Clueless what will happen now, he reached for her hand and she pulled him closer – with now just small space between them they started dancing in the night. The cigarette fell down to the ground, she grabbed his shoulder with one hand and waist with the other; with him doing the same they started slow dancing in the dark. Listening to the howling of wind and leaves touching each other as the wind pushed them, letting go all the worries of the present, thinking only of each other. Matthew knew only slow dance because it was mandatory in their school, where they went as young kids – tonight’s dance under the stars felt incredible.
“This is nice, just the two of us. Like in the second grade, remember?” Ruth rested her head on his shoulder and mumbled in a slow kind voice
“Of course I remember, but why you made me come all this way for it? We could just do it on the porch.”
“Look up and you’ll have your answer, besides my father can come out for midnight smoke and he might come up with god knows what.”
Matthew looked up at the sky full of start and understood why people liked to dance under the stars. The majestic feeling of millions of stars in the sky made Matthew dream about the journey ahead, about finding the author of an unknown message he kept carrying with him. Questions kept piling up in his head as they continued dancing, with no answer for them.
“I’m the only one thinking about us ending up in the van afterward?” An amount of alcohol he had, gave him a slight courage to ask questions relate to sex.
“Yes darling, you are the only one, and as much I would like getting in the van with you, undress you slowly – I just can’t. We are best friend Matty and I don’t want some stupid decision to break that.”
“I totally understand. If we did, there would probably be mixed up feelings in the morning.”
“I’m glad you understand, after all, there is someone I want you to meet. Are you gonna be here for a week or two? You don’t have to stay here all the time, you were just starting to tell a story about yourself traveling Europe, right before we left outside.”
“That is the idea if your father can help me fix up my van and meet who exactly?”
“Shh, that is for the week to come. Promise me, you will hang around.”
“I’m sure to be for a few days, yes.”
They danced for a few minutes after the conversation ended, enjoying each other warm comfort and thinking when to stop – none of them wanted to break this peaceful moment. Out of a sudden light appeared in the house, a sign of her father coming out for a smoke drag, making them split up from each other slowly. For the night was warm enough to forget about the cold, a cold wind breeze reminded them it isn’t summered yet. With her father, almost outside at the porch, she asked.
“Are you coming? We will probably stick outside for a while, catch another smoke and then will probably go to sleep.”
“I think I’ll pass out here in the van, its cozy and war enough for me to sleep here.”
“As you wish, goodnight Matty.”
“I swear, you two are the only ones who are calling me that. Goodnight.”
“I know, right. Nicknames that we dislike, are usually the ones sticking onto us.”
She went to the porch, where her father was trying to balance himself just to have a smoke; balanced with back against the wall, with a cigarette in one hand and other to help him maintain balance. Ruth came up, waited for him to finish a cigarette and helped him get inside the house to put him to sleep.
The bright beam from sun came through the van windows, beginning to warm up Matthew’s cheek. The smell of booze and sweat filled the van through the night; it was a cozy room but was lacking proper air-condition or air ventilation, and warm from the sun made it worse. Matthew’s eyes opened slightly from the sudden sound of a branch falling on vans roof from a maple tree, which covered small part or van. Through smell of booze and sweat, which got worse by every minute without fresh air; with the feel of vomiting he grabbed the door handle and pulled it softly. Doors slid open and the wave of fresh air along suns ruthless beam hit Matthews face. With slightly opened eyes and a slight feel of vomiting right beside his van, he started observing yard with one eye remaining to get the picture. Lost in time, clueless if its early morning, or afternoon already and if he’d slept the whole morning. Silent sound covered all yard, with few birds chattering on trees and both dogs – who kept yawning in their dreams.
Dew from grass touched his feet as he stepped out of the van. That was a lot better feeling than staying in a tin can with a smell of booze and sweat covering all the air in it. He stood with back against his van, feeling light headache and trying to acknowledge what time is it now; trying to figure out where he put his phone last night when out of a sudden roosters crow covered the whole yard. ‘Shit, it’s only six or seven in the morning, why the hell I’m awake already,’ he thought to himself with no desire to get back in the smelly greenhouse. It was early morning, too early for people like Matthew, who like to sleep until afternoon – spending the whole night on meaningless TV show streaks.
Lifting his hands above his head and slowly lowering them down to reach his toes, stretching his back for it to wake up, coming up with few push-ups to wake up his body in the early hour of the day. On fifteen push up he couldn’t concentrate anymore because of Barry, who tried to lick his face from excitement to see him awake – seems like rooster wakes up these two as well. Without any effort to push them off and continue morning routine; instead, he fell down on his ass and with a big smile started to cuddle Barry. Quickly after seeing Barry getting a good old cuddle and backscratching, Brenda was on her way to Matthew. Both dogs were now in Matthew’s hands, curling around him and eager to play with him.
“See you made new best friends,” Ruth shouted from the porch, and with a cigarette in her hand began coming his way.
“New, naah. Those are the same old puppies we used to play with back in the day. Let me guess, rooster woke you up?”
“Not really, I woke up a few minutes before. Decide to come and check on you; you seemed pretty drunk last night. I didn’t think that quitting booze would change a person like that. I mean a few shots? I don’t know if I’m impressed or disappointed.”
She laughed a little, took a drag of the cigarette and sat next to him on opened side of the van.
“I told you straight, I don’t really drink. Booze doesn’t catch my drift if you know what I mean.”
“I get that you found another way to get away from reality, and damn man, your van smell terrible. I’m guessing closed doors overnight with a drunk person in it, creates an interesting combination of aroma.” Both of them began laughing and smiles remained for a few seconds.
“Speaking of different ways, I’m thinking of rolling mornings joint, you wanna join?”
“Sure what the hell, I don’t have anything to do today and its Sunday. Later on, I could go and make us breakfast. With Edgar sleeping like a dead man, its usually breakfast at nine or ten.”
“Sounds like a plan. Can you pass me papers from my bag on matres? I have everything in there.”
“Uno Momento Hermano” little smile raised on Matthews’ face; she liked to say some phrases in Spanish, it made her feel like badass women from latino TV series. Both of them sat right next to each other; Matthew remained in the grass with two both dogs at his feet, who laid on their bellies. Ruth sat on opening made from an opened side door, with Matthew sitting his back against her legs. Small brief relief after yesterdays action with Edgar, set off the feeling of friendship which began fifteen years ago. They both were now at the beginning of their twenties and the whole world for them to explore.
“Ruth, you have a lighter? Mine’s somewhere deep in the van and this is too peaceful to break up, almost like tomorrows evening.”
“Let’s not talk about it Matthew, shall we. Here’s the lighter.”
“Why not, you can’t deny it was a bad feeling.”
“Matthew, let’s not sink in past memories and leave them pleasant as they are. We don’t need to talk about stuff what happened, we might turn it into something better or worse. I want to leave it like it is – a pleasant reunion between two best friends.“
“Ya, okay, topic closed. Here you go.”
He passed the joint and both of them sat there for half an hour, philosophizing about the universe and what is life in general. They didn’t need to feel judgment from each other, they both were open books when it came to conversations between just two of them. Conversation after another they would laugh because of most stuff they told to each other felt like made up stories, with some part of them being true. There was nothing more peaceful in last month, the world started to spin into Matthew direction, everything was falling into desired places.
“You know what Ruth, you should come with me to the South. We can make a film on the way and fulfill your dream of acting, might get some movie deal.”
“Hahaha. Matthew really, a movie deal. With my experience, furthest were I could get would be a TV commercial, but thanks I’m flattered.”
“Don’t be so modest about your self. With red hair like yours ‘cherry pie’,” he slightly laughed and continued “You could get any role you desire and I’m being honest, I would never tell a lie to you. With your hippie attitude and kindest spirit I know, you would melt any film producer’s heart. ”
“Wow, I never thought you think so kindly about me, but as good this sounds, I can’t leave my paps here alone. It is hard for him already now and my leaving would devastate him, he is family after all.”
“See, this is the kindness I’m talking about. But your right, he needs you and he’s lucky to have someone like you around.”
Smiles raised on their faces and no word required; for a while they sat in quiet, enjoying each other company.
They joyful morning sitdown started to fade away as their bellies began giving out sounds of hunger. Desiring food more than ever, they decided it’s time to get into the house. Nothing was changed from yesterday, the same bottles stood on the kitchen table, the same smell of booze was covering air they walked through. This morning it was something else, something different with the smell. Matthew sniffed the air around with curiosity to discover what it is, leading him to discover it was the smell of piss coming from the Edgars room. He stood in front of Edgar’s room, looking at the old man who pissed himself in his sleep and no clue in his mind how to react to this.
“Do pancakes sound good to you Matty?” she howled from the kitchen.
“Yes,” he came to the kitchen and continued “Do you still bake them on Sundays?”
“Yes, something that reminds me of the softness and kindness my mother gave me. Every Sunday she would bake them, to remind us of simple things in life are the most valuable ones.”
“Ruth, I don’t how to present this, but your father seems to wet himself in bed.”
“Don’t worry, it happens sometimes. He just forgets it’s not the real toilet in his dream, besides its just water with toxins from the human body.”
A slight smile appeared on her face as she flipped pancake on the pan.
“If you say so, you know him better than I do after all.”
“I’ll wake him up after this batch.”
Pancake flipped off the pan and she filled it for another batch and began walking with a little hurry she went to her father. Matthew stood at the pan, figuring out why this was so special to her – the ordinary pancakes, casually baked on Sundays. What was the meaning behind it he wondered… or it was simple high from the grass they smoked earlier that made him question simple pleasures. Ruth’s voice came from her fathers’ room, with words Matthew couldn’t understand. Moved pan from the stove and with quick pace walked to the room, just to see a picture he wouldn’t forget.