Jason Gershwin discovered that old skateboard one late July evening he had off from his summer job at the town pool, after shuffling through the attic to find a few extra things to pack in his bags to take off to college. The dust circulating through the whole thing was almost unbearable, and he was ninety percent sure the entire time he’d fall through the roof just like in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Amidst the trash his dad kept due to his overwhelming addiction to old collectibles, Jason had discovered both his skateboard, and an old photo album of his parents in college. Sneaking down to his room, past his family, who were all downstairs, reminiscing about old times with Jason without him actually being there, he shut his door and locked it. Dropping the skateboard to the floor of his bedroom, he flopped beside it, and flipped open the photo album. A picture of Whizzer laughing, one of Cordelia cooking, one of Marvin halfway buried in the sand, Trina kneeled proudly beside him, another of Mendel studying at his desk, hard at work. He smiled at the pictures of his parents, an excitement rushing through him as he remembered that he might be able to have a close friend group like they had (and still have, that was obvious.) Time seemed to pass quicker than he realized, since after what felt like a few minutes, though it was probably more of an hour or so, his dad came to stand outside his bedroom door.
“Jason, what are you doing?” Whizzer knocked on his door in his signature greeting, to the tune of one Beatles song or another. Jason scrambled to shove the skateboard underneath his bed, before reaching over to unlock his bedroom door. His dad walked in, and saw the photo album. Quickly grabbing it, he clutched it tight to his chest, away from Jason’s grabbing hands.
“Why can’t I look at it? I think it’s cute,” Jason pursed his lips, Whizzer shaking his head with a laugh. He cracked open the book, careful to hide the pages from the prying eyes of his son, and flipped through a few of them.
“Trust me, there are a lot of pictures in here that you do not want to see,” He snorted, and slammed it shut. Setting it on Jason’s desk, he surveyed the practically barren room. The grin on his face faded slightly, and he swallowed roughly. His son rested a hand on his shoulder, and realized with a start that he was almost as tall as Whizzer by now. Taking a deep breath, his dad shot him a sad smile, eyes already wet with tears as he was reminded of the fact that his only son was going to leave in a month or so. Eyes flickering around the room, they eventually landed on the skateboard, which was peeking out from underneath Jason’s bed. Furrowing his eyebrows, Whizzer reached forwards, and grabbed onto it, tugging it out from its hiding space.
“Where’d you find this? I thought I burnt it, or some shit,” Whizzer flipped it over in his hands. Jason tucked his own hands into his pockets, blushing furiously. The patterns on it were faded, and chipped, due to the weathering and temperature the attic had forced upon it for the last ten years or so.
“I spotted it in the attic when I was up there a little bit ago. That’s where I found the photo album, too,” He gestured to the photo album now perched on the edge of his desk. “I didn’t look anywhere else, though. I learned my lesson after I found all of those polaroids of-” Whizzer turned bright red, and shushed him loudly.
“Jason!” He snapped, voice higher than it would usually be. “Please, don’t talk about that. I try not to remember that awful day.” He handed the skateboard to Jason, who glanced up at him in surprise.
“I thought you hated this thing. Why are you giving it to me?” He raised an eyebrow, and Whizzer shrugged, scooping up the photo album into his arms in order to keep it safe.
“I trust you enough to not go back or forwards in time,” He told Jason. “Besides, you could probably just use it was a regular skateboard to get around campus.” With that, he turned, and marched out of his son’s room, most likely heading downstairs to show the photo album to his family members. Though, it was probably just Marvin now. That’s what it sounded like, anyhow. He had heard the front door open and close about twice, with fading voices outside. He regretted not saying goodbye to his family members, but dismissed it with a shrug. Jason propped the skateboard against the side of his bedroom wall, watching it carefully, and then ducked into the bathroom to splash some water in his face in order to get rid of his red cheeks.
After staring at himself in the mirror for a few minutes, Jason stepped from the bathroom, about to disappear back into his room, when the small sound of crying caught his attention from the living room downstairs. Scrunching up his nose, he crept down the stairs, that peered into both the foyer, the dining room, and the living room. He silently shifted so that he was facing where the sounds were seemingly coming from. His father, Marvin, was rubbing Whizzer’s back reassuringly, both men with their backs to the stairs as Whizzer cried into his hands.
The photo album was open on the coffee table, to a page filled to the brim with people Jason only distantly recognized. Marvin leaned in, and tugged Whizzer closer to his chest, allowing his husband to soak up his shirt with his tears. Peering closer, Jason squinted his eyes, and realized that the pictures were filled with Whizzer as a young boy, and Whizzer’s father. His heart dropped to his stomach.
“I just..I just wish I could still talk to him, you know?” Whizzer’s muffled voice came from the shadows of Marvin’s lumbering body, who was still holding him tightly. “He’s a piece of shit, but he’s my dad. I still love him.” Marvin glanced towards the front door, and Jason jumped back into the shadows of the darkened upstairs.
“Honey, I know,” Marvin cooed, wrapping his arms around Whizzer’s shoulders as they shifted to face each other. “But there’s no way you could have done anything else. You did everything you can. The problem was with him, not you.” Whizzer sniffled, and nodded slowly, before breaking back down. Marvin tugged him close, as if protecting him from everything else in the room, and didn’t speak again. Jason stumbled back up the stairs, heart pounding in his throat. He was not supposed to hear that. Racing to his room, he dropped himself onto his bed, taking in a deep breath. He could no longer hear Whizzer crying, or the rustles of Marvin’s comforting rubs against his back. Jason was heartbroken his father could not have a good relationship with his own dad. Though, there was nothing he could do for the situation -
Shooting up into a sitting position, he eyed the now shadowed skateboard, since the sun was setting outside, and leapt up. He grabbed the skateboard, and ran downstairs, pretending to ignore his fathers in the living room.
“I’m going out!” He called to them gleefully, his heart lifting with every thought of how much good he could do with the skateboard. “See you guys later!”
“Alright, love you sweetheart! Don’t stay out too late!” Marvin replied from the living room, as Whizzer was certainly not able to. Jason didn’t hear him, though, he was already out the door, and in the garage. Holding the skateboard tightly, he dropped it onto the ground, and sped down the driveway, since it was on a slight hill, same as his lesbian aunts. Skating down the road, he took in the sights and the sounds of his neighborhood for a final time before the second time travel he would ever complete in his entire life came onto him. Breathing in a breath of that New Jersey air, he smiled, and took on speed, before clamping his eyes shut and pleading to the sky, along with whatever God above, to be sent back to when his parents were in college.
Cracking his eyes open, he realized there was a stinging pain coming from both of his palms, and a blond girl stood in front of him, a worried expression on her face. She looked to be a senior in college. He blinked at her, and smiled.
“Are you alright? That was quite a fall,” She questioned him, extending her hand. “I’m Cordelia Stevens, your campus tour guide for today.”