Geoff shut himself away from the world that is for the world he’d rather be in. The moment when all of the background slipped away to the track on his headphones was the first thing he looked forward to every day. The world of music gave him life where he thought there wasn’t any. All anyone did was make demands of him. He was going to do things with his life when he was ready. It’s not like he was just drifting, he had his music and was looking for a job. Well, he’d made a LinkedIn profile and a Monster account. He was good at things and no one understood that fact. He would work his butt off but no one really got him. They certainly didn’t respect him enough to reward him for his hard work.
For Geoff a paycheck wasn’t enough if it didn’t come with some respect. Everyone treated him like he owed the world and not the other way around. The funny thing about Geoff though, is that shutting out the world is what caused his to die. Living in the fantasy of elevated emotion rather than connecting with those that shared his life resulted in the solitary his headphones gave him becoming the reality he always wanted it to be. Certainly the old adage of, “be careful what you wish for,” applied to his escapism, but so did, “self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Tanya was the last to leave him. She took care of Geoff when even their mother stopped trying. Tanya could hear the deafening beats bumping through the bedroom door but knew that hunger and the smell of fresh Mac and Cheese would eventually lure her brother from his trance. She questioned that line of thought when the beats from the other room seemed to grow with more intensity. Realizing there was someone at the door, she flipped off the stove. The knocking she heard wasn’t part of Geoff’s track and he would eat it cold anyway. Not much in Tanya’s life was unexpected.
he turned the knob and received a sharp pain to her face starting from the crushed and bleeding nose and following to the deep emotion that she was being attacked. She fell on the floor and was violently shoved to the side by the blurry figure who had bashed her front door into her face. She tried to cry out for help but the blood was already choking her and she only made a sad gurgling sound. Tanya furiously wiped at the tears in her eyes, if she were going to be hurt she wanted to know by whom. She tried to get a good look but was slapped across the face opposite the hand she was wiping her brow with. She spun and fell over her left shoulder.
By the grip of the hand suddenly on the back end of her right calf she could tell her attacker was a man. With too many questions spinning in her head and not enough answer, the one that kept bubbling to the top of her thoughts was, “where is Geoff?”
Face down across the kitchen floor, her puffy bloody flesh made a sickening squeegee like sound as the man continued to drag her past Geoff’s room and into the nearby bathroom. She kicked on the ground but her thumping only seemed to synchronize with the beats coming from the other room. Her voice finally back, she screamed with all her might. It instantly turned to a shrieking wince as the man’s booted foot crushed her ribs and nearly her spine. Surely Geoff had to have heard this, but as the shriek turned to a panicked and desperate cry, she continued to hear only music over her labored breathing.
Her eyes had begun to swell; the blurry figure was just that and nothing more. She would only ever know the comfort of her love for her family again as a memory. She held to that memory as the hands grabbed her roughly by the back of the neck and lifted her into the air. She reached for the blurry man’s hands but he was so much stronger. He shook her as if to say, “do not fight me, you cannot win.” He placed her down softly and ran his hands down her sides. She whimpered at the pain in her chest and did all she could to not think of what she knew was coming next.
Instead, her attacker dropped her into the tub, or at least she could only figure it was the tub. Tanya held onto those loving memories. She pictured Geoff and his beautiful eyes, her mother’s smiling face and felt her father’s loving embrace. She would have been safe in her thoughts if it weren’t for another bubble of questioning, “Where was Geoff with his God Damn music?” Other than a hot pressure against her throat that quickly turned sticky, the thought of Geoff and his music was Tanya’s last.
eoff’s eyes opened and his heart rose in his chest. The house wasn’t just quiet under his headphones, it was muted and comforting. The smells of food had left and his playlist had ended. He preferred to avoid his sister. T-Dog didn’t get him and his music and he liked Mac & Cheese cold anyway.
That Mac was calling his name now but he wanted to make sure to cut short any conversation Tanya might want to make with him. He loaded a new playlist, Dining Music, and hopped off his bed. He was happy to see the house lights were off when he opened his bedroom door. That meant Tanya had gone to bed early. He’d slip into the kitchen, grab the pot off the stove and use the mixing spoon. He figured he’d have to wash the thing tomorrow and delay another conversation about house chores. She really did nag him too much but hiding the dish away now was a good idea considering how sticky the floor was. Tanya was just going to gripe when she mopped it tomorrow and he’d rather she not have the dish to complain about too.
“Well” he figured aloud, “If she gets annoying again I’ll just start up my Conversation Playlist.”