It wasn't easy at all. Every opportunity that came my way, I thought hard about going back to the old way of living. When a problem came up, I immediately though about how much better I'd be able to handle it if I wasn't sober. Jonathan stood firm with me, though. One incident ended with Jon sitting on my chest with my wrists pinned (which wasn't entirely uncomfortable, you know) until I promised him I'd come to him if I had any trouble.
My world was so painful without the drugs. One night when I was lying asleep with Jon in my bed cuddled up to my side, I compared it to a burn. Burns hurt worst whenever you first jerk your hand away from the stove. Nothing makes the pain completely go away, no medicine does, no amount of ice, nothing. You just deal with it and eventually it heals.
I was constantly on fire. I woke up in the morning and wanted to die more than once. Every few hours my mood would shift dramatically, plummeting down to abysmal despair, then rocketing back into manic mode. My brain was so out of whack it scared me, and I wondered if it would ever be back to normal. It was literally painful to live. There's no other way to describe it.
I pulled his arm closer and hugged it, and felt the mood shift downward. I concentrated on how warm Jon's body was, and thought about how it felt when he kissed me. My eyes closed, I tried to offset the anxiety and depression attacking me. Jon's arms wrapped around me, and he pulled me close.
"I love you, Joey." He told me. And that was all I really needed. I sighed, smiled, and drifted away. Somewhere in the night there was a creaking and a click, but when I started to stir Jon snuggled closer and I forgot all about it.
When I woke up the next day, I grappled my way out of Jon's arms and left him fast asleep, heading for the living room. I checked around to look for any of the little kids, and heard them yelling about some video game in another room. My mom was sitting on the couch, folding clothes, with her little Chihuahua terrier mix snuggled up to her leg, a towel over him as a puppy blanket.
The first thing that hit me was how terribly old she looked. I didn't remember my mother looking old. When I was little, she looked divinely beautiful to me, angelic even. She just seemed perfect. Now it was like someone was hurting her, causing her enough pain to age, and it jarred me a bit.
"What's up, baby?" She asked me, folding clothes and putting them in the right stacks without looking at them. I wondered how much practice it took to be able to fold clothing and put it in the right kid's stack without paying attention to what you were doing.
"I wanna ask you about something, but you can't get mad." I told her. She looked at me hard, and raised an eyebrow; her signal to keep going or die. "My friend Jon stayed over last night. I let him in through the window, but it was because he and his dad have really bad fights sometimes, and I've told him that if anything happens he can come over here."
She nodded, alternating between folding clothes and petting the dog, who snorted lightly and went back to sleep. "You have to tell me if there's someone staying in my house, Joey."
"I know, I know, but what do I do? Can he just stay over here whenever there's trouble? You remember how daddy was, his is the same way pretty much." I told her.
"Tell him he's welcome to come over here anytime he needs to if he's got any trouble at home and we'll do what we can for him. I didn't say that, though. I don't need the legal mess that could happen if his dad really wanted to be an asshole. The boy's not my kid, but I don't have to really know that he's here without permission, do I?" My mom told me. I smiled, and hugged her tight.
"I love you, Mama." It was like she didn't quite know how to react for a moment still. After so long of me being distant and cold, warming back up was a strange process.
"I love you, too, baby. Now let your friend sleep until the kids wake him up and we'll start breakfast. Get some bacon goin' and set the oven to 400."
"I got it, I know how to cook." I walked off to the kitchen, and a few minutes later there was the snapping sound of bacon cooking, accompanied by the unique smell biscuits made with real butter have (not that bullshit margarine stuff). I hopped back to my room to check on Jon, and found the room empty. I saw the window was closed, so he couldn't have left already.
"I gave him some of your really baggy clothes and told him he could take a shower if he wanted, and by the time he got out there'd be food ready." She said. I couldn't help but hug her again.
"I love you, Mama."
"I love you, too, baby doll." I smiled at that. I used to be such a good kid.
My mom fell in love with Jon instantly. Any teenager that uses decent manners with her is on her happy list. The yes ma'ams, pleases, and thank yous had her smiling huge before supper was over and hinting at me that Jon was a "good influence".
I almost felt guilty that she had no idea how good of an influence he was. In my head, I began running through the list of things that had been bothering me, making me feel guilty and unworthy. I clammed up pretty quickly, I guess, because then Jon was excusing himself from the table and yanked me up by the arm with him with some random excuse like "Let's go play video games!" or something like that. Like any teenager actually says "let's go play video games". What the fuck ever.
We went to my room, and as soon as the door was shut he grabbed me and kissed me lightly on the cheek, smiling big.
"Quit being all mopey, Joey." I smiled back at him, and nodded. It was nice to have someone who could tell what was going on in my head.
I heard a slight scuffle in the hallway, not much, but enough to keep me from grabbing him and making out in case anyone would hear anything.
Jon spent most of the day with me and my family. My siblings absolutely adored him, especially since he would actually pick them up and play with them, something I hadn't done in a while. My mom loved him because he could carry on an intelligent conversation, and never forgot to show respect to her. I think she could tell there was something else going on amidst all of it. She's not, and never has been, an idiot or that na´ve. She never voiced any suspicions, though, and made sure to let Jon know that he was welcome any time, day or night, if he wanted to come over.
"Just make sure you knock on HIS window and not mine. Wake me up and you might not live to morning." She told him.
We went to school the next day, but it wasn't bad! I'd gotten so used to school being synonymous with Hell that I was constantly surprised at how pleasant it was. I had plenty of time to think about things, too, which was nice. I perused through the mountains of issues I had, trying to figure out how to fix them, and didn't even get anxious and depressed in the process. It still took for-fucking-ever to wait out classes, though.
The bell (THE HALLELUJAH CHORUS END OF THE DAY BELL! `Member, the one that sounds so pretty?) finally rang, releasing us to do whatever we wanted.
"Hey sexy!" Leigh yelled at me across the parking lot.
"Hey sexier!" I yelled back.
"Where's your sexy man?" she asked.
"Oh, do I have to kill a bitch?" Jon said as he walked up. A new bruise peeked up just above his collarbone, but I didn't say anything about it. All it would do was rile him up, and I didn't have a permanent solution quite yet.
"We were talking about YOU, silly!" Leigh said in her kindergarten teacher voice. She made a U-turn to dirty lecher, though. "Now make out!"
We obliged her, and it was difficult, too. Ever tried making out while walking to a car? It's not easy. Good thing was that there were no teachers around, and even if there were they wouldn't have seen us through the masses of cars.
That day was just one of those happy days where you feel so in place. Everything went just right, and there were no problems, no drama, no anything to detract from me, my friends, and my boyfriend having fun. So all we did was ride over Leigh's boyfriend's house and do nothing. The point is we had fun doing nothing. Not to mention I was with Jon.
"Quit that shit, Mr. Tibbles. You know better." Mary Lou kicked away the cat who'd been clawing at her curtains, and stepped to the kitchen counter where her pack of Doral 100's sat. She jerked one out of the pack, and lit it with the end of the one she held in her hand already.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Tibbles, c'mere." She picked up the chubby, gray striped cat and scratched under his chin. She held him like you would a baby, and he didn't seem to care one bit. "I'm just a little annoyed right now. Frank's missing something, but I can't tell what. Will you tell me? Hm? You're a good kitty, yes you are." From then, the conversation degenerated into kitty talk. Lots of meows and good kitty's.
Then she picked up the phone for the fourth time that day.
Frank popped four ibuprofen tablets after convincing Mary Lou that he was indeed keeping an eye on things, and that he was doing his best.
"Yes, Mary Lou, I do know who the fuck you're talking about. I'm not just bullshitting you to get you off my back. No, I AM trying my best. No ma'am, I don't want that frying pan up..."
Frank couldn't understand what the hell was bothering the woman. The kids looked happier than they ever had before, and he hadn't heard about anything crazy going on. As far as he knew, there was no problem. It just didn't seem like her to get so whacked out over nothing.
I finally went home, and headed straight for the bed. If you'd spent hours cuddling, making out, laughing, horsing around, and having fun, you'd be tired, too. Oh wait, I'm sorry, I forgot... you don't HAVE a Jon! Haha! I win! I guess you might have an inferior alternative, though, so good for you.
I hit the pillow hard, and didn't move for a while. I woke up that morning and went to school cheery-faced. Smiling wears your cheeks out after a while. Leigh looked at me in surprised confusion. I returned the look, wondering what was up.
"Why are you at school?" she asked me, like it was the strangest thing for me to possibly have done on a school day.
"Um, I kinda have to or I flunk out, so they tell me." I said. The confusion was annoying, and it was putting a serious damper on my happy. "Why?"
"You haven't heard yet?" she asked, her eyes wide.
"Heard what? Nobody ever tells me anything!" She kept staring for a bit before saying anything in reply.
"I can't believe you don't know yet. It's all around school, and I heard last night from that guy whose dad's a policeman...
So, that's another chapter. My r key is broken, so typing is slow, lol. Gotta get that fixed. Okay, as usual, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can check out my site at http://members.gayauthors.org/razor to find all kinds of cool stuff like all my stories in one place and some awesome forums. Be sure to let me know what you think, the next chapter's coming soon. :)