Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler

 

premature fiction

Time For Bed

They said Gabriel is dead, but they’re lying. They hadn’t shown them any pic­tures. They just didn’t want to tell all the kids they didn’t know where he went.

He went to Mexico. He always said he would. He’s prob­a­bly not there yet, but that’s where he’s going. He prob­a­bly just got to the Aquaduct way over past Livermore. That’s a cou­ple hours in a car, but not as far as the Pacific Ocean. He’s prob­a­bly camped there on the bank or sleep­ing in someone’s barn or some­thing. Or maybe still going.

He’ll walk down the canal until he gets to Los Angeles and then find Jaime’s cousin who will take him to Mexico. He’ll be there next week.

He should have told me. He could have tak­en my old back pack and some of the food at the back of the cup­board mom always for­gets she has.

Why did they tell us he died? That was stu­pid. They should have said he moved away.

Time for bed, kid­do.”

Why is every­one act­ing so weird?

You okay?”

Yeah.” He’s not dead.

It’s been a tough day, huh?”

I guess.” Maybe not every­one knows.

You know, you don’t have to go to school tomor­row if you don’t want to.”

What?” Just the police and the prin­ci­pal.

You can stay home from school.”

Why?”

Because of Gabriel. Because of what hap­pened to him today.”

Okay.” Nothing hap­pened. He just ran away.

You want to stay home?”

I dun­no.” Why won’t she just stop act­ing dumb?

Well, we’ll see in the morn­ing, alright?”

Yeah.”

You sure you don’t want to talk about it?”

Yes, you wouldn’t get it. “Time for bed.”

Alone, with the light off and the smell of the orchard at the end of the block com­ing through the win­dow, it’s easy to see Gabriel on the canal. He’s walk­ing in the moon­light. He’s not afraid of any­thing. He’s just walk­ing along.

I bet he took it with him. Maybe not. It’s kind of heavy, but it changed every­thing a lit­tle bit. Just for day or two, but that’s what prob­a­bly gave him the idea. If he could go in and take that thing just like that, then why not go to Mexico?

I won­der if his Mom and Dad know. They shouldn’t wor­ry. He’s just fine in the moonlight…walking along…going to Mexico…because he’s not afraid…not anymore…not since the oth­er day…not dead…just gone…didn’t say goodbye…somebody would have told…he just went…in the moon…gone…