Like any July morning in New York, a suffocating hot blanket of a million Vallium had been thrown into the wind for all to breathe in. Eli opened his eyes and immediately faced the day as any 13 year old boy would even through the heat, with anticipation for what the day held, a kind of benign enthusiasm for all things untried waiting to be discovered. Then his reality set in on just how achievable those desires were and a gradual diminishing of hope would unravel him, but on this morning, more so.
Recollections of the night before:
Belle coming into his room, off her face on coke and calling him by his father’s name. Hurling abuse at him…warranted, if he were in fact his father, Raife.
Nothing out of the ordinary, these antics after Belle had spent time with Raife were a matter of routine. Eli figured it was what his mother needed to cleanse away disappointment from Raife’s promises delivered as sure as the sun rises and broken as sure as the sun sets. His mother could be with anyone, such is the superficiality of the modelling industry, but she only ever seemed to want the one man who constantly let her down, rejected her, as if his inability to fall before her beauty made him a Super Hero. He had walked out on them about 72 hours after Eli was born for another woman and returned every now and then to have his ego stroked, only to leave again after he had consumed her. It was like a bad Poker game where they both knew the biggest bullshitter at the table was always gonna leave with the cash, but they sat down to play anyway.
Something about the previous night was different though and Eli tried to recall what it was. Then he remembered and tears welled and poured down his beautiful cheeks and he covered his face with his long fingers at the memory. He rolled to his side and stared out the window for what seemed like a re-run of his whole life in slow motion. Eli was not like kids his age and not by choice. The first time his mother met up with Raife again, he was 8 years old and he watched them drive off from her apartment on 28th ST, fuelled with a fire, like two over-passionate lovers eloping. He waited for them to come back for 3 days and those 3 days were the scariest days in Eli’s whole life so far. He had his little sister beside him and all he could do was reassure her that Mummy was just playing hide and seek with them while he opened up tins cans for dinner. When she did return, she acted like he was being needy and announced that she no longer wanted to be called Mummy, but Belle instead. He realised that these trips away were only just beginning and he was right, only the more he looked like he could handle it, the longer she was away, once for as long as 3 months.
It was during the 3 month trip that Eli concluded that she was never coming back. So he grabbed his sister’s hand and led her downstairs, out onto the street with a fiddle and a clarinet and they made enough money each day to buy some food. They became quite good and a feature in that neck of the woods, no less for Eli’s beauty. People would go there JUST to see them, so they continued to do it, even when she returned.
Like his mother, Eli was undoubtedly beautiful. He had the best of both worlds genetically, an Italian/Spanish mother who was not a dancer, but dance itself and an English aristocratic father from a theatre family who had their ancestry with Shakespeare. It seemed like a perfect alchemy of gene pools and if nothing else, they did that part right. Together they created a child who had extraordinary beauty, the kind of beauty that was myth making with the darkness of his hair framing sky blue eyes so other worldly, that to to look into them was like looking into the infinite. His compassion however, so developed for someone so young, was what made him exceptional.