Young Titus

By: Cody DiCavalcante

I lived in Rome, Nebraska. My name was…I forgot my name. I will be nameless for now until I can remember my name. Rome was a very small town, consisting of about 500 people. My family looked at me with confidence that I could be the one to get out of the dust bowl town. I hoped so as well. I hadn’t eaten anything today. Maybe that’s why I can’t remember my name. I scraped my knee earlier. It left such a big puddle of blood. I have hemophilia. Whenever I do something that makes me bleed, the blood doesn’t clot right so I end up standing there with a full roll of toilet paper until I get to the hospital. I don’t really know what else to say. I’m honestly just pissed off I can’t remember my name. Hopefully I can figure it out.

It’s six o’clock at night. I’m racing my bike along Ridgeview Street. The wind flies through my t-shirt, feeling me up. I thought nature was such a flirtatious thing even if I wasn’t old enough to ride all the big kid rides; it still felt the need to get me into bed. Nature ruled the show. I turned the corner at lightning speed, thinking about ending up in space, between the stars and circulatory system of the universe just all stoned like a kid at a Radiohead concert. Having hemophilia, I was very cautious of my body. I made sure that I thought out every situation. That is a lot to handle for a kid at my age. I didn’t say my age huh? Well, I’m…I’m…I don’t know how old I am but I can’t ride big kid rides and this bike feels so right and its late so I must not have anywhere to be if I’m riding this bike therefore I must be young. I rode past Mr. Fairfaith’s corner store, past the used book store that was owned by my neighbor Mr. Veto, got dizzied up by the neon lights in the bar, intoxicated. I rode past the park where all the Goths hung out. They stayed there at night, prowling like hounds, scaring all the kids away. I wanted to kick their asses sometimes. They put fear into the town, well, not all the town but 1/3 of it. The Goths spoke in high-pitched tones, almost direct descendents of the owls in the trees, but not quite as watchful. I kept moving. I rode my bike faster than I could ever imagine, faster than light. Yeah, I must be young, comparing my speeds to such high-speed elements. No grown up would do that. I feel so safe right here. In my bike seat, chasing imaginary scoundrels around a fountain in the middle of town, underneath the stars, I saw no reason not to smile. My parents wanted me to become something. They always sat me down at dinner, I never sat down for myself because I never wanted to be there in the first place, hearing them talk about what they wanted me to do. They wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer, sometimes both when they were really in overzealous moods (this usually was because they spent a few hours in the bedroom). How do I know this? I must be old enough to understand the ways of love and what it entails. Maybe I’m not so young. Well, if I can start to make assumptions of that, maybe now I can figure out just a smudge of my name, a little crumb, just a letter. U? U? No, no it can’t be U. No one has a name that begins with the letter U, unless we’re talking about Ulysses S. Grant, who I never even knew was president until really researching into it. My parents wouldn’t have given me a name that began with the letter U, it lacks too much recognition. Nothings coming to mind. Fuck it.

Tonight’s talk dealt with a little bit of my parent’s days at work, then a little on my day at school, then the cash crop of the night being tied into my future plan after college. Why were they talking about after college? I wanted to ask but I knew it would annoy them.  I wasn’t even in college. I didn’t have a recess but I did stay in one building all day, which must have meant I was not in college. I had different people teach me different things but it was general things like math, English, science. I’m getting tired. When I finished my dinner (which was one of my favorites; brisket and creamed corn) I went upstairs. As I footed the eighth step I heard my father yell from the kitchen with the smoke from his cigarette surely seeping out of his mouth, “Don’t forget to brush your teeth my college grad!” What the fuck was his problem? Don’t get ahead of yourself dad. I’m not that old yet. I slammed my door, wait, I swung the door behind me with the knob still in hand, then quickly rethought my idea of a slam and pulled at the last minute into a soft closing. I’m such a pussy sometimes. I should slam my door! I have the damn right to slam my door. Let my parent’s hear my slamming door and fear the sound of the wood cracking at the top of frame! I better calm down now. I could get too stressed and bleed to death. Hemophilia is bullshit, it seems like such an exaggerated disease, and therefore I exaggerate it verbally. It’s time for bed.

The next day at school, I walked in the double doors, irritated that I hadn’t gotten enough sleep. Maybe I had, I just hated waking up to my dog using my crotch as a ground area to bounce from my bed to the floor. Yeah, that was it. When I got to school, my best friend, Marcus, came running up to me–half panting, half smelling of soup, half dying to tell me how he thinks I should have been picked for the school play. Three halves something else, my best friend. Marc told me Arthur Yam got the part. I liked Arthur; he was obsessed with the planet Saturn. It always amused everyone. One time I sat next to him on the bus until we both reached our houses, which were both 20 minutes away from school. I didn’t know so much information could be given on Saturn. I must have been young if I was talking with Arthur Yam. He didn’t have facial hair and a voice like a dog when it can’t eat off the table, I would know. I have a dog. Titus.

That weekend, I hung outside with Marc. We ran around in the woods, talked about cute girls from class, talked about how idiotic the Goths were and how we wanted to beat their faces in. Marc and I laughed loud enough in the open space to let Asia hear our voices, maybe even Heaven. As we both lay on our backs, staring up at the trees which were like shirts and shorts of the sky, we escaped the craziness of our families. Marc’s family was just as bad. They made him do his homework before he could watch TV, at least I thought that was worse. I thought about my family. How much they wanted me to do something with my life, something extraordinary. It wasn’t exactly a bad thing but I still wanted them to back off a little bit. That night as I came home, my parents stood on the porch, probably upset that I missed church. I was wrong though, so wrong. They were upset that I didn’t apply for a job in the city. I was so taken aback; I ran away, so far and fast away that I could feel the tears slide off my cheeks into the air, dropping like out-of-range bullets in cartoons onto the ground. I got really far, at least it felt really far. I sat in a field for several hours, looking up at the sky, scared that I was being forced to become a grown up, that my parents forgot I was still young. Maybe they knew and didn’t care. I stayed in that field for a long time until I fell asleep. When I woke up, it was still dark. I got up, brushing the dirt and whatever else off my clothes. I felt so distant from home. I felt I must have crossed some kind of border. FOR FUCK SAKE IF I ONLY KNEW MY NAME!!! Eventually a cop found me, slowly rolling down the black road, my heart waiting to jump out of its chest due to the loud siren. The siren didn’t sound but the blue and red lights dashed at the road, my feet, my soul and it was just as scary. It was all over. The car slowed to a halt then the car door opened like a death call. It stopped. Everything felt like it stopped. The cop spoke.

“Where do you think you’re going Mr. Andronicus?” The cop said.

That’s it! That’s who I am. Titus Andronicus. I felt myself become calmer, more in tune, more like somebody with a backbone. I felt a smile come over my face. I turned around.

“I’m just going for a walk.” I replied.

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