Nobody at Xavier Institute could believe it when Scott Summers came down to breakfast one morning. Late.
Story Notes:Written circa 2009. Lyrics from the Dire Straits' "So Far Away".
It was fortunate that Scott Summers had an excuse to wear shades, because he had eyes like a raccoon with plenty of bloodshot to spare. And, if he sat in just the right position, he could totally fall asleep in class. He didn’t like doing it, but sometimes it just couldn’t be helped.
At the end of what turned out to be one of the longest days in the history of studentkind, Scott drove Kurt, Kitty and Jean back to the Institute that they called home, and promptly fell asleep on the couch with the Bayville Daily Post still held in his hands. He was later woken up by Logan who needed his assistance in the after-school training program for the middle school kids. Scott suited up without complaint and sludged through training until dinner.
After a shower and just before bedtime, he wearily sat down at his desk and turned on his computer.
YOU HAVE 1 NEW E-MAIL MESSAGE, said a popup in the taskbar.
He clicked it expectantly. Just as he thought, it was from Alex.
thanx for talking with me last nite. i know i probably kept you up way to late but i want you to know how much it meant to me. i’m so lucky to have a brother like you in my life & i hope we can get together in person again sometime soon. i miss you and think about you all the time
ps. heres something i made just for you. http://hawaiian-surf. com/albums/amasters/forscott. mpg
Scott clicked the link and waited for the file to download. The media player opened it as soon as it was finished. A home movie came up, showing a white sand beach and clear blue tropical waves. A solo electric guitar began to strum out a mellow rhythm. Alex ran out from behind the camera and posed heroically with his surfboard. It looked like an old clip—he couldn’t have been a day over fourteen. He smiled and waved and then ran off into the surf. The clip changed, this time to a road sign that read South Beach, CA. Looked like the Masters had flown Alex out to a youth surfing competition. He stood beaming in a cheering crowd with the first place trophy.
Scott smiled and rested his chin in his hand, watching his little brother’s life unfold.
“Here I am again in this-a mean old town,” sang the Dire Straits, “and you’re so far away from me. Now where are you, when the sun go down? You’re so far away from me.”
Alex at a pool party with his friends. He did a cannonball off of the diving board but scratched his arm on the way down. The next clip was Alex proudly showing off his bloody scratch.
“You’re so far away from me, so far I just can’t see. You’re so far away from me, you’re so far away from me.”
Scott could feel tears coming to his eyes as he watched Alex blow out the candles on his fifteenth birthday cake. It had a shark fin surfacing in the icing and a surfer riding a chocolate wave. Mr Masters laughed and hugged his son while Mrs Masters cut the cake.
“I’m tired of being in love and being all alone, when you’re so far away from me. I’m tired of making out on the telephone, ‘cos you’re so far away from me.”
Alex holding the camera on himself at the beach, kissing the lens and making silly faces. He looked sunburned and wet, but happy. His hair was getting longer.
“And I get so tired when I have to explain, when you’re so far away from me. Say, you been in the sun and I been in the rain, and you’re so far away from me.”
Uh oh. A hospital room. A goofy grinning teenager. Mr Masters showing off a broken surfboard to the camera. Alex showing off a line of stitches on his right calf, then the shark tooth that the doctor had pulled out of his leg.
“So far away from me, so far away from — you’re so faaaaar. You’re so far away from me.”
A sixteen year-old Alex on a sunset beach, squinting against the wind, his blond hair blowing. He was smiling and laughing at someone behind the camera. He flashed the gnarly sign—thumb and pinky out, other fingers in—and stuck out his tongue like Gene Simmons.
As the song began to fade, the movie wrapped up its final scene in Alex’s bedroom, where he sat at his desk with an inflatable beach ball globe. No doubt this footage had been made since their last chat. He made a show of pointing out Hawaii and then New York state, shaking his head, and tossing the globe over his shoulder. He smirked, kissed his thumb, and pressed it over the eye of the webcam. The picture went black and the movie ended.
Scott sat back from his desk and carefully removed his shades. Keeping his eyes tightly shut, he wiped the tears from his cheeks and put them back on. Not only did he have the most talented, funny and creative little brother in the world, but also the sweetest. Whatever girl he dates should count herself lucky, because she’s never going to find another guy like Alex in a million years.
A sharp pang went through Scott’s heart. No girl is good enough for Alex, he thought automatically. Not a girl on this earth. Not even Mother Theresa. Not even Jean.
He hit REPLY on the email but was suddenly overwhelmed with a heavy feeling of tiredness. The sleepless nights were beginning to catch up to him.
Tomorrow, he promised, closing the program. But not before he saved the movie in his own personal files. It had already become his favorite.