Two moons over, p.2
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       Two Moons Over, p.2

           Levi Shipley
 
what I saw in you. You’re just like all the others. I guess I used to be an idiot."

  Does she really think I cheated? I would never! There must be a reason. "Why? Don’t you trust me? I would never do anything to hurt you. This doesn't have to end . . ." Panic as helpful as flippers made of lead settled in his mind.

  "It's over, Cecil. There's nothing you can do." She kept her back to him, not even glancing back to acknowledge him. She ran down the hall which connected to the living room, opened the door to her room, and disappeared within.

  A year had just been destroyed. A year of joy and fun times. Stripped away in a flash. Cecil dropped his coat without notice. He was utterly bewildered. He gave her the greater part of his heart, not even his family as a whole had such a possession to boast of. He'd planned his entire future based upon their relationship. He was in for the long run. He felt that his very existence departed. This was a strange world; it was not his. Where had his future gone? The foundations of reality seemed to quake. When he became older, he would understand just how pointless his worry was. But being fifteen makes some aspects of life seem far more important than they really are.

  Then he calmed down a bit. The whole thing would blow over when his innocence was proved. Even so, he was taken aback by how quickly she accused him. She had no trust or faith stored away for Cecil. This thought mulled around in his mind until his mother came to pick him off the sidewalk. What was it worth if she’d never trusted him to begin with?

  Perhaps there was more to it, he reasoned. What had just taken place proceeded too quickly to be real. No, now he had lost his trust. He began believing that it was she that had something to hide. And to cover herself, placed the blame fully on him. It could be nothing else. What had just taken place would be nonsense otherwise.

  "You'll get me through this." A mere whisper escaped. Then back to the torment of silence. His thoughts combed over the events which transpired, and it tortured his soul. His brain was fulfilling its purpose of kicking Cecil while he was down.

  "Well, did ya have fun?" She pushed in the gas.

  ". . . For a while, yes." Cecil did his best to conceal the pain. His mother couldn't understand how she would only worsen the situation, but with her it was guaranteed. Please no follow-up questions. Why did I have to use the words "for a while?" A simple "yes" would've been far wiser.

  "A while?'" She paused, "Then what?"

  Cecil wished he wasn't forced to answer. He now hoped that she would simply forget. Was that so much to ask for?

  "Well?" Her tone became sharp, "Answer me!"

  The words came slowly. Piece by piece he beat it out, "She . . . left . . . me."

  His mother sighed. She swept her eyes across Cecil's. "But you were only there a few hours. You must’ve really done SOMETHING!" She became more enraged, "Ya know what, no, don't tell me what happened. It doesn't matter." Then glared at him, "You should've . . . ."

  Cecil stopped paying attention. He knew that he did no wrong, but her advice felt like criticism and he wished for a silence. Besides, he felt bad enough physically without his mind's and mother's ridicule. I wish this was one of those dreams. If it is, they're becoming nightmares. He never built any reputation of being a heartbreaker or a liar. Why then must she assume it was his fault? His mind had a reason, of course. He had low self-esteem, unhealthily low. He could save the world from the apocalypse, and his mind would still call Cecil a waste of life. All a part of being fifteen.

  Three

  A new day, another chance. Always pushing forward. Nothing could slow him down, but they sure could keep him grounded. He developed a nasty cough, which assaulted his lungs and clawed at his throat. He had bronchitis before and prayed this was not it. Cecil wished to be rid of it swiftly, yet he knew the hold it had on a person. Weeks, maybe even months, spent enduring the respiratory pain and harsh fatigue. To get better or develop pneumonia. Thoughts such as this disheartened Cecil.

  Footsteps and a creak from downstairs.

  "Cecil," his mother called, "I'm sorry about what happened to you yesterday. I just had a long day at work and was upset. I know it wasn’t your fault. You forgive me?"

  Cecil hated these kinds of apologies. It was understood that nothing had transpired, but “sorry”s always had to be exchanged. Despite its lack of sincerity, he must let go and be willing to make amends. "Yes, it's ok, Ma."

  "Alright. Good. By the way, you're going to the doctor tomorrow about that cough.”

  Cecil never cared for doctors, since they're job was to give him grief, or so it seemed to him. He'd once sat for a vaccination that was given to him by a fresh medical student. She missed the vein eight times before hitting it. He had three more shots to get after that first one. The pain of waiting, the annoyances of town, they all filled Cecil with a rage that he kept well. But he must keep going. He was too stubborn to be stopped.

  He spent that day resting. To his luck, his father took upon the task of feeding their animals for Cecil. However, the old man was not above criticizing Cecil for skipping chores.

  Four

  The sun rose early for Cecil. He needed to be on time for his physician's appointment. The means of transportation for the morn would be his grandfather. Cecil prepared and boarded the old man’s SUV set for civilization. They may have spoken more, but Cecil fell unconscious within minutes. The morning never did treat him well. Along the way, he drifted in and out of coherency. He caught only glimpses of trees and their flashing shadows followed by houses and businesses.

  He dragged his body from the car and drudged into the facility. Here he would wait for an answer he already knew. He arrived at a quarter past nine in the morning. His appointment was in fifteen minutes, however, Cecil was not taken back until a few minutes after eleven. His frustration grew, and undoubtedly his blood pressure would show this when they tested it.

  Another waiting room. This one was smaller, a little warmer, but still doleful. Cecil occupied himself by reading various health and body facts spread throughout the room. Next to the weight scale and exam table hung a stethoscope. I wonder what my heart sounds like. He readied himself to equip the device. After all, a poster on the door stated "Be sure and let us know if you've been waiting for more than 10 minutes." How was one to stay busy in such confinement for the hours they spent in anticipation?

  As Cecil reached for the tool, his doctor opened the door. "Cecil," The old gray hair mumbled "what are you in for today?" He wore a scuffed and weathered lab coat. The left sleeve was torn at the lining and several buttons were lost on the front. Under this he dressed in a T-shirt and slack pants. His black shoes were tarnished to a point of appearing dark brown. What hair he had to boast was thin and lifeless. His face was marred by liver spots and mutton chop sideburns. Perhaps he descended from Jack the Ripper but took up an opposite career.

  "Sore throat, cough, fatigue."

  "Well, let's take a look at your throat." He retrieved a wooden stick from a drawer and promptly placed it on Cecil's tongue. He checked the infection with the customary small flashlight and disposed of the wooden utensil in a biohazard bin. He made some scratches and swipes on a clipboard, before proceeding to the next test. He inserted the ear pieces of the stethoscope under the scraggly hair which erupted from his ears and placed the monitoring instrument on Cecil's upper back. "Breathe."

  The examination was finished to Cecil's relief. He was sure there would be more than this, a joyful surprise to hear the old doc' read his results so soon. However, the answer itself was far less pleasant. Cecil braced himself for a cold. Nothing but a cold.

  "It seems you've contracted bronchitis." Now it was over. Cecil had feared this but cared little now. For now he simply wanted to return home, sleep, eat, and maybe cry if he felt up to that. Maybe it would help. But at this point, Cecil believed that there was very little help to be had.

  Again,
he slept for the ride back. He said his farewells to his grandfather and entered his house through the basement. He fetched a can of soda from the cellar fridge and crept up the steps. Mother may be sleeping; he must be silent. A creek in the floor board.

  "So wha'd the doctor say?" His mother seemed to jump from nothingness.

  "Bronchitis." Cecil walked past her, opening the carbonated beverage. The taste of citrus and sugar always took away that edge. "I'll be fine."

  "Drink some orange juice now, while it's still morning."

  "That's what this is for." He looked back, feeling patronized.

  "Don't get lippy with me." She shook her fist and walked back to bed.

  Cecil took medication, a horse pill with soda and some beef jerky. After this he returned to sleep. It was summer vacation, and his job applications had yet to respond. Therefore, sleep was his favorite activity. He would awake later to face the brutal day. For now, a respite.

  His day took its toll. Hacking became continuous, and aches spread throughout his limbs almost as if the diagnosis hastened his symptoms.

  Night came and with it, stronger symptoms. He lost his dinner a few times and resorted to crackers and water for sustenance. The fever clammed his hands and caused a terrible sweat. He loathed this illness and fought it with all his will, but his energies were sapped.
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