The Dark Side of the Moon
The Dark Side of the Moon 5
Suddenly the door opened and my dad poked his head in. He was all dressed for work in a suit and tie. “Robbie, I meant to tell you yesterday but you’ve got to go back to the hospital to see the doctor again.”
I’m sure my face dropped and I stammered, “I really feel better, Dad.”
“That’s good, Son, but you still have to go. It’s follow up thing. He needs to see how you are. I gave Jimmy a note to get out of classes and he’s gonna pick you up at one. Can you be ready, I mean with clothes and all or does he need to come home before then and help you dress?”
I could feel my stomach go totally into a knot and I was scared that I was gonna upchuck but finally I got it under control and stammered, “No! No. I can do it, Dad!”
He grinned at me. “That’s great! Can you be waiting downstairs for him at one? Do ya need help with the stairs?”
I had recovered and was already planning how I’d get down the stairs. “No, Dad, I can do it. I’ll go slow. It’ll be okay.”
I looked at myself in the vanity mirror. Lot’s of bruises still but the swelling was pretty much gone. I touched the yellow and brown spot on the side of my face and then stared into my eyes. I leaned forward and looked deep into them. “You’re gonna survive. No really, you’re gonna survive. I wouldn’t lie to ya.” Somehow saying it made me feel better.
I really wanted to look at my butt. I shoved my hand down the back of my pajamas and gently touched my asshole with the tip of my finger. It was still feeling a little swollen and I wanted to look at it but I knew that even with my mom’s small hand mirror I’d have to either bend over and look at the mirror between my legs or stare into it while it picked up my reflection in the vanity mirror. Either one of those things would make me lose my balance so I figured I’d have to live with not knowing. Anyway later the doctor was probably gonna look at it and he’d tell me if there was a problem. I sighed. I couldn’t believe that I knew that a doctor was gonna be looking at my asshole and that it didn’t bother me, well not much anyway.
I went out into the hallway and inched my way over to the top of the stairs. I lied to my dad about the stairs, not completely because in fact I didn’t know that I would have a problem, just suspected it. I knew that I couldn’t look down and the closer I got to the stairs the more nervous I got because I had like this vision of myself going head first down the stairs. Finally I plastered myself against the wall of the hallway and crept very slowly sideways towards the stairway, feeling with my right hand for the handrail.
Finally I got it and began going down the stairs in slow motion while my eyes were plastered to the opposite wall and my feet were doing the seeing. It wasn’t that bad, I could do this. I made it into the kitchen and had two bowls of Cheerios and an apple. I woulda fried an egg but I got worried about something going wrong with the frying pan or something and I knew that I might not be able to stop things cause of my dizziness. When I was sitting there eating I thought about the three guys that did that to me, thought about what kind of meals they were eating. I really didn’t give a shit about the main guy because he really was evil. But I had been thinking that maybe the other two weren’t all that cool with everything that happened, that maybe they were just going along because they’d have been embarrassed in front of that guy if they didn’t. At the time it was happening somehow my brain was still registering that one of the other guys was biting his lip and looking, at least for a moment, like he wanted to be someplace else. I wondered if that was Connor’s friend Jeff.
I watched television in the family room for a couple of hours and then went back upstairs one stair at a time. It was a lot easier than going down. I took a long hot shower but it turned out to be a little harder than I thought and I had to keep grabbing onto stuff but it was totally worth it and I felt a lot better. I put on a pair of khaki’s because I was gonna see the doctor and somehow it seemed like I should be a little better dressed for that then I would normally be. Actually I was a hell of a lot more worried about riding to the hospital with Jimmy than I was about anything that I might run into with the doctor. I mean what if he yelled at me all the way to the hospital about what a sick fuck I was and how I was a total embarrassment to him and the rest of the family. It wasn’t that I didn’t have a bunch of shit about them that I wasn’t too happy about but I just wasn’t dealing to well with this whole outcast thing.
The other thing was that, since it happened, I was feeling all panicky, like I really should be staying in my room with my door locked and maybe even be under the bed. I mean I understood that it was over but I just didn’t really feel like I was safe. I’m not big like my brothers. I can’t just punch somebody who gives me a hard time. I always figured that I could rely on my them to bail me out but now it pretty much seemed like they were gonna be on the other side.
I heard Jimmy’s car pulling into the driveway and started for the door. I wasn’t sure that he’d even be willing to wait for me and I didn’t want to give him any reason to just take off without me. I guess that’s stupid.
The door opened when I was halfway to it and Jimmy was silhouetted in the doorway. I stopped and he just stood there for a second and then he walked over to me.
As soon as he spoke I knew it was gonna be okay because it was his soft voice. “You okay, Robbie? Gonna be able to make it?” If it was Connor or Chase I might figure this for a setup but not with Jimmy. It was still so hard for me to believe that Jimmy had been cruel to that other kid. I woulda bet anything that he would never do that.
“Uh huh. I feel a lot better. I just gotta be a little careful.”
He opened the front door and held out his arm. “Just put your hand on my arm. It’ll be easier for you to keep your balance than if I put my arm around you.” I looked up into his eyes and didn’t see anything there that shouldn’t be there but I was wondering what had happened. But you know how when you’re unsure about something and you figure it should be one way but it’s not goin along with that and you get all nervous. Well, that’s how I was riding to the hospital with Jimmy but he didn’t seem to be anything like he had been the day before.
Finally it just got to me and I figured, “What the fuck” if he was gonna eventually go back to bein pissed at me I’d just as soon know it now. “Jimmy, I’m sorry that I surprised you with that shit yesterday. It’s just that I didn’t want you to be defending me to Connor and Chase when I knew that I wasn’t what you wanted me to be.”
He glanced at me quickly before turning back to the road. “Robbie, it’s just that you surprised me. And I was all geared up to beat the shit outta Connor and Chase and then you kinda threw me, well shocked me actually.” He sighed. “And…I didn’t want it to be true, ya know?” He glanced quickly at me. “I don’t think you’re some kinda freak, Robbie. It’s just that it’s not the way that you normally think about your bro, ya know?”
Our conversation was interrupted when we got to the hospital and I held onto Jimmy all the way to the doctor’s office. We told the receptionist that we were there and then sat down to wait.
There was something that I had been worrying about more and more and I figured that Jimmy would know the answer. I turned in my seat and looked at him. “Do ya think Connor is gonna tell mom and dad about me? Would he do that?”
Jimmy looked at me all concerned. “You didn’t hear it last night?”
Oh fuck! I knew that my voice would sound scared because I was. “Hear what?”
Jimmy sighed and slid down further on the chair. He stared straight
ahead and his voice was quiet. “He did last night, him and
Chase.” He shook his head slowly. “I dunno where the
fuck Connor comes from, like some other fucking planet or something.
Anyway mom and dad and I were watching the football game in the TV
room and Connor and his shadow came in and went all dramatic. Connor
went into his big, “Dad I gotta tell you some serious shit,” mode
and then he just told em.” Jimmy opened his hands and gestured
and then he smiled. “Now this you shoulda been there for. Dad
is just staring at him and mom is watching dad. So dad gets up, goes
over to the closet and gets those two old baseball bats and a golf
club and he hands the bats to Connor and Chase.” Jimmy looked
at me and laughed. “Don’t look so worried, you’re
not dead. So then he says to the Dynamic Duo, “Okay, I was
afraid of this but Robbie should be asleep by now so it’s a
perfect time.” Jimmy laughed and shook his head. “So
dufus Connor is standing there staring at this bat and he’s
like all, “What?” and dad says, “We’re gonna
go up there, the three of us and beat the crap outta him. He’s
asleep now so he can’t call the cops and as soon as we get
a couple of hits in it won’t matter.” Well dad’s
voice is all seriously nutty and Connor and Chase’s mouths
are about hitting the fucking floor. Connor is such a dweeb! I mean
like how many times has dad done this to him and he still doesn’t
see it coming. So Connor is all, “You can’t do that!
We’ll fucking kill him if we do that!” and dad is like, “Well
we gotta do something and I say beating the crap outta him is the
best way!” and Connor is like, “You can’t kill
him just cause he’s gay!!!”
“Robbie, I gotta tell ya that I was amazed that mom and dad saw that in you,” He shook his head, “cause I sure as shit didn’t. But anyway, then dad says something that I guess that I always knew. He said that you had always been different, that you had always been smaller and that you looked at things differently than the rest of us but that he and mom had come to think of that as a good thing.” Jimmy grinned and lifted his arm and draped it over my shoulder. “He also said that you needed us more than anybody else in the family ever did and that we should be there for you, that that’s what a family should be all about.”
I guess that I didn’t really understand how nervous and tense I had been cause when Jimmy said all that it was like every bone in my body had suddenly been removed and I slumped down in relief and it almost felt like I could slide off of the chair like a character in a cartoon.
Jimmy wrapped his arm around me and said, “You okay?” I nodded yes and he said, “I’m gonna make it right with that kid that we pantsed, Robbie. I haven’t forgotten about him.” I must have really looked bizarre because he asked, “You sure you’re okay, Robbie?”
I nodded my head and said, “Yeah,” but the fact was that I didn’t even think that I could have stood up if the place was on fire so, of course, that was the exact moment that the nurse came over and told me to come with her. Jimmy had to help me up and was all worried and he wanted to walk me into the doctor’s office but the nurse took over and told him that he didn’t have to do that.
The doctor did the usual doctor shit but he wasn’t so bad because he was pretty nice and even when he was shoving his finger up my butt he said, “Sorry about this but it’s something we’ve gotta do.” The fact was that it didn’t bother me. The real fact was that I could see how under the right circumstances it might even feel good but there was no way that I was gonna let anyone know that.
The doctor told me that I was doin really good and that the bruises were already beginning to fade and that how he was always amazed at how fast kids recovered. He also said that I would probably be okay to go back to school on Monday but that I shouldn’t overdo it. He said that he’d email the principal and let him know that if I got tired or shit I could cut out early. I wondered it that applied to being able to leave early if my fellow students beat the crap outta me but I didn’t say anything.
The nurse walked me back to Jimmy but he wasn’t alone, he
was sitting with detective Mark Daniels who looked up at me and smiled. “Hi,
Robbie. Your dad told me that you’d be here and he said it’d
be okay if I stopped by and talked to you.”