Here is a short story I wrote. It's a little messed up and kinda long, but I hope you all enjoy.The Smell of Breakfast
“Damn!” Nash exclaimed. “I never realized how cold it was in this place. I haven’t had my head shaved in years. It’s bitter cold.”
Nash’s gaze set upon the hash marks in the wall. The latex paint covering the gray cinder block of his cell was chipped and peeled away, much of which was done by him as he sat day in and day out for the last seventeen years reliving the night his life changed forever. The steel bars smoked as stale condensation landed on and then dissipated from them. Rib-eye and garlic mashed potatoes from his last meal subtly lingered from his food tray.
“I don’t know where to begin Padre”, Nash begged.
“To make peace with God, you must soulfully repent for the sin that brought you down this path my son”, urged the Padre.
“I can still feel the sting on the tips of my fingers from the first time the bat hit his head,” began Nash. He looked down at his dry calloused hands and began to rub his thumbs against his fingers. His eyes stared though the cinder block wall behind where the Padre sat, in front of where freedom stood. “The warmth of the blood that splashed my cheek…my lips”. The padre’s eyebrows cringed and Nash could see his chest rise and fall immensely as he took in a breath.
Tilting his shaven head down and leaning back against the headboard of his bunk, Nash drew back from his confession.
“My mom was a good person. I know that. It’s just…she was a bad judge of character and I think she was scared to be alone”. Like a tabloid journalist salivating at the sight of a celebrity scandal, the padre leaned into Nash’s memory.
“First it was my father; I call him the sperm donor. He left me a bastard when I was four. There were three things he loved in life: booze, coke, and women. I don’t really know anything else about him. I don’t really even know that for sure, but that’s what my mom used to tell me”.
“For a few years, guys came and left the apartment like sailors home on shore leave; never staying for more than a few weeks”.
“Don’t worry”, she’d say.
“Like a fantastical bedtime story, she’d tell me; tell herself; 'Don’t worry my prince. One day I’ll marry a king. He’ll love us. He’ll take us away'”.
“Tom, the reason why I’m here…he got the job when I was about nine. At first, he seemed alright. Promising to take care of us, love us”. Nash moved uncomfortably on his bunk shrugging his arms toward his shoulder blades to crack his back. “He took care of us alright”.
“I can remember the first time I saw the bruises on her face and arms shoddily covered up with foundation. It was a Saturday morning and I came from my bedroom to the smell of pancakes and the terrible sound of my mom singing Tammi Terrell’s I Can’t Believe You Love Me. I sat at the table twirling my fork turning the pancakes into rubble. I just stared at her. She looked like she had been barraged with a shotgun full of softballs. After ignoring my stares for a few minutes she told me she was moving boxes in the attic, a stack of them fell on her late after we went to bed.”
“'It’s a good thing your father woke up because I was just buried under those things. You didn’t hear anything?’ She questioned hoping I hadn’t but acting surprised when I said no.”
“And that’s pretty much how the days passed, Padre. He’d beat her and she’d lie to protect either me or him, I’m not sure. Sometimes I’d hear it too. The fighting, the fuck yous, the echoing snap of the back of his hands blasting off of her cheek bone late at night. It wasn’t long before the beatings spread like a sixteenth century plague down to me. We were prisoners serving under his tyrannical reign and she’d keep trying to hide his hatred with make-up and pancakes. I started to hate the smell of breakfast”.
For a second, Nash winced and his hand began to tremble under the weight of his memories. The lights in the ward flickered on and off and from the smell of singed leather haunted the air. He knew time was short.
“Ok my son, its ok”. The Padre placed his hand on Nash’s shoulder seemingly pushing him back into his recollection.
“I was thirteen. I was getting ready for school that morning when I smelled- Nothing. I didn’t smell pancakes, I didn’t hear singing. I came downstairs to find my mom sitting at the table drinking what I can only guess wasn’t coffee. In the reflection of a family portrait on the other side of the table I could see her face. Her eye was bloodshot; her nose was encrusted with blood and snot. Before I could say anything to her, she stood up and hugged me. She squeezed and told me not to worry; that everything would be alright. That I had to go to school and act as I always have; like everything was okay”.
“I left the house, but I didn’t go to school. How could I? I sat under the trestle that ran over the train tracks for most of the day. I smoked Newport’s, I threw rocks at the trains, and I cried. I cried until my eyes were deserted and began to burn; until there weren’t any tears left”.
“I stayed out there until it was dark and my thoughts were numb. When I got home, both my mom’s and Tom’s trucks were in the driveway.
Inside, the quiet was deafening until I reached the stairs. Muffled crying sounded from behind my mom’s bedroom door. I snuck up and opened it to see Tom standing over my mother’s body. He was crying. He was still in his work suit. The stench of vomit smacked me in the nose causing me to tear up as well”.
“She killed herself”. Tom said, kicking a pill bottle against the wall. “The bitch killed herself. She didn’t even leave a note. She just fucking killed herself and left me with you. Cops are on their way. You better keep your mouth shut or I’ll put you next to her”.
“And that’s when it happened,” interrupted the Padre with an odd breath of exultation.
“I turned toward my room without a word and went to fall to my bed when I saw it. A note: To my Prince, I’m sorry! I love you!”
“They told me I hit him more than eighty times before the cops got there, but I only remember that first shot. The sound his skull made; the warmth of his blood.” Nash’s gaze set upon the barred window. Suddenly, his body spasmed and his eyes jetted wide like a soul reentering a comatose body. He returned focus on the Padre.
“That’s the first time since the trial I’ve spoken about this. The first time I felt…anything. Thank you”.
“My son”, the Padre began. “Your salvation lies with the Lord. It is his forgiveness you have sought through your confession to me. It is the Lord whose judgment you must now face.”
Nash shook his head correctively. “No Padre. It is neither God’s judgment nor his forgiveness that I seek. It is his understanding for the actions I took against the life he handed me; and an answer for why he did it... Call the guard, I’m ready to find out”.