Status: paced.

The Story of Iris

Four: Something Stupid

When school let out it was storming harder than it had all summer. This was the rain that killed the heat; after this storm, there was not another warm day for the rest of the season. Students ran to their cars with their hoods up or their books over their heads in a futile effort to stay dry, but Iris loved the rain, and she practically floated across the parking lot to Willy. She dropped me off at my house and saluted me happily before speeding off in the rain to her little house and little family. 

It didn't stop pouring all night, and I shut myself in my room to organize my school supplies after a hearty tv dinner and a Dr. Pepper. I listened to System of a Down to collect my thoughts; the music was oddly calming. I had the house to myself at night, so I could blast it as loud as I wanted because my dad worked second shift at the hospital and didn't get home until one in the morning. 

My dad was a great guy; he loved helping people and he always made sure I was taken care of, but now that school had started up again, I never really saw him. No one was ever around except for Iris. I mean, my mom was decent before she left us, but I didn't miss her much. There was just a strange emptiness about the house even eight years later. I guess I was just surprised that it took her nine years to realize she was a terrible mother. Not a bad person, may I add, just bad at her job. Good at crank, bad at being a mom. She never said why she left, but we all knew. Besides, she never said anything.

Anyway, the first day of school wasn't bad. It was sweltering for the first couple of classes, but as soon as the storm arrived things cooled down a little. We didn't do anything in any of the classes, except for Professor Carson's, which was to be expected. Carson was the strictest, harshest English teacher in our entire school, if not the entire state. His first assignment was to write a five page minimum personal narrative about the most influential event of our summer break, due at the end of the week. It was going to be hard, because watching tv and eating raisin bran for every meal was nothing to write about. 

I let my mind wander until I was fast asleep; I didn't realize how exhausting the first day of school was. We basically did nothing all day but go over rules and expectations (boring) but it was tiring to make the transition from doing nothing all day to showing up to school.

At around 5 in the morning the next day, there was soft knocking on my door. I rolled over and forced myself to get out of bed then swung the door open to find Iris standing in the shadows. 

"What's wrong, Iris?" I muttered, still half asleep.

"Shit, Charlie," she sighed. Uh-oh, that was a bad sign. Iris never cussed unless she was really upset. Seriously, never. 

"What's wrong?" I asked again.

"Nothing," she said into my chest. "You know I love you, right?" 

She grinned up at me, easily six inches shorter. 

"Sure," I admitted. "But why are you waking me up at five in the morning to tell me this?" 

"Oh, I'm not," she said quietly. "I came to give you this note." 

She held a folded up square of notebook paper between her two fingers and placed it in my palm. 

I started to open it, but she stopped me. "Not yet," she instructed. "You have to wait till I'm completely gone. Out of sight, out of mind. Okay?" 

I nodded and put a shirt on. It was still raining outside. She stood by the window, and it was totally like her to say something really deep and memorable. Instead she just asked, "So what are you going to write about for Carson's essay?" 

I shrugged. "Dunno. There's nothing influential about my summer." 

"True, true," she sighed. "I hate writing. I'm more of a movie watching kinda person, you know? I should write about that. It could be a sarcastic piece, like how the most influential thing about my summer was the end of it, surrendering to the start of essay writing and waking up early to make sure Charlie eats breakfast."

I made a face. "Breakfast is lame unless there's bacon." 

"You know, meat is kind of gross when you think about it. Blood and guts and fat and gristle. It's barbaric. I wish I could have become a vegetarian." 

I raised an eyebrow. "Although I highly suggest sticking with meat, you can still be a vegetarian. It's not like once you turn seventeen you lose all dietary freedom." 

She shrugged and stared at her feet, like she was embarrassed. "Of course not, you're right. I'm being stupid. Well, hey, you finish getting ready, I'm going to school early today. You don't mind catching the bus?" 

I shook my head no. "Why so early?" 

She gave me another huge hug and kissed my cheek. I blushed, not expecting that. "I'm just a little lost right now. I did something kind of dumb last night," she told me, her huge blue eyes staring me down. Her stare used to be intimidating, but nowadays it was like reading a book. Except at this particular moment I was in the dark. She was acting strange and  I couldn't place why.

I rubbed my eyes and said, "I can come with you, if you want. I can be ready in five minutes."

But she was gone.
♠ ♠ ♠
It's like nonstop panic! this week, my life is a string of shitty nightmares and blank walls and I really just want to stop waking up at four a.m. on school days because my mind is wandering too much for REM... But have a nice day, wherever you are :)