Zedlist – Part Twenty
“I think we need to talk, Charles.” Valerie said, getting up from her seat by the window, she gave her husband a look that Kevin couldn’t quite decipher.
Kevin was left sitting on the lounge drinking his coffee slowly and looking confused. He could hear his parents’ voices coming from the study. His mother’s voice was too soft to make out any real words, but his father’s voice kept on coming in and out of definition as he spoke. From the fluctuating sounds of his father’s voice he was able to piece together whole phrases, like: “We don’t deserve this”, and “I had this puppeteer”, or maybe “I’ve had it up to here”. The next sentence was so loud and clear that it left no doubt in Kevin’s mind, “For God’s sake, Val, you need to tell him the truth.” Minutes later the door opened and they re-entered the living room.
“I do wish you wouldn’t take the lord’s name, Charles”, Valerie said.
“Frankly, Val, I think the might of God’s wrath is the least of our problems right now”, Charles said, walking back into the front room.
They both sat down opposite Kevin and looked at him. His mother looked concerned and nervous. His father had a stern expression on his face, leaning forward, staring unblinkingly into his son’s eyes. Kevin couldn’t help feeling that this was an intervention of some kind, he almost expected them to say, “Now Kevin, remember, you are safe and everyone in this room loves you”, but they didn’t. Instead his father just said, “Kevin, there is something very important your mother and I would like to discuss with you.”
Kevin awoke in his bedroom. He sat upright in his bed and looked around him, orientating himself. He got out of bed and walked across the room, knocking his head on the object still hanging from its string. He walked downstairs and jumped when he saw Tim’s figure on the sofa, he’d completely forgotten that he was there. Kevin crept passed as quietly as he could and went into the kitchen. His attempt to alleviate Tim’s offensive smell by opening the window the night before had not worked as well as he had hoped, the lingering stench of stale sweat was just as heavy in the air, but now the room was cold too. There was no door joining the kitchen to the living room so he tried to make as little noise as possible as he prepared breakfast for himself. Every little sound seemed to be amplified, from the gurgling of the kettle to the spoon hitting the side of Kevin’s mug as he stirred in the sugar. As he reached for a plate on the draining board, the bread he had just toasted pooped up. Kevin jumped again dropping the plate onto the kitchen floor. “Fuck!” He shouted.
Tim jolted suddenly and fell off the sofa onto the living room rug. “It… it was like that already…” He mumbled.
“What?” Kevin shouted from the kitchen, as he was sweeping up the pieces of broken china up off the tiled floor.
“Hi”, Tim said, looking disorientated and he picked himself up.
“Would you like some breakfast?” Kevin asked walking back into the living room, carefully trying to avoid stepping on any remaining shards of plate with his bare feet.
“That would be great.”
“I’ve got toast and jam.”
“Lovely”, Tim said with a yawn as he stretched out his arms.
The two men sat eating breakfast in silence. Kevin went to switch on the television and then quickly changed his mind as he remembered Tim’s strong views on the subject.
“I had an odd dream last night”, Kevin said when he had finished his toast.
“What was it about?” Tim asked, with a mouth full of crust. Tiny white crumbs had begun to gather in his beard and reminded Kevin of his father’s psoriasis.
“I can’t really remember. Something about my parents I think. It’s weird, I never usually dream about them”.
“Archetypes”, Tim said. “According to Freud everything you know of people is based on your mother and father.
“You’re into psychology?” Kevin asked.
“No, not really”, Tim said. “I read some years ago, my wife studied psychology at university. I had to brush up on it a bit, just so that I didn’t feel so ignorant.”
“Do you miss her?” Kevin asked, trying not to reveal to Tim the little background check he had done.
“Every single day”, Tim said, “The worst thing is knowing that she is still out there somewhere getting on with her life, she’s probably forgotten about me by now.”
“I’m sure that’s not true”, Kevin said.
“What would you know!?” Tim said, “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have snapped, it’s just a bit of a raw subject for this time of the morning.”
“It’s okay”, Kevin said, “I completely understand.”
“Have you ever been in love?” Tim asked.
“I don’t think so”, Kevin said, trying not to seem completely ignorant on the subject of the opposite sex.
“You’d know if you had, it’s like nothing else”, Tim said.” I’ve always been more than able in articulating myself, but love? I wouldn’t know where to start.”
Kevin was getting a little uncomfortable with discussing such an emotive topic.
Photograph by Elizabet Dominguez