What you are about to read is Jude’s story, which in effect is largely my story growing up. I wrote a piece called The Benefits of Writing on our Mental health at Fly on the Wall Poetry and mentioned this story. You can go here to read it in full. But basically I was a depressed, lonely teenager and put everything into this story. It’s changed over the years. Jude was not actually the original protagonist, his brother Tommy was. I want to share as well some of my favourite books / films / tv programmes in the coming weeks, which kept me afloat in those difficult years. Is escaping into fiction, instead of confronting issues, a good thing? I believe it was best for me at the time. Harsh reality was not what I needed doses of. What I needed was David Tennant as The Doctor, telling me there’s always something to live for. So let me know what you think about the story, what you like, what you don’t.
I scratch drops, tear drops, onto my skin using a Biro. I am waiting for this computer – I smack my palm against its side. I feel bad, as my hand stings. What if that had been a human?
The tremble of the computer starts to slow, and I glance back at the screen. There are multiplying messages –
R u a gay guy –
what u up 2 J –
lets chaT –
They flicker briefly, like casual supermarket shoppers. I want something less superficial than this. I want to talk, instead I am – I fire my pen across the room. I scour my ears with my nails, which I begin to bite. I tear them off and spit them out. I brush them off my sleeves, and scatter my workbooks from my desk. I put a cigarette in my mouth.
I light the tip. I turn over the ruler in my hand, and use the corner to drag along my wrist. I take my cigarette from my mouth, and blow smoke into the room. I cock my head, brush a headphone from my ear, and listen for mum, if she comes up… I piss around with gripping the sharpener blade, and then dip its point into my arm. I open an old cut, and watch the blood slip. It bubbles, like acid.
Messages keep rolling on the computer screen. Some are received, and taken to a private chatroom. Those chatrooms are arenas. I can make any amount of crap up that I choose and, as long as it is sexy, these sleazy men are happy. They reckon they have easy prey, but I am not gay. I don’t think. I punch my bloody arm and shrug on a hoodie, logging off, and switching on the light quickly. The mess isn’t too bad.
‘Jude, are you done?’ My mum calls.
‘Yeah, coming.’ I say.
Downstairs my dad asks. ‘Alright?’
‘Yeah.’ I sigh, sitting next to him. I clasp my legs around the wooden chair, and lay my head on the dining table.
‘I am ready.’ I tell him. ‘Do you think I’m going to see Kelly?’
‘I don’t see why not.’ My mum folds a tea towel and places it on the kitchen top. ‘But you want to be making new friends, don’t you?’
Negative answer. ‘I never make friends.’ Positive answer. ‘Yes mum, bound to.’ This is the one I go for. I try to smile to reassure her. ‘When are Jonathan and James getting back?’
‘Soon. Then we can have dinner. Would you like to help me prepare it?’
‘I’m not hungry.’ I murmur.
‘You must eat.’ Dad says.
Ah shit. ‘What are we having then, can we have pudding?’
‘Of course.’ Mum almost fractures her face smiling. I think I might cry. I try to swallow the lump in my throat. I ball my fists.
I rise, on my feet I walk into the garden, and light a cigarette. I do a u turn.
I open the patio door and step into the living room. There are boxes piled high. I feel like I am in a 3D Tetris game, and that I am about to get squashed. This is my brother, Jonathan’s, house. I rub my thumb over the sellotape that is peeling on the box labelled kitchen. My brother, James, and me cost our parents money. We had to sell our home and move in with Jonathan. Now we are moving to our own house again.
James is disabled and I am mad.