Skip Navigation LinksHOME → BAMBOO SHOOTS LISTING → YOUTH

BAMBOO SHOOTS
Works of fiction and poetry by friends of Bamboo Ridge Press.

BetweenWatersUnseenBETWEENWATERSUNSEEN

donaldcarreiraching.wordpress.com; my debut novel is available online at Bamboo Ridge Press (http://goo.gl/wfycwG), SPD (http://goo.gl/Qdu18P), and Amazon (http://goo.gl/B8XbCf).

THIS IS A GREAT BR FISHING AND WISHING 100 ENTRY

Youth

Published by BETWEENWATERSUNSEEN | Saturday, September 03, 2011 10:52 AM


780 words.


     We were kings then, of a tiny street, connected to a single road that led to a tangle of intersections, and to cities, to places none of us knew yet. We didn’t just strut, we rolled, high as fuck on something that spilled out on summer streets like the hydrants we sipped from. None of us knew better, and none of us cared to, and if you asked any of us now, that time was one that none of us would ever care to remember.
     Matthew was a fat kid, haole, from somewhere on the mainland. His skin was flecked with rust, inherited from his mother’s side, and he had his dad’s laugh, a sound you heard too often. I remember sleeping over one night, me and Jared, and instead of Monopoly he brought out some of his dad’s magazine’s that he had stolen from under his bed. We sneaked them out of the house in the empty board game box, and stared at the gloss of a blonde girl’s tits under a single fluorescent bulb in the garage.
     Ried was the nuts one, local kid, the only one who didn’t live on the same block. His house was further up, a two-bedroom on stilts surrounded by jungle. We didn’t go over there that often, something I never did understand, but when we did, it was to look at the action figures he kept in plastic caskets: Star Wars and G.I. Joe. Once, I twisted Snake Eyes so far that his torso ended up on the other side of the room. We didn’t talk until I paid him three weeks allowance for the stupid thing, and by then he had found a different crowd.
     Jared was the rich one. Private school, high maka-maka, getting his hair cut every two weeks in that same bowl-style that the Asian kids always had. I don’t know what his parent’s did, but he had N64s, Gameboys, his sisters and him took Taekwondo full time, and went to Ultra-Zone on the weekends. One birthday, we had all gone down to the river, determined to trek through the muck and find our way to the reservoir; his dad had just got home when we left. About an hour after we got back, his mom walked through the door. She went into their bedroom and found his father in the shower, still, the water running cold.
     My dad always called Jacob papolo, and back then I never really knew what it meant. He had a hard life, lived out of his parent’s garage, and sometimes for punishment, they’d lock him out of the house and make him piss in a plastic cup. When he got caught stealing, it was because we told him to, and when he asked us to fess up, we lied. Matt had a tree in his front yard with branches large enough to hold every one of us, but for laughs we made Jacob climb up while we swatted his legs with sticks.
     I haven’t seen Matthew in a while, can’t even tell you when he left or if I even said anything to him that day. Ried is still around, went to high school together, hung out every once in a while at lunch; I hear he’s got a baby, and I wonder what’s her name, if he’s happy. Jared’s living another life in Oregon, some folks call it college, I call it an excuse. There’s a picture of his dad on Facebook, black and white; no words can describe the chicken skin that covers my body when I see his face. I never saw Jacob again, though there were moments when I thought I had; if I could talk to him today, I’d tell him I was sorry, we all make mistakes but there’s no excuse for the ones we chose to inflict on him.
     And me? I don’t know. That’s a different story really. Always felt like the outcast, dislocated, looking for who I was in someone else. Blame it on my poor vision, bi-focals tethered to my books, to the comics I wrote in elementary school, and to the friends that were gone before any of us even knew who we were, or the other was. But things change, and though we were kings then, I look back and find that the only crowns we wore were made of summer skeletons that crumbled too quickly in the fall. The most we can hope for now, is that whatever memories that street holds, it has finally forgotten what I’ve tried so hard to reconcile, and remembers only that we were young, though no one can really be forgiven for that.






RECOMMEND THIS PAGE

Tell others about this page on your social networks.


COMMENTS


If you have an account, why not login to comment?

BetweenWatersUnseen - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 10:44 PM.


Thank you all so much. It's interesting to see how much comes out when you talk about childhood, some I think we'd rather keep below the surface. It was a great prompt this month, and I think everyones put out such great work.

richardmelendez - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 12:44 PM.


Eerily like my own childhood experiences. Great story.

This line really stood out for me for some reason: "His skin was flecked with rust, inherited from his mother’s side, and he had his dad’s laugh, a sound you heard too often."

appleblossum - Monday, September 26, 2011 1:18 AM.


Okay, one thing I love about your writing, and not just in this, is how you manage to put so much detail into your descriptions and character actions without weighing them down and stunting the pacing or flow of the entire paragraph or piece.

And this:
"The most we can hope for now, is that whatever memories that street holds, it has finally forgotten what I’ve tried so hard to reconcile, and remembers only that we were young, though no one can really be forgiven for that."

I enjoy the notion that a street (or any place) would hold memories, even if they aren't good. This was well said, and a nice ending.

ManoaMan - Friday, September 16, 2011 3:56 PM.


Wonderful memory of back-in-the-day times. Your descriptions of your friends created pictures in my mind.

Thanks for sharing.