Chimerical—imaginary. Improbable. Unrealistic.
“The whole life you have thought up in your head is chimerical.”
I said this exact sentence to myself in the mirror this morning. I needed an example sentence for my word of the day and it was the first thing I thought of. I didn’t like that sentence, because it debunked the fancy I had been carrying around for some time now, that the life I was living wasn’t real and, instead, it was the life I had playing out behind my eyelids that was legit.
“Legit,” I said, while staring at my waffles.
That’s a word for another day.
-- >>Delete this. There's no scene break here.
Dad had this chimerical idea that if he ignored me every chance he got, I’d disappear. Crumble. Become nothing. No more Elliot. No more cancer. No more failure.
When you wanted a girl—which is weird, because don’t most dads want little boys just like them?—you got a boy, and that boy managed to botch every single attempt at living up to his father’s expectations, then said disappointment of a son gets cancer and your wife gets hit by a car two days before Christmas, you deem practically everything in your life a failure.
At least, I’ve always assumed this is the way Dad look
Well, Dad, neither am I. Thank you.
I didn’t even attempt to start a conversation
He left the kitchen a mess and didn’t say a word to me.
The garage door screeched.
Honda Civic screamed out of the driveway.
He was gone.
Chimerical—my idea that doing the laundry and keeping the house clean would garner me any positive attention from him.
I cleaned up his mess anyway.
I even cleaned his bathroom and made his bed.
Check. Sucking up for the day—complete.
Then I sat in the living room with my socked feet on the coffee table for twenty one minutes. >>a kid with no internet life?
Chimerical—my social life.
“Love you, summer,” I said to no one.
At least during the school year, I could pretend I had friends. Going to school every day and mingling with the other juniors in class and in the halls, made me feel like I wasn’t as alone as I actually am. As alone as I am in this house. As alone as I am nearly every day of my life.
But now I had nothing to look forward to but hospital visits, headaches, and a massive heat wave coming in from the west.
I threw on a clean t-shirt and went outside barefoot.
The sky was mocking me. >>how?
It was blue with huge, white clouds floating around. If I stared at one long enough, I could track its progress across the sky. If I stared at one long enough, I could almost imagine I was one of them, sailing through the sky like it was an ocean and I was a ship.
Then a car honked at me and I realized I was standing in the middle of the street.
Chimerical. >>IMO, you're milking this word kinda hard. You could ease up.
I’d never be a cloud ship.
I walked down the sidewalk, careful not to step in the road again. I had enough people staring at me—everyone on my street knew who I was. Except for Mrs. Taylor. But she was psychotic and close to two hundred years old, at least.
I looked at her windows as I passed. When was she going to die?
I didn’t much care for death.
It was coming. We all knew it. I knew it for a fact—I was playing chicken with it at this very moment. But I refused to be the one who blinked and veered off course. I’d face it with a smidgeon of dignity if that was all I had left, but if it was up to me, I’d hold onto all the strength and dignity I had until someone pried them from my iron fingers. I’d look death in the eyes and laugh.
Promise numero uno—laugh at death.
I made promises to myself—and wrote them on my bathroom mirror with sharpie—relating to my cancer and the fact that I was sure this next round of chemo wouldn’t do anything but make me vomit and start balding like Uncle Larry.
Oh, and pass out in public bathrooms.
That’d happened once before. It was a movie theatre and I was taking a leak in one of the urinals when I practically fainted on some guy. He must’ve been the Michelin man or something. I bounced right off him and hit the floor. He stared at me—my pants down and all—until Kevin walked in to see what was taking so long.
Kevin was my last friend.
He moved to Toronto to live with his mom three months ago.
I know he didn’t leave because of me—why would you move to Canada just because your friend has cancer and passed out with his pants around his knees? But sometimes it still feels like things would have been different if I were normal like him.
Instead of taking my daily walk around the neighborhood, I’d be making plans with friends. I’d be going to see a movie or hang out at the park. I wouldn’t have these rules and rituals that gave me the tiny feeling of stability in my life that kept me from thinking about the tests and the medications and the tumor pressing on my brain all the time.
I stopped walking, the sidewalk hot against the soles of my feet.
I stood in front of a house I’d never really looked at before. The siding on the house was blue and the front lawn was greener than most—especially for how hot it’s been lately. Two red bikes leaned against a large, white Ford truck, and a black motorcycle sat in the open garage.
For some reason, I got a good vibe from the place. The family living here was happy and, even though it felt absurd to me, I didn’t doubt the feeling settling over my chest. A feeling like the warmth Mom used to spread throughout the house—something I’d never have again.
I turned toward home.
The feeling was gone by the time I walked through my front door.
>>This is a well written scene. Because I'm a finicky, jaded reader, it's one long demonstration that nothing is going on here and I wouldn't read any further because I'm already tired of listening to this kid whine.
He whines well, though. Good voice. Good, conversational subject-wandering to get to all the important points smoothly and naturally. The one-line paragraphs get to be a bit much, IMO. Some of them could be doubled up, like the garage door and the car screeching away.
But overall, thumbs up. Except that I'm desperate for something interesting to happen.