Three Couples, Six People, Many Songs(#19)
Song #19 - Seasons of Love by the Cast of Rent
Martin smiled as he sat down by the fire. A cup of hot cocoa nestled in his hands, and he sipped at it every now and then. His parents were out. Every now and then they would go out and leave Martin behind. Although Martin wasn't alone. Grr, the dog was there. A strange little brown mutt that they had bought just a couple of years ago.
The sixteen-year-old looked at the time. Eight o'clock. Benny should be fast asleep by now. He stood up and placed his mug on the counter, and then headed out of the living room to the little red-head's room. He walked in, and then smiled. The little tike was far gone in his dreams. For a short moment, he envied his half-brother. Benny was growing up in a real house. With a dog. And two parents. And an older brother. He could go to kindergarten and Pre-school. There was no doubt that he had a chance at a good life.
At just three, Martin had been practically doomed if James hadn't shaped up. By now he would've long since been on drugs, or selling them. If not dead.
But then Martin shook his head. Things were fine now. Jessie was pretty much his mother figure, and his father was great. He absolutely loved his father. Sometimes he could have been a bit stricter, but he was more than Martin could have hoped for.
He looked once more at the four-year old. His red-hair was all messed up from all his moving around in his sleep, and there was this sweetly angelic smile on his face. Martin shook his head. Angel at night, devil in the day. Manipulative little kid, Benny was. Probably gonna be a lawyer or politician in the future.
Martin stepped out of the room, just in time to catch Grr shaking a pillow as if it was about to fight back. "Grr, stop that!"
The dog froze, looked up at Martin and then dropped the pillow and wagged his tail.
"Argh, bad dog!" Martin snatched up the pillow and threw it back onto the couch. By the time he looked back down at the ground, Grr had fled. Martin tolerated the dog, and the dog tolerated Martin. Every now and then they could be caught having a bonding moment with a tennis ball, or maybe Grr would fall asleep in Martin's lap, but most of the time, they kept their distance. Martin was a cat person.
/Why didn't we get a cat anyway? Ah, yeah. Dad's a dog person. Used to have one when he was younger./ Martin grabbed his cup of cocoa. It was cooling rapidly, so he finished it and took it to the kitchen, leaving it in the sink. Returning to the living room, he debated sitting in the rocking chair, laying down on the couch, or just curling up on the floor.
Floor. He laid down on the carpet, facing the fire. The flames flickered and crackled and danced, a performance that never ceased to amaze Martin. He wondered if maybe because fires were such a rare thing for him when he had been younger... James hadn't wanted to risk having one around a curious, young child.
Brushing his hair out of his face, he wondered if he should just forget his bet and cut his hair. His freshman year, someone had dared him to not cut his hair till his senior year. He figured that it was a nice blue, people liked it, and how much could it grow in just four years?
How wrong he was. Already it was making its way to his shoulders. He had that blessing or curse of hair that grew incredibly fast. He supposed in a way it was a blessing though. Girls loved to play with it for some reason... He never understood their fascination with playing with other people's hair. Not that he minded. It felt nice.
He went back to staring at the fire. Orange and red. Fiery and bright. So wonderful and so fleeting. Like life.
Jessie and James walked into the house, James' arm around Jessie's waist. It was ten o'clock, and they expected Martin to be wide awake and... watching TV or something. But instead, he had fallen asleep in the living room, by the now dead fire. James' first thought was, "What if some embers had flickered out and set his hair on fire?" but then he remembered the guard around the fire to prevent anything like that from occurring.
Jessie slipped out of his grasp. "I'm going to go check on Benny, okay?"
James nodded. "I'll wake up Martin, and see if I can find Grr."
Martin had always been a heavy sleeper. Somewhat of a blessing, when he was a little kid. He didn't wake up to police sirens or anything like that. James knelt down by the teenager and shook him. "Martin... Hey Martin." He shook him harder, and the boy awoke with a start.
"Wha?" He blinked at the dead fire, then turned and looked up at his father. Slowly, he managed to focus enough to sit up. "Back already?"
"Yup. We've been gone for three hours." James, grinned, knowing that Martin had not intended on falling asleep.
He quickly did the math in his head. They had left at seven..."It's ten?"
"Wow. Heh, twenty-six hours till the New Year." Martin smiled. Another year already... Five hundred, twenty-five thousand and six hundred minutes gone by, just like that. yet minutes were such an impersonal way to measure a year, a part of someone's life. Memories. Those were better. Or... or love.
"Amazing, isn't it?" James stood up and looked around the living room. "I can't believe that this is mine, you know? That this is my life." He looked down at Martin, then lightly tapped him with his foot. "Or that you're my son."
"I know the feeling." Martin stood. He was almost as tall as his father already, and James noticed that.
"How'd you get so tall already?" James stood right next to Martin. Just two more inches and they would be the same.
"Maybe I grew? I hear kids do that sometimes."
James rolled his eyes and lightly hit Martin on the back of his head. "Next thing I know you're gonna have a girlfriend and then get married."
"Hey, hey. Slow down and don't worry. At least, about getting married." Martin grinned.
"Are you not telling me something?" James raised his eyebrows.
"Only that girls really like blue hair."
James laughed. "All too true. Go on, shoo! And better yet, find Grr. Little rascal's off somewhere and I need to put him in the kitchen for the night."
"Sure thing," Martin said, then headed off down the hall.
James loosened his tie, then settled down on the couch. Another year... He had never quite understood new years. It just seemed like such a strange way to go about celebrating the progress of life. But then... it was a rather fun way to look back on life. And for him, a great way to realise just how far he had come. Martin, Jessie, Benny... He had a family now. And watching them grow, watching them develop, loving them, that was how he spent his years, that was how he measured his life. In colds, in car-trips, in birthdays, in skinned knees, in anniversaries.
Martin walked into the room, the little mutt tucked under his arm. "Found him!" He placed the dog in James lap. He started to walk away, but then turned around and looked at James. "Hey Dad?"
"New year, new start... New driver in the family, new car?" Before James could say anything, Martin had made a quick escape to his room.
In worries. How could he forget worries?
But then, a better way to sum up the whole thing, was just in family, in love. Seasons of love... Yes, that summed of life nicely for him, now. Seasons of love.