Twenty Years Now Lost
Disclaimer: Not mine. Blink song lyrics and title from their song 'Stay Together For the Kids.'
Summary: Companion to the first chapter of Leaving Stevie.
AN: I like italics. So sue me.
If this is what he wants and this is what she wants
then why is there so much pain? -- Blink 182
He sits on the couch. The girls are upstairs watching a movie. The room is rather silent, but if he listens closely enough, he thinks he can hear their shrieking and giggling.
Do you want to tell them?
His lap is heavy, two large albums lying on it. Three others sit to his left, two to his right. Dust lays on some; the acidity of the paper has eaten through others, causing the pages to stick; and still others barely hold together--their binding weak with age.
I think we should both be there.
His hands trail over each page, his fingers doing the walking and deftly flipping the yellowed pages so that the plastic doesn’t rip and the photos don’t slip. Each one holds a memory.
Three girls in large floppy hats remind him of their vacation at the beach: sandy sandwiches, and spilled juice boxes, and winds that drove them indoors. He can still hear the waves.
Sometime before you start packing.
His mind wanders and slips, and he catches himself before he starts thinking about other beaches on other days and meeting certain people.
He stares at Halloween costumes and laughs. He remembers the giggling and the oversized sweatshirts and the bags of candy. Smaller hands clasped in larger ones, shrieks, and decorations around the house. Carving pumpkins and the smell of their seeds toasting.
I’m being serious.
And he takes a deep breath and sighs, because he doesn’t remember those costumes. He was thinking about another. And before he can catch himself he starts to think and starts to backtrack, and he wonders if that was the day that he missed too much. He wonders if she started to feel unhappy back then.
Around the dinner table then.
He takes another breath and remembers why he pulled the albums out.
Maybe he could pinpoint it. Maybe he could find a picture where her eyes didn’t match her smile and then he would know when it all began.
But he knows it’s stupid and pointless, so he allows himself to submerge into the memories, to become lost in them. His mind grasps onto them and he closes his eyes and counts down the days. Five…four…three…two…one…