Slow Show Chapter One

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I wanna hurry home to you Put on a slow, dumb show for you and crack you up So you can put a blue ribbon on my brain God, I'm very, very frightening, I'll overdo it ~ The National

The mirror in front of him displayed a handsome man, dressed smartly in a white top and a black tie, topped with jeans that he hoped looked like formal dress trousers. “I don’t want to go,” he whispered like a child would. Re adjusting his tie so it wasn’t as tight around his neck, he shuffled over to the wardrobe to get a blazer, watching his perfect white socks glide across the wood floor.

“You have to,” the girl on his bed sighed. She was sat on the corner in her comfy pyjamas, completely clashing with the smart boy in front of her. “Besides, you look really nice,” she complimented, smiling wide in hopes to lift his spirits.

But to no obey it seemed. He grabbed the black blazer and yanked it off the hanger. Sighing under his breath, he pushed the buttons through the holes, not aided by his shaking fingers. “I look like I don’t belong,” he complained again. Nothing inside of him wanted to do this, and she didn’t blame him. “Stupid monkey suit,” he muttered, sorrow slowly becoming rage.

She knew that she had to calm him down, “hey, come over hear,” her voice like silk called. Taking a deep breath, he made his way over to the girl kneeling on his bed. Much like a mother would, she straightened his tie for him and smoothed down the creases in his shirt. It took her hours last night to iron his suit and pick out the perfect tie to match his green eyes. But he didn't look like he did yesterday, his emerald green had turned to a dead grey. Her hands stopped over his heart to feel it beating through his shirt. Embarrassment caused him to look down in hope she didn’t notice the blush that had spread over his cheeks. She rest her hand  there, for her comfort and his, and moved her head to his shoulders.

Immediately he pulled her in for a hug, smoothing down her long, brown hair with his hand. Like this, he felt at peace. As if his brain would finally clear from all the thoughts rushing round at hundred miles per second. Closing his eyes tight, he wished to be like this forever, or just a few minutes longer. It didn’t last long, as she pulled away, but he took her embrace over nothing. “It will be ok, I promise,” she practically whispered into his shoulder. He wasn’t convinced, but nodded anyway. “Come on, it's almost time to go.”

She left the room first, leaving him to pick up his phone and gather his things. From the bedside table he picked up a little container with a red lid and shook it carefully listening to the capsules hit all the sides of the plastic bottle. Routinely, his eyes scanned the small print on the label before he twisted the top off. Shaking it into his hand, two little yellow capsules came out. Swallowing them without water was no longer had, after years of practice it felt empowering to take both down in one. Next he picked up the silver sheet and popped out two red circles. They scratched down his dry throat as he swallowed them, leaving the familiar feeling of them stuck in his throat.

“Archie,” The voice echoed through the empty house, “Archie you're going to be late!” Not even the wind  dared to whistle when she spoke.

Archie pulled his phone off charge to check the time, almost seven. “Shit” he mumbled shoving it into one of his pockets. Sluggishly, he made his way out of the room and out into the corridor, his socks collecting dirt and cat hair. The pale walls were smooth as he ran his fingers along them half for the familiar comfort but mostly to steady himself. With every step he became weaker.

She was leaning against the counter, eyes glued to her phone, as Archie entered the kitchen. “Have you taken your medicine?” She asked.

Almost breathless, Archie nodded, not that she saw. “Just have, I’ve almost finished them,” he told her whilst walking to find his shoes.

“Ok, I'll get some more from the doctor tomorrow.”

When she put her phone down Archie was sat on the floor lacing up his newly polished dress shoes. “I still don’t want to do this,” he looked up with worried eyes.

This made her heart melt as she wished she could do something, “I know you don’t. But it’ll only be for a few hours,” what she was saying was no longer reassuring to her, it must've just sounded like white noise to Archie.

He nodded and turned back to tying his shoes which was almost impossible as his hands were shaking like a leaf in the wind. The black lace wound round his finger as he slipped them through the loops. “Why can’t you come?” He asked for the third time since he got the invite.

Guilt rushed over her, “I've got to finish my school work, I wish I could go,” she sighed crouching down to his level.  Nerve had always stopped Archie from doing many inportaint things, she knew if she was there it would calm him down so much.

Archie bit his lip, a nervous habit he had picked up a while ago, “when do you finish school?” Archie asked now just stalling time.

Unfortunately for him she knew this and had for years, “a year and a half,” her tie between school and work meant that she was often busy and never around when Archie needed her. “Are you ready?” She asked the shaking wreck of a boy sat at her feet the floor.

Unable to push an answer past the lump in his throat, he nodded. The second he tried to talk he would only cry and that would get him nowhere. Aided by her hand he finally got up like an obedient puppy.

Wearing shoes he towered over her but today there was no comedy in it. All he could think about was her loving, brown eyes glistening with tears. Unable to bear the sight, he pulled her into a hug, half for comfort and half to soften the guilt. It killed him to know that he did that to her; he made her life harder. “I love you,” he whispered holding her tight as if he would never let go. He didn't want to, he wanted to be lost in that moment.

“I love you too,” she cooed pulling away. “And I’ll still be awake when you come home so you can talk about it if you want to,” the empathy in her voice was calming for him.

Yet Archie couldn’t give a proper reply. He nodded and grabbed his coat off the rack by the door making fits round it so his nails weren't digging into his palm.

Everything then seemed to go quiet as a rush of wind entered the house as the door opened. The cold December air wasn't kind to him. He stepped out but still had one foot inside. Looking up he saw deep grey blue covering the sky like a blanket. The air had a frosty bite which made him want to get in the car, just not drive. Putting on a brave face, he walked out and, with his head down, went straight to the car. This fake confidence reassuring him slightly.

Negative thoughts clouded round him as he sat in the car to calm down. Every step he had took made everything far more real, a terrifying thought for him. “It'll be over soon,” he kept telling himself, but every word sounded fake. He continued lying to himself despite not believeing it.

Through the living room window he could see the tv flickering in the dim, yellow light. This made him long to be back inside. Only being out for a few minutes had made him feel so uncomfortable, all he wanted to do was go back. But shattering his dream, the tv turned off and he saw the red tips of her nails close the curtains. Darkness.

With a sigh, he reversed out of the drive, leaving his comfort and his girlfriend behind.

 

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