Bring Charlie Back
He keeps looking at me. He needs to stop looking at me.
“Just don’t.” I finally say.
“Give that half-assed apology where you basically say that you feel bad but you were still right.”
“I was put in a tough situation.”
“Damnit Chase!” I cry. “You could’ve saved him!”
He sighs. “I know.”
“Don’t even talk to me again. Ever.” I start to storm off and shake vigorously as he grabs my arm.
“What?” I scream. “What?! If you don’t want me to leave then stop me! Just snap your fucking fingers and stop me!” He looks at me, his green eyes a little duller, his cheek a little wetter. I free my arm from his hand and turn away. “It’s so damn easy for you. All you had to do was say a word or move your hands - whatever the hell it is you do. But you didn’t. You just watched; probably with that same damned expression on your face, as if it hurts you more! As if you’re the one who’s dead.” I wipe away a burning tear. “As if he was your brother.”
I could tell he was holding his breath; it didn’t matter that I was turned away. I could imagine him, his eyes on the floor, but not even noticing the color, biting his lip, or playing with the tips of his dark brown hair in the front, as he usually did in a situation like this. Every time he apologizes to me it’s always the same. He says a few words, then painfully listens as I rant on about it. I’m too tired to rant now, too sad, but I want him to say something. I want him to defend himself so I have the energy to yell at him and scorn him for even thinking there was a justifiable excuse. I turn to look at him, but he still doesn’t lift his head.
“There were people there.” He chokes out. I stare at his trembling hands as if trying to steady them. “So many people Rache. They would’ve noticed, all those people, they would’ve seen and then they would’ve known. And Charlie - Charlie, he just wanted to prove himself to the others so badly. I told him not to - I fucking told him that Chicken was a stupid game, told him it kills people; he wouldn’t listen!”
Of course Charlie wouldn’t listen, he never did. I slide down the wall to sit against it. I can’t stand, I don’t have it in me.
“They all wanted to see it. Didn’t think the eight-year-old would have the balls, but he did. He went right to that speed bump and laid down as he’d seen the other kids do. I told him Rache I swear I told him. I even pulled him up and told him we were leaving, but he wouldn’t have it. I’d never seen a more determined kid in my life. But I knew he was scared. I could tell. It was in his eyes, he cringes them when he’s scared, I’m sure you’ve seen it."
I nod painfully, no longer looking at him, but at nowhere in particular.
"But he stayed anyways. He told me he wasn’t getting up ‘til at least one car had flown over his head. I can’t believe those kids, giving Charlie highfives as he was laying there, calling him a badass and all that. The boy loved it, but it wasn’t worth it. It’s never worth it, is it Rache? Because I saw the car. A nice big red one, a Jeep. We were all standing on the side of the road and I swear this car was going 70. I remember looking at the speedbump, not even being able to see Charlie from where I was standing, and he would’ve been fine you know? Did you know it Rache? The kid would’ve been ok if he’d of just stayed down, but damn he must’ve been scared shitless. Little eight-year-old kid laying there, hearing a speeding car just a few feet away. I probably would’ve gotten up, who wouldn’t of? I saw his little head start to rise and I yelled at him to stay down but that just distracted him I guess.”
He took his hands out of his hair and just plopped to the floor. He was almost in a ball, his elbows resting on his thighs, his head held up by his hands. His eyes were still on the floor as he continued, “Yea, I guess I must’ve just distracted him because he was about half-way up when the car hit. I don’t really remember where it hit him just the blood, so much fucking blood. When the car stopped Charlie was actually partly under it. That’s how fast the man stomped his brakes. But he was eight-years-old. “Died on impact.” And god you should’ve seen the driver Rache. Just kept blubbering on as he called the police about “how the hell was he supposed to avoid hitting a kid who seemed to have appeared out of thin air?!” I don’t really blame the driver though."
He looks up from the floor and stares off, maybe in the same nowhere as me. I can feel my throat choking itself, the tears drowning my nose, almost like my body longs to join its brother.
He manages to speak again. "It was just those fucking kids. Who would want to play a game like that? Explain to me how that’s fun? So you see Rache, I couldn’t have stopped it. I really couldn’t have, not in front of all those kids, those stupid fucking kids. They would’ve seen me muttering some shit and sticking out my hands like a witch, they would’ve known Rache! Rache, they would’ve seen! So do you see? Do you see why I sat there and watched, do you get it? There was nothing else to do Rache - I - I really - there was nothing I could do! Right Rache, I mean there wasn’t a single thing, right?!” He looks desperately at me; his eyes are strained so much you’d think it’d give him a headache. I crouch down to his level and look him in the eyes. I wipe the wet from my face and take a big breath in, then out.
“Then bring him back.” I can’t tell if he looks better when he knits his eyebrows or worse.
“Bring him back? Rache I - that’s the type of shit you see in movies.” His voice is quiet.
“So? Bring. Him. Back.” I look deeper into his eyes. “There has to be a way Chase. If anyone can do it it’s you! Haven’t you ever heard anything? Stories, legends, anything?”
“Yea, tons.” He replies. “But Rache that’s just it. They’re stories and legends. Rache, bring him back?”
“Yes! Yes Chase bring him back! I know you can Chase; do it! Do whatever it takes, but bring him back to me. Bring me back to him.” I plead.
“Bring him back.” He says. “Yea. Yea I guess it’s possible. I guess it must be.”
He breathes deeply. “I’ll bring him back. Sure, why not? It’s been done by now somewhere. I’ll bring him back.” He smiles and grabs my hands. “I’ll bring him back to you Rache.”