They are making me do this. The doctors. Mostly the doctor that works on my head, and talks to me almost every day, said it would do me good. She says I can leave in a couple days.
So I'm going along with her. What the hell, maybe she's right and it will help me. She says she won't read it, she just wants me to write down what I think and remember, and read it over. And when I do, and see what comes of it.
Okay. I wanted to remember. Who doesn't want to know who they are? Or what happened to them. Or even who they know. I couldn't remember any of that.
School. I remembered going to school. I could almost see the place; lots of windows and hallways and rooms. It's weird. I knew I go to high school, but I couldn't remember the name of the place, or any friends, or teachers. Guess I should have been more worried about not remembering my house, but school seemed more important.
I'm supposed to start by writing the last thing I remember. Other than fuzzy impressions, the last thing I remember is the weird feeling I had waking up a couple days ago. I could see light around me, and hear a beeping noise. Then I could feel the bed.
Then I know I slept again.
Then I remember being woke up by being moved around, and someone was touching me all over, and I do mean all over. I tried to tell them to leave my privates alone, or at least open my eyes and see who it was. It took a couple of minutes before I could open my eyes and saw a kid about my age, I think, washing my legs. He was paying close attention to what he was doing, and it felt good, that warm cloth gently washing my skin, and feeling clean, and I fell asleep.
The next time I woke up, I felt someone touching my hand, I thought. I remember thinking, actually thinking! It seemed strange, to be able to think about something! And I felt awful. Everything ached and felt sore, I felt like I had just been born and couldn't move.
I opened my eyes and saw the same kid holding my hand that had washed me, I fuzzily remembered. I thought it was the same kid, he had the same blond hair, so I guess it was the same one. He was sitting in a blue chair next to the bed I was in. My eyes started working better and the blurriness faded a bit, then I realized I was in a hospital bed.
How did I end up here? I thought. Who was this kid? Brother? I remember a brother, but it seemed like a dream, sort of. I tried to say something to him, but I heard grunts. What was that? Can't I talk? I got scared! Yeah, looking back on it, it seems strange, but I wasn't scared until that second. I could see the room around me, the kid holding my right hand, the sun coming in the window to my left. I thought, almost clearly, but I knew then I was on some good drugs.
I looked down at me and saw the blankets over me, and the straps holding my arms down. I tried to get my hand out, I hated being tied or strapped or held down! That scary panic came, and I remembered I wasn't able to stand that! I panicked. I could hear myself making gross sounds, but I didn't care, I just had to have my hands free! I couldn't breathe!
The next thing I remember is a woman in white telling me it was all okay now, she had given me something to help me relax, and it would be okay, and I would sleep some more and would feel better when I woke up.
WOKE UP! I didn't want to sleep! Or be tied down! But the panic was going away and my vision with it, and I knew I was sleeping again.
Next thing I remember is it was dark outside. I had opened my eyes and I was facing the window and could see a single street light outside. Then everything got bright and there was a loud crack of thunder. I felt myself jump in the bed.
I felt! I realized it was storming outside and it was raining hard. I rubbed my eyes and face and it felt so good! My arms were free! I scratched my neck! It felt awesome! I scratched my chest where I found bandages wrapped all around my chest. Then my belly and then, oh shit, my junk, and it had a tube coming out it! I almost pulled it out. Then I thought, had real thoughts! I knew what it was, that it wasn't something I wanted to pull out, so I left it and went back to scratching.
Oh, man! It was great! I never knew scratching could feel so good! But I was so weak. I was breathing hard just from scratching. I had to rest. Something itched still on my arm and I saw I had tubes going in at the elbow. I followed the tubes up and they went to a blue machine standing next to the bed with a bag and a bottle hanging above it. I couldn't read it, it was blurry. I adjusted my glasses. Glasses! I wear glasses! But they weren't on my face. I tried to sit up and look for them, they had to be somewhere. What was I doing in a hospital, anyway? Then I figured that much out. When I sat up, I thought I was going to split open in about a dozen places! Everywhere hurt all of a sudden! I got a headache and put my hand on my head and felt more bandages.
What the hell happened to me? I was sitting there, trying to remember anything, when the kid came in the door. He had a tray in his hands, and when he came a couple steps into the room, he looked at me and he looked like he was going to panic. His eyes got real big and he dropped the tray and ran out the door yelling for his mom. Our mom? My brother? He was familiar. Why was he scared? Did I look that bad? I bet I did, all wrapped up and scared like I was.
He came running back in with a woman in blue jeans and a blue shirt who was pulling a guy in a white coat behind her. The kid came running up to me and said, "Oh, Jared, man! It's fucking time!" before the woman tisked and told him not to swear, no matter how he felt.
She asked me how I felt, and the guy, obviously a doctor- I said I was starting to think- asked how I felt.
How did I feel? Fucking awful! Everything everywhere hurt or ached. That's exactly what I said, but it came out like the noises you make when making fun of retards. I tried again, but it sounded about the same.
The woman told the boy, Chris, to get me a drink. He smiled and filled a cup with water and held the straw for me. The doctor said to drink slow so I didn't get sick. I didn't pay any attention. The boy pulled the cup away, depriving me of more cold water! It was so good! It was hard to swallow at first, and I choked and gagged as he wiped my mouth and said he was sorry. For what? My fault.
The doctor was asking me more questions and telling me he thought I was doing pretty well. He said don't talk, just relax, he would be back later, and that I looked good.
I tried to talk, but the kid, my brother? He tried to tell me not to. The woman, mom? She did the same and said it was good to see my eyes open again. I kept trying to ask what happened, where was I, so many questions now in my head. It was still blurry up there, but I was starting to put words and thoughts together properly, and I was getting more scared with each second.
My brother said if I was still thirsty, just nod. I did. He held the cup while mom told me to drink slow. I did because I didn't want to choke again. That cold water was like the best thing in the whole world!
He kept calling me Jared, so did mom, and they told me not to talk, just relax and I could talk in a bit, that it had been three days, and I was doing better.
Doing better than what? I wanted to ask. Three days? What the living hell happened?
They talked, but I don't remember any of it. I was trying to remember them, or me, or something. Nothing came. I could almost see my school, but not quite. I kept trying to see it, hoping it would get clearer. I fell asleep, I guess.
I woke and it was daytime. Someone was washing me. It felt great! The rag was warm and wet on my forehead, then my face and neck. God damn, it felt great. When the rag came back, warm and comfortable, on my chest, I opened my eyes. The boy, the one I thought was my brother, was washing me. Suddenly it wasn't so great anymore! It was embarrassing! I raised my hand and tried to stop him. When I grabbed his hand he looked at my face, and he smiling real big, said, "Welcome back, sleeping prince!"
At least he stopped washing me. That was all I wanted, just not for him to treat me like a baby! It was so humiliating!
"Mom will be here in a few minutes. I thought I'd get your bath done before, ya know?" he said, winking.
Who said I wanted him to do that?
"What happened?" I asked.
And it came out! Rough, gravelly, but I could understand my own voice! Cool, I thought.
"We don't know! We're hoping you could tell us. But don't worry about it right now. Wait for the doctor later, 'kay? How do you fell, Jay?"
"Like hell," I said, meaning it. "How did I get here?" I asked, saying it slowly so it would be clear.
"I found you," he said, and I saw him blush and look down and away.
Why? What would make him blush? And who was he? Familiar, but not my brother. My brother was, was, was... what? I couldn't remember! But he wasn't my brother. I don't know even how I knew, but I did. I couldn't see my brother, or remember what he looked like, nor could I remember this guy, but I suddenly knew he wasn't my brother. His mom, who was coming, wasn't my mom.
MOM! I almost saw her right then! Almost. And there was something, something, shame?
"You looked so scary! I called nine-one-one and just hoped you'd be okay," he said, obviously going to cry.
I felt so bad for him. I put my hand on his shoulder, feeling I had done so before. It felt right.
He put his hand over mind and he cried hard onto the back of his. He tried to say something, but he just cried again and put his head on my chest. I put my hand on his head, brushing his hair. It felt right.
I cried too, and it felt right, like I should be. He put his arms over me, hugging me, but it hurt a bit. I winced because my ribs and chest hurt, and he popped his head up to say to say sorry. I pushed his head back down on my chest and cried with him some more.
It just felt right.
I woke up later and he was still there, but he was back in the chair. only holding my hand now. I couldn't believe I fell asleep crying with a guy. What if someone saw?
I tried to remember him. He looked familiar, and I almost accepted he was my brother, but I knew he wasn't. He was important though. I knew him. What did the lady call him? Chris! Of course! Chris! It brought a memory, of school and a desk, and him smiling at me and laughing, but that was all. I searched for more, but there wasn't anything. It made me mad, and scared. Worried too. What happened to me? Why was I all bandaged up? What hospital was I in? What fucking state? What day was it? Who was I? Where do I live?
I panicked. Bad. You can't imagine how weird it is, to wonder who you are. They called me Jay. It didn't sound familiar, any more than Chris anyway. Was that my name? But why was I here!
But then Chris moved and opened his eyes. When he saw me he smiled. It was a nice smile, and it made me feel good.
I smiled back, and he said, "How you feel?" as he sat up and grabbed my hand tighter.
"Thirsty again," I said.
He got the cup and held the straw for me.
I held the cup, too, and when my fingers touched his, I started to apologize, but I looked into his eyes. His flashing, shining, brilliant eyes.
There was this bright flash.
I was somewhere, I don't know where. Or not even really there. I know it doesn't make sense, but I remembered wanting to hold his hand for a long time, and we finally did, and I remembered how thrilled I was, and how much it meant to me. I saw us together, smiling, laughing, embarrassed. But so happy.
Then I woke up again. It was still light out, and there was someone else sitting next to me. I felt so out of it, and I asked who he was. He said they told him I might not remember, and it would be okay, just to relax and don't worry.
Funny, as soon as someone says don't worry, you do even more. I did. Why would they tell me not to? There had to be a reason why.
"What the hell happened?" I asked, and heard my voice sounding rough, but so much better.
"No one knows. Chris found you and called the police and that's all I know. Man, you had us so worried! You feelin' better?"
I had no idea. How did I feel before? Right then, I felt like hell. Everything ached. I remembered waking up with my hands strapped down, and being panicked, and then sleeping after that lady did something. Then I remembered some of the things from before then. I knew something happened to me, but there wasn't a clue what anywhere in my head. It was like I just started up here in the hospital for the first time, that I had been nothing, nowhere, before then. It felt like I had seen a movie of someone's life but had slept through a lot of it, and it was now vitally important that I recall all of it.
The guy sitting there was my age too. How I knew that, I still don't know. I still hadn't seen myself, and my own face would be as new as everyone else's had been so far. He looked at me, all worried and I had to know.
"Who are you?"
He looked like I slapped him. His eyes went down and he sat back, crossing his arms. After he obviously tried to think of what to say, he looked back at me.
"I'm Terry. We, uh, we're not supposed to talk to you about before. You're supposed to try to remember in your own. But, how you gonna remember if no one talks to you about it?"
"I don't know," I said, and I meant it too.
"We've been friends for a couple years. At school."
"School?" It started something playing in my head. A song. I could almost hear it.
"Moon River!" the boy said, smiling and grabbing my hand. "You remember?"
No. It was a song, like when you go to sleep and the last one you heard won't leave your head. It didn't mean anything, other than it was there.
"No. Seems like I heard it somewhere."
"Oh. Don't worry about it, then," the guy, Terry, said, looking sad.
"Why? What's it mean?" I knew it meant something. I knew it was something that meant something. Something.
"No. You'll remember when you do. The doctors said to let you remember in your time, not to force it."
"Why? Why not help me remember?" I said, almost begging.
I was getting frustrated. What the hell happened? Why was my head such a mess? Where were my memories? If they were gone, why would I even wonder where they were? How can you remember having something you can't remember? It bothered me so much I cried. I felt like a wuss, crying in front of another kid, but I couldn't stop it.
"Hey, it's okay! You'll remember I bet! Just be patient. Don't cry. I hate it when people cry. You'll make me do it!"
He leaned up with my hand in his, squeezing it, but I couldn't stop. It was too scary! I just wanted to know what the hell happened and why I can't remember anything! I knew I was too old to act like this, but I didn't have the choice to stop.
After a few minutes I was getting over the crying, and Terry was too, when a woman in a white hospital gown over her clothes came in.
"Hi, Jared? How are you feeling today?" she asked and started doing her doctor thing.
I never answered her as she listened to me breathe and told me to inhale and hold it and exhale and all that jazz.
When she was done shining the light in my eyes, she said, "You look much better. Do you remember what happened to you? Why you're in the hospital? Or where your injuries came from?"
"How about the last thing you remember?"
"Waking up, I think a day ago."
"Nothing earlier? At all?" she asked, now leaning closer and seemingly making my eyes meet hers.
"Do you know your name?"
"You aren't sure?" she asked, furrowing her forehead.
"Well, people call me that. You did."
"Can you tell me how old you are?"
I thought about it. I couldn't. I couldn't even tell her my age!
"Do you know what school you go to?"
I knew I was in school, that much I knew.
"No," I said, near tears, and she could tell.
"Don't worry. Your memories will probably come back soon. You took a couple bad injuries to the head, some bleeding. We had to relieve the swelling, and almost removed some tissue, but it seems to be okay now. No surprise your memories are a bit mixed up."
"They're not mixed up!" I yelled. "They're not there!"
I was going to lose it and I knew it. I thought it was bad enough to cry with some guy I don't know, now I was going to with some woman I don't know.
"They are, Jared, don't worry. Most cases they just take a couple days to sort out and come back. I'm sure they will return. I've seen much worse cases return to normal in no time! Just relax, don't' get upset, let it come in time," she said, and she patted my arm.
"Cases of what? What happened to me?"
"I'm not sure we should talk about that. I'll talk to Dr. Marguilles and see what she thinks first, okay?"
"She's a specialist in these kinds of things. She's got your case. She suggested no one talk to you about anything that might have happened until she can see you. I'll let her know you're awake and she'll want to talk to you."
"Will he be okay?" Terry asked her.
"Sure. Probably. Tricky to tell, after such injuries, but like I said, I've seen worse with no lasting effects."
She smiled at me, asked if there was any pain. Of course there was pain! Everywhere! She said she would increase my pain medication, and change it to something else that wouldn't make me so sleepy tomorrow. She said to sleep tonight and she would see me tomorrow. She fiddled with the machine to my right and said goodnight.
I looked at Terry and asked him if he would tell me what he knew.
"We're not supposed to," he said, looking guilty.
"Look, it's my life! I guess. And I want to know!"
I was getting sleepy, really sleepy, and Terry started telling me something, something about my house and Chris and the police and blood.
I woke up again. I was so mad! Terry had started telling me something and now it was all blurry and fuzzy, and I couldn't remember any of it but something about police, blood and Chris.
And Chris was sitting next to me now. He was asleep in the blue plastic chair. It looked real uncomfortable. It was daylight, the sun up overhead somewhere. I wondered why he wasn't in school.
School! There was something! Something about a big, brick building. Lots of windows. And people standing around. That was all I could get.
I didn't mean to say it out loud. I did though, and Chris sat up and smiled at me.
"How you doin'?"
"Fine. I think. I don't feel so much aching now. Hungry! I'm fucking starving!"
I was. My stomach hurt, I was so hungry. It growled real loud and we laughed.
He said he would go find me something to eat and be right back. He was so nice!
I looked around when he left and saw just a hospital room. Me in the bed, that goofy machine to my right with the tubes in my arm, a small table to my left with some get well cards on it. A couple chairs. A sink and cabinets next to the window to my left. And the hose where I wished it wasn't.
I could just pick up the card nearest me, the biggest one. It said 'I hope you get well soon!' on the front in silver on tan. Inside was the words "I want to tickle your funny bone again!" written along the bottom. It was signed "Love, Chris"
There was a brilliant flash of light and my head felt like I had just been struck by lightning. For a second I really thought that was what had happened, but I was standing in the woods on a sunny day. I was right there! And Chris was walking with me, and we were laughing and making jokes. I remembered how good it felt to be with him. He was my best friend! Wasn't he? I had been so alone before Chris. I felt it, I knew it.
I woke up. It was close to sunset, or just after dawn. Chris was gone. That hurt. I remembered the dream about him. Were we best friends? Then I wondered what it was. But suddenly I had to go to the bathroom. I started to get up before I remembered I had a tube up my willie. I just went. It felt so good!
I was laying there, feeling good after the pee, kind of glowing after, you know, when I saw a tray on the table next to me. I could just reach it. There was applesauce and pudding and mashed potatoes and gravy. It was all cold, or warm, depending, you know, and I ate it so fast I thought I might get sick when I was done. My arms felt like rubber by the time I finished. And by then I had noticed the bruises on them. All over them. What the fuck? I looked at my chest and belly under the sheet, and there were bruises where the bandages didn't cover. There were more bruises on my legs.
I wanted a mirror, but there wasn't one around. There was one on the wall over the sink to my left, but there was no way I could get up and over there, I knew. I laid there and tried to remember anything, anything at all. There wasn't anything more.
Chris was a good friend. Terry was another one. The lady was my doctor. There was a nurse, I remember, kind of, with long black hair. Where did she fit in? Nothing else but that dream of Chris and me in the woods and the image of my school.
Was Chris the one that card was from? I noticed it was back on the table. I didn't remember putting it back there. Why would a guy sign a card "love"? Maybe he is my brother!
What about home? Nothing. Mom? Nothing. Dad? Something! Nothing! I hit the table with the tray.
Dad! Dad, dad, dad was, dead? Dead, a long time ago! There was a flash again, and a pain like a crack in your skull, and I was crying at his funeral. People in uniforms that I didn't know saying they were sorry for me. Mom? Nothing. Something about a hospital. Me in the hospital? Or mom?
I woke and cried some more, wishing I knew something, any fucking thing! After I stopped crying, and finished a carton of milk I found in the ice bucket, Chris came into the room. He smiled real big, and I smiled back, and at least that felt good!
"You look so much better! Like you're awake for a change! How you feelin'?" he said, sitting in that same blue chair and reaching for my hand.
It was weird, how I felt about him holding my hand. Guys don't hold hands, not even brothers, not much anyway. Maybe it was the way we were in our family. If he was part of my family, that is.
"I feel okay, I guess. Got some food! Man, that helped!"
"They said only soft stuff, so they gave you that stuff. Sorry, no lasagna yet!" he said and laughed.
His flashing eyes and wide grin, red lips and the way he tossed his hair caught my breath, then there was another flash. This tine someone was using a sledgehammer to strike a wedge down through the top of my head and I was sitting on the side of a big pool, the concrete kind in the ground. The water was real blue, and the sun was real bright, and it was hot, and I had a plastic plate of lasagna in my lap, and Chris was calling me Garfield, and we were laughing with our legs dangling in the water.
It was so great to have someone. To have someone to care for who cared back...
I woke up. It was so bright in here! Then the light went away and came right back. Someone was shining a flashlight in my eyes. When it went away this time, I could see the lady doctor standing there.
" Chris says you were talking about the food when you started ignoring him. You seem to be having some sort of episodes. I think it's related to your head injuries. What do you remember last?"
"A dream, or maybe memory, of a pool. Eating lasagna by a pool. And laughing."
"Hmm. How about what you were talking about right before that, with Chris?"
"He said there wasn't any lasagna and I, I think I fell asleep."
"You had an episode, something similar to epilepsy. A seizure. I gave you something to calm your muscles and put you under. We kept you asleep for a few hours while we did some scans and tests. How do you feel?"
"Sore, again. It was better before, but now I hurt again."
"You tensed a bit during it, probably aggravated your injuries. And we moved you around while you were out. No stitches torn, so that's a good thing."
"Stitches? Where?" I didn't remember any stitches.
"You have a few here and there. Don't worry about them. Chris, I want you to talk to Jared, like you were, try to remind him of something you think was important. Okay? I want to see if you can re-create those seizures. It's risky, but if I can see the onset of one, we can try to get a handle on them."
"Sure, but what?" Chris said, looking scared.
"Just anything. The lasagna did it last time, I'm guessing, so something you guys shared that might be as important?"
"I don't know. I was just saying there wasn't any lasagna, because you said only soft food. I don't know what to say," and he was getting ready to cry. It was obvious it bothered him.
"If you would rather not, I understand," she said softly.
"I will if it help?"
"It very well may."
"Okay, but what?" he said around sniffles.
"What's his favorite food?"
"Lasagna. And pizza."
"All kinds. Mostly country. Oh, and he loves Pink Floyd. We went to Indianapolis to see them last... "
Lightning and pain! Then I was inside a huge building with lots of people, and there was music. Pink Floyd. The concert was in intermission and Chris and I were talking about how cool it was to be here! It was my first concert, and I was so glad Chris was with me. I had wanted to kiss him for a long time. So badly. I really wanted to, right there, in front of thousands of people, if I only had the guts! We had held hands when the lights were down and the band was playing, but we stopped when the lights came up. It was the first time we held hands in public, I remembered. I loved him! I was gay! I wanted him to be my boyfriend! I'm gay!
I woke up. Chris and the doctor were standing there, and two more people who looked like doctors, and the lady Chris called mom.
"Welcome back. Are you dizzy or nauseous?" the doctor asked.
"No. Dry. And sore again, but not as bad."
"You had a type of seizure all right. Not a bad one, and I had the meds ready. We got you steady right away. I think you need another CAT. This is Doctor Whalen. He's a specialist with these things."
"Hello young man. I've been taking care of your head, so to speak. I want to run another CAT series tomorrow. You will sleep through it. We'll sedate you here, then take you down. You'll be back up here before you wake up."
"Sure. Okay." What else would I say?
"You're looking good so far. You had some serious blunt trauma, but the swelling went down fast. You're young and healthy, and I expect you will be fine in time. I'll be seeing you tomorrow."
He squeezed my arm and nodded to the other doctors as he left.
"This is doctor Marguilles, she will be talking to you a lot in the coming days."
"You're a shrink, aren't you?"
I knew it before she was introduced. And I was already offended.
"Hello, Jared. Yes, of sorts. I specialize in brain injury and recovery. The personal side of it, not so much the medical side. I understand you have few, if any, memories from before waking up here in the hospital?"
She looked kind. I don't know how else to say it. She just looked like she cared. I wanted to pour out everything to her suddenly. But there just wasn't much to tell her.
"I think you are doing very well, considering. And I think you will have to deal with these episodes for a time. Maybe quite a while, I'm sorry to say. Your brain took several blows, and some internal bleeding as well as some swelling. Your memories may literally be locked away, behind a wall of bruises. It may take time to repair those damages and get those memories back. Alternatively, it may be simply traumatic, and you simply need to deal with the events that placed you here."
"Will they come back? For sure?" I asked her.
I was scared! What if they never came back?
"I'm fairly sure they will. Not certain, mind you, but injuries like yours are tricky. Just don't force anything. You're in good health, and your body is healing itself very nicely. Let it come in time and I'm fairly certain they will, okay?"
"Do you remember anything from before waking up here the first time? Even the smallest thing?"
"No. Just the dreams from before. When I had the, episodes?"
"Okay. That is a good sign, actually. It means those memories are there, still intact, just not accessible right now. A really good sign, Jared. You understand that?"
"I think so. I still have them, they just can't come out right now?"
"Exactly. You rest, let them come in time. You are going to have these episodes, no way around them. You just sort of dream while your brain tries to adjust itself. The medicine we have you on will relax your body and keep you from moving around when one occurs. It may also prolong the episode, letting you see more of your memory that is trying to get out."
"Not much, just a fraction, really. I'm going to talk to Doctor Marguilles now outside. You rest and let yourself heal. I'll check back in with you, okay?" the other doctor said.
"Sure," I said.
" I want your friends to come have a session with you, all together, while I'm here, okay? Maybe we can work something out for you. Try to get some of his friends and others here tomorrow about six o'clock, alright?" she asked Chris and his mom.
"Yes, we can have four or five of us here then," she said, patting my arm.
"Good, I'll see you in a few minutes, Jared. Will you come with us?" she asked Chris' mom.
They left and Chris took my hand again. It felt good. Then the dream came back to me. Or the memory. I was gay and Chris was the one I loved. He smiled at me so sweet right then, as if he could read my thoughts.
There was a flash and someone hit me on top of my head with a monkey wrench.
Chris was telling me he liked me too! I had just told him how I felt about him, how I smiled whenever I saw him smiling across the classroom or the halls. How when I heard him laugh, I had to laugh, or at least smile, even though I wasn't in the conversation at all, even across the lunchroom or the gym.
I woke up. It was dark outside and there was only a small light on over my head.
Chris was in the chair, right up next to the bed, holding my hand again. His head was on the bed, next to my hip. He was asleep.
"Awake again? Good! Hungry?"
Chris' mom was on the other side of the bed. She stood up and moved the tray closer to me and smiled at me. That felt good too. She seemed like a really good lady.
"Yeah, I'm starving again," I croaked. "Did I have another, episode?" I asked, sure I had.
"Yes. You did," the nice mom, mine or Chris's, said.
It was applesauce, soup and Jell-O. Oh yum. Not. But it was food. I must have looked like a pig the way I scarfed it down. She said to take it easy, I tried to go slower, but I was too hungry. My arms started to ache before I finished. When I was done, I was exhausted.
"Good appetite, good sign!" she said, moving the tray away and holding the milk while I took a drink. I choked when I didn't swallow all the milk and inhaled too soon.
Oh my god! That hurt so bad! Every cough made my ribs and sides hurt so bad I peed! Thank goodness for catheters!
"Morning sleepy-head," Chris said, waking up and squeezing my hand once the coughing stopped.
I wanted to say more, but I didn't know what. I remembered I was gay, and Chris and I were, like, together, someway, but I didn't know if his mom knew. Or if it was real or just some mixed up thoughts or memories, or even fantasies. But I realized about then that I was remembering other stuff that was related to the things I had dreamt. Remembered. Whatever.
"What's wrong?" Chris asked.
I guess it showed.
"I don't know. I, I want, want to ask something. But it's personal, and embarrassing."
"What? We always talk in front of, uh, oh. Yea. Mom?"
"Fine. I understand," she said, rolling her eyes and patting my shoulder. "Guy talk."
The second she was out the door, Chris shot out of his chair and hugged me. He was real careful, and it didn't hurt at all. It felt great!
He whispered in my ear, "Oh man! I've been so worried! I thought I might lose you!" He sniffled and I could tell he was crying. "Don't scare me like that ever again!"
I didn't know what to say! Or do! I did put an arm around his shoulders, and it felt so right to do so! I felt tears coming up and I didn't care. I had to know.
He pulled back, smiled at me and wiped his eyes, but he kept one arm over my shoulder.
"We? Are? Uh,"
How do you ask a familiar stranger if he's your boyfriend?
"What? You can ask me anything, you know that! I mean...... oh shit, I didn't mean, aw shit!"
He started crying again as he pulled away. I pulled him back. I wanted to be held. By anyone, but Chris especially. I just knew what I was thinking was true.
What if it wasn't? What if I asked it and he got upset, and it wasn't anything near the truth? He'd be disgusted by me and leave! I couldn't be alone now!
I could go around it, I thought.
"Do I have a, a, you know, girlfriend?"
"What?" he asked, obviously surprised.
"You know. Am I dating anyone?"
"You don't remember, I know," he said, looking sad.
I knew then.
We were in a bed. Together. He was staring at me, smiling, and I felt so warm. We were cuddled up together. We were smiling at each other. We were naked under the sheets. Our legs tangled and untangled. We kissed. Real kisses. It was the best feeling I remember ever having.
I remembered being so alone before. Until Chris came along.
He stroked my hair and said he loved me. I said I loved him. We hugged all night.
I woke up. Chris was there, and Terry, and Chris's mom. And two other guys that looked familiar, like I saw them somewhere. No names came to me though, but I did think of school. The doctors were there too.
"How are you feeling now?" the regular doctor asked me.
"Okay. Weak. Tired."
"Part of the relaxant drug's effects. You're doing fine."
"Looks like you had another episode. The medications I set up helped this time. You didn't struggle. Do you remember what caused it this time?" the nice, taller, dark-haired head doctor asked.
I did. Clearly. Chris. Me. That night. It was still there, that memory. I didn't want to share it.
"Sort of, but not really. I remember, no, it's gone," I lied.
"That's fine. You will probably start remembering them at some point soon. When you do, let us know. It's important. Okay?"
"We want to see if we can trigger another episode, since we are now sure the medication will keep you from hurting yourself. Is that okay?"
Hurting myself!? It hurt just to remember! I knew it was a real memory.
"I want your friends to just talk to you, about something they did with you a short time ago. We've been talking about it, and they all have something in mind. Are you ready?"
"Sure," I lied.
"Chris, would you go first?"
"Uh, okay," he said, obviously not ready at all. "We were at the concert, in Indy, and it was over. We got back to the car, and we talked about it and were all excited. We knew it would take forever to get out with all the traffic, so we just waited. You said it was the best night of your life. I agreed. The radio played some Pink Floyd and the deejay said how lucky the people at the concert were to be there and that they would be getting out about now, so here was some old Pink Floyd that probably wasn't played at the concert.
"You looked at me funny, and I asked what, and you said you loved me, so much, and it was the best night you... .
"... ever had! Serious! I so love you, Chris!" I was saying.
I leaned over and we kissed. We made out. It was great! It was the first time we had kissed like this. His lips were so warm, soft. His breath tasted like the gum he chewed; Wrigley's Spearmint. My hand went to his chest. His went to mine. Oh, gawd, it was so nice! I wanted to stay in the car in that parking lot forever and just kiss him! Nothing else mattered! Not school on Monday. Not Chess Club after school. Not Drama Club. Not even getting home. Nothing. Only Chris and me and that moment.
He slid his hand down my chest to my tummy and then up under my shirt. First time! I did the same and we scooted closer and kissed harder.
He pulled back and smiled that million-dollar smile and said, "We better not get caught in here!"
"I don't care if we do! I just love you, Chris!" I said and pulled him back to me.
I woke up. They were all standing around me still. Looking worried. Chris' mom was crying.
"What's wrong?" I asked, groggy again.
Chris was holding my hand and crying too.
"You said you love me," he choked out.
"I did? When?"
"While you, were, out. You talked, and we could understand some of it."
Oh shit! I looked around at them, embarrassed beyond belief!
They didn't seem to mind. They were all smiling, one of the new guys was wiping his eyes.
"What else did I say?" I asked, hoping there wasn't anything else!
"That doesn't matter. What do you remember?" the kind doctor asked me.
"The concert. Pink Floyd. Indy. The car." I swallowed. Did I really want to say the rest? They obviously heard me say I loved Chris, so what would I be hiding?
"We made out. The first time. In the car."
"You sure it was the first time?" the kind doctor asked.
"Yes. I'm sure. It seemed so, anyway," I said, feeling confused and so embarrassed.
"It was," Chris said, wiping his eyes with the hand he wasn't holding mine with.
"Good. Excellent sign! Your memories seem truly intact. Anything else from this one?"
"Chris bought me a Pink Floyd poster that goes with me to college. And he still hasn't got his English grade up high enough to make the scholarship so we can go together."
"Two minutes and seventeen seconds," the lady doctor said. "Shorter. Another good sign." She smiled at me.
They all knew. They had too. Even the strangers. Now the doctors.
"There are varying thoughts on this, but I'd like to go ahead with the next person, if that's okay with you, Jared? Do you feel like you could?"
"Yes. I want to! I feel okay, just weak."
"The relaxant. I may not even need to give you another dose. Can you raise your arm?"
I tried. I could, but my arm felt like it weighed a ton. My fingers wiggled a bit, but that was all, and my whole body felt mildly tingly, as if I wasn't totally connected to it.
"Good. If you're willing?" he asked me.
I could barely talk.
"Terry, if you would?"
He coughed and cleared his throat.
"Okay. Um, last weekend, you and Chris were mad at each other. You came over to get out of the house. You came over and we played some games and had pizza. When Chris called for you, you said to tell him you weren't there. I said I already told him you were, so you picked up the phone and... "
Flash and the brick used to crack me over the head felt wrapped in wet cotton.
"Yeah, what?" I said as mad as I could make myself sound.
"I, just wanted to say, you know, man, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that. But, he's cute, and you're cute, and I thought, I don't know what I thought!"
He sounded like he was crying. I didn't want him too. I was so mad though, that I did want him to! How could he even think I liked Jerry? I mean, sure, he's cute, sexy even, but nothing like Chris! Nothing at all! And to tell me to go back to Jerry! Damn I was mad!
"Jerry is just a friend! You know that! I don't like him! I like him, but not like I like you!"
"Then come over! Let's talk! Please!"
I was way too mad! He made Jerry feel like shit for nothing! And he made me so mad!
"No! I just want to be away from you right now! Don't call me!"
I hung the phone up hard.
"Man, you really pissed! What happened?" Terry asked me.
"He thinks I fucked Jerry Spencer!"
"What? Why? When?" Terry looked so surprised.
I remembered how much I liked Terry before I really fell for Chris. It hurt. I started crying.
"He said he saw us after class Thursday and we ignored him when he yelled at us, and we looked like we were guilty," I explained through the tears. "When I got home, he called and said I was a bastard, and if I wanted to fuck Jerry to just go ahead, he didn't care!"
Terry came over and hugged me. He said comforting things to me. He pulled back and made me look at him.
"Call him back. Tell him your sorry. You didn't hear him call at you, and Jerry isn't the one your interested in!"
"Why? It won't do no good! He'll think what he wants to think!"
"Not if you set him right. Come on. Call him back. I bet he's crying right now, feeling bad. Come on."
"Okay. It's just a fight......
I woke up. They were all still around me.
"Two minutes, two seconds. Great sign! And you didn't try to struggle. Looking good!" the kind doctor said. "What do you remember?"
"The day I fought with Chris over Jerry, and I went over to his house," I said, feeling myself blush.
"That day sucked!" Chris said with a lot of emotion.
"Yeah, it did, I remember! I fucking remember! I drove over to your house after Terry made me promise I would! I sat in your driveway for like an hour! You looked out your window while I was looking up at it and you stared at me. Then you disappeared and you were running out the front door! I got out and we hugged and kissed and I felt so much better!"
"You remembered! Oh, fuck, how cool!" Chris said and my eyes got teary as he hugged me and I heard the others sniffling.
"Anything else?" the kind doctor asked me.
I tried to remember anything else, but only those things from that day would come. I shook my head, not able to talk, just holding Chris so tight, kissing his hair.
"We can stop for today, if you like, Jared?" he asked.
I cleared my throat. I didn't want to stop. It was like starting down a long road; I knew there was a long way to go, I just wanted to get started!
"No. More. It's like I can feel something wanting to come out, and if I stop, it might slip away! Don't stop!" I begged, my face still in Chris' hair, my tears wetting it.
"Okay," the kind doctor said, laughing a bit. "Who's next?"
"I'll go," one of the strangers said.
I stopped him before he got started.
He looked up at me from my chest, his eyes red and tears running down his cheeks.
"I love you," I said, knowing it.
"Oh god! I so love you too!" he said, putting his head back on my chest. He hugged me a bit tighter, still not hurting, being so gentle. That was my Chris, I remembered. I also remembered more about Terry now. And other fuzzy things were back there in the dark, shuffling slowly into the light.
I waited for a while, as my tears stopped and the visions and memories sifted and sorted. I sniffed the tears back and looked at the stranger who I cut off.
"I'm sorry, I just, just had to say that all of a sudden. And get my head together."
My voice had got rough, and the mom gave me some water while the new guy said, "It's okay. I understand. It's so cool. Should I go ahead now?"
"Yes. Go," I said after swallowing.
"Okay. Then I think I remember the next day. You and Chris were so happy all day. You wouldn't stop holding hands! It was funny! But, I was jealous. So jealous. I mean, you guys were so happy. I never got that with anyone. Sure held hands and stuff. That don't matter, does it?
"You guys came over to pick me up to go hang out. We got to the mall and walked around for a while. I felt like a third wheel! But it was okay. It was nice seeing you two so close. Like more than ever! Then Corrigan saw us. I knew it was gonna be bad. He and his bunch come over and started shit. There was five of them and I just hoped we wouldn't get in deep trouble or a fight, but it was Corrigan. What else was gonna happen, right? He come up and says...
A flash and someone tried to break a beer bottle over my head.
"Well, if it ain't the fags! God, you make me fuckin' sick!"
This was going to be trouble. I knew it the second I heard that voice. Then I got pushed from behind and almost tripped. Then Chris was next to me and pulling me up and we started running.
He didn't chase us. We went upstairs and hid inside Waldenbooks; the one place Corrigan was least likely to enter. We made jokes about how the sheer number of books would keep him at bay! It was such a relief. We waited long enough for him and his buddies to get tired of looking for us and went out real slow and careful. They weren't in sight anywhere, so we sat on a bench for while.
Then Mark saw them downstairs. Right below us. I don't know why I did it, but I took Chris' slushee and leaned over the edge of the balcony. They were going to walk right under us in just a few more steps. It was perfect.
Chris grabbed my hand and looked real scared, or worried. I patted his hand and smiled. He smiled and shook his head and rolled his eyes.
They were almost there. My stomach tingled in anticipation. Three more steps. Two. One. I poured it.
It plopped over his head and shoulders! Perfect! I couldn't want a better spread!
Then he looked up and saw us! We ran all the way to the parking lot and my car, laughing. We were still laughing after I drove us to the park. After telling it to each other, like we weren't there, we laughed some more and it was a great time.
Why couldn't it always be a good time? Why did Corrigan and his bunch of idiots have to even exist?
Then Chris asked Mark how the guy hunt was going. He wanted to talk to some kid at school, but he wouldn't tell us who. He said he didn't know if the guy was gay or straight or what, but he was cute and he liked him. We tried to get him to tell us who but... .
I woke up.
"One minute, thirty-four seconds. What do you remember?"
"The day at the mall, Corrigan, the slushee, running, the car, Mark not telling me and Chris who his crush was on. Then it ended."
Mark turned bright red.
"Shit, sorry! Was that private?" I asked, worried Mark wasn't 'out' or something.
"Yea. It is. But it's cool. And he's going out with Brandy Heath."
"Oh, shit, sorry!" I said. Really, I meant it. I knew I was gay, and Chris, and Terry and Jerry, and now Mark.
Flash! I think the stick that hit me over the head broke.
Mark was kissing me. It was nice! So nice! He had short hair, and I knew it was long ago.
We were in his house, upstairs, in his room. I knew it was just before I asked Chris if he was gay. I had such a crush on Chris at the time. Mark and I were just messing around. No sex. Lots of kissing and playing around, though! Like tonight.
"Man! You can kiss!" I told him.
He smiled and blushed and said, "Look who's talking!"
We kissed some more, his mom yelled. Screamed. She was at the door! She saw us!
I woke up.
"What happened? What was it?" the nice doctor was asking me.
"Mark. The day we got caught kissing by your mom."
"What?" Chris asked, not mad, more surprised.
"It was the week before he talked to you first, don't worry," Mark said before I could.
"Yea. I was asking Mark if he thought you might be gay. He said he didn't know, but he could ask around. He said Brad could find out for me. I said not to, it might be embarrassing. He said it was no problem. We talked about liking guys and how we liked each other, but it was too weird to go there. We practiced kissing. It kinda got beyond practice! Then his mom opened his door and screamed at us! I had to leave. I was so embarrassed!"
"You were embarrassed!?" Mark asked, so red I was glad he was in a hospital.
"I didn't know you guys kissed," Chris said, obviously hurt a bit I had never told him.
"I didn't want to mention it. It wasn't sex kissing. Really. We just, just kissed!"
"Oh, no doubt!" Mark said, backing me up.
"I'm sorry. Really. It wasn't anything I thought was worth telling you, honest!"
"Okay. I believe you. And Mark. Just surprised!"
"Jealous, you mean!" I said, laughing.
"You told me Mark was hot lots of times!"
"So?" Chris said, blushing now too.
"I bet you're jealous!"
"Shut up!" he said, squeezing me, just enough that it bothered me.
"Ooo!" I said and he got up and kissed me. Long. When he stopped, there were some coughs from the doctors and his mom.
"Sorry," Chris said to them, taking his seat and hugging position again, still blushing so cute I wanted to eat him alive.
I settled for more kisses in his hair.
"Clearly, your memories just need nudging. You okay for one more?" the nice doctor asked.
"Yes! Please! Now I remember Mark some! And his house! And that day and some more! It's working, don't stop now!"
"Now, don't get too expectant. You will not remember everything today. Not likely, anyway. But another jogging won't hurt. Young man, I believe your next?"
The tall boy, with the dark hair and almond eyes squirmed in his seat.
He was familiar too. Something about fish. Or fishing? A lake?
"Last time I saw you, before, well, before whatever, you were mad. At me. I told David Caruso you were gay and he told someone else. Then it got around school. I didn't know David would tell! Honest! But he did. Then Corrigan found out. I guess he ran into you in the mall the day earlier.
"You were so mad at me! I deserved it. You said you never wanted to talk to me again and that I was dead as far as you were concerned, and if I ever talked to you at school or anywhere, well, you were real mad. So I walked away. We had math together last period, and we sat next to each other. We always talked, and laughed, and had some fun in class. But not that day. You wouldn't even look at me. When Mr. Ballis called on me to answer a question on the board... .
A flash and this time something like an acorn fell on my head.
Brad just froze. I wanted to laugh so hard! He wasn't paying attention and didn't even know what problem Mr. Ballis was asking about! Oh, gawd, that was hilarious. But I did feel a little bad for him. We'd been friends for so long. But he told! He told David Caruso! Nothing David knows is a secret because he can't keep a secret! Why did he tell David of all people! What a fuckwad!
So I laughed inside, then laughed outside, just to be mean to Brad. He so deserved it! Half the people, or more, in that room probably heard that I was a fag! And it was all his fault!
When class ended, I went out of the room as fast as I could. I was going to give Chris a ride home like usual. We intended to mess around some when we got to his house! It was so nice to have Chris! We had been together a short time by now.
So I wait for Chris at my car. When he comes in sight I just want to run up and hug him! He's just so cute! All that blond hair, way too much of it, all curly and wavy and unruly. And his round face, so sweet. Man, I guess love.
When he got to the car we get in. We look around and then we hugged. It was nice. Real nice.
"How was your day?" he asked.
I wished we had some classes together. All our classes together!
"Fine. Usual. Half the school knows I'm a faggot. Yours?" I hoped it was a good one even if mine sucked.
"Fine. Don't think half the school knows, but maybe some do. No one said anything?"
"No. Got some funny stares, though. And Corrigan grinned at me in the hall. I can't wait to hear from him!"
"Fuck him. Don't worry about it. So, you ready to go, uhhh," and he winks that wonderful wink.
"Hell ya! Been thinkin' about it all day!" I say, feeling instantly much better, and start the car.
By the time we got to his house, his hand was on my thigh and I was so hard! When we got inside, he shut the door and we kissed. Hah! We ate each other's faces! My hands went under his shirt and his under mine! We got to the stairs before he grabbed my butt. I did it to him too! It was so nice! It was the perfect butt! Round, firm but soft. Oh man, it was so nice. Then we were on his bed. I don't remember getting there, but we were. And he was rolling over on top of me and unbuttoning my pants! I was so hard! So horny. So scared!
He kissed down my chest and kissed my nipples! That was so cool! It felt so loving! He moved down more, kissing my belly. I pulled him up to me to kiss some more. I rolled him over and did the same thing; kissing down his front. I undid his pants and zipper and there was a hardness behind it in his boxers , and I just wanted to whip it out and look it over and eat it!
I waited, kissing above his boxers and licking his belly. He pulled me back up now, kissing me.
"Are you sure? You know, you sure?" he asked between kisses.
"Oh, god, damn, yes, I'm sure!" I said.
He kissed me harder, deeper, using his tongue. He rolled me over on my back and licked the entire way down to my pants. He pulled them down and over my shoes and I kicked the shoes off as soon as he threw my jeans on the floor.
I heard his shoes being kicked off onto the floor as he kissed around the waistband of my briefs. His hand went to my hard-on and he wrapped his fingers around it and squeezed it.
Oh man! It jerked and jumped! His hand went down to my balls and cupped them and squeezed them! This was too much!
Then, he pulled my briefs down and kissed the tip of it. He licked it and then he put his mouth over it. I had to sit up, curl over him, groaning.
"Oh, gawd! Oh, Chris! Oh, shit!" and it was happening.
He didn't move away. He kept sucking it and swallowed it. It was pure heaven!
When he came up to kiss me I knew my cum was just in his mouth, and I had thought before how gross it might be, but it wasn't. And I didn't care anyway. It was Chris!
We kissed and kissed and I realized he was still undone. I pushed him over on his back and dove down to return the favor. I pushed his boxers off and his sprang up right in my face! I grabbed his balls with one hand, the base of his hard-on with the other, and just gulped it in.
I loved it! It was almost as good as having it done to me! I sucked, loving the thought he was feeling what I had just felt! And I knew he liked it! He was squirming and squealing! Really squealing! It was the cutest thing he had ever done!
"Oh, please, don't stop, Jared!" he said about every ten seconds.
Then he shook and grunted and squeaked like a big mouse, and his cum was in my mouth!
I didn't stop until he begged me to stop!
We lay there, sweaty, for a few seconds. I turned on the bed so we were the same way now, and face to face.
He was red, sweaty, smiling, panting.
"Mom's gonna be home in less than a half hour, we gotta get up."
"Just a couple more minutes?" I begged.
There was nothing like being in Chris' arms. Though the blow-job was good, laying here after, like this, was at least as good.
I remembered how lonely I was before Chris. I had a couple friends, but I so needed someone to love and to love me. I was so worried I would graduate high school without someone.
I woke up.
"Just under a minute. Looking good. Your heart rate shot up toward the end, but it stayed in the normal range, considering. I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't want to tell us about it."
"NO!" And I sure didn't. My dick hurt! It was hard! And that damned catheter was so uncomfortable. It had tried to stand up but had been stopped by the catheter, and was only being more conspicuous by poking up half-masted like it was under the sheet.
Everyone was blushing and there was a sweater over my lap.
"It's okay. Norman reaction to stimuli," the nice doctor was saying.
I was so embarrassed. Can't that be fatal in high doses like this?
"Now I know what I've been missing!" Terry said.
"Terry!" Chris' mother chided him. He blushed.
Chris tisked, so damned cute.
So I was a bit, uh, blessed down there. But it was already going down for now, thank god!
"I suppose you'd rather not tell us about those memories?" the nice doctor asked, smiling and patting my shoulder.
"No, I wouldn't," I said again.
"That's okay. Is there anything you would like to tell us about what you remembered?"
"That I love Chris," I said, kissing the top of his head again.
"How did that come up from my telling you about math class?" Brad asked.
"Uh, it wasn't math class. I mean, I remembered that. We were in class, and I was being a jerk, laughing when you didn't know the answer. Then I remembered the rest of the day." I know I was blushing bad.
"The day you and Mark wouldn't talk after, so, the day, we, oh!"
Chris was just so damned cute! Especially when he was embarrassed. He blushed and smiled and buried his head in my chest.
"The day you what?" his mom asked in that way mom's do.
"Nothing!" me and Chris said together.
"Oh, dear," she said, blushing too. She smiled and put her tissue over her face.
Everyone was blushing, even the doctors.
"Did it bring any other memories?"
"Not really. I kind of remember leaving his house. Going home...
A flash, and this time there wasn't any pain.
I pulled up in front of home. I hated it there. Mom would be drunk, as always, by now. The lights were mostly off, and her car was gone, so maybe she wasn't home. There wasn't any sounds, like the television or stereo, so I peeked in the little window in the door. I could see the couch where she always sits and drinks. It was empty.
I decided it was safe to use the front door. When I pushed it open and walked in, and I saw the blue couch she would usually be sitting on, suddenly someone's hand was on my face, and there was a smell of something like chemicals. I fought. Someone stronger than me had been behind the door and they were holding something over my face and I couldn't breathe through the chemical stink!
Then fingers were pulling my jaw down and something wet went inside my mouth. It tasted like medicine. I got so scared! I bit down on the fingers before they pulled out and somebody said "You fucking fag!" and then I tasted blood.
"I was gonna make this easy for you! Was gonna wait until the fun juice kicked in, but not now!" and then something hit me in the back of the head, I got dizzy, sick and I threw up.
I woke up and something was really wrong! There was weight on my back. I was on my stomach and something was hurting my butt. Something was inside me! Forcing it's way in and out, over and over. It hurt!
I could feel everything! It was so strong! The carpet on my chest and thighs. Something cold around my wrists and something tight over my mouth. I could feel it all so vivid! But it wasn't right. It was like I was feeling what someone else was feeling. Distorted, shaped all wrong for me. I seriously felt that much of the wetness I felt around the thing penetrating me was my own blood.
Someone was grunting. Saying to take it like a man. That I was loving it. That I wanted more.
He hit me in the back and my sides over and over. It hurt so bad! This was so wrong! He punched the side of my head and then it got darker, then quiet.
Then I woke.
They were all around me, up close, hovering over me. Chris was crying really hard, hugging me. I could feel the wetness under his face where the sheets were wet.
Everyone had funny looks on their faces. Scared, awed?
"Corrigan!" I yelled. I cried so hard! It had been Corrigan! I recognized the voice!
HE RAPED ME!
He drugged me and beat me! And raped me!
The mother fucker!
I could only hold on to Chris as he cried on me. Everyone was patting me everywhere. Like it would help!
Mom wasn't home. He had been behind the door, waiting for me!
Christ! Did he try to kill me! He did this to me! Because I'm gay! I knew why!
"Jared. Jared, are you going to be okay? Do you remember now?"
I nodded. I couldn't talk. I just sobbed like a baby and held Chris as tight as I could, even though it hurt when I squeezed.
"Jared. You had a deeper episode. I had to sedate you for a while. It's been a few hours. Are you feeling okay?"
It was the nice doctor. The one with the kind face. She was brushing my hair with her hand.
"I remember! It was Corrigan. He was at my house! He got me from behind and put something in my mouth," I said before I cried hard again.
"Yes. You tested positive for a few common street drugs. I guess he gave you a cocktail of them. You were lucky it wasn't much more. You were near death when you arrived last week."
"How, how long?"
Nine days? Near death? What did he do to me?
"Where is he?"
"Easy. Take it easy. He was seen by your neighbors. He was questioned and held. When the blood tests came back, he was arrested and charged. He's in jail, will be for a long time. Don't worry about him. Okay?"
I nodded again.
I think I cried for a long time. Nobody said anything though. Not a peep.
"I've been in here for nine days?" I managed to say after that long time.
"You were unconscious for the first six. We thought it best to keep you that way, until some healing occurred. We let you wake up three days ago. You started worrying us. When you didn't recognize anyone, we could only hope it was temporary. When you had that first episode, I knew it was traumatic, most likely not permanent.
"There have been some good things done with cognitive therapy. I talked to your guardian about it, and she agreed it was worth a try. It seems to have done a great deal of good."
"What happened? How come I'm not dead? He should have killed me."
"I suppose he would have. The police report says that Chris here arrived and found you. My guess is he was chased off when the car pulled up."
"Heard the back door slam. So went back there and you were, were," he couldn't keep talking about it, he just broke down and cried on me.
"I remember what happened at home. Some. Where's mom?"
"She's in jail as well, Jared. She came home while the police were there, taking evidence. She was so high the police didn't bother searching her, they just arrested her. When she got cleaned up, they questioned her. She said someone called and asked her to come identify your body, that you had been killed. She said she went to do so, but no one at any of the police stations or hospitals can say she showed up anywhere. She was seen at a bar, drinking, having a good time. I don't mean to sound harsh, but she didn't seem to be concerned about the phone call."
"She wouldn't be. She would have gone out and celebrated if she thought I was dead!"
"That's a bit harsh, Jared, don't you think?" the nice doctor said.
The idiot. She knew nothing about my mother.
"She was a whore, a drunk, a slut, a worthless piece of trash!!"
I remembered! And, oh God, it hurt to remember!
My mom had become a worthless tramp after dad died. He had insurance and she spent it on booze. Then drugs. Then men. Nothing for the house. Nothing for me.
"She called me her little anchor. I made her legal to stay here. That was all I was for. She told me to stay away from her and let her have a good time. That if I came out of my room while she had a guy over she would beat me, or have the guy do it. And she did, every time."
It hurt to say it, to remember it, but it was all true. I got a job. Got a car. Hardly went there except when I had to and to sleep. I used the back door mostly, to stay away from her and her men.
"I paid the bills. I cleaned when she was passed out or just out whoring around. She hated me. I hated her."
Chris was crying onto my chest, still shaking. I wanted to make him feel better, but what could I say?
"I love you Chris, don't cry, I don't wanna see you cry!"
"I can't help it! You should have better!" he said, never lifting his head. "I'll make you happy! Mom and I have your room ready! We got all your stuff from your place and it's all waiting for you! Come home!"
My stuff at his house?
I must have shown my confusion.
"The state will not let you go back to your house. Not without an adult there. You're seventeen, eighteen in three months, you can decide what to do with yourself then. The state's attorney gave his okay for you to stay with Chris and his family until then. They told him you would be welcome. He visited them to make sure it was a suitable place.
"Since it would take so long to place you in a foster home, you would be eighteen before the paperwork was done. He said it was as good a solution as he could come up with. So, if you don't mind, when we release you, you can stay with Chris and his family. From what I've seen this evening, it would be the best thing for you."
What a nice doctor!
I tried to say thanks, or something, but my throat wouldn't let me.
"Just rest. I don't see any point to another episode. You seem to remember your mother now, and what happened to you. Do you remember anything else?"
"Yes," I could say finally.
I kept hugging Chris as he hugged me, his head on my chest, the smell of his hair in my nose, both of us still crying and sobbing. He was shaking as I ran my hand over his head and I said, "I remember everything. I'm Jared Sumner. I'm seventeen and was born September twenty-seventh. I'm a senior at Hillman High School. I drive an old Chrysler four-door. I'm in the Chess Club. And I missed the choral show. I was supposed to sing Moon River with Terry. I love to fish and swim with Mark at the reservoir. Brad is my best friend and introduced me to Chris. I'm a Libra. I'm gay, and I love my Chris. And he saved my life, again."