**This story will contain explicit scenes of self mutilation more commonly known as "cutting" and also mentions of the
sexual abuse of a child, but it will NOT be glorified one bit! This is NOT that type of story.
This is a story about love, acceptance and healing so please, please, please know that!
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Expression Of Silence
CHAPTER FOUR: I NEED YOU
It was hot. So fucking hot and the heat was making him sweat. He didn't feel like going on a vacation. No, he'd rather stay home in Jersey, but Darnel had been able to get his parents summer house in Texas for a few days and everyone wanted to escape the winter blues and decided to take the weekend getaway.
The plane ride had been peaceful and he was actually able to sleep which was something that he had never been able to do on a plane before. Maybe it was because Tommy was seated next to him for the ride and Kyle was seated four rows back next to Darnel and Charlie. Michael and Tommy actually had a good time during the seven hour flight. If they weren't sleeping, they were up laughing about something pointless and unimportant. That was just how things were with them sometimes and Michael loved those moments.
"I got two rooms!" Kyle stated excitedly as he dangled two sets of keys in his hand. No one seemed to enthused about that because the plan was for them to stay at Darnel's parents home. Unfortunately for them, Darnel hadn't asked his parents so when they got there, they were surprised to find out that his parents had leased the house out for a few weeks to an elderly couple who were less than thrilled by the four loud and rowdy college men trying to drag cases of beer through their kitchen.
It was humid, more like muggy and Michael's black t-shirt was sticking to his white skin. He was a Jersey boy and preferred chilly weather. But, he was in a good mood. An actual good mood. He just woke up from the plane ride feeling that way. He laughed as he took the keys from Kyle's hand and motioned for them all to follow him into the rooms. He looked over at Tommy and smiled. Tommy hated the heat almost more than he did and he thought it was funny the way his nose was crinkling up in annoyance. But, when Tommy's eyes met his and he smiled at him, Michael felt warm inside. Maybe it was just from the heat or maybe it was from something more...Michael didn't care which was which.
The day had been long, tiring and all they all wanted to do was go to sleep. Two beds and five people. Charlie had been given his own room because no one could stand his snoring, but he was hanging out in theirs, snapping pictures. Darnel laid down on the bed furthest to the wall because he had this theory that sleeping near a wall could keep you cool. Michael was half hoping that Kyle would lay down next to Darnel and then he could lay next to Tommy. But, it didn't come as a surprise when Kyle laid down next to Tommy.
He could hear them laughing...laughing so loud that his head started to hurt. Michael had to turn on his side to try and muffle the sounds. It didn't work. It was hot as balls out and he swore that he could smell the odious smells of the swamp inside of his pillow. He closed his eyes and tried to fall asleep, but the light from the flash of Charlie's camera was bright and Kyle was talking softly to Tommy, who was silent in his own misery from the heat. The distance may have only been a few feet, but Michael felt miles away. It's always little things that trigger it. It could be a bad day or getting into a pointless argument with his mom that made him want to do it. That self pain / pleasure of relief that he craved almost daily. But, he could wait a few days until they all got back home. Or he could at least wait until they all fell asleep and he could sneak off in the bathroom and do it. The talking stopped now, but he could hear their bed rustling and against his will, Michael looked over his shoulder and was glad that it was only Tommy rustling around trying to get comfortable, while Kyle looked miserable up at the ceiling. Tommy asked if anyone tried turning on the air conditioner and that set Michael off.
"Of course we did! He yelled. He was frustrated with the situation he was in and having Tommy ask an obvious question, which was the norm, pushed him. Tommy on the other hand didn't seem fazed by his outburst and Michael was thankful for that. He turned his back once again, curling in a fetal position while Darnel was slowly trying to drift into unconsciousness. Michael reached inside of his pants pockets and took out a pair of sunglasses. He hated how the light from that camera was hurting his eyes. The shades helped and he was able to fall into that sleep state where you look and feel like you're sleeping, but you're able to hear everything that goes on around you. That state where you felt like you wanted to get up, but some unknown force paralyzes your body and won't let you move. But, you still could hear and understand the things being said and done around you. That was the state that Michael was in. Darnel was snoring softly now and he heard Charlie say he was going to his room next door to sleep. Michael could feel the heat from the light being turned off fade and he knew he was in complete darkness now.
It was about ten minutes, maybe more or maybe less, that passed and he heard Kyle whisper out Darnel's name to see if he was awake. Tommy softly called out Michael's name, but since Michael from all appearances seemed to be asleep, he was greeted with silence. He heard Tommy whisper to Kyle that maybe they should go into another room and do it because they didn't want to wake up Darnel and Michael. Kyle chuckled softly and Michael could hear their bed squeaking followed by footsteps and the opening and closing of the front door.
Michael's heart was hurting...more like aching. A soft pang of lost and envy hit him and that was all the force he needed to wake-up. He could hear Darnel's snoring now booming in his ears as he made his way into the bathroom. He slowly closed the door behind him and pulled his black pants down and sat down on the dirty toilet. He didn't want to do it on his arm again because there were already enough pink lines on them. Anymore and they would be noticeable and Michael didn't want anyone to notice them because noticing them meant knowing what he did and he didn't want anyone to know that. It was his secret...his way of dealing...his shame that he didn't want to share because it belonged to him.
There was water from the faucet dripping into the sink. The quiet pang of water against porcelain echoed in his ears. The smell in the bathroom was worse than the smell outside, but he didn't have anytime to care about any of that. He reached into his pocket and took out the little box of razors he had picked up at a general store somewhere near the motel. He took his pants off and looked for a bare spot to cut. His thighs were dirtied with lines of pink and deep mauve scars...too many of them. Some lines were smooth downed and flattened as he ran his finger tips over them, but other lines were rough and bumpy. He found a line...light...soft...and pink... perfect to cut. He had to press a little deeper and the bitter sharpness of the blade pierced his flesh easily. The pain was sharp, but soft...almost gentle. The sweet pleasure didn't pour out, no it dripped out slowly in little curved droplets at first, then a little more quicker as it slid down off his leg and a few drips hit the dirtied stained yellow tiled floor. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back to fully let himself relax in only the way he knew how to. His breaths came out long and deep and he didn't care that each breath he took tasted like swamp. He could hear the front door open and loud laughter float in. Darnel started yelling for someone to shut the hell up so he could go back to sleep.
Michael stood up feeling panicked for a few seconds. He didn't want to stop at one, no he wanted to do more, but he couldn't; not with so many people so close to the door. He stood up and flushed the toilet. He splashed some water on his face and then kicked himself because the water tasted and smelled like swamp too. He looked in the mirror and saw tired blue eyes staring back at him. He took a calming breath and then opened the door.
"Mickey, we just had an idea. Why don't you guys go and sleep outside? I mean, it`s cooler out there!" Charlie stated and Michael was surprised to see him with Tommy and Kyle sitting on their bed and poker cards in Kyle`s hand.
"Uh, yeah whatever." Michael replied. He felt on edge and anxious, but he tried to push those feelings down as they all discussed how to set the beds up outside.
Tommy announced he needed to take a piss and went into the bathroom, closing it softly behind him. Michael took his place in his bed as Darnel looked at the ceiling in annoyance of being woken up just to have to go outside and fall back asleep. Tommy was in the bathroom for a few more minutes than usual before the sound of the toilet being flushed was heard and he came out. Tommy was looking at him funny. More like he was worried and Michael looked at him curiously in return. He started to feel uncomfortable under the scrutiny and he was glad that he had his shades on. Sunglasses can do a lot more than hide the sun. Yeah, they can also hide your emotions. Tommy arched his eyebrows up and gave Michael a sad smile before looking away and helping Kyle move their bed.
As they moved the beds outside, Michael went into the bathroom again because now he really had to use it. He looked down on the floor and there was no mistaking the few drops of blood that were against the stained yellow tiles. It wasn't much, but enough to be noticeable. He wiped it up and went back outside to join his friends. Tommy was looking at him again in that way that made him uncomfortable. But, when Michael took off his sunglasses and asked with his eyes why he was looking at him that way, Tommy just looked away. Michael's stomach knotted and he knew that Tommy had seen the blood...his blood.
Tommy was avoiding him or at least that's how what it felt like for the rest of the trip. He wasn't rude or anything like that, but whenever it was just he and Michael alone, Michael could feel the tension so he decided to try and break that by inviting himself along for a ride when Tommy was on his way to the bank in their rental car. As they drove, it felt like Tommy was holding back something and he didn't like that feeling because for the last few years, things had never felt strained between them.
"I can't believe Charlie didn't tell us he got the air conditioner to work in the middle of the night! I was sweating my balls off!" Michael stated and Tommy nodded silently in agreement, but didn't say anything in return. This routine went on for ten minutes until Michael had enough of the silent treatment and flat out asked Tommy if he was pissed at him.
"Pissed...no. Why do you think I`m pissed at you?" Tommy asked as he steered the car down the narrow road of southern Texas back country. The air smelled of the swamps of which they whipped past, but not before Michael saw that the swamp's water wasn't green like he would have assumed, but more of a murky shade of brown and every few seconds he swore he saw alligators floating just above the surface.
"It just seems like your mad about something." Michael replied and felt stupid for having this conversation, so he decided he was going to just let it die down. Only Tommy didn't want it to. No, the roar of the car engine turned off as Tommy parked on the side of the road, right near waters of the swamp.
"We're friends right?" Tommy started to say and Michael could feel his fingers tingling again as his nervousness grew. But, he was Michael, he wasn't supposed to get nervous. No, he made jokes and laughed all the time because he wasn't supposed to take anything seriously or at least not show people that he did.
"Why dumbass? You want to go swimming?" Michael joked, but Tommy's face remained steel and concerned.
"No, I'm serious. We are, right?"
"Yeah, now start the damn car up! I`m hungry and I need a twenty!" Michael replied with a playful smirk on his face and looked passed Tommy's sunglass covered eyes. Tommy took his shades off and the way the bright sunlight hit his eyes made them appear more hazel than deep brown and Michael found himself staring into his eyes. God, everything about him Michael just loved, but he could never tell him that. No, some things were better left unsaid.
"Are you using?" Tommy asked, but Michael wasn't following.
"Using? Tommy what the hell are you talking about?" Michael asked as he leaned back in his seat and tried to look calm, but he didn't feel that way.
"Drugs...are you doing drugs because if you are, we can get you help like we did Charlie." He stated and Michael laughed.
"Drugs...Tommy, I ain't doing no drugs. Ha Ha, why the hell would you say that?" Michael laughed and Tommy smiled in return.
"It's just I saw all the blood in the bathroom and I...I...just thought that maybe you might be. You've been acting a little...off lately.
"Off? Okay?" Michael stated and could feel the knot in his stomach growing tighter and tighter until he had to start tapping his knee to help ease the tension. His fingers were tingling again and he wanted to be anywhere other than where he was.
" I don't mean off, like off, but it's like you're at a bad place or something." Tommy replied and Michael laughed because he hadn't heard Tommy say that phrase in a long time. The last time was when Tommy was dating his whorish eleventh grade girlfriend and she had cheated on him. For two months Tommy was stuck in a depression, or as he put it, `in a bad place'. They could laugh about it now, several years later, but at the time it was a pretty painful thing to go through.
Michael looked into Tommy's trusting eyes almost begging for him to be honest...to just open up and for a moment he was tempted to. Michael had no one to talk to about his feelings. He couldn't tell his mother that sometimes, late at night he would have nightmares about cousin Steve and all the things he used to make him do and how he would wake-up in cold sweats. He couldn't tell his brother Dennis that he had a hard time sleeping with Susanna and it had been almost four months since they had last had sex. He couldn't tell his father Jonathan that every day of his life he felt like dying because he was empty inside.
All the laughs and good times came frequent, but the moments of joy were fleeting and once they were gone, he was left with himself and his dark thoughts. He was pained inside and the only thing worse than the inner hurt was the fact that he had no one to share it with. He looked into Tommy's eyes and the sun was still hitting them in that way that made them look like hazel almonds. Tommy' eyes were so trusting...so full of hope and understanding that Michael knew had always been there. He wanted to just cry out everything to him and hope that would make him feel better inside because Michael was sick of feeling so decayed. But, the roar of another truck approaching made him realize that he couldn't tell him. No, Tommy may have seemed trusting, but Michael had learned early on that even the people who you are suppose to trust, let you down. He smirked at Tommy and leaned back in his seat as he shrugged his shoulders like everything was fine and motioned for Tommy to start the car. Tommy turned back to Michael and asked if he was sure that he was okay and Michael nodded with a smirk and Tommy smiled back. Yeah...some things were better left unsaid...
(c) Madison Dante 2005
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