"You're gonna like this place, kids," my mom said, while driving the car into the highway. Mikey was half asleep in the front seat, with his earphones on, while I looked out of the window, from the back seat, to the places we're driving from.
"Sure, mom…" I yawned and laid my head against the cold glass from the window. "If you say so…" I said, sitting up a little better, looking at the road. Mom's face was sleepy as Mikey and mine's. It was 5 am. "Mom… why the hell did you decide to drive this early? It could have been last night… or later this morning…" I mumbled, holding my sketchbook against my lap. I had been trying to draw but the jumps from the car made me ruin my attempts to draw something.
Mom sighed. "I told you, Gee," she said, her eyes looking a little sad. "I have to work this morning at 8, the beds are already there, you can sleep, but I can't, maybe rest a little," she said, looking a little back at me. "I'm sorry son… last night I had to work until late."
"It's okay, mom… are we there yet?" I asked her. The sky looked gray-ish but turning a little into a light blue color. I think the sun will be out In an hour or two. She shook her head, looking at her watch.
"In 30 minutes," she announced, looking at Mikey now, whose glasses were at the tip of his nose, about to fall down. Mom stretched one hand to him and made his glasses at its place. I smiled a little. Okay, only 30 minutes.
We haven't been driving that long, though, but this time at the morning made us a little impatient or grumpy. Maybe it wasn't the time, but the fact that we were moving so quickly. We have been living in our old house in Newark for 7 years, and one day to another, we knew we had to move. Mom looked way older in 2 days, looking tired and never sleeping, looking for new places to live. She talked at her job and she got a promotion to Belleville, at the edge of it, which was maybe 2 hours away from our old place. I didn't feel like moving, everything will look so different, and I was really used to it. I'm scared to see new neighbors, new classmates… new everything. Mom tried to cheer me up saying the weather in Belleville was the same than we had in Newark. Woo. But at this time of October, first day of October, when the summer should be already left, it wasn't that cold. My eyes felt heavy, and I looked at my mom, tapping her fingers with long black nails, against the wheel, while singing to a song playing in the radio. My eyes closed slowly, while the sounds of the cars around us faded away.
"Gerard… we're here," mom's voice sounded next to my ear. A cold and weak wind touched my face and I noticed the car door was opened next to me. "I need your help to take the boxes inside, honey."
I nodded, yawned and opened my eyes. Mom smiled as I sat up, stepping out of the car, holding my sketchbook and bag hanging from one of my shoulders. I walked to the trunk where all the boxes were. Mikey was already awake, holding two boxes, one above the other.
"Take that inside, Michael, please, honey," mom said, as he nodded and looked at me.
"This place is quiet, Gee," he smiled at me, before walking to a door.
It was a building. Well, now that I look around, it was a place full of buildings, surrounding a little park. It was a neighborhood, with 10 white colored buildings, each one with 4 floors. The door Mikey was walking to was Building 6th's door.
"Second floor, apartment 69, Michael," mom said, and Mikey nodded, as I giggled a little. I grabbed two boxes as well and followed Mikey. We walked through the door, inside the building. It was a hall, 3 doors at every side, each one from one apartment. At the end of the hall, there was a stair. We walked to it, me after Mikey, really slowly, because of the height of the boxes. When we were finally on the second floor, we looked around. The first door we saw, was 66. Next to it, there were the apartments 67 and 68, so we deduced ours was in the front wall. Yes… the first one at this side. 69.
"Funny…" I laughed without much happiness. I put the boxes on the ground and walked to the door. The number 6 was about to fall. They were old apartments, but not that ugly. The hall was a little dark, 'cause it only had one little window next to the stairs, and the sun wasn't shining yet. Mikey yawned and sat down, sitting on one of the boxes.
"Do you think we have nice neighbors?" he asked, looking at me. I smiled a little and stood behind him, before I hugged him from behind, wrapping my arms around his neck.
"Maybe…" I said and smelled his gray beanie. "I hope so…" I sighed. He nodded and looked at the box next to it. On it, it stood the words 'COMICS' with my handwriting.
In our last house, we had a huge yard, and our neighbors weren't a big problem, because we weren't that close to them, but now we were one next to each other. I hope our neighbors are not some sex psycho people, I don't wanna hear weird noises at night.
When mom walked into the hall, I kept hugging my brother like that. She smiled a little and yawned.
"I talked to Mr. Bryar, the buildings' guard, and gave me a copy of the keys so we can just go in and out when we want… and a little folder with the 'neighborhood rules'," she explained, giving it to Mikey. I looked from his shoulder to it.
"We have rules?" I frowned, looking at it. I'll read them later.
She nodded and opened the door with her keys. "Of course, honey… they're not big rules… just some steps to follow not to bother anyone and live in peace with each other, stuff like that," she said, kicking one of the boxes inside. Mikey yawned again and I stood up. "He said there is a school 5 blocks from here, and his son is in it. He's one year older than you, Michael," she smiled. So he was 16. Mikey was 15 and I was 18.
Me and Mikey followed her inside the apartment, and what we saw, wasn't that bad at all. It had a big window in the living room, and next to it, was the kitchen. It wasn't that little, and it had a lot of cabinets and shit. In front of the door, was the hall. Mom left the keys on a table in the living room, while I walked through the hall. Three doors were in that hall. One at the end and two others in each wall.
"Your room is the left door, Gerard," mom said from the kitchen, and I heard noises from water and doors. I heard Mikey saying something about putting his box in his room now. I nodded. "Michael's is the right one, at the end is the bathroom." She kept informing from there.
"Alright mom, copied," I smiled and opened the door of my room. A sigh of disappointment came out of me when I saw it wasn't as big as my old one. But it wasn't that bad at all. It was still a big room, and its walls looked old. So old… I walked inside. Only the bed, that was all that were there. Okay, I'll sleep later and make my room later… I walked to the window, and looked out of it: the park… I could see the park from here. It was empty, only a cat playing on the grass. I got away from the window and walked to the wall next to my bed. I ran a hand over the thin wall, as I heard Mikey's voice in the hall. He appeared in my doorway.
"Cool… my room is a little smaller, but nice," he smiled. "Wanna see it?" he asked me, as I turned around to face him.
"Wait… I'm there in a second."
He nodded and left, carrying one box in his arms. I smiled and held my hands on the wall. This must be like 50 years old, or more. This looked old. I felt something buzzing coming from my wall. I jumped a little and placed my ear to it. What the fuck? Then, I realized. My room's wall is straight next to the neighbor's one. Apartment 70? Yes… Mikey's is next to the stairs. The buzzing was from a door closing. Who am I sharing my wall with? I placed my ear against it still but I heard nothing again. Well, it's too early, maybe it was someone getting up for school or something. I sighed and laid down on the bed. I closed my eyes and yawned, before everything turned black.
A strong and loud noise woke me up, jumping up on the bed. My heart was beating fast and I looked around. Oh, new room… The noise kept sounding but not that loud… a little lower. It was... music. I heard the sound of the drums… and it's bass drum bounced and made my room buzz a little. Funny. So the noise that woke me up was the music out loud. I placed slowly my ear against it and smiled, but then groaned. I'm still sleepy. I sighed and stood up, walking out of the room. I couldn't hear the music anymore, and any other sound, everything was in perfect silence. I walked through the hall, full of boxes, to Mikey's room and opened his door. I saw him laying down on his bed, sleeping really deep. I smiled a little and closed his door, before I walked to the bathroom. I opened the door and looked inside, nodding. It was a completely normal bathroom. A tub with a shower, the toilet and the sink, with two drawers beneath it. There was a shelf also, in a corner. It was nice, and it also looked old, and full of dust.
"Mom?" I asked, but my voice echoed against the walls. I looked at the mirror on the hall, hanging from the wall, next to Mikey's room and the bathroom. I stared at my face: I had circles around my eyes, and I looked pale. My black hair, not too long, only at my ears, was all messy. I noticed the mirror was full of dust too. I jumped over the boxes, kicking some of them without wanting it, and got to the living room. I saw two papers on the table and I walked slowly to it. One of them was a note, mom's handwriting.
"Boys, you both fell asleep. I left to my job. I didn't want to wake you up. No fridge, no diner. I left 20 dollars on the kitchen countertop. Order pizza, no need to go out, rest. See you at 7 pm. Take care. Love, mama."
I smiled and put the note on the table again and looked at the other paper: the rules' folder. I sighed and started reading it. Stuff without importance: music from 10 am to 10 pm, park closes at 1 am, trash is picked up every Friday, keep the park pretty… and some emergency numbers.
Since I fell asleep before we were here, I couldn't see how was the place around the neighborhood. Mom told me the other day, that there was a supermarket 1 block away, some woods at the other side, and a graveyard if you walk 7 blocks to the left, away from the neighborhood. And now I know there is a school 5 blocks away. I walked to the boxes in the hall again and opened the one who had my name. I opened it and grabbed a jacket out of it. I could hear the music a little again, but not as loud as in my room. I looked at the time: 4 pm. I slept long! I walked to the living room, put my jacket on, left a note for Mikey grabbed the 20 dollars, and opened the front door. I found the dark hall and felt the smell of old wood in it. I really wanna know how old this place is, and go to the graveyard… I'm curious, but mom already forbidded me to go by myself and get lost and talk to strangers and stuff… I sighed and closed the door behind me. I stared around in silence. Suddenly, the noise of a door cut the silence, coming from my left. I looked at it and saw the apartment 70 door was open.
"I'll be back, mom!" the voice of a boy sounded from it and I hid a little against my door. No, not new people. I kept staring at the door. "I'll get what you need from the supermarket, bye!" he kinda yelled a little now, and some woman's voice replied from inside. When the door got opened more, I could hear the music better, and suddenly, someone walked out of the door. A short guy, brown hair, skinny body, striped hoodie, appeared in the hall. I wanted to walk inside my apartment, but I left the keys inside. I didn't notice I was staring, until he turned around to me and stared. His eyes were light brown, in a hazel tone, and he had a lip piercing. His lips angles curved a little into a shy smile when he found my eyes, before he walked downstairs to the first floor. My heart was beating fast. I closed my eyes and sighed and opened them again, before I walked downstairs after him. I still need to know the place. When I got to the first floor, he wasn't there. I walked out of the building and found him talking to a blonde guy at the entrance of the neighborhood. Maybe the guard, Mr. Bryar. The man nodded at him and the boy, smiling a little, started walking out of the place, taking a look back at me once, and smiled again, before he started running down the street. I stared at the man, still blushing a little, and then looked down, walking to the park.
"Son!" I heard the voice of a man behind me, I turned around and saw the same man again, already behind me. "You must me Mrs. Way's son, right?" he asked and I nodded. "Good, welcome to Belleville's View, boy." He said with a kind smile. "I was telling little Frank that the news of new people in his building were true," He said. I nodded slowly.
"O-Okay…" I sighed.
He smiled. "That's it. I hope you read the rules already. If you need any help, you can ask me. My son doesn't live here, but he's a lot around here during weekends or afternoons," he said and I nodded. I don't need friends, man. But I just nodded and smiled a little. "Good afternoon," he said and left. I sighed and walked to the park, before I sat down on a bench. I could see the entrance to my building from here, and some others. A cold wind blew, making the trees' leaves dance at its rhythm. I closed my eyes and laid down on the bench, shivering. Maybe that kid can come and show me the place, if he wants. I fell asleep…