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Apathy, Chapter 19 Expectations

March 28, 2019

The car fired up for a second time that day to begin its journey back down to the bottom of the mountain, things seemed to be in perspective as the three sat in the all too familiar car for the first time in twenty years. Ronnie sat stoically in the front passenger seat as Jim fumbled around with switching out CD’s as if the year 1997 had never died. As the car coasted towards the street, away from the driveway of the mountain cottages, Jim popped a CD in and let the car coast to a respectable speed. Ronnie had a notion of what to expect but hadn’t noticed the mural that covered the distance in a universe of multicolored floral design. It was random but beautiful. The world seemed at peace, well it did seem at peace before the great magnet started humming again.

“I’m not really sure what to expect,” Albert said as they descended.

“I can’t believe that I didn’t notice how the flowers had blossomed,” Ronnie stated with a scowl.

“I didn’t notice until this morning,” Albert responded with a chuckle.

Jim nodded and said, “The bees were swarming. I can’t believe that I made it out alive.”

Albert scoffed and said, “That’s a bit overdramatic.”

Ronnie cleared his throat and asked, “So, it’s been less than civil?”

Albert laughed and said, “To say the least. It’s a goddamn madhouse, the-”

Jim quickly said to himself, “Oooh, Anthrax!” Then the music stopped as Jim thumbed his way through his book of CD’s stopping to occasionally check the road.

“A.I.R.” by Anthrax started, and the conversation continued with Albert saying, “It’s like there are no consequences. Hopefully, that’s over. It was… I had to do things.”

Jim asked, “You  hurt people?”

“I killed people.”

The cabin hushed, Albert knew that he could trust Ronnie and Jim, but he wasn’t sure to what extent, so he paused and waited for a response.

The pause lingered until Jim asked, “For fun?”

“What the fuck kind of person do you think I am!? No! Not for fun, asshole, I had to.”

Ronnie glanced at Albert through the mirror of the passenger’s sun visor and said, “If you had no choice, what were you supposed to do instead? You did what you had to if that be the case.”

Jim felt uncomfortable asking, “How many people did you kill?”

“Jim, I doubt that matters, he was protecting his family.”

Albert looked down at his sweaty palms and said, “Three people. Daisy killed one.”

“Shit…”


Daisy sipped her cup of tea when the door to the bathroom opened. She looked up at the young girl and felt a longing and a shame. Daisy closed the bathroom door behind her and smiled at the older woman. She walked over to her and sat down next to her at the dining room table.

The older Daisy smiled, got a little choked up, and said, “I’ve seen a lot of people come and go from my spot of the world and you’re the first kid I’ve met… you’re not a kid, but you know what I mean.”

“My dad talks about this place a lot, I always wondered why we never came to visit before. I mean after my mom died.”

“Who knows why people do what they do… I wouldn’t be surprised if it were a sore spot for your father. We really did a number on each other.”

“I can tell.”

“You heard us talking?”

“Yeah, I get it, but it’s sad. You really loved my dad, and you thought you were going to die. Then he meets my mom, and she dies. I guess you didn’t really save him from much.”

“It’s more complicated than that, but yeah. Have you been in love before? The more emotionally stable you are, the less in love you realize that are. I watched my dad die as a kid. It was really hard, and I didn’t want to do that to somebody that I loved, so I pushed him away. I wanted him to fight me on it, but I pushed too hard. Too hard to even admit it to him today…”

“So you fucked up.”

“I did. We were engaged, we had talked about kids and moving away, and then I woke up one day and I was sick. Who knows when that shit started, but it all felt like it landed on one day when I had to be rushed to the hospital.”

“So, I could have been your daughter?”

Daisy smiled at the young woman and said, “No, you wouldn’t have been. That’s a wonderful thought, though.”

The thought percolated in the young Daisy’s mind, and it disgusted her to think about her father’s semen. She then thought about how she is a product of her mother’s egg and her father’s sperm and the chances that that specific sperm made it to the egg at that particular time and the likelihood that another person could have another person’s kid in some parallel universe seemed to not make sense, and she felt like a child again- confused.

Daisy offered the girl a coffee or tea, which was declined, and she said, “I don’t think I was meant to have children. It’s not a bad thing, just another thing that’s missing from my life- and I don’t mean that your father is missing. Like I said, it’s complicated.”

“So, what are you doing then? I know my dad mopes around and was only really happy when my mom was alive.”

“I am surviving… bare minimum, I guess.”

“He stopped writing stories when she passed. He used to read me a chapter after he wrote it and it always baffled me that he never attempted to get them published.”

“Do you remember what they were about?”

“They were about accomplished people feeling empty inside and filling that emptiness with adventure and journey. I only know that because he would tell me what the themes were and what the stories meant.”

“What’d they mean?”

“They meant that there’s more to life than being successful.”

“So they were about you and your brother.”

“One example he told me was that life, with all the money in the world, isn’t worth shit, his words, without the people to enjoy it with.”

“That sounds like Albert,” Daisy laughed, “He was having trouble writing up here with us…”

“He has trouble now… like I said, it died with my mom.”


A few miles away from the foothill of the mountain Ronnie leaned against the hood of the car as Jim and Albert walked out of a CVS with Daisy’s prescription. Albert had expected to have to break into the building and rummage through drugs until he found the thing that Daisy needed… the world had gone back to normal as if it were waiting to snap out of its funk.

Jim, with a smile on his face, said, “That was easy enough.”

Albert squinted his eyes and said, “Too easy…”

Ronnie took his ass off of the car and said, “Shut the fuck up and let’s get back.”

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