Slowly, Jacob made his way down the street towards his home. After he had left the rooftop, his mind had stopped processing anything but the event that had occurred there. The words he had said were spiraling in his head, the vision of those tears rendering him blind. The air felt heavy and the strong tapping of rain over his umbrella killed his sense of hearing.
“I don’t get it.” He thought. The girl had told him that he had stolen her friend somehow… Or was it something else? If he had stolen her attention, then why would she ask him to go out with her? Why would it make things better? “Unless that girl is heartbroken already?” The thought made some sense to him. She would be sad, of course, because even if she’d like him, she knew she would never go out with him… She wouldn’t eat much and space out a lot because she was hurt…
“Why did the girl who spoke to me cried so much, though?” That one, he couldn’t figure out at all. She had been talking to him in the stead of her friend. “And she was crying so hard too…” She had crumbled to the ground. The sky had cried for her too and Jacob felt so bad. “I should have helped her to her feet at least…” But he wasn’t able to move. “I could have comforted her…” But wouldn’t she take this as a sign?
In the end, Jacob reached his house without answers, his feet drenched and his body too numb to feel the cold. His mother came to meet him as he threw his school bag at its usual spot and took off his shoes.
-“You’re late.” She said with a curious smile. “Come, the food’s already on the table.”
-“Where’s dad?” Jacob inquired, walking up to his meal.
-“He had to stop by the grocery store, he’ll be there any minute now.” His mother said, her curious smiled had turned sour and she nervously sat herself next to her son.
-“I see.” Jacob answered quietly.
-“Ah, look at you, you’re drenched!” She said, hesitantly. “Didn’t you bring your umbrella this morning?”
-“Why are you all wet, then?”
Jacob frowned, remembering the rooftop again.
-“Why do you care?” He asked, a little too harshly.
-“Well, because I’m your mom and I’ve been taking care of you and feeding you for over 18 years now. I think I might care.” She made herself grin proudly.
-“Sorry, mom, I didn’t mean it that way… It’s just…” He hesitated.
-“It’s okay, Jay. It must have been a girl again~” She chuckled.
Jacob’s face screwed but he stayed quiet. His mother and him ate, sometimes saying a word or two but mostly quietly. After a moment, his father came inside, mumbling a greeting while his mother took the two grocery bags from his hands. Then, Jacob stayed quiet, quickly finished his meal and took his leave to his room.
He sat in front of his desk and finished his homework as fast as he could. When he was finally done, he hurried to his shower, went downstairs to make himself a cup of choco-mint black tea with a nut of honey and came back to his room. He opened his window wide and let the freezing cold air engulf his room, hiding his still wet hair under his hoodie.
“Any minute now…” He thought, bitterly. And soon enough, the shouting started. He heard his father’s low growl and his mother’s winning. The air in his lungs, suddenly felt dank and gross and his tea tasted too bitter. He forced himself to move, plugged his earbuds and let his surroundings fill in with music.
The cold numbed his whole body. By then it was already late. He only had to wait about an hour, unmoving, until it had ended. His parents fought every night after they thought he was asleep. Usually it started at around 11 pm. It would be quiet at first, whispers in the night. Soon it would become a shouting match. After they were done screaming at each other, his father would storm out the door and his mother would sit at the kitchen table, quietly crying.
Jacob had started this little routine after a while. He would wait until his dad had left before going to sleep. He would quietly bear the screams and the ruckus until, one day, he had heard his father throw something and some slapping sound. He had tried to talk to his mother about it but she stayed quiet. The bruise was on his father’s cheek so he never spoke of it again. After that, hearing them was too much to bare and he had started listening to his music to kill the voices, waiting for their fight to be over before slipping in his covers.
He was young when it had started. About 8 years old. He had hopped the moving would have changed something but it didn’t. In the end, he never imposed himself between the two. His father, no matter how much he hated him, had never hit his mother. His mother was always sweet to him but he somehow knew that she was at fault as well. He had stopped caring a long time ago and his parents were keeping their degrading relationships to themselves and Jacob had kept to himself as well.
Around midnight, he saw the crooked figure of his dad leaving the house. He closed the window and the blinds and slipped in his bed. The covers were cold and humid but he didn’t care. He waited about 10 more minutes for his mother to stop crying and then took his earbuds off. He was finally cradled to sleep by the faint sound of the television downstairs.