“Do you really have to go, Mikey”
Sally Miller asked her son, her voice was hoarse from all the crying she’d doing all morning and the night before, and Mike could tell she was close to breaking down into tears yet again. She had a far away look as if Mike was moving to another planet and not just the next city.
In a way Mike could understand his mom's difficulty with the whole situation. He was after all her only son. Whom she babied to no end.
" You were just crawling and breaking stuff yesterday, Mikey and now you're leaving me" she choked on her words the tears now creeping from her eyes. She let out a strangled sigh as she pulled him snuggly close for a hug.
In about a month's time Mike was starting at NYU. So he'd thought it was for greater good if he moved in with my best friend Luke so as to get familiar with living without his mom and dad. He knew it wasn't going to be easy moving. He was used to being spoiled rotten. Being the only child meant that he had all his parents attention. His mom's more that than his dad’s.
Not that he had any problem with his mom being too hands on his my life, Mike sometimes thought that she got little too much and got carried away. They both always treated him like a child, as if having depression was a disability.
To prove that, his mom had checked his bags almost five times to see if he had packed his antidepressants pills. Not to mention that just last week before Mike was to move out, his mom had forced him to go to his therapist for a consultant about moving towns and had the therapist suggest any good therapist nearer to campus.
Which Mike felt wasn’t necessary at all. He was taking his meds correctly and hadn't had a severe panic attack since that day he watched her coffin being lowered to her final resting place. He suffered from depression and anxiety. Some days his anxiety got really bad he had mini panic attacks but mostly he always came up with better ways to deal with it. It wasn’t easy but it was his life.
Mike’s depression had been mild before her death. He hadn't needed to visit a therapist. But all that changed after her funeral.
He couldn't bring himself to live after her death. He isolated himself from everyone and everything. Couldn't leave the sanctuary of his room, everything outside of it reminded him of her, his twin sister.
He'd started to miss school and bunked classes. The pain too much and too raw for him to bare. He couldn't sleep because of the nightmares and the constant blame. His twin had been his anchor, kept him afloat and grounded.
For a very long time her death traumatized Mike everyone kept telling him it wasn't his fault but Mike knew better, they weren't there. They didn't hear her cry for him to help her while he just stood there dumbfounded not knowing what to do. They didn't see her fear stricken face as it begged for her big brother to help her. He had felt so worthless in those moments not knowing what to do. They had both been twelve years old when she died but the memory of that day was still fresh in my head.
Things took a turn for the worst a few weeks after her burial. Mike was always nauseous, he couldn't stomach any food so he just stopped eating all together. His insomnia got worse he had the worse case of depression and resolve to cutting myself just to feel anything else but the grave pain in his heart and the emptiness. But even that didn't help.
His teachers started to pick out on his behavior and poor performance in his studies and contacted his parents.
Sally discovered that her son had been cutting himself and had made his start counseling. He was still only fourteen and didn't know how to hide the scars on his arms but he got better with time.
Although the pills helped with the insomnia the pain, guilt and emptiness were still very fresh the next mornings and the blade was his only escape, till he got into his late teens and discovered that alcohol did the job better and took longer and had no visible effects.
Growing up his mom made sure to she kept him out of trouble. As a child his anxiety and depression had been really bad even with Michelle still alive. They were born identically twins but could not be anymore different. While Michelle was outgoing and naughty, Mike was always quiet and kept to himself.
Michelle was his pillar she almost always stood up for him to bullies and what nots. So Mike stuck to his twin sister like a sore thumb. She was the head strong one, the leader while he was her loyal follower. Since childhood it was always like that. Mike too insecure to make friends and Michelle making enough for the both of them. Through her he got to let loose a little went out with her and her friends but after her death everything thing fell apart.
All of their friends stopped visiting, even young as he was Mike knew that they would eventually. After all he was the 'weird twin' so it really didn't bother him. The only friend from group who had the guts to visit after Michelle's death was Lucas Stone. At first Mike had thought it was a dare or cruel joke the other kids in the neighbourhood were playinng on him. But Lucas seemed genuine. He was just adamant to rekindle a friendship between them. Though Mike sometimes thought his mother had forced him to act nice and become friends with her best friends son. Mike never confronted him. And any ways mom and Mrs. Stone had been friends from since high school so Luke was forced to be friends with him either way.
But as time went on Mike started to really like Luke he reminded him a lot of Michelle he was just as outgoing and rebellions so they got along quite okay and in time he replace Michelle and became Mike's pillar. But no matter how many times he tried to forget about his twin, Mike never could.
As expected he never made any friends outside Luke and his crew.
He never got to experience life outside his parents protective palm. Although he never complained about it he still felt left out, like he was babied a lot so he needed to get himself out of his comfort zone and enjoy being a teenager before it was too late. Being almost 19 meant Mike had very little time left before he lost the 'teenage' privilege stage to fuck up.
"It's okay mom, don't cry." Mike tried to reassure his mom who was by now already tearing up. She kept clinging on him not wanting to let go. The rosey scent of her perfume transferring onyo Mike's shirt.
"I'll come and visit every once in a while. I need to do this. You have to let me go I'm old enough now." he paused for a moment wiping the tears that had fallen from his mother's always smiling eyes. It hurt him seeing her like that almost making him want to change his mind and stay home instead, the key word being 'almost'
"And its not like you're never going to see me. I'll be safe. Luke's place has high security, nothing happens without their knowledge. And I promise to behave as you've taught me" Mike continue reassuring her, chuckling at how that statement was wrong, Luke wasn't one to be protected from the outside world the outside world needed to be protected from him. But Sally didn't need to know that so Mike tried to loosen the tension before talking about his notorious always up to no good friend " ...but I can't say the say about Luke, he's a bit of a wild animal" this time he couldn't hold it in. Letting out a huge laugh before returning back to his worried mother. She finally let go of the tight grip she had on him and smile a little.
Mike hated seeing her cry it reminded him of Michelle's funeral and that was a day he desparently didn't want to be remembering, it felt worse being the reason behind those tears. It always seemed to trigger his own emotions which meant panic attacks, another reason his parents isolated him from the real world, not that he had any objections to their ruling.
If circumstances had been easier, if life had at least given them more years together. But it was now or never. At 18 Mike had no other choice but to leave home. School awaited. Taking of waiting Luke blared the horn for the sixth time, displaying his frustration.
They had already taken all bags to his brand new sleek matte red Lamborghini or scarlet as he liked to call her.
Unlike Mike, Luke's parents were not as hands on. They let him spread his wings and do whatever he wanted. And boy did he spread his wings. Everyone in high school would testify. Mr. and Mrs. Stone said every teenage boy needed their freedom. But to be honest they were just tired of him. Luke was troublesome always had been. He had moved to his own flat at age 15. And both Mr. and Mrs. Hillard had been proud of their son's independence trait. His trust fund had just matured a week ago and Luke had every intention to spend his money with his best friend.
Realizing the sun was already setting the boys shared their last goodbye's. Although Mr. Miller had seemed rather unaffected by his son's decision in the past since Mike had sat them down and delivered the news. He had agreed with him enthusiastically and encouraged that it was a good idea that Mike ought to gain some independence. But today he also shed a tear or two when the ignition of the Scarlett roared to life.
Being the man of the house meant he had to be strong, for both his wife and son. He never got the chance to grieve for his daughter having to carry two people on his shoulders and comfort them. That meant no crying for him no matter how much he wanted to. He had to comfort his wife and offer her sanctuary.
Lucas blew the honk again and Mike dashed to the car giving his parents a last glance, Tom quickly wiping the threatening tears before his wife could see him. But he was a little too late, nothing escaped the watch full eyes of Sally Miller. But Mike knew better having had tried the same thing with him mom a thousand times and managing to get caught each time, Sally had seen those tears long before his dad even registered they were there. Pecks of being a house wife and mother to a depressed teenage boy. Not wanting to experience anymore heartache or cringe worthy parents kissing Mike hurried along but not before hearing mom's word to her chivalrous and headstrong husband.
"Its good to cry dear, he really has grown way too fast" Mike knew she was trying to reassure his dad who was probably looking very regretful for being caught by his wife. Becaus according to Tom's books he was supposed to be the strong one, the one to reassure her and offer a shoulder to cry on. It was definitely not supposed to be the other way around. That was just the way Tom was.
Tom didn't answer to his wife's wise words he just starred at the car as it slowly faded. Luke too kept his eyes to his best friend and slowly opened his mouth to say something but closed it again. Mike suspected that maybe he regretting his decision. Although he kept saying it necessary for him to move out Mike knew he too had his worries like Sally. And maybe they were both right for being worried about him. Maybe he wouldn't cope at a new place and maybe he would go back to being the shell of a person he was before. But Mike had to keep a positive front. He had to prove to them and to himself that he could do this, that he wouldn't fall apart but rather blossom.
Tom watched as the car swerved and disappeared from his sight. His shoulders shagged as the thoughts of his son invaded his head. He was just as worried as his wife was but he knew he had made a good choice for Michael.
Reminiscing back to his own high school days, Tom was the exact opposite of his son but he knew if Michelle was alive today she would be his exact carbon copy. Fresh tears clouded his eyes as he thought of their late baby girl who had been taken away too early from them.
In his teenage years Tom had been the true definition of 'high school bad boy' growing up and that had brought him and his mother nothing but problems. His own parents had almost disowned him had it not for the beautiful woman standing besides him right now.
Back in those day he thought she was the prettiest girl in the whole world. He still thought so but only now he realized she was far more that, now she was she was the most loving, responsible, good hearted, caring woman in the world and very good at cooking he could go on the whole day talking about all the beautiful features of his wife. Both inside and out. His beautiful Celina who came like a storm in his life breaking all his walls with just her beautiful smile, she tamed the bad boy and turned him to her little scrap boy but he still wouldn't change that for anything.
Tom was the one who had begged Luke to ask Mike to move in a few weeks before University started. He wanted his son to get familiar with the outside world and learn to interact with others. He was afraid he might get bullied at school or be made fun of but it was a risk worth taking they couldn't shadow him his entire life.
High school hadn't been the best time for Michael. He came home with a bruised ego everyday. Sally didn't understand but Tom did. So he wanted his son to have a normal life in college to make up for high school. And the only way that was possible was letting him stay with Lucas Stone, the town bad boy just like he was, he snickered at that. The Stone boy was exactly what his son needed.
Because although Luke was a rebel and screamed trouble from his leather jacket to his track with the ladies, Tom knew he was a good friend. He was exactly what Mike needed to let loose and maybe, just maybe lose his virginity before classes started. God knows Tom had lost his at fourteen and he had an inkling that Luke lost his at a younger age than him. So since he couldn't pressure his son to lose his virginity, mainly because Sally would have his balls for dinner and most probably make him sleep on the couch, which was really uncomfortable no one should ever be subjected to sleep on that couch. Tom was going to let Luke do his job for him. And he was 100% sure Luke would succeed with flying colors. Something you didn't see in his school report. He'd seen the boy's report from his best friend Alexander Stone.
Tom turned and looked at his wife and gave her the smile he knew she had fallen in love with. " Lets go inside cupcake and I'll make you some dinner"
Although he was a bad cook he knew his wife liked his cooking. Mainly because she got to shout at him and scold him about her kitchen. But that was okay he liked being scolded by his wife anyways