Chapter Five: Matt
As I was feeling the weight of the ball tug on my arms– pulling it down, I noticed a slight smirk coming from Lance’s face as he eyed me up. He let out a big pfft— kinda looking down on me as if I were inferior. Lance glanced at me again and let out a stifling remark.
He let out: You come in here thinking you fucking own this place… must be from the Eastside? Must be nice there. Whatcha want huh?
I was stunned by his comments– aghast. I thought to myself it can’t be possible. He must be nice…I envisioned him to be nice… I must be dreaming. Before he could make a remark again… I knew he was about to– I replied: No. No it’s not fucking nice! It’s like a shithole.
I could tell he was aghast as he tried to come up with some coherent and logical response, but all that came out was: You are shitting me, right? You are a liar!
I paused, thinking there must be a way to get to him. He must have a soft spot and I will get to it. I won’t give up. If a hundred boys couldn’t reach him, I could– no– I will be the one. The one to get to him. I, myself, was thinking of a coherent and logical response. I ended up coming up with a poetic monologue: No. No. No, I am not a liar. I am Matt. Yes, I AM from the Eastside and it is a shitty place to be; everyone is hiding behind their white picket fences and you know what I really hate? I hate that difference is shunned upon. It’s not okay to be different– it’s not okay to be unique… it’s not okay to want something better, want something, be yourself. I just want to be me– be me– even if that me is different from everyone else there. Is that too much to ask for? Is it? Answer me.
As I gathered myself, I looked at the other people and they all had their jaws dropped– as they looked in awe or in horror. I was horrified at myself too. As I let out a sigh I said: And that is why I came here– to look for something different– to be me. I guess I didn’t come to the right place.
I looked at Lance, as with the other people, he too was shocked and horrified (rightly so). He just stood there speechless. As we all stood motionless, I lowered the ever heavy bowling ball, and waited for a response. Silence. After a while, Lance came close to me and put his hand on my shoulder and finally spoke: Dude, you found the right place. Everything changes round here. One minute someone is here and they’re gone the next. Your friends, loved ones, neighbors– everyone. Everything changes. Stores that were once here– gone. Closed when the people left. You kinda feel lonely after a while. No one really to call your friends, your family. Do you really want that?
I gathered my thoughts: No, no I don’t, but I just want to get out of there just for a while. Where I can be me. I guess, that’s why you said the East was nice, huh? I guess no where’s perfect.
Lance sighed and gave me a nod. And replied: Yeah, I guess. Nowhere is perfect. You see, I too, wanted something different, away from here. Somewhere where I had a family, had friends to call my own. And for eternity. Somewhere where people didn’t just leave and never come back.
Lance paused and continued: Why me though?
Puzzled, I asked what he meant by Why me? Lance hesitated: You came straight to me after coming here.
I stood there silent and finally replied: I think you know why. I think it’s the same reason why you opened up to me after you heard my oration about how I wanted to get outta there.
Lance smiled and gave me a nod: Yes. Yes, Matt, I do.
Even though we lived in different and totally opposite towns, leading total opposite lives, we both wanted to try something different than what we currently have… and both of us wanted to find a place where we belong. And wanted someone who understands us. We ended up understanding each other.