Chapter 21 – Revealing the truth
Monday, January 9th, 2017
I’ve been nervous to go back to school for about a week now. Calo stopped texting me shortly after Christmas, and he didn’t send me a text to congratulate me with my seventeenth birthday on New Year’s Day.
I think it’s safe to say he finally got the message; I refuse to be friends with someone who doesn’t accept of me the way I fully am, gay or hetero shouldn’t matter.
And when I walk into the classroom without skipping into it – I’ve got that far with a little bit of help from Dr. Delgado, and much help from my anger towards all judgemental people – the class goes silent.
It caused Calo to look up from his phone, and first he wants to smile, then his eyes behold pain, and then they flicker down towards my feet; in the spot I used to skip.
I send him a cold look before I move to sit down next to him without saying a word.
“Neo, you’ve got to listen to me.” He instantly turned to look at me. “I do like you…”
“Stop it, Calo,” I tell him with a chill tone-of-voice. “You do not accept me the way I am, so fuck you.”
Gabriel and Hans, who are seated behind us in this class, holler at my insult, both with wide eyes that are full of amusement.
“You didn’t skip…”
“It’s none of your business anymore.” I cut him short, casually grabbing my stuff, randomly throwing them on my desk. “But thanks for giving me the push I needed to stop caring about pretty much everything.”
He swallows at my cold tone, my hurtful words, and the fact I keep turning him down.
“It’s Neo. Nee is for friends.”
“Auch…” Calo swallows again, and when I look up, there’s agony in his whole demeanour. He just stares at me with painfilled eyes before he slowly turns in his seat and stares towards the front of the classroom. “I’ll leave you alone.”
I take in a deep breath and nod in appreciation, now focussing on my stuff and searching for the homework we had to finish during Christmas break.
We’ve set the tone, and it lasts the rest of the day.
Jimmy and Luke tried to insult me in a couple of occasions, but they didn’t bother me. I know plenty of people have secrets in this school, and I know plenty of them are a bit different from what is considered normal. Despite the fact Calo and I aren’t friends, I still have plenty of people that want to hang out with me and I simply find myself not caring over any of Jimmy’s or Luke’s insults.
They stopped bothering me halfway throughout the day, and they started aiming for Calo, who isn’t very responsive to the insults either.
They get visibly frustrated over the fact nobody seems to respond to their bullying, their jokes or any of the things they do.
And that’s what should’ve alarmed me.
Jimmy and Luke do not like to be ignored. The last time something like this seemed to happen, they cornered me in the locker rooms and they’ve beaten me up pretty badly.
And that was before I stopped caring about their words.
And this time, they didn’t aim for me. They stopped bothering me, like I said, and aimed for Calo.
And that’s when everything goes wrong.
I’m seated in the lunchroom, with Angela, Libby, Damon and Pyper as my company.
We’re just chatting about Christmas break and what everybody did during the holidays, when Pyper’s face pales, and her eyes snap towards me in shock.
“Nee?” She pulls my sleeve, nodding for me to come closer. “Jimmy just sent this to everybody he has on snapchat. People are sending it to the rest of the school.”
And then she shows me a picture of a younger version of Calo, kissing another guy. The first picture is a bit old and it’s hard to tell who’s in it, but Calo is very recognizable in the second picture.
It’s signed with the words ‘Calo’s biggest secret’.
I stare at it in horror, knowing Calo was bullied over this. Knowing Calo came to this school so his secret would be safe. To make sure nobody would know.
And I know Calo’s been on the verge of a mental break down, because of me.
Because I kept acting cold and distant.
But Calo needs a friend right now, and no matter how much he hurt me, I can’t let him down right now.
I searched the entire school to find Calo, since he wasn’t in the lunchroom when we received the pictures. And then I saw him step into a car right when I was about to look outside for him.
And the look on his face, the tears streaming down, and the worried look on Lorenzo’s face were enough to get me into action.
I need to see Calo and tell him it will all be alright. That it’ll last a while, but people will accept him. I’ve heard plenty of people say that Jimmy and Luke shouldn’t mess with other people and how it wasn’t up to them to out Calo to the entire school.
There’s plenty of people supporting him.
And he needs to know.
And he needs to know right now. So, I borrowed Pyper’s bike and took off towards his house, despite the fact I still have three classes today. I have a bad feeling about Calo’s mental state.
This might have broken his spirit.
Once I finally reach their house, I realize I haven’t done any of the habits or compulsions like counting or tapping, that I used to do while riding a bike, simply because my mind is too occupied with Calo’s mental health.
I know how much he hates to be gay, how much he is against it. And now he’s out as gay in public, yet again.
So I knock on the door hard, I ring the bell multiple times and I’m impatiently hopping from one foot to the other until Seino opens the door.
“Where’s Calo?” I ask him in a hurry, brushing past him and into the house. “I need to see Calo.”
“He went up to his room after Lorenzo dropped him off. What happened?” Seino is coughing a bit and I notice he looks a bit sick. “He looks horrified… did he have a panic attack?”
“They outed him, to the school. They showed a picture of Calo kissing a guy.”
“What!?” Seino pulls me along towards the stairs and then we both run to Calo’s bedroom door. “Cay!? Let me in.” Seino demands. “I heard what happened, you have to let me in.”
I didn’t miss the panic and the fear in his voice, while he pulls his phone from his pocket, dialling a number while slamming his fist against the door.
“Cay? Will you talk to me?” I call out in worry, since Seino is freaking out, wanting to open the door too badly for my likings.
There’s no response and there’s a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. An unsettling feeling that is cause by the look on Calo’s face when he got into that car.
“Enzo? It wasn’t a panic attack. You have to come back home. They outed him to the school.” Seino firmly speaks into the phone. “Should I break open the door?” He nods a couple of times, along with the occasional uhu’s and okay’s.
As soon as he hangs up, he pushes me away from the door, bracing himself before he slams his shoulder against the door, trying to break it.
“What’s going on?” I squeak out.
“He’ll hurt himself. He didn’t want to ever be out again…” Seino grumbles, now resolving in kicking the look. After three kicks, it starts to crack, and with the sixth kick, the door breaks out of it’s post and slams open.
Calo is seated on the floor, the furthest away from the window. His skin is pale, his eyes are bloodshot and tears are uncontrollably rolling down his face.
And he’s throwing a handful of pills into his mouth, swallowing them with a bottle of water, letting go of an empty bottle of prescribed medication.
I stare in shock as Calo is already lolling his head and I reckon those weren’t the first pills he took, noticing there’s a second empty bottle next to him on the floor.
“Cay, no, no.” Seino cries out, grabbing his face, forcing Calo to look at him. “Throw up, Calo. You have to throw up. I’m not letting you die.” Calo is lolling his head away, still crying, his body shocking with every sob that comes out. His arms limply by his side, while his eyes slowly close.
“Cay, say something, please.” Seino whispers in total shock. “Neo, call an ambulance! Please, call them now!”
I stand still in shock for another couple of seconds before I wake up from my shocked state and dial for an ambulance.
I can’t describe how I felt when I saw Calo limply hanging in Seino’s arms, as the latter tried to wake him up by slapping his face.
Lorenzo was back home within a couple of minutes and together with Seino, he made Calo throw up while keeping him in a forward position, so he wouldn’t suffocate while throwing up.
Out came numerous of pills and despite their effort to make him throw up, there wasn’t much coming out after the first two attempts.
And Calo didn’t wake up.
I started crying and eventually Lorenzo took over the phone while Seino kept checking Calo’s wrist to find a pulse, and his chest and mouth to check if he was still breathing.
I don’t know how long it took before the ambulance arrived, but it couldn’t have taken very long.
Seino went in the ambulance with Calo, while Lorenzo called his mom and took me to the hospital afterwards.
And that’s where I currently am; in the waiting room with Seino, Lorenzo and my own mom.
I had to let her know where I was and as soon as I told her what happened she jumped in the car to come to me and try to comfort me.
We’ve been at here for an endless amount of time, while the whole room was silent. After a while, Tiago, Yasmine and Harper showed up, but they went back outside as they couldn’t take it to stay inside.
Seino promised to call them as soon as there was news.
“Neo?” Seino looks up towards me, his voice croaked and shallow. “How did you know?”
“How did I know what?”
“That you had to follow after him? Even Lorenzo and I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.”
“I knew what happened.” I mutter with a shrug. “And when he got in that car with Lorenzo, the look on his face? I just knew he needed a friend. But I was too late.”
Seino stares at me for a while before he nods and returns back to his previous silent state.
Mom let’s her hand go through my hair, pulling me in a hug as soon as she notices there’s still tears rolling down my face.
I don’t know how much longer we waited in that waiting room, but eventually, their parents walk into the waiting room. They look tired, stressed, and their mother is a wreck. Her hair is messily pulled up in a bun while her make-up is all over the place.
Seino instantly grabs his phone to call his brother and sisters and as they arrive, Dr. Delgado – It’s a habit to call him that way – clears his throat.
“He’s going to be okay. They managed to stabilize him…” His voice breaks, and a tear rolls down his cheek.
It’s probably the first time I see a sign of human weakness in him. He always seemed strong, calm, collective.
And by now I know him and Calo don’t get along at all and Calo every so often complained his father had no emotions. That he had no feelings towards him as his son.
But this shows me he cares even more about Calo than anyone would say by observing their relationship.
“Calo will be admitted to a psychiatric ward until we’re sure he’s no longer suicidal…”
“Are you going to treat him?” Seino asks with a voice void of any emotions. “You said ‘we’, so are you finally willing to help your own son?”
Dr. Delgado seems a bit taken aback by the question, swallowing hard, before shaking his head. “I can’t treat Calo, I could never, because I’m his father…”
“You know he only wants you to treat him.” Harper speaks up with an angry look on her face. “How can you not treat him while you know he needs you now, more then ever?”
“Calo won’t open up to me. It won’t do either of us any good…”
“I disagree,” I mutter, keeping my head down low. I shouldn’t even be in here, let alone interfere with their family conversation. But I know Calo want’s his father as his psychiatrist more then anything.
“Neo…” Mom taps my leg. “Let’s give them some privacy…”
“No, let him talk.” Mrs. Delgado is the one that encourages me to go on. “You probably know Calo best.”
“He would open up if you… these are not my words… would swallow your pride and treat him. He doesn’t tell you anything becauseyou refuse to treat him. He said that if you’re not willing to meet him halfway, he’s not going to do it either.” I speak with a timid voice, still not looking at them since I feel like an intruder. But I know I need Dr. Delgado to help Calo. Calo won’t listen to any other psychiatrist, knowing his father is the best for his condition around this place.
“See?” Lorenzo waves towards me as I look up to find all of them staring at either me, or Dr. Delgado. “I told you Calo refuses to talk because you won’t treat him. He told you plenty of things and you didn’t do anything to help him. Then why would he open up about his biggest struggle?”
“Obviously some of you know what the reason is behind his suicide attempt.” Dr. Delgado looks at me, Seino and then Lorenzo. “And if any of you thinks that Evita or I don’t know what it is, then you should think again.”
“What is it?” Tiago speaks up with a bit of curiosity. “I mean, it can’t be bullying, because Neo has it worse and he’s still going on…”
“You know nothing about Neo’s situation, and you can’t compare it to Calo’s.” Dr. Delgado tells him, before he sighs. “Right now, the only thing that is important is that Calo is going to be fine. He just needs the right help…”
“Which is you, treating him.”
“I can’t, because those are the rules.” He now seems to get frustrated and I see some sort of regret in his eyes.
I do believe Dr. Delgado would treat Calo if the rules wouldn’t forbid him from doing so. I just don’t understand why he won’t sit down with Calo at home.