Cut the Cord

Chapter 7

He drifts in and out of consciousness for another couple of hours and then realises he should probably clean up the broken china before his mother gets back from her book club. She hates unnecessary mess.

He forces himself to sit up, wincing at how weak his abdominal muscles have become since he stopped working out. Or, really, since he stopped doing anything other than lying on his bed and staring at the ceiling, occasionally the wall. He dangles his legs off the edge, brushing his feet back and forth over the wooden beams and enjoying the slight drag as his skin catches on the hard surface. He can see one piece of white poking out from under his sock drawer, the edge obviously having broken away from the rest of the plate, yet surprisingly non-serrated. The other pieces are smaller, awkward to pick up and scattered between his bed and the chest of drawers.

Exhaling slowly, he drops to his knees and begins to pick the little white lumps up, piling them in one hand and resisting the urge to curl his fingers and crush them against his palm. He pauses when he can’t hold any more and looks around, wondering where to dispose of them. His eyes find an empty tissue box next to his nightstand and he pulls it towards him, depositing the fragments in the oval-shaped hole. He continues this process until all the smaller bits have been cleared up, listening to the slightly offbeat ticking of the two clocks next to his bed. He’d stolen one from Cooper’s old room, the other from the guest room a couple of months ago when the silence had grown too much to bear. He sort of thinks he’d prefer the silence now; the relentless ticking is getting on his nerves.

He’s about to get up when he realises the biggest piece is still under his drawers and crawls over to it, reaching out a hand to gingerly pick it up. It’s too big to put in the tissue box so he holds it for a second, traces the too-smooth fissure down the edge and wonders if this is what Kurt’s heart looked like, right after Blaine smashed it into a thousand pieces. He wonders if the cracks were this neat or if they were uneven, digging in painfully whenever Kurt moved. He wonders if anyone picked the pieces up again and, if so, whether they simply discarded them, like Blaine is doing now, or carefully forced them back together, mismatched puzzle pieces neatly jammed into one another. He wonders if it’s still not mended properly, if it’s still just a tangled mess of scars criss-crossing along Kurt’s insides. He sort of hopes so because then he wouldn’t be quite so alone.

His phone bleeps and he goes back to the bed to check it, dropping the shard of plate in the bin at the same time. It’s Kurt. His thumb moves of its own accord as it swipes across the screen, unlocking the phone and opening the message.

Sorry about earlier, I shouldn’t have reacted like that. You’re going through a lot and I was just a complete jerk about it. Send me a text so I know you’re ok. Sorry.

Blaine stares at it for thirty seconds, wondering how he feels about the words before the screen goes black and he decides to feel nothing at all. He doesn’t reply.

The front door opens and closes, signifying his mother’s return, as Blaine lies back down on his side, tucking his hands under his head and thinking about emptiness. He syncs his breathing with the ticking clocks and, yes, he definitely needs to get rid of them later. They’re going to drive him insane.

His mother calls him down for dinner a while later and he reluctantly gets up once more. He’s really not hungry, but last night, for the first time in months, he couldn’t get away with skipping his evening meal; his mother had come to get him. He clutches the banister as he walks down the stairs; for some reason he’s become terrified of falling since he’s been released from hospital. It’s so ironic it hurts.

He slides wordlessly into his chair, just like last night, and watches as his mother spoons food onto his plate before setting it down in front of him. She smiles unconvincingly and waits until his father is also seated before launching into today’s trivial but harmless conversation topics. Blaine really couldn’t care less what Belinda thought about The Golden Notebook but it’s easier for all concerned to let her keep rambling. His father seems to reach the same conclusion and offers pointless agreements in between mouthfuls.

“…So anyway she’s invited us round for dinner, which I thought was very kind of her.”

“Mm,” His father concurs, barely listening.

“And she said you’d be very welcome too, Blaine, isn’t that nice?”

He looks at her, uses all his strength not to snap out a response. He pushes more peas under his mashed potatoes, watching the whiteness engulf them.

“They’ve got a son about your age apparently so you’ll have someone to talk to. It’ll do you good to get out and socialise a bit—”

“I’m not going.” He says between gritted teeth.

“Oh,” His mum looks taken aback that he’s spoken. “Oh, well, we’ll see how you feel nearer the time I suppose.”

“I said I’m not fucking going.” Both his parents flinch this time; he’s never sworn in front of them in his life. His father almost says something, Blaine watches his mouth twitch, but then he simply picks up his empty plate and leaves, glaring at Blaine as he does so.

There’s a scraping sound as his mom stands up abruptly too, the wooden flooring resisting against the chair legs. Her manicured hands smooth down the front of her dress and she looks anywhere but at Blaine as she murmurs something about ringing Trudy and charity balls before calmly leaving the room. She really hates unnecessary mess.

He doesn’t bother clearing away the plates, his still full, afraid he’ll run into his father in the kitchen, and heads back upstairs instead, clicking his bedroom door shut behind him. He has another message from Kurt and wonders whether it is the sudden anger from dinner that’s making his hand shake, or something more.

I completely understand if you’d rather not, but I was wondering if you wanted to come round tomorrow before I go back to New York? Let me know :)

He thinks about ignoring this text too, but then decides that anything is better than staying in his room with his mother hovering outside all day. He sends a simple ‘Ok, see you about eleven?’ and tries not to read too much into it when Kurt replies instantly with ‘Sounds great! I’m looking forward to it!’

He goes to bed even earlier than usual, Annoying Clock Number One telling him it’s only quarter to eight; he feels overly-tired and it’s not like he’ll actually sleep anyway. He’s grown accustomed to floating like a balloon, but he prefers drifting through dark skies than daylight, likes the cool, slightly damp air that encompasses him at night. The way no one on the ground can see him as he hovers uselessly above their heads, observing without being observed. In the middle of the night, alone in his room, he can drift anywhere he pleases and linger for as long as he likes. So, he flicks his light off at 8:47 and allows images of pale skin and genuine smiles to fill his head until he’s suspended in the liminal space between sleeping and waking. It’s as close to happy as he’s capable of being and that’s better than nothing, right? It has to be.

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