Chapter 12 – Jeannie In A Bottle – Meanie & A Model

*…Tick Tock…Tick Tock…Tick Tock…*

Releasing my friendly and soft grip from Sarah’s hand as we made our way through the main entrance of Nelly’s house, the deafening silence began to become broken by the subtle yet echoed sounds that the hands of an old miniature grandfather clock made that they had displayed inside of a China Wear display glass case inside of their dining room. It was as if the very clock, itself, was mimicking my own heartbeat’s racing and thundering rhythm from the nervousness that I felt from walking in there, knowing who I’d find there and at the same time, not knowing what to expect.

As we slowly made our way into the dining room, I saw him. Sitting alone and staring into a blank empty space of nothing, making absolutely no movements or facial expressions to reveal to me what was going through his mind at that moment, I saw my own secret and first boyfriend with his arms on the table, palms down, sitting absolutely straight in the dining room with a blank look. It said absolutely nothing. I couldn’t tell whether that was more terrifying than if he had instantly turned his head to look at me and yell at me to leave or not. And, the truth is, it was.

I subtly took notice of three empty Starbucks iced coffee bottles that I knew were his favorite, based off of the times we had walked into CVS and he would purchase them during some of our walks with each other; they were tucked underneath the flowers of the middle of the table, hidden from the overall showcasing of the table, yet, from my angle, I was able to catch a glimpse of them for a moment.

I stopped walking as I did not exactly know what Nelly and Sarah had in mind for me to do as I waited for their cues and direction. I looked at Salem. The love of my young life who very first introduced me to the inner welcoming gate of my own sexuality was lost into a blank fog of his own mind. And I didn’t know what to do. I felt like how I used to feel when I was 11 and I would meet someone new for the very first time. I felt shy. I was withdrawn. I wasn’t scared, exactly. But, I certainly felt awkward and could not effectively register what I wanted to say. What could I say? What would actually be a strong course of action for me to take? If Salem’s own family could barely solve the puzzle to his own well being and help him…. How could I? Technically, in his life, I barely knew him. I turned to Sarah. She egged her head toward the seat to his left. I didn’t understand the cue at first. She did it again with a little more emphasis.

“…Go.” She whispered.

I got the hint; I cautiously walked my way over to Salem who did not once even acknowledge or look at me as I entered the room. I stopped 1 foot away from the chair next to him at the large and beautifully made table. I daringly made my way and sat next to him staring at the table. I was close enough to feel his body heat. I was nervous and just felt awkward.

*…Tick Tock…Tick Tock…Tick Tock…*

10 minutes had passed and Nelly was sitting across from Salem and Sarah sat across from me. No one sat at the ends of the table so we could all sit at even seats of the Dining Room. Apparently, they had ordered Salem’s favorite takeout food from a place called “Pandorum Palace.” a fancy decorated and well known Indian dining restaurant that I recognized from the far edges of town. My mother and I never went in there as their prices were, from what my mother said, a bit on the higher end than for anything other than special occasion. “Maybe for your birthday, hon.’’ She said to me as we walked passed it that one day. We were only around that area because she wanted to go next door to the place into a new salon that had just opened up as she wanted to see how they were.

“This-This is reaaaally good, Dad. Thank you.” Sarah said. “This, this is amazing. Mmmmm.” She tried. She tried so hard to convince him to take a bite. I cautiously looked over to my right to see Salem just sitting there. I stared at him, not knowing if he’d continue to stare into nothing, take a bite to eat, or violently turn his head and scream bloody murder at me.

Bloody hell. I HATED this!!! This is so weird. If they only knew the real reason why Salem was even in this predicament in the first place they’d shriek in horror at the both of us for Mal boy behavior. If they only knew we were… GAY and liked one another and kissed each other passionately in secret as we held one another for dear life in each others bedrooms. My cheeks were so red. I began to slump in my chair. I just wanted to hide from Nelly. I felt so embarrassed and humiliated that I… kissed his only son. I saw him completely naked. I touched him. I let him do things to me. I let him. I liked him. It was so nerve racking to know that Nelly had no idea about our secret life. I was ashamed.

This is all my fault. Right? Salem wasn’t talking because of me. Salem wasn’t eating or talking because of what IIIII said. If they knew what really went on in his room or about how I loved him deeply or about how he and I had already sneakily had sex multiple times, or about how he wanted to do crazy, wild, & kinky things with me as I said no and darted out of their house, ultimately issuing out this silent plague which now haunted him and his family, they’d hate me! They’d think we’re both disgusting and need help. I glared at my food as Salem stared at the wall behind Nelly which held that grandfather clock which wouldn’t BE QUIET.

I loved Indian food and this Naan bread was AMAZING. BUT, as I replayed and recalled all that has happened between Salem and I in private, I felt sick and stared at my plate. Sarah began to take notice of our silence. I slowly turned my head to look at him. He continued to stare at the China Case.

*…Tick Tock…Tick Tick…Tick Tock…*

Ughh. SHUTUP! THIS clock is taunting me I swear to God. I don’t know how, but, it’s like MESSING with me, you know? It was beginning to echo inside of the inner parts of my brain as my nervousness and unease got worse and worse by every second that it’s hands announced with it’s haunting and taunting noise of inevitable passing of time.

I turned to him again and leaned into his ear, and said… “…I’m sorry.’’ No response was issued. Heck, he didn’t even move. But, I know that somewhere in that cave of a brain of his, he heard me.

Sarah and Nelly looked at me, I guess at the close contact that I shared with him that moment, I suppose a bit shocked from how close I was to him; it was definitely crossing the boundaries of casual male friend behavior. “You… uh.. hmm.. uhmm Salem?” I said softly enough for him to hear, but, not too loudly where it looked like I was making an announcement to the entire table to be able to hear what I was saying. I rubbed his back softly, “Don’t you… don’t you want to eat with me? Please?” My voice broke as I tried to talk to him. Sarah seemed shocked from my attempt. I guess she didn’t expect me to be so sweet with him. I really didn’t care. He’s my friend. I cared about him. And, I felt that it was partially my fault for putting him into an emotional depression like this from the start.

He turned to me slowly and stared at me. All of the sudden I felt a force on my chest and my body was lunged away from him so quickly I didn’t even realize what hit me or what happened until 4 seconds after I almost fell off of my chair entirely and had to catch myself with my hands holding the table and one on the floor to hold me up. I gasped for breath for a moment, shocked at what just happened. He- he pushed me!

“GET OUT.” He said. No offense, but, I half wanted to punch him right in his face for shoving me and, at the same time, cry from the shock of everything and everyone staring at me, making a scene.

“SALEM. THAT IS ENOUGH!” we both jumped from the loud echoing roar that his father’s throat made as he reprimanded his son. “How dare you?? Johnny came all this way to have a meal with us. He is being generous enough to care for you. And, this is how you treat your best friend?”

“You don’t even know anythinggggggg. YOU never knew. YOUUUU never cared. You just talk and LOOK. You ALWAYS look.” Salem said to him. That really made no sense to be honest. He sort of said something like that to me one time. I remember. Believe me. I’ll never forget that crazy excuse for a day.

“Now, EAT something and apologize to Johnson….. NOWWW.” His father retorted.

“….” His son really made no response or effort to even look at his father again as he stared at the flowers of the table in the middle.

“Salem” he called. “You have 5 seconds before I –“

Salem started to breathe heavily from his throat as I saw his chest heave up and down…. “Ughhh.. sigh…mmmgh” it was almost as if he was struggling or fighting something that was trying to get into his train of thought. “Uuughhh.” He breathed harder and harder as he shook his head once as if he was trying to fling something off of his forehead and squinted his eyes shut. “UGHHH. Get out of my head…” he stared at his father and then yelled at the ceiling. “Get OUUUTT!” …Who-who is he even talking to?

“Sa-Salem, just calm down. Relax. Just…..” Nelly replied and looked at Sarah who gave a look of worry. “Just relax, son. Just breath.” He said calmly.

“Donnnn’tt tell me what to doooooooooo.” Salem said, deathly glaring at the clock that continued to tick it’s seemingly neverending rhythm.

“Salem just… have a drink. Take a bite to eat. Just calm down, son.” Nelly stopped talking. That final sentence triggered Salem. He stopped breathing all of the sudden as he sat still and looked blankly at the chair that Nelly was sitting on. He got up slowly as he stood in front of his father from across the table, glaring at the wall in front of him.

*…Tick Tock…Tick Tock…Tick Tock…*

Silence, once again, infected the air with its black cloud of absence for about another 5 seconds. Salem all of the sudden grabbed his father’s wine bottle and threw it so hard at the wall behind him. It was so loud that it crashed and banged as glass flew everywhere and wine splashed all over the floor and onto Nelly. Sarah got up and pulled me away from him. I was scared. She grabbed me SO hard she made me stand. I see now, why that girl is an athlete at school. Jesus.

He took his arm and lifted his own chair with one hand and threw it violently hard on the ground; it broke into three whole pieces. What the hell? This kid is strong as Heck!!!! I actually ran away from him a bit, startled by his strength and psychotic episode; everything was happening so fast. It was like everything was falling apart so quickly before my eyes that I barely had a chance to even blink or register what was going on in front of me or even get a chance to fully react; I was getting scared. I honestly have not ever been this afraid of a person before in real life. I genuinely was actually concerned for my own safety at that point and my instant instinct was to just get away from him as quickly as possible and be as far away from him as I could.

He picked up the knife that was on the table.

Nelly turned his head to Sarah and sharply said. “Call them.”

All of the sudden Salem dropped the knife and held his head in a way that almost seemed that a million voices were screaming inside of his head all at once. “Uuughhh. Sigh Sigh.” He started to stand and walk around the dining area just shaking his head violently and holding it at the same time. “GET OUTTT!!! I hattteee youu!!! GET OUUUUUUUUUUUUTTT!!!!!” He screamed. I saw him squint his eyes and scrunch his nose in his own frustration.

Sarah ran to the phone and was already dialing a number that I could TELL was not 911. I wondered who it could be or who ‘they’ were that they were calling.

But, before she could even finish dialing the number I saw a women run into the house from the front entrance and run up to Salem. I, immediately, stared at her, wondering where I recognized her from. Her beauty was extremely familiar. It was like a 6th Sense. She pulled the back of his head and pushed his face into her chest as she looked up to the ceiling with her thickly shaded eyeshadowed eyes in an absolute spellbinding stare of beauty.

“Shhhhh. I know, baby. I know.” I don’t want to be mean, But, she looked like a witch. Well, not exactly. She had a specific look I just couldn’t put my finger on right away. She looked like one of those “Jinni In A Bottle” type of girls. She looked like one of those gypsys or something. That’s it! She looked like one of those women who would tell your fortune or did a powerful belly dance on the beach for all to see.

She wore thin flowing and colorful clothing that swayed and moved in all of the right ways whenever she moved, much like my hair, but, was also fitted in a sensual manor in the right places, particularly her waist and upper arms an breasts. She wore golden and purple gems & jewelry with one emerald stone necklace around her neck.

She was absolutely beautiful. That long dark flowing hair and midnight green eyes of hers just made her look like a goddess of midnight wonder to the point where you wondered if she was a real person or some mystical, spiritual elder from the spirit world of some sort.

She stared sensually at the ceiling as she massaged his back to calm Salem down. Who was this?! How did she possibly calm him down so fast. What’s going on here?

I saw her powerful gaze from the ceiling become peeled off and she looked down and noticed something on the table. She instantly looked almost angry and pulled away from him and confronted Nelly. “Caffieene? Yah feeding caaafieene when ya know he gets like this?” My God. She sounded EXACTLY like him. If not, even more so. I suppose she was referring to the 3 black Starbucks Bottles which were on the table that Salem had attempted to hide. I smiled so wide. Wow. That was definitely Salem’s mom, alright. Hehe.

I see now where Salem gets his looks from. He just looked like a smaller male version of her. Dare I say it? Dare I say? She was even MORE beautiful than he was. And, that’s saying something. She was almost fantasy looking.

She shook her head almost as if in disapproval as she picked them up. “TSA TSA TSA” she made that tongue click sound many make when they’re dissapoointed with something or someone almost as if they should know better.

“Those. Uhh, I didn’t see him drinking them until after.” Nelly replied almost in defeat.

“And, what about those cappuccinos at that café when you all went out, hmm?” she retorted.

“Those were, those were decaf.” He replied softly. Wait. How did she know anything about that? She wasn’t there. Did they, like, tell her or something?

She turned to Salem and asked him. “You haven’t been sneaking any have you??” she eyed him sharply. Salem’s eyes widened and I remembered the Monster energy drinks he had bought with me that one time. He bought TWO and both were for him. Pshh! Come to think of it, he didn’t even offer me any! That little-.

I, then, recalled all of the sugary and caffeine related beverages he had consumed in front of me while we were always alone. I guess he wasn’t allowed to have any caffeine whatsoever and every time he did, it resulted in a potentially worse outburst then it would have if he didn’t have any at all. Come to think of it, the first time he ever almost, you know, KILLED me, was right after he had those two Monsters and that blueberry muffin from “French With A Bench” café. I was beginning to connect those dots.

“Nnno. No, mommm. I-“ he stammered.

Busted, Salem. BUSTED. “Has he been taking the meds?” She said to Nelly.

Salem instantly looked at me and replied to her. “MOM!” He said in embarrassment.

She jerked her head to him making her hair twirl and lifted her right hand to him and curled her fingers, almost in a powerful and menacing Manor and glared at him and he instantly jerked back a bit with raised shoulders and widened eyes. I had never seen Salem react like that… to ANYONE. He backed down immediately, as if she had some sort of foreign power over him that he instantly yeilded to. It was as if she magnetically had some pull over his brain. I couldn’t explain it. I could only feel it.

“Don’t you SAAA’aas me. You know I’m only hee’ya to make sure.” I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant by that statement, but, I couldn’t help but, break a smile from her native Brooklyn accent which was even sharper than Salem’s. I couldn’t believe it. I was staring at his mom. What was she even doing here? How did she know what was going on at that moment? And, how come I felt like I have seen her before as she turned her head, finally, to meet my eyes as she broke into a small smile.

“Johnny.” She mouthed her words so only I could read them and no one else as I just stared into her gaze not understanding why I felt as though I should call her name as if I already knew it.

…Who was she?

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