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Sun, Jul. 30th, 2006, 06:50 pm
Toby's Arc

"Uh...what d'ya wanna do?"

He was fourteen years old. Thats a four year age difference between us. Jared was twenty-six, though...we're twice that many years apart.

It still didn't make it right.

"What do -you- wanna do? Toby, was it?"

We were sitting on the seawall, facing the mango-colored sunset as my ciggarette burned out steadily between my fingers. Some holy part of my soul didn't like smoking in front of the kid.

"Well...we could go and get some icecream from Snowman's. Theres a rink down the other way, too..."
"I...didn't bring much money with me."
"Thats fine, I can spot ya some change. My treat, right? It's the 20th century, a woman can buy her man an icecream if she wants to."

He smiled. I flicked the ciggarette and stretched, feeling the straps on my string bikini flex with me. He watched. Little pervert. How young do they start these boys off?

"W-whatever you want, it's your choice."
"How -chivalrous- of you. Well then, lets just get some icecream. My legs are falling asleep sittin' here."

The ciggarette fizzed into oblivion as I swung my legs around, facing the tourist-free street. Everyone was down at the festival, no doubt. Little Toby was why I wasn't with them. I let myself roll forward a bit as I stood, having never taken my blades off. Who the fuck wants sandals when wheels get you there faster? Poor Little Toby looked worried, jumping up as if he were going to catch me -catch me? Don't be ridiculous, kid, you're four foot nothing- but I appreciated the gesture and waved him off.

He was cute; messy, black hair with fading streaks of blue in odd places, and wide, seablue eyes. Eyes like Jared. That wasn't why I was letting the kid follow me, Jared had nothing to do with the goddamn decision. He could go get himself blown up on some stupidass sand-dune of a country, see if I give a fuck-

I was lonely. And 'Toby' was something.

I stuffed the pack of ciggs in my tight little shorts angrily, not suprised that they crumpled some, and not suprised that the little leech stared. Not much was suprising me anymore. Jared leaves me for some fuckin' war, then some kid fresh out of the pubery pool sends me loveletters and begs me for a date. Date? Fuck...I'm eighteen years old, I'm not a virgin and I smoke worse than a chimney. So, of course, I'd entertained him for a bit. I was lonely, afterall.

I didn't realize he was holding my arm until I went to retrieve a cigg for the five feet to Snowman's.

"Um...wait a sec."
"Yeah? Whats wrong?"
"Spit it out already, they close soon."

The kid stammered too much for his own good. He was so small, but he tried to act big-that trendy mesh shirt crap, the cargos, and the sandals-but he was just so...childlike. I didn't know if it was maternal or something, but I wanted to protect the kid from the ills of the world. Maybe it was because he wore his goddamn heart on his sleeve like an idiot.

"I r-really do love you..."
"Yeah, sure. Lets just go get the icecream."
"No! I...I mean it! Don't shrug me off like that."

He fuckin' meant it? Please.

"You're nuts, kid. You're...how old? You don't know what love is."
"I would too! You don't know that!"
"You don't just magically go 'poof' and you're in love! It's a bit friggen different than the books."
"Thats...not true! You don't understand..."
"Kid, you wouldn't know love if it-

hit you in the side of the face!"
"But, mom, I love him! Jared and I are gonna get married!"
"Are you stupid?! You're fifteen! You are not leaving this house young lady-"
"Please! You have to understand that

-I really am in love! Randi...please!"

Why was he crying? Why was he crying over it? Why was he crying over something stupid? Why was he crying over something that didn't matter, he was alive and well and yet he was crying over love?

He...did mean it.

His little fists were balled up, tight at his side, and his face was closed-eyes, mouth, all shut to the world. He didn't wanna hear someone telling him what the hell love was, he knew it very well, thank you very much. In two weeks, I would get a letter saying Jared had died in combat. Four years later, I would die of lung cancer, taking with me twelve people due to secondhand smoke. But I didn't know that, and it didn't matter. Because, Little Toby knew damn well what love was, and he wasn't listening to what anyone else told him.

I tilted his head and kissed one of the rounded tears on his cheek, cutting it's downfall short. My hand ruffled his hair some, and I felt him suck air as I pressed my lips to his. Only for an instant; then, I rose and rubbed away the rest of his tears and held his hand. Smiled down at him, gently, and looked up just as the 'Closed' sign turned on at Snowman's. 

Oh well. There's always another time.

It was another mango-colored sunset. This one didn't end in tears; this one didn't end at all. It kept going on, for as far as I could see. More...orangeish, really. It was in the sun, in the water, and in my eyes.

The funeral had ended two hours ago, and I was still sitting on the steps, the crumpled pack of Marlboros in my hand. I knew she'd want them where she was going, but the priest threw me out when I left them on the coffin. Called me 'disrepectful' or something. Wouldn't even let me leave her lighter there.

"Are you sure you want this kid?"

Orange in the lighter. I shook it some, listening to the fluid slish back and forth, ignoring the glares of the good people walking by with their children. Tourists. The season was ending, and they were still infesting the streets, like rats. Somehow, that gave them the right to judge the scrawney little eighteen year old, sitting on the church stairs with a pack of ciggs and a lighter. Go ahead. Hold your children close, scamper past with your long noses in the air-

"I-is that..."
"Don't tell me you've never seen a girl's clit before, kid."
"You're way too niave for your own good."

I still had the blue streaks in my hair. She's said they looked cute. Well, more accurately, she said 'you're probably the only goth I'd fuck'. She said a lot of things like that. But, she never said what I wanted her to say. Always...that stuff.

"Mm, not bad, Toby."
"But I...I'm not..."
"Don't be shy, kid, I've seen it all. Just sit back..."
"I...I wanna tell you, first."
"Hm? What, you have bugs?"
"...I love you Randi."

She never said she loved me back.

"Yeah, kid...I know."

I didn't expect her to. And then...she died. Died September 19th of 2006 at four oh-seven in the morning. Passed away in her sleep. Not of cancer. She suffocated. Her lungs were so full of tar she just...couldn't breathe anymore. She had a doctor's appointment for the day after she died. Swore to me that she was gonna get checked, gonna quit and stop fucking around with stupid shit. It's a traumatic thing, waking up the morning after having sex with your girlfriend, to find her dead next to you. No, not my girlfriend. My love, my Randi, I loved her. And then...she died.

I took out one of the crumpled cylindars, lit it, and puffed it lightly. She'd taught me how when I was fifteen. I could suddenly see why she did-

"You...shouldn't smoke. It's bad for you."

He was orange, too, with the sun right behind his head. He looked like some fucking painting that belonged in the church. Defiantly, I puffed the cigg harder, blowing smoke in his direction. Little fucker. Probably a tourist, such a good boy with his judgements and his clean soul-

"My...girl died of smoking. They just had the funeral."

Then why was I talking to him?

"Oh, I'm sorry..."

The kid looked up at the church, sunset still haloing his blonde hair. He must do that cute shit on purpose...he looked barely fourteen. I noticed offhandedly that he was carrying shopping bags from a bunch of places...grocery store, thrift store, book store...

"Is that why you're sitting out here?"
"I'm smoking one for her. She'd appreciate it."
"You...shouldn't be in such a rush to meet her."

The comment caught me offhanded, and I lept up, dropping the ciggarette as it burned my fingertips. Who the hell did this kid think he was...?

"Wh-what the fuck do you know?!"
"It would be a shame...to waste your life like that. What would she do in your position?"
"...the same damn thing."

The kid looked back to me, cute brown eyes all watery. Emotional kid. I calmed down, grabbed the pack and took another cigg out.

"...name's Toby."
"I'm Joei...m'kinda new around here."

He came over, setting his bags down and sitting on the steps, next to my feet. Joei...reminded me of someone. I couldn't quite place it. Something outside of my memory, maybe someone in a book or something. Who the hell knows at that point. Just shrugged it off, lit my own ciggarette, and stood there, watching the sky. Still orange. Looked down at the kid, smiled a bit and flicked my ashes back at the church door.

"Wanna try one, kid? It only burns the first time."