to cheer her up. She does not respond. Something is wrong. After five minutes of silence, she says something unexpected: “We broke up”. I feel terrible for being happy. But the true emotion is happiness and I can’t do anything about it. Of course I know, that if I would show that in any way, the next think would feel would be her fist in my face. Even the slightest hint of a smile could destroy everything.
I hug her and she wraps her hands around my body tightly. I am not a good actor, but I am doing just fine this time. We are at the end of the bus journey again. I figure out, that since they are not a couple anymore, I won’t probably see her again. But I don’t have a choice. I have to see her. She is my drug which makes me a junkie. It is like addiction. I can’t live without seeing her again. First losing my family, now losing her. I know that I have to do something radical until it is too late. However, I don’t want her to feel like I am using the situation in my advantage. Suddenly, without thinking about it, 10 words slip out of my mouth.
“Would you like to hang out with me anytime soon?”
            I am too much of a coward to use the noun ‘date’ in the sentence. We are looking from eyes to eyes without blinking. I feel like I have done something wrong. To my surprise, she actually agrees and leaves without any further comment. It feels like heaven.
            6 months later
After dating for more than six months I got to know her much better. By that time, we decided, that it would be nice to introduce me to her parents. They invited me for a Christmas dinner, which I thought would be an amazing opportunity to meet them. I hoped that they will be as nice as their daughter. They knew nothing about me and I knew nothing about them.  
            It is 24th December, evening, and I am pretty excited. We meet in front of her house, which in in Masarykova čtvrť, one of the most luxury districts of the city of Brno.  When I see it, I blink a couple of times to make sure that it is real. It is more of a mansion then a house. There are two Porsches standing in front of it with a guard next to the gate.  I wouldn’t imagine Katka could possibly live in something like this even in my wildest dreams. I don’t know how to react.
I respect Katka even more now, because the whole time, she never wore designer clothes in front of me, we never went to a fancy restaurant and she didn’t even hint me about her parent’s wealth. I value and respect this kind of people. However, I felt like her parents won’t be the same and their mindset will be different.
We kiss, hold hands and walk towards the entrance. Her parents come to greet us. The first think that catches my attention are the Hubolt watch and Hugo Boss shirt on her dad. I tried to dress to the best of my ability, but with my closet which currently consists of one pair of jeans, two second-hand shirts and a torn jacket, it is hard. When he sees me, instead of saying “Hi”, she starts shouting immediately. He pushes me violently and closes the door in front of my nose.
Even with the doors being closed, I can clearly her father’s voice shouting at Katka. He says something like “How many times did I tell you to find some rich, someone with future. This guy looks like homeless”. My heart is broken. Broken is not the right word though. It is shattered into million pieces. My faith in humanity is gone. I just don’t get it. How can someone judge me by the way I look like? That is just wrong. Whenever I read in news that someone committed a suicide because of a break up, I thought that they have same mental issues. Now I am considering doing something similar… Should I jump off a high building, jump under a train, drown or shoot myself? 
My mood gets a bit better next day because I receive a letter from a school based in Prague. It is offering me a scholarship, which could possibly turn my life around. It also means that I will be moving away from Brno. That’s not an issue thought, because the only thing attaching me to the city was Katka. And she is gone now. The angel flew away from my life. I decide to text her about me moving, about how much I will miss her, how much she means to me and how perfect she was.  She never replied.
I pack my belongings into a suitcase and I leave the building. I won’t miss it. I buy a bagel on my way to the railway station called Hlavní Nádraží. It is tasty and it helps me to think about something else than my issues. I stand on the platform and wait for the train. Suddenly, I feel like I can’t deal with the cruel events life is throwing under my legs. First my family is gone, now Katka is gone. What is the purpose of life now?
The train is coming. Its speed is high and it is getting closer and closer every second. There is no one who would care if I decide to jump. Maybe the cleaner who would have to clean the train from blood but that’s it. Depressing. I am determined to jump. To end this, to put a full stop behind my story. 3…. 2…. 1…. Suddenly I hear her voice. I turn around and there she is. Katka with her suitcase running towards me. Guess the purpose of life is loving and being loved.

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