The Gray (Rewritten)
Damn it all to hell, I groan stepping out of the red line on Harrison and State Street. The gray clouds rumble with booming thunder that threatens to tear the sky half, vibrating the dark city high-rises of downtown Chicago softly. Shut up, I growl. It’s wet, it’s gloomy, and as I round the corner on my way to class, I’ve realize that I’ve underdressed, wrapped in nothing but a shell of a winter coat with no long johns, gloves, and or hat. The bone chilling winter air rips through me like a window curtain, causing my entire body to tense, shivering madly. Leave it to your mother to be your weather center, I think as a few cars pass me up on the soggy street beside me, splashing muddy water onto the pavement.
“The weatherman said it’s gonna be pretty cool today…” her stern voice grunted over the static buzz of the phone. I cringe at the first word that escapes her mouth, shuddering with blood boiling rage. “She always thinks she knows what’s best for me,” I scowl. It’s a shame she doesn’t even know her own son. A red trunk honks its horn, impatiently waiting for me to cross the raggedy exit of a parking lot. I stop, glaring at it with a vengeance of my own before continuing. The green line howled madly as I passed underneath, vomiting buckets of murky water through its tracks, which pummeled the hood of my coat. God must be punishing me for my foolish sins, I thought, pissing me off for the hell of it! I zigzagged in between the crowded sidewalk of businessmen and avoided the bums begging in the alleyways, until I finally reached the busy intersection of Wabash and State.
The traffic signals above me flashed simultaneously with instructions while both people and drivers ignored them, crossing on the red light and cursing as cars honk and zip past, doing fifty in a thirty mile an hour zone, their windows down with an F-you brand sailing through the air.
“Pitiful,” I snarl. They were all wrapped up in their own little worlds, too busy to care about what was going on around them, just like my damn mother. All she cared about was going club hopping with her friends, bringing home some rotten no good jail bird every night who would only give her the business and hit the door, never to see her again. I never really bothered to understand what drove her to put up with men who treated her like dirt…What ever happened to my father? Was he one of those men? “Don’t be botherin’ me with that now boy; I’ll talk to you later.” She would grumble over the loud booms of bass from the party music thumping over the receiver.
“Hey bruh! Yo!” a deep voice calls out over the crowd, snapping me from my thoughts. “My man in the white coat.” I turn around, scanning the tops of the crowd, the cold rain pelting my face.
“You!” A dark, bearded man in a blue hoodie emerges, pushing a half slumped, dirty bald man in a wheelchair. The smell of liquor assaults my nose as he grins, revealing a row of silver teeth.
“Me?” I questioned, tapping an index finger to my chest. The old man grunted, and as if watching a dead man come alive. He fluttered his eyes open, repositioning the stain-covered blanket across his chest.
“Yeah, you. Say my man,” he began, “You gotta phone that I could use right quick? I gotta call my pops n’ nem so they could pick up this fool right here.” Something told me to walk off and head to class, but I just stood there, my eyebrows raised like an idiot.
“Yeah nigga, its work fo’the city-just tryin to make a paycheck. Can you can help a brotha out?” He asks, shoving his hands into his pockets. Why does everyone want something from me? What about what I want? I stood staring at the man quietly, feeling my hands tremble. If my mother had actually paid attention, she wouldn’t have shipped me off to this boring ass school. She would have known that I wanted to be an artist. There’s nothing for me here! I don’t belong in this place! But it was okay, because from this day forth, I’m going to start doing what I want to do. I’m about to become my own man.
I shake my head no and shrug. “I can’t help you.” I say coldly, my chest swelling with air.
“Aight then,” he nodded as if sizing me up, puckering his lips while I backed away. “Thanks anyways, though.”
I turned. The light was yellow and just as I stepped off the curb to join the crossing crowd, I suddenly hear the man’s loud voice. “Get that muthafucker!” I spun around. The old man whipped the blanket back and jumped from his chair, his fingerless glove glistening with brass knuckles. There was no time to react. I was socked in the forehead, and all went black.