Keely Was | Teen Ink

Keely Was

October 4, 2014
By Catcher GOLD, Edinburg, Texas
Catcher GOLD, Edinburg, Texas
14 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
I can't explain what I mean, and even if I could, I'm not sure I'd feel like it.

I don’t mean to scold the boy as often as I do.

At the very least he listens. He is always listening to me. Whether attentively or disinterested is hard to tell, but listening nonetheless.

Sometimes he laughs, but who is to say what that is to be attributed to? Probably not anything I’m saying, but maybe an expression I make or a tone I use. I may go red in the face in anger. I’m sure that can seem amusing to an innocent boy. His laughter is rare, though, and my temper is not, discounting even that theory.

I really wish I knew what it was. I find it increasingly challenging to identify whether the boy is content with Mara and I. Truly there has never been as complicated a child as him.

It’s hard to believe he’ll be turning four soon. Funny how he behaves like he’s much older, yet I can hardly imagine him growing into a real adult. To me he will always be this small, silent child with intense expressions. I’m scared of him if truth be told. This has never been what I wanted for my child. Coming up in a while here he will be saying real stuff to me, probably.
I don’t think I’m ready to be the listener again. All Ariza ever did at four was talk, but she said real stuff, you know? She’d say all these different things, and I was never ready to hear any of them. Little kids understand more than we expect them to. I don’t like that.

Plus, I’m a downright awful dad, and I’ve always heard a big part of being a parent is listening. Ask anyone. That’s alright, though because Ariza forgives me. She has to. I’m her dad. I’m an awful dad, but by all intents and purposes that’s what I am. That should count for something, I think; the gift of life and all that. So Seth will forgive me when he gets to be Ariza’s age too. I’m certain of it.

God, how old is little Ariza now? I’ll have to call Keely and find out. I should have done so long ago, but every time I go to that Mara woman I mistakenly married swipes the phone and gets to yelling. I love Ariza, and I love Keely too, but Mara is my wife and she ought to show some faith in me. I promised her I was hers for whatever reason, and so I am. That’s enough to warrant me the right to keep in contact with my family.

When I really think about it though, what a beautiful person old Kee can be, especially when she laughs. Nobody has quite the laugh she has. I used to think Mara’s came close, but Mara is too serious. Seth is too, just like Mara; he’s too much like his mother for his own good. My little doll Ariza was never like that. Then again, Ariza has never been around Mara.

Now that I think about it even when Kee was around Mara she acted strangely. In no way did she lose her sense of humor, but something about her seemed different. There was a certain hint of something I’ve never recognized in anyone else’s voice before lacing her words.

I think if Ariza ever became as serious as Mara or Seth, I wouldn’t know what to do. You’re probably wondering if I even love my wife Mara. You and I both, buddy. Don’t start judging me now, though. If you only knew the half of it you wouldn’t be so quick to judge. No, never mind that. If you only knew even one third of it, you would at least show some compassion about the situation.

That’s not what I’m here to tell you, however. I need to lay some stuff on the table because I actually have some confessions to make.

Let me just start by saying my boy Seth is a beacon of light. I can tell, already. Ariza represents laughter in the darkness, but Seth doesn’t require any laughter. He just lights up a room with his stupid little face. He just tumbles around and everybody smiles.

That’s good. I admit that’s really good. I hate how serious he is, but with his charm, he can afford to be that. Mara can’t. If I got anybody who knew her as well as I do to think about it: who has Mara ever made smile except for me? They’d all reach the same conclusion: nobody. She can’t even make Seth smile, and she’s his mother. What a worthless woman. She’s absolutely nothing like Keely. It’s important to make your kid smile.

Don’t get me wrong. Before she became pregnant she at least loved me. Maybe she still loves me. I guess I don’t care. I’m not sure if I ever loved her. I must have told her I did. I don’t remember ever thinking I did.

Why did I marry her? That’s one of those good questions that goes unanswered. While there’s an answer to that, I’m sure; I’m just not as interested in learning it as I am about other things. Among the things infinitely more interesting than that woman are, fortunately for you, the stories I need to share with you.

I began with my boy Seth being a source of light and Ariza being a source of laughter. This is because these things never seem to stray from my mind. They are certainties, whereas everything else seems to come and go. Some days Mara resembles the woman I used to know her to be, and others she becomes an unrecognizable witch of a woman.

Before I explain more I need to call Kee. I need to figure out how old Ariza is. I really can’t remember. That’s another one of those not so certain things: my memory.

Let me just remember that number. What was it? Were there… Oh, yes.

I’m dialing it right now. I really am. I actually remembered it.

One ring, two rings, three…Ah, here we are.

“Hello?” Strange – a man’s voice answered. Why would there be a man in Keely’s house? She hasn’t moved on has she? Maybe after all these years… No, it’s impossible. Don’t allow me to get started on wondering about that.

“Hello, Amos speaking, can you put Keely on?” Of course Keely would bethere. Where else would she be? She hasn’t left that house once since she met me.

Yet that creep responded with a lie, “You got the wrong number, again,” and then I was left with the dial tone. Why would he hang up before hearing my response? Sure, it would have been something along the lines of, “Are you sure,” and as a liar he would surely have said, “Yes.” However, there is such a thing as phone etiquette and being polite.

The strange thing was how I thought I heard him say, “again,” but I must have been hearing things. He did hang up so fast.

Then again, maybe I actually did get the wrong number. I doubt it, but I may have. I am at least always fair. Do you see now how uncertain everything is? Should I look her up? I really ought to know how old my own daughter is.

Another time, I guess. I’ve gone this long. I always get to wondering how I can go so long without doing certain things that I should. Calling Kee is always one of them.

Anyway, when I was waiting for Kee to answer I heard my little Seth in the other room. I better go check on the boy. “Seth, my boy, where are you, son?”

I pulled the already ajar door wide open to find my Seth on his head like some kind of toddler acrobat or something. This is the type of thing Ariza may have done at his age except she would have been smiling and laughing slyly, probably saying, “Look at me, daddy, aren’t you proud?” Always, love. I revel in your achievements as if they are my own.

Seth, on the other hand, looks frightened and maybe even angry as his blood rushes down to his head. The kind of angry on his face is almost accusatory, and that’s strange on a boy his age. I can hardly bear to look at him. “Stop it, boy. You’re going red.”

He fell forward and let his body make hard impact with the carpet. “Up, boy, it’s filthy down there.” He sat crisscross, arm over arm. That’s fine by me.

Wait. Did he start humming? I know this song. I know it. I love it. What is this? All of a sudden I’m excited. I should pick him up and dance. What a delightful, sweet boy. He needs to know I love him. He needs this memory of me. We can make one happy memory before bed time.

He needs to know I love his mom, even if I don’t. They have to believe I do. I love them, right? Kee… That angel, I swear I’ll curse her. They need to know I loved them. They need to.
What is he humming? I love it so much. “Seth, you’re one talented son of a gun you know that?” I picked him up and kissed him on the forehead, spinning around the room with him. Then I noticed his face. It still looked angry. How creepy.

Wait. “Stop, Seth! Stop,” I know now. It’s Peggy Lee’s He’s a Tramp. Curse Disney. Of all the songs for this boy to pick up, he picked up this one. When was he watching Lady and the Tramp anyway? Seth stops humming, and starts giggling.

“Mara,” I say this again, watching Seth who is humming again, but looking at me, confused, “Get in here, Mara. What have you done?”

Can she not hear me?

Then, Seth cries out, “Mama!” She comes running.

“What on earth have you done?” By now I’m crying. Just seeing that blonde hair and her small, serious face I could strangle her.

She has such tiny features. Although, she has rather large, round eyes that are actually a becoming shade of light brown. I think it’s a different color. Was it maple?

Hazel. The color is hazel. She has such big hazel eyes and such small lashes that she cakes in mascara. I hate that. It just looks bad and draws attention to what’s missing. Those eyes, though I could get lost in. I want to focus on them, but they make me miss Kee’s bright green, happy eyes that always had laughter spilling from the ducts. Everything about Mara makes me wish for Kee.

She is staring me down with her hands on her bony hips. It’s unbearable. I can’t take it. This is where Seth gets it. Seth gets everything from this woman. I didn’t even name my son. If it were up to me it would have been a much stronger name. I think I may have named him Covus, after my grandfather. I never really cared for the name, but it’s preferable to Seth.
“Stop staring at me, woman. What do you want from me? Why did you let my son watch that movie? You promised.”

She widened her eyes so that all I could notice about her were her outraged eyes. They were huge and penetrating. She was pointing these two high beam flashlights at me, as if I had a crime to confess to in the dark on the side of the highway or something. That’s what this reminds me of. Something like a sobriety test. She was staring into my soul. “Did you mean that?” What?

“Did I mean what? Did you mean it? You made a promise, here, not me. What’s going on? I never knew you were stupid too, Mara, woman.”

Is she walking towards me? I fear I will slap her. Forgive me later. If I have to, this time, I will do it. She knows what I’m like. This isn’t my fault.

“Woman?” she yells. She takes out the daggers all over again, staring at me, merciless. “Is that what I am? Am I just a woman now? Seth is your son and I’m ‘Woman’. He isn’t our son. I’m not your wife. Is that what you mean, Man?”

To be perfectly honest Seth is my son and Mara is a woman and I do mean that. Obviously she is my wife and Seth is her son too, but if we’re being honest, we’ve never been a family. She knows this. Don’t let her kid you. She feels the same way. She let my son watch the movie I told her to just keep him away from, and for good reason too.

“Keely was —” I began, ready to remind her of the vow she dishonored, but she opened her mouth before I was able to finish. She said that Keely was — wait.

“Keely was a wonderful woman, Amos. Isn’t it such a shame she’s dead?” Mara said.

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