The idea behind this particular story, came from a discussion I had in the comment section of a post, by the awesome Violet VanDoren. I had promised her, and another awesome writer, Michelle Mueller, to try my hand at writing a romantic story, a genre that I dread and fear so much to write in.
So here goes nothing:
Chapter 1: Little Jake Winkler:
Let me tell you about the curious case of Little Jake Winkler. He suffered from a very rare condition. It is not known if it was in his DNA, or if a curse was cast on him at the day of his birth, but he was sure it was the latter if you asked him about it.
You see, Jake’s presence, at any given moment, stirred different kinds of emotions in the people around him. Now, you can argue that this is the case for any human being. You could object to Jake’s uniqueness by saying that any human, upon encountering another, will stir some kind of an emotion in him. But Jake was, in fact, unique. The emotions he evoked were gender specific, so to speak. He stirred negative emotions in females like fear, anger, disgust, and annoyance. On the flip side, respect, love, and admiration were the emotions exhibited by the males who interacted with him.
Of course, not all encounters with him resulted in either negative or positive emotions, for there was another, unique, reaction to Jake’s presence, one that was shared by most males and females. It was the total ignorance to his very existence. This happened to be how his parents reacted to him, except for the day of his birth, when his mother, Emily, cried happily at the mere sight of him. She held the little baby close to her chest, and let him latch on to her breast, tasting her warm-sweet milk.
On the next day, however, a nurse came rushing out the hospital’s main gate. She held little baby Jake in her arms, and was trying to catch up with his parents, who had completely forgotten about him. This marked the beginning to a year full of suffering and misery for the poor infant. He never got to taste his mother milk after his first twenty-four hours in life had passed, but was forced to drink formula from cold-plastic bottles instead. He had to endure many sleepless nights, because his mother always forgot to feed him. She was almost oblivious to his existence, save for when he cries loud enough, or smells bad enough to annoy her into action.
By the end of his fourth year, Jake’s condition bagan to show its strange symptoms. His sister, Linda, who was three years older than him, hated his guts. Jake learned from experience that he should avoid her if he cherished his life. His father, Frank, was not different from his wife, he almost never interacted with his little son.
But it was not all hate and ignorance in the Winklers’ house, for there was Jake’s oldest brother, John, who was two years older than Linda. Jake’s presence sparked the emotion of love in his big brother. So Jake also learned by experience to stick to his brother’s shadow whenever he was in the house, which didn’t annoy John at all, he was delighted at the mere sight of his brother’s little figure.
Three years past by, and it was time for Jake to embark on a strange journey, and experience different levels of suffering and confusion. It was time to go to school.
On his first day, Jake froze in fear as he watched the school yard boiling with chaos. It started when a small girl of his age saw him, and began to cry. This started a chain reaction of extreme emotions from the other girls. Some of them were also crying, others were trying to let go of their parents’ grip, and go beat that little annoying kid. The boys, however, displayed different types of chaotic behavior, although it was similarly frightening to the poor child. Some of them came rushing toward him, and were extremely interested to know everything about him, others were more direct in their approach, and were asking him if he could become their friend.
Somehow, Jake survived that morning. It helped a lot that he was accompanied by a family member that loved him so much that day, it was his mother, Emily.
Yes, I said his mother, and I know it’s confusing, so let me explain.
It happened on Jake’s sixth birthday. The Winklers were eating breakfast at the food table in the kitchen, when Jake was startled by his mother, who suddenly stood from her chair, and hurried around the table to where the six-year-old was setting. She picked him, hugged him hard, and showered him with kisses. Then she spoke to him in a tone that was strange to his ears, ‘Happy birthday, sweaty’ she said, with tears in her eyes.
She spent the entire day with him. They bought ice cream, went to the zoo, and spent hours in the small amusement park. When it was bedtime, Emily decided to sleep next to her son. Jake was smiling as he felt the warmth of his mother’s chest on his cheek, and he slept to lullabies he never heard before.
When he woke up the next morning, Jake was alone in his bed. He went to the kitchen looking for his mother, expecting to get more hugs and kisses. But, Emily was back to her usual self. She ignored him like she always used to. By midday, the boy had decided that yesterday was simply a dream that never happened. His mother didn’t seem to recall ever taking him to the zoo, and she was so sure that she never hugged, or kissed, him.
Jake’s next birthday happened to be his first day at school. He had a deja vu moment that morning, when his mother rushed to him with tears in her eyes, embracing him so hard that he was straining to get free. She insisted on taking him to school by herself, denying that, yesterday, she had asked his father to take him along with his brother and sister. She was there for him during the morning chaos, shielding him from all the nasty kids.
The rest of the morning was full of confusion for the small boy. He didn’t understand why many girls were harassing him, or why the other boys wouldn’t leave him alone. He wondered why Mrs. Samantha, his homeroom teacher, was yelling at him so much. She complained about many things, like the way he sat in his chair, how he looked at her, and the color of his shoes, which were the same shoes everyone was wearing. It was a morning full of questions, but little Jake didn’t have to dwell on them so much, because his mother came to pick him up early. She couldn’t wait until school was over.
For the rest of the day, Jake had to wonder many times if he was having the same dream from last year. But then his small mind came to another conclusion. He was sure now that he had two mothers, one is his real mom, and the other one is not, she just looks like her.
Emily went to sleep next to her son for the second time – as far as he can remember, and he embraced her so hard, trying to enclose her completely in his small arms. He didn’t want her to slip away during his sleep, and get replaced by that other woman who never hugges him.
On his second day at school, Jake stood in front of the school gate, poorly dressed, a single tear was sliding down his left cheek, and he held firmly on the back of his big brother’s shirt.
For the coming years, Jake will learn to adapt to his strange life. He will learn how to avoid the girls, by making himself almost invisible to them. He will form strong friendships, with boys of course. And he will come to learn about the most extraordinary aspect of his unique condition, one that explains the strange episodes of happiness that he had with his mother.
To be continued…