Class happens the same way flues do. It comes makes you see the world through tear streaked eyes, putting you past the point of wiping the snot running down your nose as you hold on tight to vomit once again. Then suddenly it is gone, leaving a foul taste in your mouth and the distinct desire to never ever fucking eat chicken soup ever again. Like pus from a pimple just before a tween’s hot date Link bursts forth from the class room. Jesus god. You can’t imagine the hell it is to listen to someone talk about study habits for an hour and a half until you’ve actually done it. Three point five seconds pass before his quarry is spotted meandering in the distance, getting dangerously close to a parking lot which would spell doom for plan apology. Link, naturally, takes off at a dead run, because the best way to approche someone who you have most recently offended is to charge them at full speed. They can’t turn you down if they are still cowering in fear. That is one of those wonderful known facts. His large form vaulting gracelessly over a low wall, she hears his approach long before he can get close to her. All she wanted was a light for her cigarette and maybe the time, he didn’t have to be, did a squirrle just throw something at him? She found herself unable to walk away to fascinated by seeing someone who was once going at a dead run, instead face plant, and then roll. It seems like he would never stop, that he would just keep rolling forever, arms and legs failing outwards in all directions trying desperately to put his momentum somewhere else, anywhere else, other than forward. All good things really do come to an end though, he finally crashed, skidding acrost the ground face down. From seemingly out of nowhere a girl runs up to him. She looks almost like a throw back to the puritain days, her long black dress accented literally nothing about her shape what so ever, and she had on a bonnet of all things, from under which long curly locks of hair seemed to try desperately to escape. To be free, to dance on the wind, to laugh, sing, and stick straight up like everyone elses hair gets to do from time to time. Her hair singing songs of rebellion fought against the bonnet, voices bravely muffled against the day. Quickly she leans down and whispers something in his ear, the cross around her neck glinting in the sun, then abruptly she scurries off back to where ever it was she came from.
There are certain things that you just can’t stay mad after. That is most certainly one of them. Looking around the hippy approached his crumpled form, however, the campus is deserted even during its busiest moments. Now it seemed as if there has been an incredibly apocalypse and the only things left were him, her, and all the apples she could eat. Then with all the grace of a great cat he reassembled himself fluidly, as if he hadn’t just had the most epic fall of the life time. Brushing off dirt and leaves from himself he smiles quietly, like he is putting a fond memory back on a shelf for later perusal.
Stamering slightly she asks, “Are you okay?”
“No” as he shakes out his arms and legs every joint in his body cracks at the same time like a firing squad putting down a convicted convict, “However I am glad I caught you, hold on a second” Once. Just once she heard the sound of an ice berg breaking off and falling into the ocean. It was her earliest memory, she was on a cruise with her grand parents and he always smelt of cigars. The sound his back made put that memory to shame, “Okay now I am better. So I am here to apologise for yelling at you. I now also need to eat a pound of bananas and I owe you food. Then I am going to kill and eat that squirrle”.
“That’s not funny. Don’t you dare hurt that squirrel”
Annoyance. It is amazing how eloquently his body could express it. It rippled off of him out into the world wilting the air, shaming the sunlight, and dashing against the rocks of her unwavering resolve, “Fine. I will let the squirrle live”
“No what? Hey the squirrle started it”
Smiling coyly, “You can’t appologise if you hurt the squirrle”
Link cocks an eyebrow. What the hell is with people today, “How do you know apologizing to you is really that important”
“You ran all the way over here, fell flat on your face, and you are ignoring the fact that you are bleeding from several places arguing with me over a squirrle. It must be important to you otherwise you would of chased down what I assume is the creepy christian girl you mistook me for earlier”
His body language isn’t so good at expressing defeat, which makes it all the richer, “Fine. The squirrel is off limits. You wanna come and get food or not, I need to bandage myself, and I definatly need to sit down, pretty close to immediately”
“Sure your treat! Come I know a better place to eat”. Its funny how easily things like this happen. See there is a campus commons. They have a cafeteria there. You would think that is the only place there you could get anything approximating food on campus. That is what they’d like to tell you at least. So Link is only mildly surprised when she sets off in the opposite direction. After awhile they entered into the business complex of classrooms and tucked away in the back is a café, resturant, bar type deal, secreted away where no one would logically look for it.
Immeadiatly after they got inside Link fell to the floor, rummaging through his bag he eventualy latched onto an unusually well stocked first aid kit and began going to work. He heard her ordering distantly as he looked over his various wounds. Not really paying atension when she came for money he took a $20 from his wallet and noiselessly handed it over. God damn most of this is going to hurt in the morning. A morning that is gaurnteed to happen oddly enough, what a strange thought to show up at a time like this. Soon after she returned with change, a salad, and a bannana, as she sat down on the floor across from him he looked around, “Jesus I didn’t even know this building excisted. What the hell is up with this place?”
She shrugs, chewing her dressingless salad, “I don’t know I guess they just sort of give the business majors the best stuff. They have their own computer lab too somewhere in here. Much nicer stuff than the main one”
“Huh. So you saw my christian girl did you?”
She laughed a little, “Kinda. I didn’t really get to see her face and she just sort of sprung up out of no where whispered something to you and ran off, one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen.”
Link nodding and smiling to himself grimaced momentarily as he wrapped up the mangled chuck of blood and gore that was once a knee, “Stick around with me kiddo and you’ll see what strange really means”
She laughed a little, “So how many times has she done that to you now?”
“Four counting the last time, but I was pretty out of it and I really have no idea what she said. I am sure it is something or other. Probably involving Jesus. So what is it you wanted anyway?”
She smiled, dawn blossomed out from her and he could swear that birds just started singing. It is hard to tell he just took quite a blow to the head, but he could almost feel the tempature shift upwards just a little bit and a breeze that carries along with it the smell of freshly cut grass came by, even though they are inside, “To be honest I don’t even remember now, nothing significant, maybe the time. It is just that I see you around a lot, and campus is pretty deserted and”
Link nods, “And I stick out about just as much as you do. Funny I thought the same thing about you, I just never had the occation”
“Well now you do” sticking her hand out, “So Mr. what might your name be?”
Taking it, surprised by her surprisingly strong grip, he met it in turn, “The name is Link”
Taken aback slightly she laughs a little, “Link? Really? That is one hell of a name. It mean something?”
Does it mean something, fuck, it is my connection back home, to them, my tainted blood. Big rolling clouds, pregnant with rain, and perhaps frogs, roll in over his face. Warm hemorrhaging out of him she sat stunned as the good humor and pleasant laugh leaked away leaving a grey tired, defeated thing in front of her. A man who seemed oblivious to physical pain, laid low by a single question. Fascinating, “Hey look forget it. I was just wondering you big lug”
Slamming home a punch to his upper arm, hoping to bring back the good mood that excisted only seconds before instead turned his eyes to cold wrought iron, and under their gaze millions of fairies die, “Sorry but I would really prefer if you didn’t touch me”
“Erm look I”
He smiles again, lightly and shakily but it is there, “Sorry I am a man with secrets. Some of them result in things that are beyond you. Don’t worry about it”
Bitting her lower, the hairs on the back of her legs begin to stand up one by one. Something is in the air she can feel it. There is something surrounding him, something she can’t bring herself to let go of, and something that drew her to him. It is probably that same something that causes the squirrle attacks, and the christain harassment. It is something, “Well okay. Earlier I lied to you. See I have this vegetable garden hidden away on campus. I am not supposed to have it, but it is summer time and I don’t think anyone really cares about anything at the moment. I need help with it though and I am curious to know if you’d be interested”
Green shoots filtered up through the blackness surrounding him, takeing hold they nourish themselves off the rain, then they go carnivorous, “Well sure I certainly don’t have anything better to do and some company might be nice. Living on campus can almost be too quiet”
Well shit she hadn’t meant to reveal the garden to him. Still she needed help with it, and he seems strong enough at the very least, “Good meet me here tomorrow at around 12, that okay”
“Yeah sure that’s no problem, the rest of the weekend is wide open for me”
“Good, umm well I need to run off, but I’ll see you then okay”
He waved as she got up. She started to head off, “Umm you gonna be okay, you need help getting to your car or your dorm or whatever it is you do?”
“Its dorm and no but thank you though. I still need to wrap up a bit then I need to get some reading done. I’ll see you tomarrow, don’t worry about it”
His smile returned warm, reaausing, the clouds had returned to where they came from or at least hidden themselves temporarly. As she went to go leave she looked back at him, his back was to her and he was in the process of applying some huge bandaid to his elbow, his scars stood out in bass relief against the setting sun’s light and for a moment she could almost see the place where his wings would go. Quickly she shook the image from her mind and left, with a smile on her lips and nervouse questions fluttering in her heart.
A secret garden? Link, quietly ate his banana, staring off into the sunset. It is a brave new world out there, and here he is with a greatly diminished first-aid kit, sitting on the floor of a secret café eating a banana, bleeding. Come to think of it he didn’t get a good look at the Christian girl either. Come to think of it he didn’t get hippie’s name either. No matter, there are dorm rooms to return to, kits to restock, and distant lands to conquer.
Thumping back to his room he found himself staring face to face with his ever elusive roommate, who’s eyes actually manage to bug out, “Shit dude what the hell happened to you?”
Link shrugging began digging through his bags searching for his spare medical supplies, “Not to much, took a header, got banged up pretty good. It just looks worse than it is. I just don’t want to worry to much about infection you know”
“Right on man, right on” He paced the room nervously, like he has some deep pathological urge to talk to the person he is in the room with, combined with a deep abiding terror of the person before him who is now patiently restocking a first aid kit, “Hey you always carry that thing around with you?”
“Yeah pretty much, it’s a dangerous world out there, you might as well be able to dress your wounds when it is all said and done”
He nodded, “Heh right on, right on. Saw you talking with that crazy ass hippy girl earlier today, what’s the deal with that crazy ass leg hair man. Doesn’t it freak you out?”
Link shruggs nonchalantly, “I didn’t really notice it actually” There are people who can’t stand to be in a room with someone and not actively doing things. It would figure that god would put him in a room with Link, it is almost enough to make you believe, “So what are you doing tonight?” He didn’t really bother to listen to his answer, he got the basic facts though, “Frat boy room mate is leaving, peace would return, a book would be read, and hopefully he’d be able to squeeze out a couple of hours of sleep before snapping awake at 4am to do all of this over again. Yes that is what will happen and necks will be snapped otherwise”. Soon he was gone a book is opened and the night wears on.
It is 5am. There are birds outside the window chirping away, the sky is clear and as the sun comes up it makes unfounded promises regarding the days magnificence. However, it does bring along the sunrise to help make its care. Link isn’t listening though. Instead he is looking at the gun in his lap. There it is. An inert chunk of metal that, according to anti gun lobbyests, has the starteling ability to leap to life and kill people. Yeah seem to pass and Link manages to see no evidence to support this fact. Idely he picks it up feeling its heft as he moves his wrist around. .45mm hollow point at close range? It is something you just don’t come back from. Yet there it is, in his hands, the final solution. “It’s strange” he thinks to himself, “today I will meet Hippy, then we will garden. Gardening, what a bizarre thing to look forwards to, and yet, despite the pain, the fear, the emptyness, I have such a distinct desire to go and do this thing with some girl who’s name I completely failed to get”. Its to weird. How can people possibly going about with the knowledge that they really are going to go live the rest of their lives? That is just absolutely crazy. That must be what they mean when they say mid life chrisis. Holding the gun gangster style Link idling spinning the cylider, idily wondered if Hippy would be sad if his number suddenly came up today? She seems like she would based purly on the principle that all life, even human life, has value. He smiles to no one in particular, putting the gun away, bullet unloaded, trigger unpulled seems almost inhuman. There is a great natural order out there somewhere and for whatever reason he will be punished, “No matter”, he thinks as he starts to exercise, “I will need to learn to live with my knocks someday, might as well be now”
The hours wander by pleasantly free from roomates, squirrles, and creepy Christians. He went over to the café early, for coffee mostly, and for quiet. It made for a surprisingly nice place to go. It is almost disappointing how people rush away from it like there is nothing but important things to go do. It is just one of those things though.
Hippy didn’t take her time showing up. Stumbing through the door bleary eyed, and smelling unwashed, she clopped over to the counter all but begging for coffee. Only after her first long sip did her eyes clear and her smile blossom, “You look awefully awake Mr. Link. Are you one of those wreched morning people?”
“Me oh I’ve been up since 4. I think I only managed around 90 minuts last night which is actually pretty good for me. I have a serious case of insomnia”
Face screwing with concern, “Are you okay? I mean that little sleep drives people crazy after awhile”
Link nodded, “It sure does, it’s the reason for all the muscles in fact. Doc told me working out might help. It didn’t of course. However, when you are 15, you can’t leave your room after 10, it makes for a pretty good way to pass the time”
Looking over his body, as if for the first time she starts to ask something then thinks better of it. “His past is like a damn mine field, no sense setting the ape man off again”. Rallying, she turns to the business of the day for safety, “So umm first we need to head off to the store and get some gardening stuff, do you have a car? I have to take the bus here then bike the rest of the way”
“Yeah I got one, you’ll like it, it belches black smoke into the air and destroys more ozone than any other three cars combined”
They chatted pleasantly about this and that while walking over to the parking lot, her face fell when she made the realization that he is in no way joking about the state of the car. She couldn’t tell if the car was actually painted grey at some point and it just came off, or it became grey over the course of its long arduous life. The make and model were impossible to tell, you’d have be a car fanatic with a specialty in crappy boxy looking piece of shit cars from the 80s to have any real idea. Seeing her expression he flashes her a smile that regularly brings about the spring thaw, “Don’t be mean to my car, it may be ugly but it is nearly unkillable, that is important in an automobile”. True to his word it started up without a problem, the sound system soon started kicking out music, and the grey little piece of shit thing car actually made for an incredibly smooth ride. There are cup holders everywhere, as well as tons of little places you could put money, food, papers. The car itself purred down the road following her directions which lead them to a little gardening store outside of town. She half expected him to say something about the deparment stores with gardening sections they passed, but instead he wanders over to the daffodils and begins to smell them all one by one.
She watches him for a minut expecting him to go do something, anything, however he looks as if he could just sit there in front of those daffodils for the rest of his life smelling away at them. Shrugging, she heads off to the store leaving him behind with his flowers.