They said “time heals all wounds”.
Gary Smith wasn’t so sure about that.
He sat in his dorm room of some state college, wrapped up in a blanket staring at the ceiling. Pennants of the school’s team fluttered about gently as the fan whirled the air around the small, cramped room.
It was meant for two, but his roommate managed to squeeze in room for his girlfriend. He tried to be nice to them; he even complimented her new ring. But they always made excuses to leave him alone.
“We got things to do man, y’know?”
Gary always said he didn’t mind. It couldn’t have been any farther from the truth. Years had passed since his stunt at Bullworth, promptly expelled for his bad behavior and put into sessions after sessions with therapists and doctors and counselors.
Pill bottles and blister packs, therapy books and alternative medicine—it seemed like the entire psychiatrist practice of Northern America was doting on him. Trying to fix him. For a while they had him fooled, that he was sick, that he behaved the way he did because he wasn’t right.
Now he wasn’t so sure if that was the case.
His parents were especially disappointed in him when he returned from Happy Volts. He couldn’t blame them, he always fucked up. Always. Wasn’t a time when his father wasn’t looking down his nose and making dismissive comments about how “nothing was ever going to change.”
His mother tried though, but she always seemed so distant about it. She knew he was smart, he didn’t get bad grades, he was really good in languages too, especially German. There were moments where she was so proud of him, but those were few and far in between.
She talked his father into sending him to college, maybe independence will help him. His father, wanted none of it. He wanted to use his college fund for something more useful, “Like maybe a son that wasn’t such a goddamned disappointment!”
But she insisted. His therapists insisted. He was excited to go, it was a second chance for him.
He rode on a high until he overheard his parents talk about how it was merely a ploy to make their family look ‘normal’. That their family had enough of a bad name as it is, time to make those nosy reporters shut up, show that their son was finally getting better. Not a shred of hope on her part. But he tried not to resent her.
His parents never called or invited him back home for the weekends. He dropped in on them once, as a surprise, but the welcome certainly wasn’t a warm one. “Don’t tell me they sent you back home… what were you kicked out for this time?”
“I… I wasn’t kicked out mom, Jeremy said he was coming this way, I offered to pay him gas money if he could drop me off here. So… here I am?”
It was the coldest weekend he had ever spent back in his old bedroom.
The door to his dorm room creaked, dragging him out of his thoughts. He perked up at the sight of his roommate, who kept a very careful watch on Gary.
“Hey! Uhh... Gary. You uhh… you been here long?”
Gary shrugged, “I guess.”
His roommate never took his eyes off of the boy on the bed. He grabbed his rucksack and made a mad dash to the door.
Times like this he missed dweebs like Petey. Even though he was an ass to the kid, he was always eager-to-please. There were days when they had regular conversations. Days where he felt normal and not like a freak shackled to his pills and scheduled ‘talks’.
Days like these, when he thought back on everything, when it all would come back to him at once, days like these made him wish he was just a normal person.
He laid on his bed, curling up into the tightest little ball that was humanly possible. He just wanted to disappear.
Maybe in that big black nothingness someone would want to talk to him then.