Inscription 4: The Dedication by Julie
Today’s Brew: I’m sure Julie is enjoying her cheese flavored coffee.
Inscription 4: The Dedication
It was the first time Edgar had been able to stand long enough to look out the bedroom window. His mother had taken care of the swollen gashes on his legs, sewing book bindings over the open wounds filled with precious book pages, bound to him with his own blood. Ever closer to those masters, so that he may become one himself.
He ran a dead finger over the windowsill, having long since forgotten that he could no longer feel anything with it. The everpresent flies landed on his hair. He waited. Edgar didn’t remember what time school let out; it had been so long since Mother had removed him. ‘A prodigy needs isolation, not the company of half wits,’ she’d said.
He did know that at 3:20 each afternoon he could hear Liv’s voice, laughing and saying goodbye to the other kids on the bus. Liv’s sparkling cheeriness in his bloody cobweb world was the only thing to awaken him lately. He would force himself to the window to see her today, even though he had not eaten for days and was so tired he could barely move. Hearing her had been the only reason he’d not succumbed to death when inspiration left him. If he could not write, he was a flaw in this world.
But she was perfection. To see her face would spark his passion and ignite his genius to finish this great American novel. He had nothing else. The pages stuffed in his legs could not carry him to excellence anymore. The book spines that held those words inside him did nothing to keep their brilliance in his heart now.
He stood, shaking, waiting to hear her through the grimy window that was the only sunshine he could stand. Only three more minutes to first hear the rumble of the bus, the screech of the door opening, the kids jumping down the stairs.
He tapped the windowsill with the ballpoint pen protruding from his fingertip. Breathing heavily with nerves, exhaustion and his own stench, he patted his hair, the matted and oily mess that it was. As if she could see him. As if she would ever see him.
“Well, look at you.”
Edgar jumped, making his legs falter and his wounds screech.
“I didn’t hear you come in.”
His mother looked out the window with him, her hand on his shoulder. “You got up. And the first thing you did was look outside? Not write?”
He hung his head, his mop of hair falling over his face. “I’m ashamed to say I feel too weak to write. My thoughts are not clear. I have nothing left to live for.”
“Edgar, poverty and self-denial fueled some of the greatest writers in history. You have more heart than even they do.”
The sharp sound of the bus coming to a halt jolted his head back up. Fighting back dizziness, he watched the high school kids get off, yelling to their friends in voices louder than Edgar’s had ever been. Then, there she was.
Liv bounced down the steps. Bright yellow hair shone in the sunlight, her silver headband glinting. It would have been painful to Edgar’s eyes if he had been closer. Violet and magenta flowers lined the sidewalk, bees buzzing around them with unhurried urgency, both purposeful and serene. Liv did not swat them away, but walked right through them.
Edgar jumped as his mother smashed and killed one of the flies on the window.
He forgot his mother next to him as he pictured sitting next to Liv on the bus, eating lunch with her, holding her books for her. In his visions, his legs were normal, his ribs didn’t stick out, his hands were just hands. He wasn’t this thing.
“They are less than you. None of them could endure what you have. Their only genius is that they can survive each day in their utterly average world. Yours is something divine.”
His mother’s voice was cold and far away. As far away as Liv was.
“Why can I not be part of both worlds?”
A chill trembled down his body as his mother turned to face him. She put her hand on his side, her fingers nearly sinking in between the ribs. “Edgar. Roses cannot flourish when surrounded by weeds.”
Sunlight streamed in the window, highlighting half of the boy’s face, grimy and ashen. Gaunt. Edgar’s eyes glowed with fervor and he looked at his mother with a pain-filled fury. “Roses die, and accomplish nothing before they do. They are meant to be seen and loved for that brief time they live, and that is all that’s expected of them. Nobody urges the rose to be more than beautiful.”
She bent down to eye level with the hunched over boy, gray eyes boring into his ocean blue ones, the only color in the room. “You were right the first time. Roses do nothing but die.” Her heels pounded the dark wood floor as she stormed towards the door.
“Mother,” Edgar called to her.
She turned, a bitter smile darkening her face. “Something you’d like to say to me, Edgar?”
Edgar watched Liv close her eyes and tilt her head back to feel the sun on her face. He brushed away a cobweb on the windowpane and smiled.
“Yes. I think I would like a sandwich before I work.”