AFTER THE PARTY
The fire was glittering in her eyes. It made her even more beautiful than before. She sat in the sand with her feet pulled up under herself. She looked into
the flames. I sat on the other side of the fire, watching her carefully. It began to get cold, in my back it was freezing, but my face was warmed by the heat of the
fire. The temperature could have something to do with the clock, and the time of the year. OK, its usually pretty much warmer in LA when it’s autumn, but now it
was freezing. The night before, and the night before that again it was warm. The time was closing midnight. Almost everyone had left, just us two, and someone
else wandering on the beach a couple of hundred meters away. I looked at her again, I saw she was getting cold. I went over to her and sat down beside
- Here, take my jacket.
I gave her my jacket.
- Thanks, she said and threw the jacket over her shoulders.
- Pretty cool the party, don’t you think?
- Yeah, it was pretty cool, she kept staring into the flames.
Nothing was said between us in a while.
- Hey, I don’t mean to be rude, but could you follow me home?
The question was hitting me like a warm wind in the face. Did she really asked me, as in me? But considering, who else could she ask?
- Yeah, sure.
So I followed her home. Her house was not to far from the beach, a mile or something like that. Almost nothing was said between us as we walked up the
road. She lived in a little brown house with a not too nice garden. Her mum died in a car accident when she was younger, so she lived with her daddy. Before
she went in she said goodbye, and something about see you later and then she gave me a kiss on my cheek. I was floating, so I floated down the road, but I
didn’t come far before yelling and screaming was waking me from the trance. Someone had a very loud conversation, but I didn’t hear the words. Suddenly the
door opened and Rachel (that was her name) was literally flying out from the house with her head first, it could look funny in a comic, but in real life it looked
painful. I had a little glimpse of her father before he smashed the door so hard that it gave an echo in the other houses. He had a half-empty bottle of scotch in
his hand. Then he opened the kitchen window and yelled:
- And if you like to be out so late, you can stay out the rest of the night.
Then he slammed the window again. Rachel was lying in the grass. She cried. He could hear her. I ran over to her and helped her up, she was still crying,
then I ran to the door and started banging on it. The door was ripped up and her father came out and hit me so hard that it felt like a hundred bulls had stomped
- Are you going to destroy that door?
He was red in his face. After the punch I was still lying in the grass, he walked over to me and kicked me in the stomach, I was floating again, but this time I
wasn’t floating of happiness. This time of pain, and in a twisted picture I saw the door was slammed. This time it was Rachel that helped me up. She had
stopped crying, but she still had tears on her cheek.
- You can sleep at my place tonight, I said with a hoarse voice.
- Thanks, she whispered in my ear. Then we went home.
It was quiet at home. My parents were on a camping holiday to Montana, and my sister was lying over at a friend of hers.
- Here, sit down.
She sat down in one of the big chairs. I walked into the kitchen and found two glasses and a bottle of red wine. I don’t know if I could take the wine, but I’m
sure mum would understand it if I told her. I went out in to the living room and gave Rachel a glass and filled it up. Then I went to the CD’s and put on an
opera. I usually don’t listen to that kind of music, but now it was very good to relax with it. I sat down in the sofa and filled my glass. I had turned off the lights
and fired up some candles. The slow movements of the light and the music made me drowsy. Rachel went over to the sofa and lay down on it. And she laid her
head on my stomach. I gently laid my hand on her head and stroke her hair. She was so beautiful. We sat like that for a long time, and drinking wine. It tasted
good, a little bitter, but good. The last thing I remember was Rachel’s calm voice. But I didn’t catch what she said. Then I think we fell asleep.
I woke up the next morning. She was still lying on my stomach and sleeping. I saw up on the clock. It was almost eleven. I carefully got out of the sofa and
put a pillow under her head. She was beautiful where she was, with a little smile on her mouth. I walked into the kitchen and made some food. Eggs, ham, or
maybe salami, and cheese and to the end a crisp salad leaf. Milk and orangejuice. I took it and carried it out to the living room. But should I wake her? Well, I
think I should, so I did it. I gave her a little kiss on the mouth like in the Sleeping Beauty and she opened her eyes.
- Food time, I said to her.
- What’s the clock? She was still lying in the sofa.
I turned around and looked on the clock on the wall.
- Half past eleven.
She sat up in the sofa and rubbed the sleep out of her eyes.
- Wow, I think I fell a sleep on you. Sorry. I just was so tired.
- Doesn’t matter. I think I fell a sleep myself.
I smiled to her, and she smiled back. When we ate we watched TV, and talked a little about the party. Nothing was said about what happened after the party.
AT RACHEL’S PLACE
The time was over mid-day, and Rachel wanted to go home. I wasn’t so sure if that was so smart after what had happened last night, but Rachel was
promising that he had never been like that before, he drank a lot, she said, but he had never been violent. I was still not so sure, but what could I do? It was
her father. I walked her home, and followed her to the door. There it was no one home at that time, her father was working as a factory worker, he worked a lot
and often he wasn’t at home at all before it was dark she said. Rachel found the key in one of the pots with dead flowers and unlocked the door.
- Do you wanna come in?
When I went in I got a strange feeling. The feeling was: It was stinking in here. On the floor in one of the rooms that I think was the living room it was full of
empty beercans and half eaten pizzas, and a strong steam of cigarettes was lying in the air.
- You have to excuse the mess, my father isn’t one of the cleanest people in the world. He is rather pretty filthy of nature.
She said it like this was nothing to care about. I followed her into the mess, and into a room. It was like walking from twenty feet of garbage to a floor of marble.
Only this floor had a lot of carpets on it. In this room everything was in it’s place. Not a thing was lying on the floor. A lot of books were put in racks against the
walls. In one of the corners there was a bed, and on the desk were all her schoolbooks.
- Welcome to my world, it not much, but I survive.
She sat down on the bed and made a sign that I should sit there too.
- It’s not possible that your father will come home in a while. I’m not to keen too meet him once more after we met last night. Or more specific, my stomach met
- Don’t worry, his not gonna be back until al least eight o’clock. Hey, lets go down to the beach.
So we walked down to the beach. The sun that was shining on the blue ocean, made it almost hurt in my eyes when I stared at it. We sat down in the sand, it
was a light breeze drifting in from the ocean, and made it really smell ocean, it was one of the best smells I knew. But the smell of being outdoor after it had
rained, was almost the best.
We sat there a long time, I had laid my arms around Rachel, feeling her bodyheat. We just sat there and watched out over the open blue horizon there the
water and the air almost float together. It was getting cold, so Rachel decided to go home. I followed her home, and kissed her goodbye before I left her. But I
wasn’t so sure if it was smart to let her be there alone with her father.
BRUCE, BIKES AND TEARS
When I was back, I washed the glasses and put away the wine bottle. Then I put on an CD of Bruce Springsteen. "Human Touch". From the speakers I
could hear "The Boss" sing "Soul Driver". I just sat in the chair, looking straight out in the air. A while after the first side was finished. I turned of the stereo and
walked upstairs. There I found my biking equipment. Pants, shoes, socks, a sweater and gloves. Then I went down and put on my sunglasses and my helmet.
My bike was a pretty mean American Eagle. I locked the door and biked away. The route I followed was nearly thirty kilometers. The trip took about two hours.
It was getting dark. When I came home I saw someone standing in the lights just outside my house. It was Rachel. I parked and locked the bike and went over
to her. When I came nearer I could hear she was crying. And she had a bruise in her face.
- What’s wrong?
I asked when I took off my sunglasses and helmet and unlocked the door.
- My dad. He came early from work today. He was home when we came from the beach. He saw us kiss. And without any reason he started to beat me. I think
he maybe broke some of my ribs. And the he tried to… to…
She started crying.
- That’s all right. You don’t have to say anything.
You didn’t need much imagination to understand what could have upset Rachel so much. I followed her in and conducted her to the sofa. Then I went upstairs
and got a blanket for her. When I came down, she had lain down in the sofa.
- Where does it hurt?
I asked her.
- We better get you to a doctor. I think this is pretty bad.
- No! No doctors. They will just ask about what happened. I don’t want to say it.
- But this is very bad. Your dad… Whatever, how did you get here?
- I ran away.
Then she fell a sleep. All night I was sitting in a chair, looking at her. What kind of monster was her father? That would hurt such a wonderful creature.
THE PHONE CALL
I was almost dawn. Rachel was still sleeping. I went upstairs and grabbed the phone, but I changed my mind. Was it right to call the police? I mean, it was
terrible what her father had done, but was it right that I should call? If someone should call it was Rachel. Then I heard someone in the door.
- Who are you gonna call? Rachel asked.
- Hmm? Oh, no one. I was just… um…
- You were calling to the cops, weren’t you? Okay, maybe you’re right, but… His still my father. I can’t just give him up. His my father damn it. Oh, what shall I do?
She looked at me.
- But he did something terrible, and I don’t know, but I don’t think this was the first time. All the times you’ve been gone from school, I don’t think it was from flu,
alright. He’s done it before, and if you keep protecting him he’s gonna continue. You can’t let that happen. Its wrong what he’s doing to you, very wrong. I
know how you feel, but…
- You know nothing about how I feel! How it is, when your own dad is…
She started to cry again. I laid my hands around her and held her tight. After a while she was starting to calm down so I let her go.
- What shall I do?
- You should call the cops, that’s what you should do. I mean, you have to! He is dangerous. He might go to other kids too. If he does you will have a bad
conscience the rest of your life. It’s bad enough what he is doing to you. It would be terrifying if he will do it to other kids too.
- So you say I should give up my own dad? His gonna get pissed off. And do you know who his aggression would hurt? Me! Even if he didn’t know it was me
that said he had done it.
- So stay here. It’s not bothering me, my parents would understand perfectly. I’m sure my mum would go over the north pole without any shoes if that would help
In a second or two she had a little smile on her face, but it disappeared as fast as it came.
- Okay, I’ll call.
She did, I don’t know that I felt happy, or if I felt sad. A girl lost her father, but on the other hand the father was a monster. She dialed and waited. I looked at
her as she began to speak.
- It’s done.
She hang up and looked at me.
- I only hope it is right what I have done.
- It is.
She was looking sad.
- Let’s go down to the beach.
- Yes. Lets go down to the beach.