Bleeding For Caleb

By River

Chapter One

There's this old couch that my cousin has in his apartment he shares with his girlfriend. It's old as Hell and smells like ancient piss. You can see it was never elegant, even under all the dirt and sweat and piss and God knows what else, you can see it may be even uglier. Regardless, I love it. It's been my bed ever since I moved in when I was 7 and Adam, my cousin, was finally able to get custody of me 'cause he turned 18. I still sleep there but I'm not a little kid anymore.

I'm 16 now and was 15 when it all started and it's never been an easy life. But Adam has killer taste in women and Audrey's the real thing. I love her, and if she hadn't been my "mother" for 7 years, I was sure I'd be head over heels. I don't think there'll ever be a girl as good as her. She bought the couch. She wasn't living with Adam when I first moved in, but they were together. I don't know for sure where she got the piece of shit, but I bet you it used to belong to her brother, Nate. He throws a lot of parties and I bet all sorts of people sleep on his couches.

I'm lying on it now. And even though I'm not the tallest guy, I have to curl up to fit on it. I don't care though. I can honestly tell you that of all the important things that have happened in my life, probably about 50% of them have occurred on this shitty old couch.

Lessee... right. When I was 9 I got my mutt, Skipper, sitting on there. I was slouched up on it doing some homework when something came flying through the open window and landed on my lap. It was this little ball of fur that didn't hardly have its eyes open yet. It cowered and pissed in the corner of the couch before nestling itself in the crook of my arm. Adam was in the room and he jumped out the window to see how the Hell a little pup could come flying through our window. Turned out the crazy lady next door had a bitch who'd given birth recently. When she found the puppies, she flung 'em all away (don't ask me why). Adam didn't tell me that though, especially since I expect most of the pups wound up dead. He saw how me and Skipper'd taken to each other and told me that, obviously, he'd smelled me across the street and decided I smelled so damn good that he'd have to get to me even if he'd have to fly there.

I picked up bass on it too. I was 11, Adam had some old friend staying over, touring with his band. I went to their show and I thought he was excellent. I think his name was either Jackyl or Jackie or something. Anyway, he slept on the floor in the living room next to my couch and I woke up in the middle of the night and saw his bass propped up against the wall near my feet, and all of a sudden I got the urge. I couldn't resist. I picked it up, plugged it in and plucked at it. Naturally, I really sucked, but Jackyl awoke and got up to help me out. We were up till morning. He taught me to play one of his favorites, an old Clash song, along with some basic scales. He told Adam I was a natural when he walked in, and said he'd like to teach me the rest of his stay. It was the summer and I sat on the couch every day and just played and played. At the end of the week Jackyl and his band had to head on to the next city, but he gave me a fucked up old bass before he left. I think it may be the best gift anyone has ever given me. I still have it, but I don't use it. See, a year ago Adam told me Jackyl had died of an overdose and when he came back from the funeral he brought Jackyl's beloved bass and amp along with him for me. It was all he'd left in the world and now it's mine. I treat it like I'd treat my child. I prop it up against the wall at the base of my couch right where I first saw it that one night.

I had my first wet dream on it. I woke up and I remember being astonished. The feelings I had then weren't of embarrassment or even confusion, just anger. It had been years since I'd kicked the habit of peeing in the bed. I'd worked so hard to stop, and it just didn't seem fair of whatever divine spirit that controlled everything to have me pee again. I thought Adam would be mad, so I was surprised when he just laughed. He said, "Congrats, Mikey, although I can bet you that's definitely not the most jizz that old couch has seen in its day." I love Adam. He can make jokes like that to 12-year-olds, and you'll still laugh even though you have no idea what "jizz" is or why he's congratulating you for pissing on your bed. It was all right though, Aud explained it all to me the next morning. They were both very open and frank about that sort of thing, but Aud was the one who really helped me through puberty or whatever.

One time Adam was throwing a party like he does from time to time. It was for the celebration of the CD release of Audrey's brother's band, Agitated. I was bored and annoyed because I could only sit on my couch and not lay down because some couple was making out on the other end. And the only kids there seemed all to be younger. I was falling asleep when someone poked a stick of gum into my open mouth. I jumped up to see a skinny little boy grinning at me. He's my best friend now. His name's Milo and his parents were the ones making out on my couch. Milo and I had a lot of fun hanging that night so I forgave them. We don't go to the same school now but every day he comes to mine 'cause his lets out earlier and we hang out. I've never met someone who's so much fun but at the same time understanding and all that stuff that's pretty important in a friend.

And of course I lost my virginity on my couch. I was 14 and I invited my girlfriend Wendy over while Adam and Aud were out at some art exhibition. Seriously, she initiated it all on her own. I mean, I was the one who started kissing her, but it was just because it was raining and she started talking about it all excited. It really turned me on. I mean, not her body, but her mouth. When she got excited like that, she hardly seemed to open it at all, just the littlest bit, and she kept biting her lip while she thought and she'd spurt out little poems she'd made up just right then. All about the rain. Her mouth was moving so fast, spouting beautiful little nowhere poems that she'd forget in a minute, and I had to kiss it. She was the one who moved it on from there. Which was fine with me, I guess. She was a great fuck, I mean, she came first, but she kept at it just for me. We're still friends, me and Wendy. She's bound for great things. I know it sounds corny, but it's true, I can tell. You know that saying about some people: "a bad joke for every occasion"? Well that's Wendy, 'cept for her it's "a kick-ass poem for every occasion." Seriously, it's true. You'll never meet an artist like Wendy. She's the definition.

Like I said though, it all started when I was 15. It was 2 months after my birthday and Adam was having a party. Days after, I still didn't understand what happened. I mean, I wasn't sure I should mention this event to anyone because I wasn't sure if it was important. All I knew was that I'd been thinking about it nonstop. It'd really been on my mind. What had happened was, at the party, I was on the old couch as usual, talking to this chick, Alyssa, when a fight breaks out. That usually doesn't happen at Adam's parties, but it did this time, and the loser fell right into my lap. For the first moment all I could register were the eyes. Beautiful gray-green eyes, rimmed with fine dark lashes, glaring up at me. Then he got up. He. Caleb. I'd never seen him before and I didn't see him for a long while afterwards, but I couldn't get his fucking eyes out of my head.

What it meant, I didn't know. God, I didn't know. All I did know was I couldn't go to sleep without seeing his eyes, and when I woke up, sure enough, they were there, glaring up at me in my head. In my head. So many things go on in my head. When I was little I used to think that maybe everyone around me was a robot and that scientists were watching me, and laughing. I don't know what it has to do with this, but it shows just how fucked up I can be. Sometimes I think I'm going crazy, I think into things way too much. But this time, no matter how much I dwelled on it, I was just running circles.


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