“Donnie, come home.” The plea was practically a whisper as she spoke into the receiver. The welling of her tear glands was made apparent through her voice. He didn’t have to see to know.
“I can’t.” his voice frank, deepened from experience; his words throaty as if he’d just awoken from a long sleep. “You know I can’t.” reluctance had to have been apparent as his tone heightened.
“Yes you can, Dad doesn’t care!”
“I left for a reason, sis.” He swallowed hard. Listening as the girl went into a deep silence, occasional whimpers meeting his eardrums. He couldn’t take this any longer. His pale hand gripped the phone from between his ear and shoulder, pushing it sternly back on the hook. His electric eyes closed with remorse as his lower lip quivered. It hurt, but it had to happen.
He hadn’t called home in six months.
His hand released the phone, the clanging of quarters dropping made him wince, his palm moving to rest against the fogged glass of the phone booth. An expletive escaped him sharply as his dark eyebrows furrowed. He shouldn’t have called.
Finally he pressed his back against it’s folding door, the already ripped shoulder of his jacket getting caught just a bit in it’s hinge. He allowed his attention to snap to it as he, in a quick movement, released the thread, inflicting further damage to his coat.
The night air was suffocating, the forceful wind brushing his unruly brown locks left and right. He pushed his fingers through them, slipping his other hand into his pocket to retrieve the knit cap he practically lived in. He slipped it on, pulling it just past his ears, already feeling a homely warmth, helping to soothe the cold night and his cold heart.
“Son! Look at these grades!” the deafening boom of his father’s voice struck fear into his heart. “Donovan Mark Mahoney!” his father shouted through the halls, it practically shook the ground at it’s roots. The boy’s feet barely scuffled as the thin he made his way toward his shouting parent.
Head bowed in shame.
“Yeah dad?” Electric blue eyes scanned over the prick in the leather chair. Looking him over, sitting in that antique thing, loafers set by the door, his black business sock clad feet resting on the desk’s top. The thick smell of cigar smoke permeated the room’s atmosphere, the small cloud inching it’s way through the open aperture. It’d stain the halls for days. Donovan took in a deep breath through his nostrils, taking in some of that smoke hungrily.
“You have thirty three absences. You’re failing school! Your sister gets straight A’s! Why can’t you be more like her?” the yellow stained teeth chattered up and down after each word, his clean cut mustache bounced up and down as his upper-lip cinched.
“Hmm?” his father’s unkempt eyebrows rose in question as he let his feet swing one over the other and land on the mahogany floor. Leaning forward, his elbows pressing against the drawer in front of him. “Did you forget how to talk? Pipe up! Where have you been anyhow? you weren’t sick once this year!” his hand slapped the report card, tossing it toward a wastebasket to his left.
“I…” he could’ve lied. He could’ve said he had been at school and it was all a mistake. He could’ve told him he was out of medication, and that was to blame. He could’ve.
But he didn’t.
“I was skipping, school isn’t for me.” his bubbling fear had seemingly washed away, nonexistent as he eyed his father keenly. His arms crossed over his bony chest in a gesture of strength. “and you know what? I’m out of here,” he uncrossed his arms waving his hands dismissively toward his now speechless father.
That, was that.
It only took an hour to pack his bags and slip on some shoes. He was two weeks from graduating.
He didn’t utter a goodbye to his dazed mother, and he didn’t think to say goodbye to his sister. He didn’t want to think of this as leaving them behind, but as moving him forward.
Donovan let his dilapidated sneakers scuffle idly on the pavement as he ascended it. The scene from his past playing over in his mind. The dumbest decision he’d ever made; but Donovan was not one to give up on life. He’d take his decisions, be they good or bad, and he’d run with them. He’d take his ideas to the grave.
A young boy leaves home in search of a music career. But what he finds is lust, poverty and drugs.