Sorrow Swallows My Screams

Chapter Twenty Five

Chapter Twenty Five:

Zacky’s POV:

I arrived home at seven o’clock. The powerful scent of someone cooking overcame my nostrils as I entered through the front door. I could smell the mixed aromas of various spices, no doubt used in an incorrect way, contrasting unpleasantly with the main portion of the meal. My mother differed too far from the recipes she attempted to cook. Thinking that something else might be better, she’d add garlic, coriander, crushed chives, flaming chillies pounded into clouds of dust...

I’d entertained myself at Brian’s house for the afternoon, like I did most days. My father had fallen back into his old routine of being an absent presence from the house, excluding the hours between approximately 2:00 AM and 10:00 AM, when you’d hear him stumble home through the front door, drunk, stumbling, knocking things over. Glass vases collapsed to the floor with a thudding crack that made the old floorboards creak before everything in the immediate vicinity was pierced by sharp splinters of glass. Come to think of it, I don’t think we had any glass decorative ornaments left in the house. What did I care, anyway?

“Hey, sweetie,” my mother said, stirring a big wooden spoon around in a big pot that looked more like a cauldron than anything else. “Dinner’s almost ready.”

I ventured a step closer to the stove to peer into the boiling, bubbling pit of sticky goo in the colours of red and orange.

“Soup,” my mother added, noticing my peeking at the food that I hoped would be edible. “Pumpkin soup. I changed the recipe around a bit, though.”

No shit, I thought to myself, but bit my tongue. She had been increasingly nice to me recently, and I wasn’t about to say something stupid. After all, this was the first time in my life any of my family members had seemed to care about me.

I felt stupid just standing in the kitchen doing nothing, so I went over to a used ingredients dish and began to wash it up in the sink. After I’d scrubbed it dry with a ratty looking tea towel, my mother had ladled the contents of the cauldron into a bowl and had set it on the table, spoon and all.

I steered myself over to the table, muttering an appreciative thanks to my mother on the way. I sat down at the table, reminiscing. I thought of my afternoon with Brian. Thought of how we had gone up to his room first thing. Of how we had dissolved into a series of warm, passion-filled kisses that seemed to make time slow down. When we were together a minute felt like an hour. An hour felt like a day. A day felt like an eternity. A good eternity. A wonderful eternity. An eternity that I could definitely go for.

My mother had joined me at the small, weather-beaten, second-hand dining room table. She took a bold spoonful of her soup, swallowing loudly as the hot soup scolded her throat. I knew, because my throat too ached with the longing burn caused by the heat of the stove. The cauldron had been resting on a hotplate a notch too hot.

She shook her head of greying blonde hair and it whirled madly around her face, the gentle frizzy curls wrapping around each other, unwrapping themselves, wrapping, unwrapping… Her powder blue eyes connected with my own darker eyes and she spoke.

“How was your day at school?” she asked me. I’d seen it coming. This question had been asked by her before.

“Just great,” I said, knowing by now that she wasn’t picking up on the sarcasm in the sentence. Did any kid really enjoy school these days? The only good thing about it was that I got perfectly safe time with Brian. Safe time where I had no risk of being found. No chance of being questioned of my whereabouts. Where was I everyday? At school. Where was I every afternoon? That question was harder to answer. I couldn’t exactly say where I was. Brian would pay. Brian’s dad would pay. But most of all, I would pay. The thing was, I didn’t care so much about the latter. The former, however, was my world now.

“And the afternoon?” she continued to question.

“Fine,” I replied, trying another mouthful of the supposed pumpkin soup.

“Have fun playing with your friends?” she asked, hopeful. She didn’t know if I had any friends.

“Yeah,” I said. She didn’t know just how much fun I’d had playing with my friend Brian. Today we’d advanced further in our physical relationship than we had before. He’d ripped my shirt off; I’d done the same to him. I’d unbuckled his belt and worked it off him, and he’d started to do the same to me… before I felt a sudden wave of what was unmistakably guilt wash over me, pummelling me into the sand at the depths of the ocean like a giant wave. The cause was simple.


We’d done these things before. We’d told each other we loved one another, and, unlike most teenagers, meant it. We’d had days and nights where clothes were flung haphazardly across the room, thudding gently against walls, creating small piles on the cluttered floor of Mikey’s room. Naked bodies pressed against each other. Intimacy. Sex. The making of love. Raw passion. Unclouded, unbreakable love.

Gone. All gone. All in one terrible night.

But maybe it was unfair to say it all happened in one night. It didn’t. There were long days before that night where he’d sat, sobbing inconsolably into my shoulder, my chest, my lap. He’d been troubled. I should have taken things more seriously. I should have insisted upon him getting professional help before it was too late. Maybe Gerard was right. Maybe it was all my fault. Maybe I deserved a shit life. A life far worse than the one I had now. A life without Brian.

So I was torn with Brian. On the one hand, it just felt so right to be doing these things together. We just clicked, we got on. But on the other hand there was Mikey, and the pain that I knew would never be eradicated. There was the guilt that wouldn’t cease, the constant pounding, the ringing, the thumping, screaming traitor, traitor, traitor. Unfaithful. Traitor.

I finished up my bowl of soup and took it to over to the sink, ready to wash it.