What We Got

Omar Carrillo, Staff Writer

     I cried too much, back then. Crying makes people uncomfortable. He told me that in a nervous fit. Among other not so very nice things. Like a cornered animal. He sort of looked that way, too. We were in his bedroom and he’d been changing. No more appropriate time than that to say something, my brain had evidently insisted.

     The fire in his eyes was like a



     He looked at me like I was the most


                                       thing he had ever seen.

     His voice became loud enough to quake glass to sand. And his throat flexed and creased like a tinted river.

He did not love me then.

He would not love me ever.

     Not like I loved him, certainly. Clearly. His own primal reaction to my declaration was the immortal truth to that.

     He would drive me straight home soon after. I sat in his passenger seat feeling like a stranger, and not like a man being taken on a romantic drive through town. He didn’t look at me once. This time his eyes adopting the hue of every color of the endless stoplights.

     A yellow

                  A red


     I didn’t want to be at home that day. Not that day. Not when I could’ve been spending it with him. I hated myself for wanting. For needing.

     He would finally stop in front of my house and impatiently await my departure.  The car door shut in a loud crack behind me, and I wound my way toward my door with none of the usual farewell fanfare that typically accompanied this part of our times together. I turned to him so he could see my image again. At least one more time. So he could at least see that I was sorry. Sorry. For toppling over what we had before with what I was. Who  I was. What I am. But by the short time that led up to me doing so, he was gone. All gone.

     Just dirt from

                      tire marks


     I wouldn’t hear from him for a week. A phone call in the middle of the night interrupted my 7 days of overthinking. His cadence as sloppy as mud. His voice as creaky as chain link fences. He clearly wasn’t sober. I swore I could even smell it.

     Over the phone, I could already hear car doors slam again. The imminent awkward silence. A confirmation of that ethanol smell that would meet my nose soon enough after I’d enter said car, and sit down next to him, just a half hour after the call. He stared at his shoes and said nothing for a few minutes. I did the same.

     But in time, he’d ride off

                     Down a road we’d been down

                                              A million times before.

     And still he’d say nothing. I wondered if he was okay. I hoped more than anything he was wondering the same for me.

     But nevertheless, I was sure he wasn’t.

     I’m sure his mind was just on the asphalt.

     The straight, gold streaks. The proud darkness they soared atop of. Faster than light itself, it was surely trying to prove.

     I looked at him as he stared down his speeding path, the music around us he’d put on feeling like a silky blanket of cliche. And I hated myself for wanting all over again.

     I realized in this moment our time together recently had really essentially been only between walls of miles per hour. I thought about what that meant. In my eventual conclusion, I determined it as nothing.

It meant nothing.

We meant nothing.

     And what was inherently wrong with that by itself, I supposed.

     We’d stop somewhere I didn’t recognize. Upon a serene hillside looking upon a city, I could recognize even from afar faster than I could recognize the very person glancing at the rearview mirror.

     He left first. Stepping out onto the concrete below us and away, until stopping just a few feet in front of us, sitting shakily onto a small bench. There was room for the two of us. So I followed in his stead and did just the same.

     I fully took in where we were once the dust of our awkward circumstance had cleared entirely. A public viewing area; stone-built, sturdy. Usually a gloomy grey, but now jet black in the infectious abyss of the night sky. The only thing granting light was the dancing fireflies of the city skyline, so far below and away from us. I tilted my head back and sealed my eyes shut, forbidding the image from spilling from my panicked mind, and he spoke.

     “You’re weird, man.”

     Not exactly a compliment, but any sound at all was music to my ears at this point, and therefore my heart practically leaped from my chest at that moment.

     “You weird. You weird…” He continued, at first grinning, then beginning a small chuckle to himself. I followed suit until we eventually just found ourselves sitting there in the swallowing shade, cackling like hyenas as though we were witches in an obsidian-shawled coven.

     In a demonstration of his self-control, he’d recompose himself (though still clearly jumping slightly from his own humor) and continue still with the statement.

     “But listen…”

     He rubbed his eyes and cleared his throat. He was over it, now.

     “I mean… I guess I’m pretty weird too though, right?” He shifted slightly, reaching over to pat my back affectionately.

     “So I guess that means we’re what we got then. And I’m alright with that. You?”

     I nodded. Smiling.

     And with our shoulders both turned toward the world now, jewels of its atmosphere ballroom-dancing across the universe just in front of us. And I couldn’t agree more; without a doubt in my mind.