Chapter 12 – Back to the regular order
Friday, November 25th, 2016
As I wake up, I’m highly confused as to where I am. I feel someone holding onto my arm, the soft breathing touching my neck, causing goose bumps all over my body. I pull out of the persons hold, sitting up in panic to take a look around. As I wake up further, I do realize I am in Calo’s room, and the memory of him crying in my arms for hours straight comes back. I remember how I decided on staying, since he calmed down far enough to fall asleep, but as soon as I left him to go downstairs and look for mom, he woke up and started crying again, shouting at Seino that he would always be alone, that he hated his life, that he wanted to be left alone and die in peace.
But it left me in the position I am in now; no familiarity at all, no chance of Pyper grabbing me clothes, no chance of mom making me breakfast and asking me if I’m having a good or bad day. No familiar route to school, if there’s anybody even willing to bring me to school in the first place. There’s nothing that I know, I have no idea how to behave, what to do, what to ask.
I should’ve gone home. Why would mom even accept me staying over the night? She knowsI need my day to start off in the right way.
I need to go home, now. I need to take a shower, I need Pyper’s outfit for me. I need anything but the things I can get in here.
I’m hyperventilating, as I am desperately trying to find my shoes and my hoodie, neither anywhere to be found. I slept in my boxer short and suddenly all I want is to get out of these dirty clothes.
Where are my clothes?
‘Neo?’ Calo sounds sleepy and confused.
‘Where are my clothes?’ I ask, trying to get control over my breathing. ‘My clothes, I need them. I have to go home.’
‘Mom probably took them to wash.’ He yawns, sounding sad and depressed, not at all moving to help me find my stuff.
‘I need my clothes!’ I shout at him, while panic rises. ’I need to go home, Pyper needs to help me with my clothes. Mom knows what to make for breakfast. I have to go!’
‘Calm down, mom makes decent breakfast…’
‘It’s not about decent breakfast!’ I shout at him in anger. His eyes widen and the next moment, there’s tears in his eyes. ‘I don’t care about the stupid breakfast your mom makes! I need my own! I have to shower and get out of these disgusting clothes.’ I pluck the shirt, while my skin starts to tingle. I shake my head, pulling the shirt over my head, while scratching my arms repeatedly. ‘I wanna go home…’ I sob, breaking down while seated in the middle of the floor. ‘I need my mom.’
Calo is crying too, yet he rolled to the side of his bed to get out. ‘Put on some of mine. I got new clothes last week and they’ve never been worn.’ His voice is flat, no emotions, while tears stream down his face in the same time. ‘I’ll go and ask dad to drop you off before work.’
He drops sweatpants, a shirt and a hoodie in my arms, not at all trying to comfort me in any way besides handing me clothes to wear.
Lastly, he throws a new pair of boxers – still in their packing – and leaves the room.
I stare at the door while my breathing is still hitching, my sobs preventing me from calming my breath down far enough. While I really just want to go home. Who cares about these clothes? I need my shower, I need my own towels, my own soap, my own everything.
I remain seated, still crying and trying to control my breathing.
Calo comes back soon, holding something in his hands, while he sits down in front of me, placing a plastic bag over my mouth and nose. There’s no emotions in his eyes, in his voice, nowhere. He’s just like a robot; completely without feelings. But as soon as my breath calmed down far enough, he pulls me in his arms. It must be weird for his dad to find us like that, in the middle of the room, seated at the floor, both crying, though Calo is silently crying.
‘Neo,’ Mr. Delgado speaks up with a soft voice. ‘If you get dressed, I’ taking you home right away.’
I nod, wiping away some tears as Calo releases me from his hold. He simply stares at me as I shuffle towards Calo’s very own bathroom to get dressed, trying to hold in any further tears or sobs.
I have to go home, my day has to start of the right way, or Pyper will be in trouble.
Once I’m done and shuffling out of the bathroom, Calo found my shoes, and put on sweatpants and a hoodie of his own.
‘Calo is adamant about keeping you company.’ Mr. Delgado gestures towards his son, who is by his side in silence, seemingly defeated.
As Mr. Delgado tells me Calo is adamant about it, Calo is simply staring at me with a blank expression, as if his father is just making things up. But I’m not in the right state of mind to discuss the matter any further.
Frankly, I wouldn’t care less if Mr. Delgado tells me I will have to ride along in the trunk if that would mean i would get to go home right now.
So, I nod, following Mr. Delgado out of the room, down the stairs and into the garage. He very faintly looked how I skipped the first and last step of the stairs, but I ignore him.
‘Are you okay?’ Calo asks as he takes a seat in the backseat, while I sit down in the passenger’s seat.
‘I’m anxious, I’m restless and really, I just want to go home to start the day off the way I’m supposed to.’ I tell him just as blankly, while trying to hide the fact my hands are feverishly shaking.
‘You won’t make it to school.’
‘I’m not going to school.’
Mr. Delgado shortly looks at me while he started the car, driving out of the garage.
‘I think I’m going back to bed and cry for a while.’ I admit, not caring that either of them now knows that I’m about to cry again. I just sat with a crying Calo for the entire day, while Mr. Delgado is going to find out I easily cry, once we’re in our next session.
Since he did not once mention me being his patient, since he not once discussed his work with any of the family members, I feel like I can trust him. It’s just a gut feeling I have.
He cleared his schedule to instantly be able to accept me as a new patient.
I should show some gratitude for him taking this serious enough. I should not waste the time he obviously could have used for other things.
The ride is completely silent, as Calo is hiding under the hood of his sweater, Mr. Delgado humming along to the radio.
‘Don’t take that road.’ I mutter as he wants to stop in front of a red light meant to go left. ‘Take the next left.’
Mr. Delgado shortly looks at me, but then steering towards another lane, apparently accepting my weird request.
‘Bad memory?’ He casually asks.
‘Dad had an accident in that street. It was my fault. I panic whenever I have to pass the spot.’
‘Ah, then we won’t.’ He nods in agreement, mot further asking any questions as to what happened or why it would’ve been my fault. But I remember the day as if it were only yesterday. Mom had taken Pyper to hospital because she had a lot of pain in her knees and they were swollen, and red. Dad had been at home in case I needed to be picked up.
And then I demanded to be picked up because I lost my balance at the second to last step of the stairs, causing me to hit the last one - which I always skip - and panicked, completely sure something was going to happen to dad.
Something did happen.
And it was my fault. I did hit that step and he got in an accident.
‘We already had contact with your mother, Calo is going to stay with you guys for the day. If you don’t have any objection to that.’
‘I don’t. I just want to go to bed and feel safe.’
He again nods, stopping the car in front of the curb.
‘Could you...’ I stare at the curb, which is cracked and damaged beside my door.
‘Forwards or -,’
‘Back... half a meter?’
Mr Delgado simply smiles, putting the car in reverse to let me out in a safe spot. ‘Neo?’ He calls me back as Calo and I got out of the car. ‘If you aren’t comfortable to leave you bed, let your mother call and I will come over after work. We could have our session in the safety of your home, okay?’
I stare at him while surprised, blinking my eyes a couple of times. ‘Isn’t that like... adjusting to my needs, feeding my angsts?’
He frowns shortly, before realisation hits him that someone told me that they wouldn’t adjust to my compulsions.
‘No, Neo.’ He shakes his head. ‘It just means that you’re having a bad day, that you’re fighting a little harder, and that you need others to fight a little harder with you.’
I’m completely taken aback by his words, him being the first to confirm what I always feel; the harder I fight, to more people seem to work against me.
‘Okay.’ I nod, before I close the door to the car.
I turn around, only to meet a frowning Calo.
‘Is dad your therapist?’
‘You didn’t know?’
‘He’s completely booked. He hasn’t got any room for weeks.’
‘I thought you gave my parents his information.’
‘No, I did not.’ He shakes his head, shrugging it off. ‘Well, he is the best. So, you’re lucky.’
‘Is he treating you too?’
Calo smirks, not at all sincere but an attempt nonetheless. ‘No. As his son, he would be too emotionally involved. He isn’t allowed to treat me.’
‘Oh. But you do have a therapist?’
‘I haven’t seen mine for so long, I forgot what he looks like.’
I can’t help but to show a small smile, opening the front door.
‘Neo?’ Mom appears in the hallway. ‘Oh, honey.’ She pulls me in a hug, kissing my head over and over again. ‘You seemed so certain about staying with Calo. And I brought over an outfit Pyper picked, Mrs. Delgado wrote all if my instructions down to suit your needs...’
‘She did?’ Now I feel stupid for freaking out. ‘I just wanted you...’
‘That’s okay honey. It’s already a big step for you to go over for Calo and to want to sleep there. It’s only the first time you ever slept anywhere else so it’s only logical for you to panic.’ She pushes back my hair. ‘Go grab a shower. Pyper put out a new outfit for you and I’ll make the two of you breakfast when you’re done.’ She pulls Calo in a hug too, surprising him and me in the same time. ‘Thank you, Calo.’ She whispers sadly. ‘It means a lot to me that you responded as responsible as you did.’
‘No problem,’ he mutters unsurely.
‘Do you want to shower too?’
‘Can I lay down until Neo is ready for breakfast? I had a rough night...’
‘You can sleep in my bed if you want.’ I offer him while shuffling a foot. ‘I don’t mind.’
‘As long as you leave Neo’s outfit on the foot end of the bed.’ Mom taps both our cheeks. ‘Now, up you two go. I’ll start on breakfast.’ She pecks a kiss on my cheek, and on top of Calo’s, again surprising him. He seems completely out of place, but at least he accepts it.
After taking a shower and having breakfast, I decide on relaxing in the living room with Calo as my company. Mom starts about her everyday business; which is mostly washing and cleaning.
For a while, Calo and I watch TV while slumbering every so often, both exhausted. When mom is out to buy some groceries, I wake up to find Calo in tears again, staring into the depth, probably not seeing the TV he is staring to.
‘Cay?’ I whisper, feeling exhausted but wanting to help him anyway. ‘What happened?’ I push myself upwards and in his direction.
He instantly grabs my hoodie with both his hands burying his face in the croak of my neck while he’s shaking uncontrollably.
‘Cay?’ I repeat his name.
‘Lorenzo is coming to pick me up.’ His voice trembles along with his body while he’s noticeably holding back most tears and sobs.
‘Why? I thought you wanted to stay here.’
‘I did, but now I don’t.’ He whines, wiping away a lost tear. ‘I can’t have what I want, I don’t know what I want else. I don’t want to live.’
‘Cay, don’t say that. I can’t do it without you anymore.’
He huffs, shaking his head. ‘You can. You’ve managed to stay upright and going for so long, despite all that people throw at you. And me? I tried to give up and I couldn’t even get that right.’
‘What do you mean “tried to give up”?’ I frown, turning in my spot to fully look at him. ‘Don’t tell me…’
‘I was put in North Haven institution for a reason, Ne.’ He whispers with a thick voice full of agony and pain. ‘I was in the same school as Seino and Lorenzo.’ He suddenly turns to look at me, and the emptiness in his demeanour scares me a bit. ‘They’re in that fancy rich-kids school, you know, Saint Helena high?’ He’s still whispering, and I have to be drop-dead silent to even hear what he’s saying. ‘You know, I was bullied too. Not even as bad as you are. And I gave up. I took all my medication at once and I gave up.’
My eyes widen in realisation about what he’s talking. ‘You tried…’
‘To end my life.’ He nods. ‘And then I refused to talk, and they send me to North Haven in the hopes of getting better with the right… environment.’
‘But, you healed, right? You’re in South Haven High, you’re in a regular school.’ I remind him of the fact he’s back in a normal environment, probably because they think he’s healed enough to go back to a regular life.
’I’m weak, Ne. And looking at you, I keep getting reminded that I’m weak, I’m the failure. They should call mefaulty, not you.’
I swallow back a lump of nerves forming in my throat. ‘I’m not strong, Calo. My attendance record must be breaking records of an all-time low. I hide from the world, more than concurring it.’
’Yet, you go on. You don’t give up. They bully you mentally andphysically and I couldn’t even deal with simple name-calling.’
‘Name-calling isn’t simple, Calo. When repeated enough, everybody would eventually start believing what others say,’ I deadpan. ‘That doesn’t make you weak, it just tells me that you had to fight too hard. Harder than you were capable of.’
‘That’s why I’m weak, Neo.’ He snaps angrily. ‘I had some friends. I had my brothers standing up for me. Still I gave up and you had nobody, and you still went on.’
‘Don’t you think I never think about ending my life?’ I grumble, sliding down in my seat. ‘Nearly every day, Cay. I just can’t, because I would feel selfish. Mom and dad already lost two children and killing myself would simply destroy them.’
He stares at me in silence, probably because he knowsI have those thoughts. He understands why I have them.
‘Without you,’ I start admitting in a whisper. ‘I would’ve done it by now.’
He frowns, turning his head to break eye-contact.
‘What caused your mood? Your… episode?’
‘You.’ He huffs in annoyance.
‘Me? What did I do?’
‘You want to know my biggest secret?’ He leans towards me, voice barely above a whisper, causing me to lean in to hear what he’s going to tell me. ’I reallylike you.’
And suddenly, his lips are touching mine and I’m shocked, frozen in my spot. Calo is kissing me and shock causes me to realize what his biggest secret is a bit late. And then I realize my first kiss ever, is with Calo.
My first ever kiss is with a guy.
I don’t even think I still believed I would ever be sharing an intimate moment like this with anybody, let alone with a guy.
Calo pulls back as a car honk sounds in front of our house. ‘Now you know.’