umm, not much i can say about this other than there's no smut. none. not even kissing. so weird for me. even weirder is the whole SENTIMENTALISM. maybe a part of me likes being emo velveteen? might. i've been having a rough week.
beta'd by amindaya. :::bows:::
friday, 19 october, 2007. 8:34 pm.
I'm not sure when the lock appeared on his door, perhaps months before I ever noticed, but through time, that lock began to eat at my consciousness. Every time I passed by my son's closed and locked door, the more it plagued me, until it grew to overtake my every thought.
Because with that lock came a wall within my son, a hardness designed to keep the world at bay…even his own father.
Alex was so sweet as a kid, open and charming enough to have buckets of friends all through elementary, but he slowly grew to change, becoming reticent and almost resentful whenever I tried to retain a closeness we'd shared for most of his life. Eighth grade was the magic year though; it was the year he stopped talking to me altogether, grunts becoming the basis of our communication. The pals that used to show up at all times of the day when he was younger never showed their faces again, and he rarely went out when not at school, holing up in his bedroom for hours at a time.
It's hard to compete with a locked door and thumping thrash metal music.
Sometimes, I worried that he was into narcotics, but I never saw any signs of anything upon him, and I used to be a drug counselor for the state when I was first married. After Yvonne left us when Alex was four, I had to take a job as a financial accountant, the pay being better and the hours more suited to raising a son by myself.
Ever since my wife had come home and walked over to me, her smile soft and pretty as she leaned over the back of the couch to press a gentle kiss to my forehead and whisper that we were going to be parents…my life revolved around my boy. For nine months, I revered her belly, treating her royal enough to make her giggle and call me a fool, but nothing could have swayed me from the awed love I felt for my then unborn child.
We didn't know Alex's sex until the day he was born (Alex for a boy, Jessa for a girl), but I had been ecstatic dreaming of all the things I could do for my child, of being a father.
My own dad hadn't been around when I was a kid, being too immersed in his work until he finally just drifted out of my family, leaving Mom to carry on alone until she died when I was barely into college, leaving me alone in the world.
Until I met Yvonne, the most beautiful woman I'd ever met.
Well, that's not to say that she didn't get acne sometimes, or that she didn't have that small indention in her middle from where her waistband lay. Or that she looked somewhat plain when she didn't want to mess with combing her hair or applying makeup. She was still the most beautiful woman in my world.
Things began to change after Alex was born. She grew somewhat sullen, almost jealous of the way I would cater to him, the way my face would light up whenever his smile turned to me. I couldn't have stopped it, even if I wanted to, but it's not that I wanted to alienate the love of my life.
But that's what I ended up doing, and after a year of tension and tears and arguments, Yvonne left us.
The last I ever heard from her was sometime around Alex's fifth birthday, and while it saddened me to know she no longer loved me, it saddened me further to see my son left with just one parent to turn to. I had wanted him to have a family, but I was determined that I would be everything he'd need. And if I had to turn into Mr. Mom sometimes, then that was ok too.
So you must understand the anguish it caused me when I began to lose my Alex to himself.
Desperation leads to desperate measures, and that was exactly where I found myself the year Alex turned thirteen. While our estrangement had become gradual, the final leg of it was sudden. It was as if one morning, Alex was non-talkative but still…himself…but the next morning, an angry shell stood where my son once was. I was stunned, but like most parents might, I thought it a phase. I had hoped it was a phase. But three, four, five months went by without change; if anything, it got even worse. It got to where I sometimes wondered if he was even home when I thought he was; I'd knock on his bedroom door and get an eventual grunting, "Yeah?" and that would be the only clue I'd have to his presence.
My fight to regain my son happened by accident, on one fortuitous night.
Alex's lock was the sort where it was a push-lock. And anything small and circular could pop it.
That revelation hit me the night I got up with a full bladder, passing his room on my way to the bathroom, my sleepy mind thick as I glanced at his doorknob and vaguely winced at the dull thumping of his music on the other side of the door. After relieving myself, I had taken the time to glance at myself in the mirror, and in so doing, caught sight of the jar of q-tips I keep on the countertop.
And a quick connection was made, enough to where I took one of the q-tips and removed the swab from one end, leaving me a circular stick that seemed to be of the right circumference.
Feeling somewhat foolish and guilty, I carried it clenched up in my fist, stopping in front of his door as I warred with my conscience. In the end, I convinced myself that it was just a 'test,' to see if it would really work 'in case of an emergency.' And I inserted the q-tip and pushed, feeling the lock pop nice and easy, my stomach icing with exhilaration that it had worked.
But with that exhilaration came guilt that I was violating him somehow, violating his trust and privacy. It's what had me back off and hurry back to my room, climbing into bed and being unable to sleep for a while, my mind trudging along the path of guilt I'd just made for myself.
But I did eventually fall asleep.
The next morning, Alex was pale as he joined me at the breakfast table, his eyes stuttering over me whenever he thought I wasn't paying attention, and that made me feel even worse, yet it strengthened my resolve. In my experience, those who are so afraid of letting people in have something to hide. And I desperately wanted to know what my son felt he had to hide from me, his father.
I was supposed to be his best friend, his parent, his mentor. There should have been nothing he could not come to me with.
I did the same thing the following night, popping the lock and then retreating back to bed. Alex was paler that morning than the previous, more openly staring at me and turning cold when I stared back. A seed of hatred began to grow in his eyes over his cereal, his stare hard enough to force me to look away, hurt…so very hurt.
But I was determined to stick to my guns, and I was going to keep picking at his defenses until he at least said something.
A week later, instead of just popping the lock, I actually turned the doorknob and opened his door about a foot, hearing his music in a loud rush from the absolute darkness that was his room. Only his alarm clock shone any light at all, and that was only a dim red from atop his dresser, tucked up in a distant corner. I couldn't see him in his bed, but I really didn't try too hard, not wanting to invade his privacy anymore than I had to. I left his door open and went back to bed, determination burning in my gut as I imagined the repercussions that act could have made.
I was halfway through a mug of coffee and my sausage when a thin, pale tornado descended upon the kitchen. Alex was livid, face flushed with anger as his thin body tensed and shook.
"Why are you fucking with me?!"
His growl was harsh and furious, and I glanced up into his eyes, remaining calm as I stated, "I have no idea what you're talking about."
"My fucking door!"
I set my fork down and fixed him with my 'father' stare, my tone stern, "There's no need to take that tone with me, Alex, you are far from being old enough to talk like that to your father."
If anything, his face grew darker, and I actually thought he might fly off the handle and have himself a good ol' tantrum, but he instead turned and stormed back to his room, the door slamming behind him. I heard him kick and pummel it a few times before the sound died out, and I sighed and stood from my chair, making my way into the hallway and towards his door.
I stood there for a few minutes before reaching out and rapping against the door, calling, "Alex?"
There wasn't an answer, and I came to realize that the music that remained on twenty-four seven, even when not in his room, was now silent.
"Alex? Please talk to me."
There was still silence, and on a whim, I tested the knob and realized that it wasn't locked, the door giving way easily.
I pushed it open slowly, cautious as I stuck my head inside and again called, "Alex?"
At first glance, I didn't see him, and I almost entertained the notion that he'd crawled from his window and left the house without my knowing, until I heard faint movement.
Walking further into the room, I sighted my son just inside his small closet, curled up against a pile of clothes on the floor. Seeing him that way tore at my heart, and I moved closer…until I saw a pair of small scissors laying on the floor, the blades dirtied.
He flinched at the sound of my voice, an eye turning to meet mine before burying back against his clothes, his body curling up even further. I walked over and touched him, my mind in shock as my hands grabbed his forearm and brought it out enough for me to see the bloody gashes he'd put there; beneath the new blood was a criss-crossing map of old and healing scars. He was unresisting when I tearfully pulled him up and into my embrace; he actually curled against my chest, his breathing heavy and borderline sobbing.
"Alex, I didn't know, I'm so sorry I didn't know."
I had had no idea, no inkling that he had been hurting so much as to damage himself. It had never even crossed my mind, and it should have. I had seen all kinds of self-abusive behavior when I was a counselor, but I had been blind to the pain of my own son.
"I love you, Alex, I love you."
It was these words that had him crying, harsh sobs that shook his entire frame, and I tightened my embrace and shed tears of my own, not understanding why he would have squirreled this depth of pain away inside himself rather than bring it to me. One of his hands latched onto my arm, his fingers tight and painful enough to start to bruise me, but I let him do it.
"I'm s-sorry I'm f-fucking…mess-s-sed up!"
His voice was small and aching, honestly self-hating, and I swallowed down the lump in my throat as I whispered, "No, Alex, you're…you're my best bud, remember? You know I love you."
He tried to push away from me, hands becoming hard as they hit my chest and upper arms, but my hold on him held firm, his face twisting up with renewed tears of pain and frustration.
"No, lemme go! Lemme go!"
Eyes full of tragedy, shattered and broken, met mine and held before he again gave into his tears, hanging his head as he gave up fighting.
"I want to die, Daddy."
His whisper was probably the worst thing I have ever heard, even more than the phone call I got telling me my mother was dead. I crushed my son to my chest once more, my entire body shaking; I felt ten years old and helpless, and I desperately wished that there was someone…anyone…I could call to take care of both of us. Someone to take over being the parent so I could go hole up and just cry.
And it only got worse the moment his voice drifted up from my torso; "I fell in love with a boy. I thought he was nice, I thought he might like me, at least as a friend. But when I…he…hurt me. I bled so much, I thought I might die, but I didn't."
My voice was murderous, and he shrank down, voice small, "Just a boy."
Just a boy. Just some boy, who…abused my son, abused him. Probably even…rape. Rape. My son couldn't come to me because he was ashamed and hurt and torn open because of some boy.
"There is nothing, nothing, that you can't tell me. Nothing would make me stop loving you."
Alex cried until exhausted, falling asleep as I continued to hold him. I think he was the lucky one on that front, because I doubt I could close my eyes without…seeing it. Without experiencing my son's pain for myself. Only thirteen, and he already felt broken, he already wanted to die, and it was because of some boy.
If I ever found out who it was, I'd probably end up in prison for life.
--- --- ---
Alex was sixteen before he started to laugh again, genuine laughter that flew into his eyes as well as emanating from his chest. He was seventeen before he could spend the night alone, no longer needing me to hold him while he slept to understand that I still loved him. Before he didn't need a hug five times a day for physical affirmation that he was loved. Before he trusted himself around scissors and knives to the point where he forgot his earlier cravings for their pain.
He was nineteen before he started wearing short sleeves, his scars a faint reminder of his past, no longer hurtful for him.
He was twenty-three before he fell in love again.
But he still came to me and asked for a hug, holding tight and burying his face in my neck, mumbling the name of the wonderful man who had managed to capture his heart. He brought the man over the first week they began dating, nervous and determined for my approval.
And the sight of his grin when I winked at him was one I'll carry in my heart until the day I die.
Alex was thirty-five the day he came to visit me out of the blue, his face serious and grim as he sat down beside me on the couch and spoke just one name. The name was covered in dust and ancient blood, but its wound hurt afresh just speaking it aloud, even twenty years later. I reached over and grabbed his hand, and my son looked at me with complete trust.
"I love you, Dad."
"I've always loved you, Alex."
And he eventually went home to his lover, satisfied and content that all was right in the world.
No more locks on his door.
A/N: um. i really don't know. Pony updates sunday or monday!!!