Eugene’s Genetics – Chapter FOUR
Colin Rust’s house was a nondescript place in an older neighborhood. The boxiness and tall look of it made it proudly standing despite what the looks of age might tell you. Geenie and Gertrine opened the whining, low chain link gate and shut it behind them. They made their way up the cement steps and got the door open without trying to peek inside through a window. The front door barely made a sound; and neither did they. Their steps inside made it feel as if they were sneaking up on someone.
Gertrine went towards the kitchen and refrigerator area but Geenie lingered in the foyer; her eyes looking around the room in a dashing way before slowing down her visual pacing. Items known and unfamiliar mixed about the room as her brain picked out what items were from her memory and what must have existed once the two of them weren’t an item anymore.
Geenie turned around to see an obstructed view of Gertrine.
“Was there something you were looking for?”
The images all faded back to the color of the paint on the walls. “It might be in the back,” she tells herself.
“I’m going to excuse myself a moment,” Gertrine says in a euphemistic sense. “Just holler if you need something.”
Geenie watches the woman head to the bathroom, and the metallic click of a locking door follows her.
Moving past the bathroom, Geenie works her way to the bedroom, and comes to a complete stop at the frame of its door. She takes a mental step back and looks at the room – which was much the same as she left it; saved for the black and white set of sheets on the bed. Looking in the direction of the bed made everything more real. It was a vision of kinetic and static at the same moment. The unmade bed’s frenetic look paired with the stillness of knowing Colin will never lay in that bed again; and neither shall Geenie. She pulled herself from the moment and fumbled towards the closet. The sliding door revealed a wooden floor inside – which happened to be the original. The rest of the carpeting and such of the house was done by someone who owned the house before Colin made the purchase. Geenie slides the closet closed with her inside and flips a switch. Slowly, a white light flickers its white brightness with an odd hue.
“Blink, flicker, flicker, flicker on,” she says in her mind – knowing exactly how the light behaves before fully coming alive. She pulls items aside from the floor and finds a knothole all but obscured by the wall. She loops her pinkie finger inside and the wooden whoosh of a board sounds its lifting up. It was a tiny segment, but Geenie opened up a space for her whole hand to fit in. She yanks hard and causes a wider part of a floorboard to pop open. She lifts it higher and scattering sounds are made for everything which previously rested on top of the board. She pulls the items aside which landed in the space under the floorboard; revealing the items which were hidden. The telltale signs of a cardboard shoebox resting on something else which reflected a golden tone.
Geenie first helps the box out – wrapped in the brownish paper tape used chiefly for parcels. She makes more of an effort with the second item, taking time to shimmy it out of the narrow space, which turns out to be a puffy-looking album with a highly reflective pseudo gold leaf reading MEMORIES. Her hand feels out the vacant space to make sure nothing else was there, and makes haste to replace the boards. She must have done this more than once since she was rather deft at handling the boards. With a tap tap and a sideways fist, everything was just about as before.
Geenie slinks herself back out of the closet and sets the recovered items on the bed at arm’s length. She could hear the fan emanating from the hallway, knowing Gertrine was still inside the bathroom. She slides the other side of the closet open and lets the natural night shine in. For the first time she notices something wrong. The entire closet was disheveled, and not from her. Someone must have tried tossing it since it looked much different than the way Colin kept things. She reaches to the right and then peers in that direction. There are a series of little cubby holes on the right side of the closet.
“One, two, three… Four…”
She crooks her head and squints before using the palm of her hand to feel for something. There used to be a photograph of her stuck up with some sort of adhesive, but nothing was there.
She angles further into the closet to let more light in, but it was the same result as before; less for some discoloration which could have been remnants of what she hoped was there. She makes a face of anger for a moment and then grasps further into his closet. One of the hangers inside was customized with numerous clips which held numerous dangling belts. Geenie yanked hard and tore one of the belts free – snapping it right off the hanger and shattering the plastic clasp. Her eyes flickered with a rage. It could have been from feeling the heat of the moment or thinking about what happened to the man who she was once with. She gripped the tail of the belt and wrapped it around and around and around her fist in a matter of second; buckle end out. In one giant motion, she dropped her body and let her arm push full speed forward. Clack! The belt and her hand breeched the back of the cubby hole and spackle crackled while a burst of dust flew into the closet. Geenie pulled her arm back and the remnants of the wall were covering the buckle of the belt. With a flick, she rid her hand of the belt and pulled the crumbling pieces of the wall away. She reached back even further into the wall and pulled out multiple items. One by one the items landed on the bed. A large manila envelope, A packet of a different size, and a cigar box wrapped in tape. She pulls herself out of the closet not a moment too soon, as Gertrine swings the door open.
“Gigi! What happened?”
Geenie shakes herself off before saying, “I was reaching for something in the closet and I fell down.”
“I couldn’t believe the racquet so I had to come rushing in.” She tries to help Geenie to her feet and steadies her.
“Thanks,” Geenie tries to say in a breathless demeanor.
“Please be careful. You know Colin never packed anything well. Be lucky the whole closet didn’t come crashing down.”
“It’s ok… Don’t worry.” Geenie scoops up the items from inside the wall and presents them to Gertrine.
“These are probably some things for you to go through. I remember Colin mentioning it a few times. Anything in here he’d want you to have.”
The woman squeezes the compilation of packages and the paper of the envelopes crinkle. “Now isn’t the time, but I will look at them when it is.” She clutches the items without even paying much mind to the items Geenie left on the bed.
“Why don’t you take those to the car?”
“Gigi, I still need to pick out something-”
Knowing what the rest of the sentence would be, Geenie didn’t want to put Gertrine through the heartache of explaining the need to choose attire for Colin to wear for the memorial service. “How about I find some clothes and bag them up. You can warm up the car and I’ll meet you.”
“It’s not necessary. I don’t even know-”
“I insist, Gertrine. Please.”
With a knowing look, the woman heeds to Geenie.
“If that is what you wish,” she says. “Then please be quick with it is all I ask,” as her face softens up. She turns and walks out of the bedroom. Geenie cracks the closet a bit wider and tries to take it all in with one glance. Then her hand reaches up to slide some hanging clothes to the side; the metal hangers scraping the metal pole the whole length.