Flash: Simile Comparisons can be Real

Photo from freedigitalphotos.net

Elijah staggered up the steps. Once on the Victorian wrap-around porch he dragged off his sweat-soaked T-shirt and heaved it in the hamper his mom kept outside for his use. He flopped onto the wicker bench beside the hamper to unlace his work boots. Propped against the white picket railing, he delayed, gathering strength to bend over.

Mowing lawns in August was rough, but brainless. Some days the mindless work made him long for school to restart. Get the brain cells sparking. Even high school lit class sounded like paradise two days ago. Today, the monotonous activity kept him moving.

Moving. He needed to move.

Hoisting his left foot onto his right knee, Elijah tackled the wet grass-stained lace. Broken dirty fingernails dug into the sticky Gordon knot. Eventually the heavy boot thunked on the porch. A sodden once-white sock flew in a high arc, landing in a splat beside the hamper. The newly lightened foot floated to the wooden slats.

His jeans had a hole, above the knee. Elijah started at it a bit poking his finger in the opening.  He would need mom to patch it. Mr. Taggert didn’t like his team to look ratty. Team … I guess two people would still count as a team.

Other foot.

Task completed, and five pounds lighter between the shirt and boots, Elijah stood. The breeze was picking up, turning the hot afternoon chilly as it dried his sweat. Shivering, the teen debated taking off his work pants before going in. His mom hated him tracking grass clippings in the house.

“What’s up homey?” a voice said unexpectedly, breaking into his thoughts.

Elijah jumped. Spinning rapidly, he saw his best friend since fifth grade stepping onto the porch. The turn combined with exhaustion, physical and emotional, left him dizzy. He leaned against a nearby pillar for support, while his overdressed friend waited for him to regroup.

The tux looked great on Matthew. But then Matthew, from his wavy black rock-star hair, to the perfect cleft in his chin, had always looked good.

Naturally muscular and agile, Matthew had made the football team freshman year as linebacker. Elijah preferred track, but relented to Matthew’s friendly taunts to be a wide receiver under the condition Matt take up shot put. Which meant Matt had ended up with football AND track scholarships on the table waiting for him to finish his senior year and Elijah got a lot of bruises from being tackled.

“Gotcha!” Matt reported as he bounded over. Seeing Elijah still depending on the pillar for support, his skin more ashen than bronze despite a day outdoors, Matt got concerned. “Dude, are you okay? You look like you have seen a ghost.”

Elijah swallowed and licked his lips and swallowed again, trying to get the spit up to talk. “I have, bro. Haven’t you read the obituaries today?”

“What?” Matt shook his head.  “Have you ever known me to read the paper? You have the freaky parents still getting the morning paper delivered.”

“Matt, you missed work yesterday. I thought you had cut out for the beach or something.” Tears streamed down Elijah’s face. “Your parent found you dead, an aneurism or something.”

Matt laughed. “Stop messing with me, Dude.”

Elijah slammed his hand against the wooden pillar. “Oh God I wish I was. … Mr. Taggert let me off early so I could shower and go to your viewing tonight.”

“Dude, stop it. You’re scaring me.” Matt tried to grab Elijah by the shoulders to shake sense into him.

Elijah had stepped back quickly to avoid being touched, so only the tips of Matt’s fingers passed through Elijah.

“I’m sorry. I can’t do this.” The teen ran to his front door, banging open the screen. “Not again.”

Behind him, his best friend stared at his fingers in shock, waving them back and forth a moment. He laid his hand on the railing and gently pushed it through.

“Shit.” Matthew squeezed his hand into a fist. It felt solid. Matthew inhaled, trying to kick start his thoughts. He blinked. “Wait, what did he mean by ‘again’?”

(words 685 originally appearing at Breathless Press 6/27/13 for the 4/1/12 Sunday Fun – I have modified the final 3 paragraphs; republished new blog format April 28, 2019)