By Joe

Vincent was lying on his bed, alone in his room, staring at the ceiling. He was there for several reasons: he was out of new books to read (and he didn’t have enough money to buy any more), it was raining hard outside (he couldn’t watch the clouds go by, another old standby), he was out of clay ducks to practice his target shooting with, and Skyeye was out, so he couldn’t talk to him (Vincent had caught him saying ‘gonna fix things once and for all’ under his breath as he hurriedly left). Now, he was stuck at home, unable to leave the house due to the rain (Skyeye didn’t mind getting rained on, and he did), and with nothing to do to boot.

Suddenly, the lights went out. Damn blackouts, he thought, as he groped around for a flashlight. He found one, turned it on, and looked around for the blackout lantern he knew was stashed somewhere in his room (his obsessive-compulsive disorder made sure he was prepared for anything–anything except a rainy day with nothing to do, perhaps). He looked around the whole room: around the scattered book piles, behind the dresser, under his bed, and even sifting through the pile of shattered clay ducks he had made. It was when he checked his closet for the lamp did he find it, letting out an exclamation of relief as he did so. The relief he felt quickly turned to curiosity, though, as he found the lamp sitting on top of what appeared to be a large, leather-bound book, with no idea what it was, where it came from, or what it was doing in his room.

He took it out, along with the lamp, set the lamp on his bedside table, turned it on, and opened the book. He was immediately surprised to find that it was not a book at all, but a photo album. It appeared to be quite old, with the pages fairly yellowed and the first few photographs having lost most of their color. Vincent continued looking through the photo album, feeling a greater and greater sense of deja vu as he perused the album. One photo (actually, a series of photos) stood out in particular: it looked like those photos taken from instant photo booths, long and rectangular, with each photo looking slightly similar.

The photos were of a guy and a girl, both appearing to be teenagers: the guy had shoulder-length, messy black hair, he was reasonably handsome, and although he was looking at mere pictures, Vincent knew that this guy, whoever he was, exuded an aura of grace and charm wherever he went–he could see it in the boy’s face. The girl, on the other hand, was a completely different matter: she appeared to be the same age as the guy, had straight auburn hair that reached past her shoulders, and was one of the most beautiful Vincent had ever seen. Almost as beautiful as she was, he thought, and then he suddenly knew why that series of photos looked so eerily familiar: the guy had bright blue eyes–just like him.

With that flash of realization, he rapidly flipped the pages, looking for more signs of recognition, and he was not disappointed: nearly all the pictures in the album were of the two of them, and the few that didn’t show the two of them were pictures taken by him. He recalled a few: the two of them on a holiday along the coast, on spring break (she was laughing and running on the beach, with him gamely trying to catch up, a smile of eagerness and amusement on his face), their high school prom (she looked as if she could pass for a princess, in her gown and all, while he in his formal wear looked like the groom at a wedding–and the smile on his face enhanced that notion), and the last picture in the album, a picture of a small paperback notebook. For reasons still-forgotten, the picture had been given a lot of attention: the surrounding area was decorated well, and had been sealed, in an effort to prevent it from aging (it was working quite well, with the picture being in very good condition).

Vincent looked at that singular picture, tried to place it, racked his brains, but all efforts to try and remember what that picture was for were in vain–that is, until he recognized the surroundings of the book. Wait a minute–that’s mine and Skyeye’s old place! If it was there, and we brought everything here, then that means–that means it should be around here somewhere! He proceeded to raid the whole place for the book, searching every room (but not finding it), until at last he got to the storeroom, full of all the boxes the two brothers left packed. He rooted through all of them, until at long last, he found the notebook (which was showing signs of age, and looked as if it were about to fall apart at any minute).

He brought it to his room, dusted himself off (there wasn’t a lot of dust, though–their place was only a few months old), and opened the notebook. It appeared to be full of random writings: some scribbles, some stories, some conversations, and even some letters. The most curious thing about the notebook, though, was that everything written in it was in the handwriting of two different people: one neat and regular, the other doctor-like but firm–his very own handwriting. With a flash of realization, he remembered the significance of that notebook–it was the one they wrote everything in, from their thoughts on each other (for the other to reply to), stories they had both written (each for the other to review), and letters they had written to each other. It was all very absurd, and yet Vincent felt no amusement whatsoever, feeling shame instead–shame at having forgotten all these memories, all these mementos of his lost love.

*Flashback*

He was walking out of the church, rapidly getting farther and farther. He was loosening his tie, trying to breathe, but it was as if he was suffocating from all the pain. He couldn’t stand it anymore, couldn’t stand not having her around, and especially attending her funeral, which was to be the last time he’d see her on earth. He was able to resist the urge to cry during the service, but now it was over he gave up, cried long and hard, all the while not knowing where he was going anymore, as long as he get away. The pain didn’t subside, though–it actually got worse, and he broke under it: he didn’t care what happened, he didn’t care what he forgot, as long as he stopped hurting. He was in such pain, in fact, that he didn’t notice Skyeye running after him, trying to catch up to his brother and console him.

*End flashback*

He couldn’t believe he had forgotten all these things: the album, which chronicled their relatively short (but infinitely worthwhile) time together, and the notebook, the only evidence he had left (aside from the album) that they existed: not that he existed, not that she existed, but that the two of them existed together. He couldn’t stand himself for having forgotten these things–it was practically an insult to her memory. He exerted all the willpower he had to stop himself from crying, but it was easy to see he was holding back the tears: his eyes were shut tight, and he was making sobbing noises. In his head, he was reliving the scenarios he had just remembered, hating himself steadily more for forgetting those blessed moments. I’m never going to forget again–never, he silently promised himself.

The next morning, Skyeye ordered a fast-food breakfast to be delivered to their residence, and when the food arrived, he called Vincent. “Bro, the food’s here!”, he shouted, without being irritated at Vincent’s not being up and about yet, although he was generally an early riser (he had patched things up with his girlfriend the night before, and was in spirits too high to dampen that morning). He called his brother again, and when Vincent didn’t reply for the second time, he went into his room to wake him up.

What he saw startled him: the walls of the room were almost completely full of pictures, and when Skyeye took a closer look, he could see that they were all of Vincent and his late fiancee. Quietly walking to the side of his brother’s bed, he could see that Vincent was very, very tired–and not one, but three empty photo albums lay on the floor beside the bed, along with a very old notebook that looked as if it were about to fall apart any minute now. Skyeye thought to himself, I’ll let him sleep in today–he looks like he’s certainly earned it, as he walked back to the kitchen, where his breakfast was waiting.


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intro.

Presenting the thoughts and travails of a teenage writer who lives under a rock--albeit a rock with Internet access. Also, videos! Also, my Tumblr.

headshot!

  • 32,484 frags

ye random thought.

"For just this once, can we pretend it's you and me?" -Thinking Of You by Test Your Reflex

where in the world!?

from the author.

Check the pages every month or so (Egos, Fiction, Musings, Origins), I usually add stuff little by little (with the possible exception of Fiction, which really depends). Oh, and credits to Joaq for the header image.

by popular demand.

counting the days.

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