September 20, 2001
The next day, we went shopping for the things we’d need on our trip. This included new clothes for Grant, which I was more than relieved about. After at least four days in the same ripped jeans, black T-shirt, and the torn-up thing that slightly resembled a hoodie, I was becoming increasingly concerned about how not changing might hinder his wellbeing.
Trying not to spend any more money than I had to, we stopped by the local super Target.
Grant seemed to have no problem with this, quickly selecting some tees and pairs of jeans in his size in the Men’s section. After trying one of his chosen outfits on at my insistance to see if they fit, he happily threw them into the shopping cart and suggested that we move on to other parts of the store.
As we navigated the Women’s section for extensions of my own wardrobe, I did my best to sneakily keep an eye on Grant. What started as simply making sure I didn’t lose him amongst the aisles soon turned to an examination of his features.
In the midst of the average shoppers that usually crowded the store, he looked shockingly normal. Had I not witnessed every strange twist and turn he had caused in the past few days firsthand, I would assume he was just a regular guy. Leaning against our cart with a pleasantly absentminded expression, he seemed like such a far cry from the homeless, suicidal amnesiac I had met four days earlier.
After we had purchased a reasonable amount of clothes, toiletries, and other travel necessities, we headed out to load the car with our finds. Once we had moved all of our bags into the XT’s trunk, I turned to him. “You hungry?”
He nodded. “I could eat.”
Hearing that, I drove to the nearest burger joint.
“So, Grant,” I said, putting down my burger after taking a bite. “Do you have any idea how you got to Stoneview?”
Grant shrugged, not looking at me as he repetitively dipped a French fry into his ketchup. “I know about as much as you do.”
I sighed, turning my attention back to my meal. “So nothing, then?”
Grant smiled solemnly, popping the fry in his mouth. “Exactly.”
I picked at the lettuce on my burger, disappointed. I couldn’t help but think that we’d be a lot more sucessful if Grant had some leads to give me, but he really did seem to have forgotten everything about his life, except for a neatly drawn line that extended through six states. Even Amy couldn’t tell me what I was supposed to do with him.
It seemed no one could tell me anything these days.
Our waitress returned to our table. She smiled down at us. I recognized that forced grin from personal experience.
“Can I get you guys anything?” she asked, her voice high and chirpy in a way that could only be fake.
I shook my head, pushing the remains of my burger aside. “Just the check, please.”
“Gotcha.” She made a turn on her heel, the heels of her shoes clicking across the floor as she made her trek back to the kitchen.
I made sure to leave her a decent tip when we left.
When we returned to my apartment, Grant and I went our seperate ways without speaking. He settled in front of the TV one last time before we hit the road, and I went to my room to pack my bags. It was an unanimous decision.
Once in my bedroom, I pulled my suitcase from the top of my closet. It was yet another one of my father’s presents that I never used the way he wanted me to, part of the caricature of who my parents wanted me to be. Of course, the girl who was supposed to turn into that ideal April disappeared when Amy did. Luckily, Angeline was there to pick up her pieces and use them for herself; judging by the fact that she was now studying abroad on an island in French Polynesia, I’d say she did a pretty good job.
At least I had remained loyal to Amy. There was bound to be a good reason why I was her favorite.
Throwing the suitcase onto the bed, I clicked it open and began to throw in my choice of carry-ons. Unsure of how long exactly we’d be away, I packed a few extra outfits of various sorts to go along with my new clothes. Once the basics were covered, I moved onto the extras. Due to the fact that I wasn’t much of a reader and didn’t have the time or personality for hobbies, these were mostly the sentimentalities of years and people gone by, the things I could never bring myself to let go of, no matter where I went.
First came the scrapbook that I put together during my sixteenth summer. Then there was the journal that I never actually wrote in, mostly keeping it around to reminisce over the more angst-filled entries from years past.
Finally, there was the Libra necklace. I cradled that one gently in the palm of my hand, viewing it as something fragile, though the scale at the end was one of the strongest forces on Earth and beyond.
I sat it aside on my bedside table, preparing it for the next day.
That night, Grant and I indulged in another TV dinner, this time having been prepared in the microwave.
Healthy eating would have to wait for another time.
After eating, I went to brush my teeth and change into my pajamas. When I returned to the living room, Grant was already passed out on the couch. I couldn’t help but smile, envying how easy it was for him to sleep, whenever and wherever.
“Goodnight, I guess.”
I stood in the middle of the living room for a while, pondering what I should do next. I briefly considered going back onto the balcony, though I eventually decided against it due to the way it ended last time.
I looked up at the clock. Ten PM. If I went to bed, I’d be able to get an early start the next morning.
I returned to my room, cutting out the lights and yanking the sheets aside. I climbed under the covers, pulling the blankets up to my chin. With that, I put my head on my pillow and shut my eyes.
After a few minutes, they popped open again. I climbed back out of bed, rummaging in the drawers of my nightstand.
I finally came up with a Ziploc bag from the bottom drawer. I opened the bag, withdrawing an orange plastic bottle. I turned the bottle’s cap before shaking a few of the dusty white capsules into my hand.
Though I hadn’t frequently utilized the pills since my therapist perscribed them to me at our last visit, I figured the sooner I fell asleep, the sooner I’d be able to kickstart the next day.
Pouring all of the pills back into the bottle with the exception of two, I grabbed the bottle of water I left by the bed. Tilting my head back, I popped the pills into my mouth and lifted the water to my lips.
With that, I got back into bed. Eyes closed once more, I let sleep carry me away, as gentle and quick as the autumnal breeze outside of my window.