Like It Was Nothing
By K. Fleig
“And haul out the trash before I get home, okay?”
The door slams behind her.
Zak sits at the table, spooning Frosted Flakes into his mouth, face in his phone. He should be at school by now, but Regina just sent him a video. Skateboarding dude hella shredding it. He power slides to a stop, and into the camera, face way too close to the camera, says “That’s how it’s done, motherfuckers.”
He plays it again, trying to see just where the dude’s feet are on his board.
Scratchy rubs up against his legs, meowing. This pain-in-the-ass cat is always hungry. Zak gets up and puts his bowl on the floor. Fuck her if she doesn’t want the milk. He’s out of there.
Walking into the building, Curtis says everybody’s meeting up at the elementary school. The school has stairs and benches and shit. And a kick ass wall, man.
Zak knows. He went there once. Just to hang out though. It’s next level for sure. Compared to everyone else, he’s pretty new to it all. His mother never wanted him to skate, but he finally wore her down the summer right after middle school.
At lunch Zak sits with his crowd and digs into his turkey supreme. Regina sits so close to him he can hardly move his arm to get the food into his mouth. She smells really good though, so why should he say anything to her about being crowded. God, she smells good.
“So you coming today, pussy?” Curtis asks him.
Zak looks over at Regina. Then decides they could hook up tonight instead.
“Yeah. I’ll see you there. Gotta get my board first.”
Regina whispers something in his ear. Zak grins a big ass grin, and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. Regina runs her hand up Zak’s leg to seal the deal.
At 4:40 Zak’s mother walks back home. She’s tired. She’s cleaned two apartments today and her back hurts. She carries a plastic bag with a sweatshirt the lady at the first place offered her. A hand-me-down, but this one’s practically brand new. Not all frayed and stained like the last one. If the lady really wanted to give her something she could use, it’d be a paid day off.
Zak and Regina step outside Zak’s building, arms around each other. Her hair is a mess but she doesn’t care. She wants people to know what they were doing.
Zak carries his board with his free arm. He’s floating. He’s got Regina’s smell all over him now, and he feels like he can do anything.
They get to the elementary school and there must be a hundred people there. Curtis sees Zak and skates over to him. “What took you so long, man?”
“Had to get my board. I told you, man.”
Curtis looks over at Regina. “Yeah. Right.”
Regina pulls a pack of cigarettes out of her bag and lights up. She knows there’s no smoking in the school yard.
Zak circles around the yard. He’s checking out the pavement. Lots of cracks but, yeah, it’s alright. He takes his time before building up much speed.
He watches as some old dude, in like brand new Vans, hits the top of the wall like he thinks he’s Tony Hawk or some shit. The old dude flies off, and lands it back in the yard, flip kicks, then heads for the stair railing.
Nah, no way is he about to try the wall today.
Curtis is doing ollie after ollie. Then suddenly he picks up speed, and goes for it. He’s on top of the wall, and then flying around the yard again.
Curtis stops near Regina. Regina is smoking with one hand and playing with her hair with the other. Curtis looks over at Zak, says something to Regina and they both laugh. What the fuck.
Alright. Zak is pumped. He looks over to see if Regina is watching. He flies off a bench, then up the little hill. He’s going to need lots of air to catch the wall. Oh, shit. He’s got more speed than he needs. He jumps it and catches the wall with only his back wheels.
His instinct is to bend forward to hold the nose of his board. Wrong move. Now it feels like it’s all in slow motion. His board flies one way and he flies the other way. The wall on the street side must be about seven feet high. He lands on a slope and the momentum sends him rolling into the street.
A big black SUV swerves to miss him. The taxi in the lane next to the SUV speeds up to get out of the way and hits the car in front of him.
Zak can’t believe that he’s okay. He raises his hand up to the guy in the SUV, then scrambles up to find his board.
He walks back into the schoolyard, trying to act like it was nothing. Regina walks over to him. She’s not smoking now. She’s relieved he's okay, but why the fuck did he try something like that. She shakes her head.
Curtis skates over. “What was that, man? Are you like okay?”
“Yeah. But I think I was like this close to getting killed by a car.”
There’s an ambulance siren. It’s getting closer and closer. A cop car too. Everyone in the schoolyard looks over the wall to check it out. The black SUV is still there and the crunched taxi. The SUV guy is talking to a cop, pointing to the schoolyard wall and gesturing like crazy.
The paramedics are checking out some guy.
Zak stands watching the whole thing. He knows what happened. He feels really bad. If he could, he would time travel back about ten minutes and everyone would be okay.
He’s almost home now. Shit. He didn’t take out the trash and his mother is already there, cooking dinner. Maybe she didn’t noticed yet. No. She did. He feels bad again.
Zak opens the apartment door, and walks in, relieved to be home and not dead. Stupid thing to try that wall. He leans his board in the corner.
His mother has bundled up the trash and it sits near the door, like it’s accusing him. She doesn’t say a word. She doesn’t have to.
As Zak walks back up from the basement, he thinks all he had to do was jump the wall with less speed. That’s all. Yeah. Tomorrow.