An unlit, half-smoked cigarette is perched between his lips as he leans back against the trunk of a dead tree. Probably dried out from the California sun, too much heat for it to keep going without moisture to balance it all out. He doesn’t hide in the shadows like he’s used to doing.
Not here, where nothing remains but hollowed-out mobile homes and the rats who like to infest them. Dirty homeless who come to claim the land after even the undesirables couldn’t call it home anymore. Tymmie doesn’t need to hide when there’s nobody here that will recognize him, will try to reach out to him like this is an episode of Oprah.
His mouth tastes of stale tobacco and cheap beer, his clothes reeking of dirt and even cheaper perfume from the girl he was with earlier. He had siphoned hope from her like he used to siphon gas from sitting cars to help get his stupid, broke mother back and forth to work so she could break her back over and over again to keep them fed. Clothed. Homed. And sometimes, she’d break herself to get that new pair of shoes everyone else would be jealous of, only to have to break it some more to pay the hospital bills when he got his ass kicked and new shoes stolen.
The best thing he did for her was leave.
The best thing he could have done was get swept away with the other homeless kids.
The best was to let Stanton drag him in until he was drowning.
The girl’s hope swims in his veins, but it gives him only a mild buzz. He needs more. Desperately needs more. Needs it more than the ache in his arms and the sweet relief that comes from the shit strong than cheap booze and cheaper girls.
He takes the cigarette out from between his lips, rolls it between his fingers as he watches the graveyard of poverty.
Tymmie can’t pinpoint the reason why he comes here. Maybe because it’s the last time he had any real hope of his own. The last time he knew, without a doubt, what love was. Love was a washed out teenage mother who grew frail and cried and let men touch her at night so her crying bastards would shut up for five seconds.
What a pitiful, sad excuse for fucking love.
Best thing he could have done for himself was get the hell out and let it all go.
A hollowness rings in his chest as he grits his teeth and ignores the way he imagines warm hands would feel on his cheeks, fingers through hair that used to be black and long and washed.
He pretends he doesn’t remember his mother’s voice when he’s all alone.
Except for right now, he can let himself remember for a minute or two.
Soon, they were going to eradicate hope and love from the world. He’s going to help smash it to pieces and leave it as desolate as his old home is now. Without it, the world can move on. The world can be a shitty place with everyone on the bottom rung. They can fucking mire in it with him, desperately seeking for things that no longer exist.
They can feel that hollow burning in their chest.
A giddy sort of laugh bubbles from his lips as he places the cigarette back between them. He doesn’t light it. He doesn’t need to, at least not here. He’s lit enough fires in this hellhole for one lifetime, and there’s an entire world that needs to burn before he finishes the rest of this cancer stick anyway.