Part 2. Ethan
Their kitchen always smelled like freshly baked banana cake, Ethan’s favorite sweet his Mama used to cook for him on Sundays. He could be used to mom’s strictness when she’d have forbidden to take a piece of it, hot and covered with smooth milk cream, but he had never left the attempts.
“Don’t touch it, young man!” she would have said again and again every Sunday as it was a tradition before eating the cake. “Or you won’t get it ’till supper”.
He knew it was only a playful strictness, less serious forbidding than a game that made Ethan and his mom happy about that they could find a point to laugh together so easily. So he always got his cake with cold lemon tea and went to his Play Station. Mom and dad would have allowed him to glue himself to a game for two or even three hours, but after that he’d have gone outdoors to play baseball with daddy or friends.
Every Sunday Ethan would have felt like the happiest boy in the world.
But the last Sunday was the exception, because it was his parents’ day, a much more special day than ever. They’d been married for twenty years and they wanted to celebrate the date in a special way, with romantic atmosphere of the warm summer evening, under the deep sky full of starlights and eating delicious food all together. Being in his ten, Ethan was old enough to see how important that day was for mom and dad. They loved each other so much that Ethan sometimes felt jealous.
“Don’t tell Mommy, okay?” his father said, wrapping the gift he bought for Ethan’s mother a few days ago. It was a pendant that consisted of thin gold chain and a diamond, shimmering so brightly that the boy couldn’t look at the jewel without narrowing his eyes.
“Of course,” he answered. “But I won’t tell you about her gift as well”. Ethan smiled slightly and laughed when his father did the same.
“I know you won’t, lad,” he said, “because you’re an honest one, aren’t you?”
“I’m not a small kid, so don’t talk to me like that!”
Ethan adored his parents. He could sware he needed nothing but them, so kind and loving, who had never bother each other or their son with arguments or pointless conflicts. Once he’d told his friend Ron about how nice and peaceful and funny their life is, hoping to get excited compliments to retell his parents. But Ron went sad and unenthusiastic suddenly.
“It’s impossible,” he murmured.
“Just because… It’s life, it can’t be that good.”
His parents wanted a divorce, Ethan knew that. He calmed himself down, because there wasn’t any reason to blame Ron in saying such terrible things. The boy believed it was true. But Ethan knew that the life definitely could be as happy as it was in his house. So he said nothing.
“Okay, give it up, Mike,” mom laughed when her husband began playing with the box, wrapped in gold-and-silver shining paper. He was kidding his wife, seeming like he didn’t want to share the gift. Ethan laughed too. Then he turned his gaze away when dad presented mother the diamond pendant and they kissed. The boy was sure that his happy smile will never fade. And nobody can spoil his perfect, rarely true life that included everything he needed or wanted to have. His parents – his stars and Suns, lands and seas, who seemed as great and beautiful as King and Queen – were more than just a couple who tought their precious child how to be good and behave. They wanted to be his protection, to give him a chance to live as really happy people do. Ethan always felt it when they bought him a new game, or went to cinema with him, or promised to have a dog and kept their word. Ethan knew they would never let him know that family can be fragile or fall apart. And he knew precisely it would never happen to his family.
A sudden splash of white light appeared in the air near Ethan, returning him to the reality, crashing asphalt into pieces with terrible sound. Ethan gasped and moved backward as quickly as he could, trying to save his leg from the fire, all his thoughts mixed up in his mind at that moment. He couldn’t remember where he was and what was going on. He suddenly realized he was sitting under the bridge, it was raining outside and thunder could be heard from somewhere far away in the low gray sky. Ethan felt a shiver up and down his spine when he saw a pothole full of smoke on that place where lightning striked the ground.
And then Ethan recalled. The thoughts returned to him unexpectedly and painfully like if somebody punched him in the head.
He’d left home. Being the ten-year-old schoolboy who was afraid of spiders, Ethan had left his home behind and hidden in the downtown far from his street. He’d left his parents.
No, he hadn’t just left them, he’d run from them, from them both. They were arguing again, shouting at each other, ignoring their crying son. Ethan left exactly at the moment when father rised his hand over his wife.
The boy doubted he’ll ever want to come back again. Not to them, not now, it’s better to never go there at all. Was I dreaming?
Yes, he definitely had been.