THE DYING OF BOBBY MARS: SNEAK PEEK 5
If you haven’t read the beginning of The Dying of Bobby Mars, you can start by clicking here.
Hope you enjoy this uncorrected sneak peek.
Almost five-hundred days later, I’m walking around like an Olympic runner stretching their legs before winning the gold. My grandfather fenced in his yard, and allows me, when I stay with them while my father is over the road, to roam around while he works. When he’s busy in the field or what have you, my grandmother brings me inside and locks me inside my playpen. But those hours spent in the yard are a dream. I run like there’s no tomorrow. Finally, free from staring at the mobile over my crib with the lions and tigers and bears chasing the other. Freed from the sights and sounds of wherever I was laid to rest. Walking and running. It’s the sweetest freedom I’ve tasted in these three nightmarish years. But this was true freedom. Crawling had provided no meaningful change—especially with my mother around. When she left and my grandparents came to watch over me, lots of things changed. Namely, I went to church every Sunday and prayed every night I was under their roof. And I’m properly disciplined.
Today I play with my blocks remaining as quiet as a mouse for fear of getting the wooden spoon again. My mother never hit me—she never did much after the first month or two of being home with her newborn mistake—but my grandparents embody the divine vengeance of Archangel Michael that would make God weep with joy, but the God they praise sounds like a monster. However, that kind of Creator would be just the type to force you to relive your life and suffer the sins of your past. Things you never had any control over.
I was just a product of this shit environment. I think. How was my life supposed to go any other way?
“You hear me God? How was I supposed to rise above this? Or turn the other cheek?”
I wait for a response.
I watch as I continue to build up a tower that begins to tower of me…which isn’t but maybe three feet tall. I glance at my grandmother when the tower wobbles threatening to crash and interrupt her reading. She returns the look, licks her claw, and flips the page of her smut and keeps reading.
I return to building.
I tried to remember her, but the only memories I have of her are when me and my father visit her in the hospital. I remember her being sweet and kind, but that was probably just because she was afraid of going to Hell.
She and my grandfather would take me to church every Sunday, all dressed up, and pinch me if I fell asleep, saying, “You best listen to Father Matthews, Bobby.”
Bedtime stories involved stories from the Bible and the threat of fire and brimstone, should I fail to love and fear and obey God. My grandfather was a solemn man who did little more talking than was necessary, but when he said—occasionally roared—a command, I listened.
A knock booms at the door causing me to jump up and down in excitement, and when my father walks in through the door I shout, “Daddy’s home!”
The blocks come tumbling down in a thunderous crash. I flinch, and glance to my grandmother who becomes sweet as candy and as affectionate as a grandmother from a fairytale. She showers my father with love, and hands me off to him.
“He’s lucky to have you as a father.” She says. “That tramp’s bad blood has made him angry child, but he’s learning. He’s got you to think for that, Jeffrey.”
My father nods in a weary way. I’m not even sure he’s listening to her. Meanwhile, I continue to jump and squeal in excitement.
“Calm down, Bobby.” My grandmother spits. “For Heaven’s sake, boy.” She turns to my father, saying, “Bless his heart, but that Jessica may have screwed him up. Hate to say it, but I fear it’s true.”
“Got it, Mom.” My father says, collecting my bags neatly placed near my playpen. He puts the blocks and other toys into another bag and takes up them all out to his car in several trips. When he returns he picks me up, folds up the walls of my playpen under his other arm, and fumbles with the door.
God, he smells bad.
“How long you home for, Jeffrey?” My grandmother asks as we’re leaving.
“Few days. Till Thursday probably.” My father says. “But John is talking about giving me a local route. Out in the morning and home in the evening. No more over the road.”
“Praise the Lord.” My grandmother says.
“I’m sorry to be a burden on you and Dad.”
“No burden at all, Jeffrey.” My grandmother says. “I just hoped that your son wouldn’t need as much discipline as he does. But he does and that’s no fault of yours. You were providing for your family as a man should, but your wife failed in her duties.”
My father nods.
Have you told them you hit her? I wonder. Doubt it. There’d be Hell to pay for hitting a woman. I don’t think my grandparents are that old fashioned.
“Thanks again, Mom,” My father says. “I’ll bring Bobby over Thursday morning. Hopefully this will be my last trip over the road.”
“I’ll pray for you, Jeffrey.” My grandmother says as my father starts out the door. “O, and Jeffrey. There’s this sweet girl I met at church the other day. She’s from the next town over, but has started volunteering here. She seems pretty keen on meeting you.”
If you like her, I doubt my dad will. Mom was everything and more that you—God-fearing-woman—hated. Plus, every now and then, when I’m asleep in my swing next to the couch, I hear him making phone calls asking if anyone’s heard from her.
“That’s nice, Mom,” My father says. “Maybe when John switches me over to local driving, I can meet her.”
“I think she’d be good for you and Bobby.”
“The boy needs a mom.” My father looks me in the eye. I see the stress and regret drinking away the shine from his eyes. There’s dark rings under his eyes that tell me he’s hardly been sleeping.
My father and I spend the afternoon watching cartoons until he falls asleep. My eyes go from my father to the door. I carefully climb down off of the couch, and move to the door. I open it and look out into the vast openness of the horizon. Our trailer is on the edge of town overlooking the endless golden cornfields that dominate the area.
“Bobby?” My father shouts.
He throws the door open, and I take a step back. He’s reaching for me. I spin around flailing my arms as I—
Is this when I get the scar above my eye? I wonder as my small body tumbles down the stairs. Pain spreads over me evenly until my face connects to the cement of the sidewalk. That’s when everything goes black, and I am alone with only my thoughts to keep me company.
With how many times you’ve fallen on my head, no wonder you’re so fucked up…
I open my eyes to see my horrified father cradling me. He screams; he curses himself. Everything hurts. Blood fills my left eye. My father carries me to the car I will be given on my sixteenth birthday. It’s shiny and new now, but in the years to come before it is mine, rust will begin to take hold on the doors and replace the shine with dullness. But seeing that car made me forget about the pain of that currently making me cry. All I can think about is death…
I cry all the way to the hospital listening to my father try and comfort me.
“It’s okay, Bobby,” he says. “Daddy’s here. I’m here. It’s okay. Stop crying. It’s okay.”
Even you can’t be this cruel, God. I pray while my father and I rush off to the hospital to stitch up my eyebrow. Don’t make me relive this shit. I didn’t have a life worth reminiscing before the end.
Just let me fade away…
I continue to cry.
Will I fade? I wonder when no heavenly voice answers my prayers. If this is my life flashing before my eyes, will I cease to be once it is all said and done…or is there something worse awaiting me?
Imagines of Hell come into my mind. The eternal suffering in the Lake of Fire that awaits sinners like me—according to Grandma. Demons doing whatever they want all the while Satan cackles like… Well, like Satan in Hell.
Is that what awaits me once I finish reliving my life and the credits roll? I hope it isn’t, but I can’t help but to wonder, Is this simply the prelude to my eternity?