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 Short Story Entitled: Craig

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Posts : 51
Join date : 2010-06-26
Age : 28
Location : North Carolina

PostSubject: Short Story Entitled: Craig   6/27/2010, 23:56

Portraits By Greco.

Chapter ??? Craig.

Craig is laying on his bed, which is unusually high as he had it raised to use the underside as storage space. With him on the soft cushion like surface of his quilts and blankets of intricate designs is an art pad and stencils and pencils. He smiles contently as he draws, the night letting in light from the moon and the streetlamps humming incandescently outside of the window. With his hand moving back and forth he stretches every so often to relieve the stiffness forming in his lithe muscles. The picture is a black and white sketch, coming along beautifully. As it is like everything in his life. Beautiful. A transcendent beauty, beyond simple aesthetics but simply appealing right down to the bareness of what beauty is. He lies on the bed stretched out at it’s entire length, he is five feet and eleven inches tall, six foot if you count his always styled and well groomed hair. Black hair, shiny, thick. Though legally a man he maintains a boyish persona and loves the effeminate nature that he possesses. His features are feminine; soft smooth skin and pouty pink lips, brown puppy dog eyes and with always some coy smile playing tricks on those around him leaves him dreamy, irresistible, and of course ever the more beautiful.

On the wall his clock-which he made himself for its aesthetic appeal- tick-tocks slowly by and there is no other noise, save for his dinner being prepared down stairs by an overly giving, overly loving mother. Not over bearing, simply perfect, like him and his life. An aroma of sweet chocolate cake baking is pervading the entire house, though in the kitchen it clashes vehemently with the heavy, hearty hints of chicken cacciatore cooking on a low simmer in a pot above the oven. It’s a small kitchen, and his mom is moving slowly about it, as nonchalantly as though she doesn’t care. It isn’t that she doesn’t, but the meal has become such routine that there is no fore thought involved. In her mind another world is existing to think of and live in, and her hands move effortlessly in this one, meticulously, slowly, precisely, making dinner for her family. Wearing a black dress, placing her bejeweled hands here and there on the implements, she moves as a picturesque angel would not a mother. Knowing the family will love the meal, they always do.

In the living room, there is a large wooden desk. It sets next to a rarely used fireplace whose mantle is laden with pictures of Craig, his brother, and their sister. The only time his mother or father makes an appearance is in the back drop of a photo, or as an accompaniment to one of them. This is his mothers shrine. A shrine in which she keeps her pride, hopes and dreams both realized and shattered, her heart and soul, and all that she knows to bring her joy in the world. Her three beautiful children, Craig, Tommy, and Jessica. And they are the world to her.

The desk beside the fireplace serves to hold the family’s computer. The entirety of it’s surfaces are a dark shiny ebony, smooth and un dented, unscratched, and perfect. Dim from a lack of lighting, as the entire family leads a pseudo-bohemian lifestyle and find the semi-darkness to simply be in taste with their unknowingly chosen lifestyle, the computer screen creates a luminescence as Craig’s brother Tommystares into the screen. Green eyes dot back and forth like a tennis ball as he play a video game, but unlike his sibling he does not sit restlessly, having played lacrosse all afternoon in school. Many families have members who do not get along. To the other, these two teens see each other as nearly non existent. Not from anger or petty sibling rivalry however. The two are so different they simply fail to even acknowledge one another. Good or badly. And as Craig continues to dwell in physical degeneration, letting his mind and heart take hold to express himself with pen and pad and pain and canvas. Tommy lets his heavily used muscles rest as his mind is distracted, will effaced by an electronic dream world.

Their sister has long left the home for college. One year, perhaps not long, it seems so to the family. Though the brothers fail to love one another from apathy towards the other, both hold feeling of distaste for their sisters presence. Family morals unlike most others, taught from an early age to seek love, beauty, nice things, aesthetics, social decorum, many friendships and relationships, and to reject those who were uncouth, ugly, distasteful, poor or vulgar, Craig and Tommy, neigh even their mother, never cease to wish they do not have to care for the young woman who was away, and coming to visit tonight. She is not like them and not even familial loyalty can keep them loving her. They don’t love her at all, save Craig, but he would not show this. But to reveal this, or even show it to her in the slightest, would be a mistake. What would their friends say? What would the mother’s friends and acquaintances say, or more importantly think of her? If she were to disown the wild girl or tell her of how monstrous she was. Jessica knows how her family feels. And the family knows, that she knows how they felt. And she knows so on and so forth; it simply remains unmentioned that no one wants her around, she does not want to be around, but to disown her family would be a mistake, and on and on the story goes. The family is held together by the innate urges shared by all. To lead beautiful lives, picturesque, and no place stronger is this found than in Craig’s soul. An intense longing for things beautiful and things better then the last consume him. But it is not a burning nor raging desire. It is a passive one. One that pervades so effortlessly that art flows from him freely. Eloquence and simplicity come as natural as breathing or sleeping.

Back up the thick carpeted stairs and down a narrow hall is his room, door propped open and of course dimly lit by a single glowing lamp, he sits enthralled by shadows cast around him, un depressed by the surroundings, only presented with that slight melancholy contentment that comes when one is happy but the environment produces sadness, melding the two emotions into one distinct mood, a muse for creation and dreams to be wondered is. His room is filled with the scents of jasmine and lavender, relaxing him, and adding yet more to his comfort. He is wearing his best clothes for the evening, it is a big night after all. Not just because of his black-sheep sister visiting oh no, rather he has news for the family as well. Such news that he wanted to present himself as beautifully and perfectly as possible. Of course for him, the perfection comes without effort, and even after spending more time than usual becoming so, he has time left for his art.

Of his art what is there to say? Around his small room lies few things, a sparse environment. Under the bed frame lies paints in a mini fridge, something to do with their chemical nature which I have never understood, and smaller baskets of brushes and such. In one corner of the room lies a piece of furniture, not a dresser yet still full of drawers, in which are erasers and pencils, pens, stencils and pastels and endless other supplies. He expresses himself. And he lives, daily nightly, through the pain and joys of others and those of his own. Every experience anyone around him has, every emotion they feel or thought that he has, anything and everything is game to be brought into permanent physical fixation in this world on his easel pad or clay. Smiling lightly as he does it, never thinking of the meaning behind the faces, not ever wondering about the meaning behind inspiring words, he simply perpetrates beauty with every look and every stroke. Art for art’s sake, as Oscar wilde said.

In the closet there are boxes more of supplies, and of course, a wardrobe fit for any respectable prince. He doesn’t consider himself one, in fact, he dresses in such a way that every piece of clothing is expensive, but he gives an air of the starving artist. At first glance to him one would see a handsome young man, wearing a simple outfit and unadorned. But that simple outfit cost, and cost deep. Poverty may imply simplicity, but simplicity does not imply poverty. Outside of the clothes and art supplies the closet houses another artifact of interest. An easel, rarely used since he prefers painting with the canvas on the floor for more control and simple preference- he enjoys laying out for anything not just drawing- stands with an unfinished abstract work on it. Standing at roughly five foot four it was a gift to him from a past lover and he cherished it, with a certain nostalgic disdaining attachment. The one he loved was not like him, or of his world, but there was a temporary attraction. And though over now(and the lover cut from his life like a deadened vine as he liked to boast to friends) he kept the gift. Whether as a sign of the sway he held over someone else’s affections or as a remembrance not to again become involved in such an illicit affair, or simply because it was a beautiful gift that occasionally had good use, he was not quite sure. But he kept it.

The sketch is complete. He sits upright to admire it and ease the slight muscle pain in his back. Smiling grandiosely at his talent, which always seems to impress him (and all others around him) he feels proud. Never does he show this pride though. It isn’t fitting, rather, by being modest he can show beauty through his art, and the beauty of having a moral character, and this can only add to his internal conceit even more. Such thoughts do occasionally occur to him and earn devilish grins.

His room suddenly brightens with two overlapping circular lights on the wall, but then darkens again as they begin growing smaller into themselves, headlights from outside passing through his window pane. Jessica has arrived and so he stands up to be sure he is perfect.

Form fitting yet not tight, his jeans are creaseless except along the sides of the legs where they are meant to be so. His white dress shirt is completely unwrinkled, he had asked his mother to iron it earlier as he knew not how to do it himself, and the sleeves are rolled half up his fore arms revealing the semi muscular nature of his pretty boy figure, puffed out and yet starched and stiff, the shirt appears both dressy and casual at once. Simply beautiful. Over this he wears a burgundy vest, four brown buttons down the center. His hair styled to give an out of bed appearance, the front tufted together in a somewhat reminiscent of a wave, sits rigidly in place but seems to be soft and delicate to the touch. Every accessory is in place, black leather belt with the silver buckle, clean white sneakers loose laced and tight, one single silver band on his left ring finger, everything now perfect, he straightens himself out from where he had sat upon the bed dreaming and sailing through his artistic thoughts and heads down stairs. But he stops moving at the door. Overcome suddenly he grasps the door frame harshly and begins to squeeze it, as though some fear has overcome him. Looking down at himself, then turning to glance out of the bedroom‘s window, then back again to the hall, he closes his innocent puppy eyes and inhales deep, and then letss the breath go. Releasing the wall he shut the door and walks downstairs, where his family has already greeted the sister they do not actually wanted to see.

There is no need to bring forth the conversations held in tensed repose as the family sit in the shadowy living room. People such as these are always passive aggressive and on the attack beneath their aesthetically pleasing times of indifference. A brief summary is all I have in me to tell of it. One of the brothers makes a comment, a double entendre, insinuating something negative. But it would sound nice to a bystander or family friend, would of course would only be able to take the words at their face value, unaware of the meanings which lay beneath. Like a mirror, instantly and perfectly reflective, the sister then retaliates in suit. The mother does so as well and in circles they all would go. No one wants to be here it seems. It is odd, as no one was around for there to be any need for the sublimated hate to stay buried beneath the bravados and false facades familial love.

Dinner arrives A rectangular table, left from when the father was still around, sets them all with of course plenty of decorations. Candles, baskets of rolls and decorative fruit- not to be eaten of course- crimson napkins and sparkling glasses of water compliment the simple meal, chicken in a wonderfully appealing tomato sauce served over a bed of aromatic saffron rice, steamed vegetables-still crunching to the bite- and chocolate cake at the end. For a few moments the family stops “arguing” and genuinely semi-enjoys one another. Fond memories of child hood are brought back. The innocence of youth, family dinners, coming home dirty from playing out side, first loves, nights when ten meant staying up late with mommy and daddy, even the memory of daddy himself. This was before Jessica became the one she was now, before the mom became so intent of perfecting their lives, lives in which there was no need for a man in the house, and before Craig and Tommy began to drift from a lack of bonding done only by the dad at the bequeath of Craig’s mom.

As the dinner conversation begins to drone into repetition and the dessert is brought out the night seems to be coming to an end. After a few moments of silence Craig shifts his eyes upward to his family while his face remain down cast at his plate. He sees them all looking straight down, and silent, but smiling at least which is a good thing, not rare, but good for what is going to happen next.

“an awkward silence is awkwardly broken huh guys?” he says playfully making them all laugh, not heavily but honestly.

The mood now broken somewhat, his sister speaks “I’ve missed you little bro. You may be superficial sometimes and kidna annoying with you absorption into the art thing but I miss you all the time.” Jessica means this. She really does.

“hey what about me? What am I over here, chopped liver?”, Tommy speaks up chuckling when he finishes, looking around the table at everyone’s smiling faces.

“I missed you too and you know it! I missed you all other wise I wouldn’t have come home to visit you! I just miss Craig the most, that’s all.” Jessica tilts her head in a circle swinging her soft blonde hair over in the air as she casts a loving look of protection to her brother, and places her hand over Craig’s and hold’s it tight. She widens her eyes to stare at him, as though pleadingly, but for his sake and not hers. And suddenly the mood changed drastically, the mother notices and continues eating, though her smile is now gone and being forced, noticeably, leading Tommy- the not so bright member of this family- to also infer that something is wrong, though he doesn’t know what, and he simply returns himself to staring into his chocolate dessert.

“Mom. Craig needs to talk to you about something. Don’t you little brother?”, Jessica’s voice is filled with so much love and warmth, it isn’t normal for the family to have conversations in which warmth and Jessica were both present, and this shifted the mood to be even more stifling and uncomfortable.

“It’s been nice guys but I’ve gotta go upstairs I’ve got some homework to do”, Tommy tries his hardest to sound earnest so that he can get out of what is becoming a dense fog of tension but is stopped. His mother will not allow it after she saw the serious tensed brow of her daughter and the sullen downcast, near tearful eyes of her youngest boy becoming swollen and cloudy.

“ma-mom. I, I need to tell you something.” Craig begins speaking, stuttering and completely lacking his self confidence that helped define his normal persona. “I love you ma. I love you too josh, I love you Jessica, I love all of you and I know you all love me too. Right? Right?” he is becoming anxious now, and is repeating himself. Imploringly he looks around the table at his family but no one’s gaze meets his own, and no one save Jessica returns his seemingly needy sentiments.

“I love you Craig. You are my brother, and I love you.”, her green eyes penetrat into his, which only move away fearful to see them. “And Tommy loves you to, right josh?” she turns her neck but keeps her focus on Craig, so that should can coerce him into admitting this. To much of a simpleton to understand anything beyond simple “yes no” conversations and logic based problem solving, Tommy simply looks around at every one uneasily.

“Well yeah, I do. I love him- I mean, I love you bro. Both of you Jessica, and you to mom…” he panders off into silence, slightly muttering under his breath about what is going on, and lifting his fork again to pick at his plate.

“mom. I want to tell you I love you too.” by this point the can barely speak and is trying to squeeze his sisters hand, as though she alone has the sole power to protect him. In one moment of this a wave of guilt washes over him in realization of how he has always treated her. “ and Jessica I’m sorry for how I’ve always been towards you. You know I love you I do and I’m so sorry.” he begins weeping uncontrollably , scaring Tommy and earning yet more and more disdainful looks from his mom.

“Craig don’t do this. None of us need to do this we already know. And you know we know. Just leave it be don’t bring this up now, this is family time and we’re having dinner.” suddenly and startlingly his mother’s countenance slickly tturns one of anger and bitterness.

“mom dinner is pretty much over with now” Tommy chimed in at the wrong moment earning a reprimanding look from their mother of his own.

“But I have to mom I have to I cant keep doing this anymore. Mom, Tommy, I have to tell you guys. I have to get it out, out in the open, I’m not hiding it any longer!” he is raptured beneath the tears in his eyes and inside him a maelstrom of emotions are fighting with one another for dominance. Sweat pouring from his clammy skin, his face is swollen with red eyes, he is struggling to contain himself.

“Craig I am telling you for the last time do not do this!” his mother screams loudly, Tommy begns to back up in his seat, confused and lost as to what is happening.

“No I am going to do this! You cant just pretend something isn’t there because it doesn’t fit into how you want to live your life! This one is mine! This life is mine! Mom, Tommy, I’m .. I’m…” and suddenly his drive and motivation began to wane when his sister gives him the finally push, “Craig, say it, SAY IT NOW!” and so he says it.

“I’M GAY!”, and he begins sobbing into his sisters open shoulders, broken, and completely vulnerable.

Wide eyed, Tommy sits simply uncomfortable, uncaring either way on what was said, but terrified of how his mothers reaction may form. Oddly, it was in a calm, stoic manner which surprised all three. Surprising as it may have been however, Craig is’nt not able to bear such words, and his mother cuts him.

“Jessica. You are a little bitch.” she says this smiling angrily with one side of her face tightened.” you always have to ruin everything. You come in and ruin everything every time we see you.” she stops a few moments. “And now you are just as bad Craig. You’ve ruined our lives. You’re a freak now, you’re not normal, I -I-I” throwing her napkin down and her hands up she finished simply “I don’t want to have to see again. Go somewhere. Go anywhere. But not here, not in my home.” with this simple remark, she got up and turns to walk off but pauses before turning into the hall that led into the den. “Why can’t you be normal like your brother?“ she doesn’t say the name of the child she is speaking to, but all three knew. It is simply another twist on the vice that Craig’s heart was now in. And so she left the room.

Staring into space for a moment trying to take in all that the past ten minutes has brought to him, Craig suddenly turns to his sister, whose hand now lies numb and pale from his clutch, and falls into her open arms sobbing endlessly. Tommy bends over to pat his back. “It’s ok Craig. We’re here for you. We always have been and always will be” he cries even harder. He doesn’t deserve this love and acceptance from them. He doesn’t give it, how can he receive it?

Of the two comforting him no one believe the words they say. But at least they make him feel good. At least, the words, were beautiful.
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Short Story Entitled: Craig
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