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When A Boy Cries

Levi:

The grass is overgrown again.

It tickles my legs as I walk through it to my trailer. Sometimes someone will come around to cut it, but usually it just grows and grows until winter.

Winter is approaching and my things are limited. I know Benny and the others want to help me out, but I couldn’t accept.

My dad does his best for me, I know he does. I would never want to take something from someone and make him feel inadequate.

I know he’s grateful when the guys bring things over for us. It’s never a lot, they respect that I want to do things without them, but they will still try to help. Whether they bring dinner claiming they want to eat together or saying it’s an early present for my birthday, they try. However, I know it also makes my dad disappointed in himself.

He thinks I don’t see when he wrings his hands together in nervousness when he only has water to offer guests. Or when he offers for me to bring friends over. He’s met all the guys, each one he met he’s been incredibly nervous around, wanting to make the best impression he can despite the circumstances.

None of the guys judge us, I know they don't. But that doesn’t stop the shame from settling in when I feel I have nothing to contribute to the group.

Nowhere we can hang out, nowhere we can go to eat dinner. I’m grateful for my friends, happy for them too, sometimes I just wish I had something they could be grateful for.

I open the door and I sigh in relief when I see things are still how I left them. I’m still nervous that we’ll get robbed again. I don’t even want to remember how trashed the place was.

I’m quick to grab a glass of water seeing how the cold air quickly made me thirsty. When I set the water down, I hang my head just a bit in thought.

Both surprisingly and unsurprisingly, my mind drifts to the girl I’ve met just a few days ago.

Thea has set our group dynamic in a whole different angle. Ethan is spacing out, Alexander is angry, she’s on all our minds. Even those who deny it.

I’m still upset over Alex’s behavior. I know he’s cautious of Thea but his actions were completely uncalled for. Ethan is getting along well with her, Benny, Connor, and Reece are all still figuring her out but I can tell they’re interested.

And as for myself, well I’m not sure how to feel. She’s beautiful, and caring, and has all a sassy, silly, and fierce attitude.

My hands grip the counter a little tighter. She has all that and could have any guy at her feet with just a snap of her fingers, but she doesn’t know that.

Being someone who craves her attention, it’s hard to not notice all the eyes on her as she walks by.

The worst part though, is that even if she did see it all, she would never snap her fingers. She’s too thoughtful, and kind, and overall beautiful inside and out.

So why does she even glance my way? The poor boy who could never compare to her, could never compare to anyone.

I forcefully push myself off the counter, I need to do something, anything to keep the thoughts at bay.

My hands are a little shaky, but overall I’m okay.

Count to ten Levi, just count to ten.

I take a sweater from off the couch and I rush outside, hoping the cool air will soothe me.

I walk so I’m against the wall of the trailer. I count the other trailers and then choose to count the sounds I hear. Always up to ten. Ten red things, ten birds in the trees, ten flowers.

When my inner thoughts stop spiraling I let out a harsh breath and lean my head against the trailer. My throat tightens as tears start pooling in my eyes. My eyes are still closed, trying to hold them in. but of course they just spill over and slide down my cheeks.

Why the hell am I crying? Im fine. Yeah I’m not great financially, yeah I don’t have anything to offer, sure I’m at the bottom of anyone’s friend list. It’s fine, I’m fine.

I reach to touch the bracelets I wear. Even with my mind clouded I can still see them in my head as I trace each one.

The leather carved one, the one with the clock carved on it. I remember my obsession with clocks when I was younger. It was kind of stupid but I liked the way they worked. I would take them apart, studying them and messing with them like toys.

They were my toys. I never got real children's toys growing up. No hot wheels, no stuffed animals, no legos. I would just ask for the watches that people wore, the clocks on the walls, the digital ones off desks.

They were easy enough to acquire, so I was happy. My dad had to spend less money, and I had things to learn from and “play with”

I touch the one with the stone beads on it. That was a gift given to me by Connor. He actually made it himself. Each time he would go outside, he would look for rocks that had holes in them, or ones he could drill into so they would fit on the string. It was for my fifteenth birthday.

We hadn’t known each other very long by then, maybe a year and then some. But when it was given to me, I pathetically cried because even though my dad did his best each year for my birthday, I never really had a friend care so much to do something like this.

And the thing was, I didn’t understand why he did it. Sometimes I still don’t.

I feel the two I wear from the time Benny roped Alex into making friendship bracelets. Benny failed a lot, but for some reason, he was adamant about getting it right. Alex on the other hand just scowled at the string as he tried once before throwing it across the room.

Connor took it, fixed it, and then gave it to me, seeing the others I wore. He claimed if I was going to wear bracelets then they should mean something and he wanted me to remember them by this.

The last one I felt was silver, it’s made of a metal that was molded to make a twisted shape. It says my name over and over as it bends with the curves the twists make.

Some would say the bracelet is self centered, like having a selfie as a phone background. But when I feel the cool metal and familiar twisted shape, I bite my lip as my heart clenches hard.

I bang my head back on the trailer with my eyes still closed. And for a while, I just sit there and cry.


“Levi?” I hear a confused voice call

Then footsteps come closer, hurried and more rushed “Levi!”

My eyes open heavily and I look through my red rimmed eyes at my dad who comes over, a worried expression on his face.

“What’s happened?” he asks, looking around me and at me. Possibly looking for damage.

“Im fine” I whisper and he looks sternly at me “i’m your dad son, I know a lie when I see one, especially one thats so blatantly obvious”

“I just- just, I don’t know. Everything happened and then, it all just went downhill” I ended up whispering at the end

He holds his hand out to me and I take it and he helps to pull me up and into a hug which I gladly reciprocate.

“C’mon son, lets get inside” he guides me into the trailer and leads me to the couch “do you want some water?”

I shake my head. “I think I just want to sleep”

He nods in understanding and I simply just lie down on the couch and hold a pillow to my chest.

I close my eyes and in the dark, thoughts start to pour in, no matter how much I try to stop them.

Why can’t I just be strong? Why do I always feel this way?

My body begins to tremble and I close my eyes tighter, trying to find sleep faster.

I focus on anything I can, the sounds of my dad moving around, the sounds of my shuddering breaths, anything.

I knew I was prone to reactions like this, I knew that this happens when I overthink. I get overwhelmed and then I freak out, and when that’s done, I become a dull shell of myself. And I never know how to stop the cycle.

I know the guys would hate me knowing how dark my mind is. If they ever knew about my episodes, I would be alone. Alone again.


“Levi!” I jump slightly when I hear my name called in the classroom, still sensitive from last night

As we’re still settling in, Connor walks in, making eye contact with me and gives me a bright smile. I do my best to act normal but when he sees my face, his smile wavers a little.

He takes a seat beside me “are you okay? He questions

I sigh and try and relax my shoulders, giving an easy smile “i’m alright, just had a restless night last night”

He nods in understanding. But he understands something different.

He understands that it can get noisy around me.

He understands that sometimes I have to work late

He understands that I have homework

He doesn’t understand that the dark spiral of thoughts is what keeps me up at night

He doesn’t understand that it consumes me. Taking all my energy.

I fiddle with my bracelets and we turn our attention to the tired looking teacher that has just come in.

“Good morning class” Mr Phillip, our teacher, says unenthusiastically

No one responds

“Alright. Today we will be writing a paper. I have several questions on this worksheet that you will be required to fill out and eventually combine to make a several paragraph essay. The questions revolve around the question- what does unity mean to you?”

Unity?

The sheets get passed out and when I take one, I look down at the questions.

1. In your own words, what would I look like to not physically ’hold one’s hand”

I don’t know

2. Is there a difference between seeing someone and looking at someone?

I don’t know

3. Different feelings can change a person’s perspective- what is an example of this?

I don't fucking know

Before I choose to crumple the paper and flip a chair, I put it away and fiddle with my pencil, waiting for the bell to ring with the intention of half-heartedly doing it later.


Thea, a sight for sore eyes.

As I was walking out the door to go home, Thea ran up to me, out of breath, cheeks flushed, looking up at me with her beautiful blue eyes. “Hi Levi”

She’s such a breath of fresh air. A sun in my darkness.

I smile at her “hey Thea. Need something?”

She shakes her head “I wanted to know how you were doing? You seemed upset earlier”

My lips part in surprise and my eyes widen ever so slightly. Was I okay? Not really. But I will be. Do I need to burden Thea with my problems? No. “i’m doing alright, how are you?”

It’s my classic deflection tactic, move the attention to someone else so they stop focusing on you.

However, Thea doesn’t go on about her day or how she’s feeling. She frowns at me “Levi..”

She bites her lip momentarily before releasing it “I understand if you don’t want to talk to me Levi, but talk to someone if you need to, okay?”

I smile at her. Silly girl, there’s no need to worry about me.

“Alright Thea, if I need to, i’ll talk to someone”

She smiles happily, still a little tense, but she looks at me with such joy that I don’t know what to do with it.

She is just so beautiful it hurts. So what is she doing with me?

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