Hi. My name's Chloe. I am...well, i'm just a girl, really. Nothing more, nothing less. The comments i get most often is 'girl next door', 'she's such a nice girl' and 'her parents must be so proud'. Which i hate, of course.
But thats just not me. Never has been. I mean sure, i like playing around with makeup, and i can scrub up pretty well when i make an effort but i'm at my most comfortable when i'm in my grubby jeans and Converse kicks, hanging out at a skate park (though i suck at actually skating and most resemble a newborn giraffe when i attempt anything even close to a skilled kickturn).
Mascara and a flash of lippy is about all i use. Maybe a bit of moisturiser in the morning.
But that was her all over. She had a real good sense of humor, y'know. Loved to mess about, goof off and make me or my dad laugh. Though it rarely worked on dad. He was always sober as a judge, rarely smiled. Maybe he was just a serious guy, just born that way. I could never understand that though. Nor how someone like him could have fallen for a carefree fool like my mum.
Or better yet, join the debate team. Okay, the last, i did actually do. And yes, it did impress my father.
Jesus. I sound like i'm filling out a dating profile. Which...i am totally not, by the way.
I have been kissed, though. Twice actually. I did manage to sneak that, at least, into the teenage experience. My first was Bobby Moore (no relation to the famous West Ham United footballer in the sixties and seventies). He was playing with a Tarzan action figure in the sandpit at primary school. I had the Jane. Together we fought battles against evil corporations trying to tear down the rainforest and kill our gorilla family.
The second boy i kissed was called Jacob, an american exchange student, who came to my school towards the end of my fourteenth year. And to my disappointment, he looked nothing like the hot werewolf in Twilight. Instead, he was a pale, brown-haired boy with black-rimmed glasses who liked Andy Warhol art and Led Zeppelin. Music that i seemed to like too.
We didn't speak when we finally came up for air. Then, or after. We just seemed to click and stay stuck together, our eyes meeting across the school corridors, hands held in private moments, a silent understanding of the connection we had passing between us every time we were alone together. He didn't tell anyone. And neither did i.
At the time, i had no idea where he'd gotten that from and convinced myself he'd spoken from the heart. For me. I found it years later while browsing the internet, and learned that it's a quote by <span id="dscexpitem_-495899725_7"><span data-bm="79">Francis Brett Hart, an american short story writer and poet. It's a quote that i still love to this day.
It's been years since iv'e seen him but even now, i sometimes think of him and wonder what he's doing, if he ever thinks of me, remembers our time together. Now that i'm here, in his country, i can't help but scan every face, every street for a glimpse of my lost love.
Max. My brother. It's been so long since iv'e seen his face. He....disappeared five years ago, a year before Jacob and the happy kissing incident. My parents didn't care. Or rather, my dad didn't. He said that Max was a loser, that he'd never make anything of himself and that it was better for everyone that he was gone. But it wasn't better, and it isn't.
Max and our dad had always had a testy relationship but after he started hanging out with Charlie, staying out after curfew, coming home smelling of cigarettes, weed and booze things got worse. They fought like cat and dog, and i had to crank the Queen up to almost maximum to tune them out. I generally stayed out of it, though Max would sneak into my room to whine and moan about the 'rentals and i totally agreed with him that they were being unfair, though it was more my mother than my father. She tried to mediate but would always end up being yelled at by Max and my father, both so in the end she stayed out of it too.
I never saw Max again after that day. Heard nothing. My mother filed a missing peoples report at the police station but they didn't bother doing much. He was a trouble-maker, they said, likely ran off to 'find his fortune' or some shit. Which is total bull. He wouldn't have just left me like that.
According to the kind, blue-eyed policeman who sat me down when i came home from school, my parents car had veered into the oncoming traffic, as they drove home from an afternoon at the theatre, my fathers attempt to appease my mothers suffering unhappiness.
I made the decision to search for him, and i got in contact with Charlie, who still lived in our area and who had progressed to becoming the local drug dealer. He'd always had a soft spot for me, but he'd never hassled me out of respect to Max. So when i begged him for information he gave it up like vomit after a heavy night out.
California was beautiful. But i was so wrapped up in my need to find Max that i barely registered it. He wasn't there. Charlie's cousin, Sam was suspicious of me at first when i turned up, and i half expected him to shank me right there and then but after a call to Charlie, he bought me a chocolate milkshake and told me that he'd like my brother. But that he wasn't cut out for the drug trade, so he reckoned.
I thanked him and left. And now i'm here. A year and a half after i started looking for Max. Booked into a hotel on the outskirts of town. Not sure where Max is or if he even made it here. Please god, let me find him. I can't do this without him. I can't be here, in this strange country, with these strange people, speaking strange slang, without him by my side.
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