A story about two men. Different, yet the same. Change is a lovable man, but he has trouble letting anyone near him. Rain had his fair share of struggles in his life too. They meet and get closer...
Very short story about men with pasts. I wrote this in a fashion that might seem strange, but I think it works. Change's POV is written in present tense and first person. Rain's POV is written in past tense and 3rd person. There's always one chapter in Change's POV and one in Rain's. I hope it works for you too.
written by me - Catherine Micqu
My name is Change. Change Weathers. Yeah, I know. My parents had a sense of humor. Whatever you will throw my way about my name, I heard it all. After all, I grew up with this name and went to school with it. They say children can be cruel. I won’t argue with that. Honestly, I felt it first hand.
Currently, I am living on my own on the outskirts of a small town called Nowhere. And the name says it all. I live in the middle of nowhere. It suits me fine. A nobody in Nowhere. I work as an artist. It makes me the odd person of town. My appearance enhances that image. I don’t care too much about my looks. But I always wear clothes that cover my arms and legs when I go to town. I don’t want them to know and to ask questions. It’s a close knitted community and gossip spreads faster like a fire.
My hair often looks shaggy and is long enough to put in a man-bun or ponytail. I hate shaving. So I only rarely do. The gray on my chin starts to show, but that’s okay. I look my age. Mostly. You must think that I look like a bum or stink or whatever. Don’t worry. I care a lot about my personal hygiene and have daily showers or baths, or I just jump into the lake down the street. I don’t lead an exciting life as far as my social life goes. I don’t have a partner, I don’t have a pet and since I live out of town, I don’t have any friends either. I miss it, but to be honest, I hate letting people into my life. The closest I have to a friend is the guy who works the night shift at the diner closest to my cabin. He makes a mean tuna melt and always tries making conversation. He’s pleasant enough and quite easy on the eye, but I have nothing to say to him. So I don’t. I stay silent most days.
Oh yeah. I didn’t mention that I like men, did I? Well, I do. I am gay. A fag. And proud at that. See, many men and women fought for the liberty we now have. We don’t have to hide anymore and we aren’t made out to be criminals anymore either. So yeah. I am gay and single and miserable about it. But I also know that I am far from being attractive to other guys. I come with a past and baggage. My last partner died six years ago. No pity, please. It was a long time ago and I am over it. Mostly. There are days when the scars I have on my body hurt and I wonder if that is because I tried to forget too hard that day or even if it is my body’s way to make me remember what happened. The short version of our tragedy is this: he drove us home after a night at the club, only slightly less drunk than I was. He drove us straight into the front yard of a house and crashed into the brick wall. The car went up in flames and I am left with burns on my torso, upper legs and left arm. Apparently, he died on impact. I can’t remember anything except for the excruciating pain and waking up in the hospital alone. As I said, it has been years ago. No need to cry over it anymore. The past is gone.
I sit on my porch right now, overlooking the forest. I can’t see anything because it is dark. I forgot to turn on the light when I came outside. The bottle of whiskey in my lap is almost empty. It’s alright. I don’t have to drive. Did I mention, that the accident that I mentioned happened six years ago? To the day? There are days when I hate to be alive. I wished it had been me to die that day. It would have spared me many hours of pain and the ugly patches of skin on my body.
I am bad at pretending that I am alright. I guess you noticed, huh? Maybe I should tell you that I am a liar, too. I am a great pretender. I smile when I feel like crying. Then again, maybe I am the same as everyone else. Just with a weirder name and a different way of living. I hate whiskey and the taste it leaves in my mouth. I shouldn’t drink. I get up and out of my rocking chair. The bottle tumbles down but doesn’t break and I make my way inside my house. It’s empty and silent. That’s all I can ask for. It’s dark too. I walk into a stuffed chair and the impact makes me fall on my ass. I stay put. Best to just let the alcohol claim me. I hate this day. I hate myself.
Rain waited for his nightly customer, the only customer who only stumbled across the threshold after eleven at night and stayed for a couple of hours. But that night, he didn’t show up. He began to worry and felt silly about it right after. The other man was a customer and although he was a regular, he had no obligations to be there every day. Rain looked at the clock across the room. It was close to midnight. The waitresses, Candy, and Kay were gossiping or talking about men, or whatever they liked to talk about. He didn’t mind and their chatter kept him from dying of boredom. In one of the booths, a couple sat next to each other. That particular booth was well hidden and if they got intimate, it wouldn’t be the first ones. Rain sighed and sat on a barstool. Looking around, he pulled his crossword magazine closer and pondered about the right letters to put into the small cases. Classic rock played softly in the background and he softly sang along. The bell above the door made him look up. His heart flutter and sank when he didn’t see his preferred customer walking in. It were students who appeared to be tipsy, by the way they giggled.
“Hey Rain, where’s the sun?” one of them asked and Rain rolled his eyes. He hated his name. Rain Hold. He had heard every joke referring to it, nothing surprised him anymore.
“What can I bring you?” he asked, relieving the waitresses of the task.
“Some old. Cheeseburgers with fries.” Rain nodded and the boys took seats at the table closest to the door. Rain put the meat on the grill making it sizzle, then he lowered the fried into the grease. Routine. For someone who had worked at gourmet restaurants, this way of cooking almost hurt. But he had his reasons to be in this small town. In Nowhere. And he was glad that he had been able to get this position with his baggage. His past. He was glad that the past was behind him. Rain had spent the last six years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. A man had been killed because he had been driving drunk out of his skull and high as a kite. The judge had been very stern and most people agreed that his sentence had been too severe, but Rain had been too busy fighting his own demons - drugs and alcohol, to care. The time in prison had been used to become sober and change his life. And Rain had changed, but the label of ex-convict was still attached to him and he tried to keep it a secret. Something he never hid was his sexuality. He loved men and although there weren’t many openly gay men in Nowhere he felt accepted nonetheless. He flipped the burgers, put the cheese on top, and wiped his sweating brow with the back of his hand before he pulled the fries out of the grease. He turned around to wash his hands again and started assembling the burgers.
“Hey Kay, burgers are ready.” The waitress got up with a groan and yawned.
“Thanks, hun,” she winked at Rain and took the plates. “Did they order drinks?” She jerked her head in the laughing men’s direction. He shook his head, embarrassed that he had forgotten to ask.
“Sorry,” he said but the waitress shushed him.
“Not your job, but mine.” She smiled and delivered the burgers and took an order for drinks. The bell chimed, again and again, Rain looked up in the hopes to see his favorite customer. But this time, it were the town’s police officers who made a stop at the diner for a cup of coffee on their break. Rain sighed and wondered where the stranger with the long hair and the sad eyes was. Candy had told him that the man was an artist and it was just another fascinating piece of the puzzle. He had never asked her about his name. Maybe he should change that. Rain got back to his crosswords realizing that he was missing something in his life. He sighed and ran a hand through his short hair. There were still some hours on his clock. They were spent with a fluttering feeling every time the bell above the door announced a new customer. It was never the one Rain wished it would be.