Here Bryson was, running the gamut through every emotion dealing with loss, while Ian and Julie lay canoodling in her bed. That's why he went over there: it was supposed to be him lying there nose to nose with Julie, not Ian. They had made plans today to lie around and do nothing, sit around and do nothing, or walk around and do nothing. Had she become so tired of doing nothing that she was driven into the arms of someone more like-minded?
It was just all so sudden: he walked over there knowing her parents wouldn't be home, walked in without knocking as he normally did when they were gone, and stepped into her bedroom to see Ian and Julie lying there nose to nose. What were they doing, or what would they say they were doing? What would be their excuse?
“We were just discussing the deeper meaning of life and preparing for future lessons in philosophy at college when a seizure overcame me and Julie was giving me mouth to mouth and you walked in at the moment her tongue became disengaged from my throat,” Ian might say.
Or maybe Julie would chime in: “It's not what it looks like, I was just practicing on Ian what I was going to do to you later, after all he is a suitable stand in; don't you think? When I'm screwing Ian, in spirit I'm really screwing you!” Yeah, Bryson’s spirit felt screwed all right.
At any rate, it was over, for both of them. As he reached his house, he was determined to find his own way. Sure, he had already been accepted into the same college as Julie and Ian, but he didn't have to go there. He might have just barely squeaked out a 3.0 GPA when school was all said and done, but he'd find somewhere to start a new life with new friends and a new girl. Maybe he wouldn't even go to college; maybe he'd just dive into the workforce. There might be a lot of sharks in the water ready to devour a small fish like him, but he was more up for that challenge than having to see either Julie or Ian ever again.
He made his way to his room avoiding any eye contact or words with his mother or stepfather, afraid the slightest bit of human interaction would send him into a barrage of tears and unstoppable shakes. As he went into his room he quietly closed the door, despite the fact that he wanted to slam the door shut several hundred times he knew that would quickly arouse suspicion. Once he was in his room he quickly closed the blinds to make it as dark as possible in the room. Eventually, they would come to his house to tell him that what he had seen was an accident of some sort, and at that time he would alert his parents to the fact that he didn't want to see them. Of course, they wouldn't stop at the door, they would try knocking on the windows when the door didn't work and he didn't want to look at them.
Right now all he wanted to do was turn off his mind and give in to a movie or TV show or something that didn't require a thought to enter his sad little brain. Maybe Tenacious D: the HBO skit “Death of a Dream” seemed apropos at the moment. What was the next step in the death of his dream? Door to Door Rocking? No, there were too many memories to be had with Tenacious D that would keep his mind on the current situation. An action movie might fit the mood better. For sure a few explosions would cheer him up a bit. Maybe Predator. The idea of a humanity murdering unseen alien force ripping through a team of special ops soldiers only to be thwarted in his scheme to take over the world by an overly ripped Arnold Schwarzenegger seemed to warm his broken heart. It seemed like an allegory for his soul: the Predator was his heartbreak, and now Schwarzenegger must be his mind fighting back the heartbreak and ultimately defeating it.
As he lay on his bed, huddled under covers and pillows watching his mental metaphor on film, it came much sooner than he expected. He heard the rat-a-tat-tat on the front door followed by the muffled sounds of his mother talking to someone. The edges of his sight became black and his vision blurred as his heart began to race with the sound of footsteps making their way down the hall toward his door.
“ Bryson, Julie and Ian are here to see you,” came the typically soothing voice of his mother through the door, delivering this message of certain doom.
Thickly he replied, “I don't want to see them right now.”
“I don't want to talk about it. Please just tell them to go away.”
“Okay,” the response seemed to almost question if this was truly his wish, but she reluctantly seemed to trudge back down to the hall to deliver the message. He heard her muffled voice from the front door followed by the sound of it closing. He started to breathe a sigh of relief, but the sigh caught midway in his throat as he realized this can't be the end. Sure enough, the steps came back down the hall once again. “Can I come in?”
“Not right now, Mom, I'm… indecent.” He felt like a fool as the words came out of his mouth. Was he now transported to the early nineteenth century that this phrase now issued from his lips? Of course, he knew he meant this more about his mental state than his physical appearance.
“Okay, well if you need to talk about anything, your stepfather and I are here for you.”
“Thanks Mom,” the words came out thicker than before and he had a hard time getting them out as a couple tears leaked onto his cheek. Of course, he would never talk to his parents about what happened this day, not in twenty or a million years. They'll question his choices once he makes them, but they were his choices to make and they'd just have to accept the fact that he made them. Right now wasn't the time to think about those choices though.
Not to mention the attack on his mental state wasn't quite over yet as the rat-a-tat-tat came to his window.
Bryson made his way to the phone; his feet felt heavy as if he was walking the green mile. What would he say? What would his parents think? Well, he wouldn't have to worry about too much fallout now, he'd be gone for three months, and during that time they'd get over the fact that he left so abruptly, and they would embrace the fact that their son was in the Marine Corp serving his country the way his stepfather thought every young man should.
He made the call. His mother cried, his stepfather dejectedly told him he was proud of him. He was sure his mother was thinking he was going to end up shipped overseas where he would be shot by some evil insurgent with the highest contempt for America. He wasn't sure himself what was going to happen to him from here on out and didn't want to think too much about a future that led him to war. Bryson told them he loved them and would call them when he reached Paris Island to let them know he got there safe and he hung up the phone.