While thinking illogically, I'm forced to at least acknowledge the fact that being logical is necessary. Or at least that's what's assumed since the majority of the world is logical. But perhaps, only a certain amount of logicalness is needed. The rest can be illogical, since a great portion of the heart is disconnected from the mind.
Of the past 18 years of my life, I'd been thinking about illogical and irrational ideas, so much so that it's almost made me insane. And then I wonder if I'm insane. But I try not to think too often. Thinking too much would drive me crazy. And I didn't need that kind of insanity. We were moving because of it. We being my father and myself. My sister had a life with her boyfriend. My brother backpacking, although I figured he might've needed more than one backpack since he'd been gone four months, and my other brother chasing his dreams, along with any attractive female older or younger than him.
Me? I'm the middle. Older than my ambitious brother, yet younger than the other three. But that was not why I was still with my dad. No, it was because we were the same. We didn't hunger. Instead, we took each piece of clay we stumbled upon and made another rung on the status ladder. Even if we were handed gold, we wouldn't sell it to buy more rungs, instead we simple made it into another rung and climbed one inch higher. We were happy reaching next to us to build ourselves up. We didn't feel the need to pull ourselves up. Too much work. And the city was all about work. And I couldn't take the city anymore. But I won't give all the reasons right now. Steadily.
While in the car, we listened to jazz. We didn't really like jazz but music was always present around me. It drowned out the voices. And I liked music. I had no musical talent, but I had the talent to listen and appreciate. I'd just woken up, since sleep had been scarce for me lately. My dad realized I was awake
"We're finally here. We've seen the last hotel,"
"What a shame. I so pine for those pasty floral wallpaper and mediocre paintings. Hey dad, if we go without Febreeze for awhile, do you think we can get our new house to smell that way?" he chuckled. The thing he's done for all of my little quips, no matter how funny. It was always just a little chuckle. I think it's because he just didn't know what to do with me. He often doesn't.
"Look, there's a little diner. Are you hungry?"
"Are you serious? My stomach's so empty I'm about to collapse into myself and become a black hole." He pulled into the parking lot of the Pico Mundo grille. I stepped out of the car and got a sudden compulsion to go inside. I didn't wait for dad. I walked in by myself. And there stood Odd. That was his name. I wasn't sure, but I knew his name was Odd. Although as the word echoed in my mind, I wondered if I thought he was odd, or if it was actually his name. He stood behind the grill in his kitchen. I suddenly had a craving for pancakes. Daddy had walked in then, and guided me to a booth, seeing as to how I was just standing there. A woman came up to us to ask what we wanted
"Is he the one cooking?" I asked, indicating Odd
"Yep, Odd is the best," I smiled. So Odd was his name.
"I thought so… Pancakes, home fries… and eggs please," I ordered
"Seedy, I don't think you've ever eaten that much before," daddy said quietly
"We'll share, I have a feeling it'll be worth it," he sighed. Like I said, he didn't really know what to do with me.
"Coffee and an orange juice please to drink,"
As I sat, fiddling with a sugar packet, I noticed Odd. Noticed as in observed. Observed as in stared. But staring is rude, so I more like observed. I heard the sizzle of his grill and saw him concentrating, and I was bizarrely attracted to him. Not attracted as in physical, but attracted as in I was pulled in by some invisible gravitational pull that made me restless unless in his presence. But I couldn't concentrate on Odd for too long, because the reason why we moved was staring at me through the window. Well, not exactly the reason, but a specific reason out of the many. I saw her, and in the time I blinked she was gone. When I went to go look at Odd again, she was next to me.
I didn't understand. I almost jumped. Why was she here? I'd told her a dozen times to go to the light, or whatever it is she should go. But she didn't listen. She was the last straw that made us move. In general, her type of person was what made us move. Ghosts.
At first, they were just shapes. Then faces. And that was fine. They didn't notice me. But then they did, and some followed me, and even that was tolerable. But then they started talking, and that was unbearable. Because what used to be voices outside my house became voices in my room. Persistent. I couldn't sleep since there would be 15 spirits screaming at me.
The rose garden!
Help! Help! Help!
And so we moved. The city had far too many dead people. Pico Mundo seemed perfect. But maybe I was drawn here. I'm drawn to Odd.
"Why did we leave?" she asked me. I'd actually gotten fairly adept at pretending they weren't there. It was an inevitable task that I needed to learn seeing as to has Chloe would not leave me alone. "Why did we leave?" I didn't get why Chloe kept following me around. I went to her funeral, I consoled her parents, grieving the loss of their eight-year-old daughter, I went to the cemetery where she cried, and I held her, and I told her to go to heaven. I didn't know what else to do. What would get her to move on?
She was grabbing at me now. Pulling and tugging.
"Why did we leave! Why did we leave!" she yelled.
"Chloe just stop!" I whispered in frustration. Too loud for a whisper. A whispered yell then.
A plate clattered down in front of me, and my hands immediately found their way to my lap, and my eyes the floor. Don't confront the faces that stare at you crookedly.
"Here you go," the lady said softly
"Thank you," I whispered. A real whisper. Out of the corner of my eye I saw only the wooden bench I sat on. Chloe was gone for the time being.
Another thing I'd taught myself to do, was not linger on past emotions. It is very helpful. And also, I didn't stress. Daddy stressed, I saw it now as he scratched his week old beard, looked at me worried, added more sugar to his coffee shakily. Daddy stressed over moving. Over new numbers. The new numbers of our new address, the new numbers of our new phone number, the new numbers of the new bills he would get. New places stressed him. New stressed him. But he adjusted quite quickly.
I didn't stress. I could have a sense of urgency, but never stress, except perhaps in the prior weeks where packs of spirits were stuffing my ears. That was slightly stressful. But other than that, I don't stress. But I do enjoy pancakes. And these would be the best I would ever have. I knew they would be. With a smile I stuck a big piece in my mouth. The best.
"This is what magic would taste like, if magic was pancakes," I poured syrup over it
"Not too much Seedie," I stopped. Reached for the powdered sugar "That's enough," I stopped. I sliced and ate, and it was sweet and fluffy. Hands down the best pancakes ever. Strange how pancakes can make your day.
"We're going to have to get another order of these," I said mouth half full
"Hmm?" I mumbled making my half full mouth completely full
"You just talked to Chloe,"
"Is she… here?" he asked taking a bite of egg and pushing it to me "Try this," I did, again the best I'd ever had.
Yes, dad knew about my schizophrenia called spirits, but I still tried to act like he didn't. Possibly out of wanting to feel slightly normal, or maybe because my brothers and sister didn't know, or, the idea I like best is because I didn't want him to stress more. He didn't need to. He'd already done a lot for me just by believing me about the ghosts.
"She was." I stuffed two forkfuls of home fries in my mouth "Great job Oddie!" I called to the chef. Though I didn't know why I called him Oddie. I felt a momentary lapse, not in time, but in motion. I wondered…. I stared long and hard at the drenched pancakes that daddy didn't want now that they were sopping with syrup. Why did I call him Oddie?
"Cedr is everything ok? Is she talking to you?" he asked since I had stopped eating due to my confusion
"No," I said, and circled the home fries as I got the pancakes again. "She's not here daddy,"
"Oh, but she was?"
"She followed you?"
"So it seems,"
"I'm sorry Cedr," I looked up from my plate. Sorry? "Moving was supposed to get you away from these…spirits,"
"You can't fix me. This wasn't to fix me, it was so I could get some sleep and not be so overwhelmed all the time. Don't apologize," I said and stabbed at my plate. Apologies meant that I shouldn't let the person down, seeing as to how he believed he let me down. The point being that I would then have to come up with something stronger than an apology when I did let him down, and there really was nothing in words that I could do. Nothing but leave, and I didn't want to. "Just don't," I repeated. I enjoyed another bite of Odd's pancakes while daddy looked at me. I in turn looked over to Odd.
Now Odd and I were both observing each other.
"Cedr," the truth is, I liked my name. Cedr, like the tree. I just sometimes wished my mother threw an 'a' in there. She wanted me to be special. Unique. As if Cedr wasn't unique enough, and little does she know just how 'special' I am. I don't know where she is. Daddy says she loves me though.
"What is it?"
"These really are the best pancakes."
We finished eating and headed on to our new house. It was plain. But we weren't poor, so it was an acceptable plain. We would be sleeping in sleeping bags until the movers came. While dad was inside, doing whatever it is he does to cope with a new environment, I stood outside.
It was hot. Sunny and hot. There were no clouds; they'd burnt up and shriveled to the ground, onto the asphalt and stucco. Melting and shining. I wiped my forehead and went inside.
"We'll like it here Seedie. We will," he didn't need to convince me. I knew. I felt. But I also felt something more, but I didn't want to think about that. It was too soon for thinking, I'd only just got here.
That night, with our sleeping bags laid out and good nights said, I ignored Chloe's melancholy lullaby stuck on replay.
"Why did we leave?" I shut my eyes, and stuck headphones in my ears, playing soothing violin music. But it didn't soothe me. Chloe sat next to me then, and I didn't sleep for the 6th week in a row. Luckily I slept often on our way here, despite the occasional ghostly worker, or anything of the latter. I didn't know if she was still talking, but I heard her asking that leitmotif question over and over in my head. I was starting to wonder myself why we left, even though I knew. To get away from you. And each time the question reappeared, I would have to answer myself again, but every time I answered, I became less and less sure if that was the truth.