The Others

Chapter 6: Dad

“What happened?”

“He found dad. He confronted him with the fact that he left us. You know your brother, he sometimes get a little… physical. He tried to hit your father.”

“And he punched back,” I finished her story.

My mother finally manages to sit down. I can hear her heart beating. “Nothing really bad happened, though. Tyde fell down and hit his head on a table. Your father apparently surprised himself. So then he called an ambulance. Your brother needed a few stitches.”

“What are they going to do with dad?” I asked and for one second I feared I’ll feel something for him as well. Fortunately that didn’t happen. He left us, he left my family alone, I won’t ever feel anything for him.

“I don’t know. I don’t want to know.”

“But mom, he hurt Tyde, he has to be punished.”

“Let’s go have dinner outside,” my mother silences me.

“Mom, please don’t ignore me. We have to press charges!”

She turns around very quickly “Adam, please stop going on about it, okay?” I looked at her with a questioning look. “I know he doesn’t mean a lot to you guys. He left you while you both needed him. But never forget, I once loved that man. It was my mistake not figuring out what his intentions were and I’m not going to punish him for my mistakes.“ She looked at me intensely. “Adam, when you love someone, it doesn’t matter in what way they hurt you, you’ll always want to forgive them.”

I sigh. She doesn’t know she didn’t have to explain it to me, if Yuri at some point decides to get in touch with me again, I won’t need more than a second to forgive him. I know I shouldn’t forgive him, but I can’t help it. He was the first and only person I shared everything with. I didn’t have the blog then, so fortunately I didn’t have to share that. I often wonder what he'd think if he knew about my popularity at the moment. Does he read it too? Did he figure out it was me who wrote it?

“So, what do you say about dinner outside? After that we can go visit your brother.”

I hesitate. “I’d like to have dinner outside… but I don’t want to visit Tyde.” Because if I do, I will maybe feel sad about what happened and if there is one thing he didn’t earn, than it’s my sympathy. That, of course, I do not say to my mother.

“I really don’t understand you sometimes,” my mother says with a sigh. “But okay, it’s your choice, let’s eat some pizza.”

That night I opened my inbox again, secretly hoping Seth had already responded. He had.

“Hi anonymous blogger,

The reason you helped me is because you helped me understand that religion isn’t always right. I don’t feel the same about it as everyone else in school and at home does, I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it.

Thank you for saying you are sorry. Of course it isn’t all your fault, because I could’ve decided against using your blog in my presentation. I think in some way I’m just jealous of you because you are able to express your feelings to the people around you. You don’t feel imprisoned by a community that doesn’t allow you to be yourself.

I will continue to read your blog. Again, thank you a lot.

Best wishes,

The anonymous reader.”

And against my will I feel relieved. If he really would’ve given up on my blog, I’m sure it would’ve felt like I lost a friend. Or wait, like I lost an other… Is it selfish that Seth only feels like a friend because he likes my blog posts? I mean, he’s been a part of the others as long as the… the others, ambiguity not intended. Some people would’ve called them friends, but I never could, and still, I think I maybe regret I never tried to befriend Seth.

Does he call me a friend?

Wait, it doesn’t work like this. What if it suddenly turns out Todd likes my blog as well? It’s not like I want to befriend him then, right? Shit man, ego is a weird thing. You never know what you’ll do because of it. No, I wouldn’t want to befriend Todd if it turns out he reads my stuff, so why is Seth different?

I decided not to pay attention to this matter. I’m tired and I really want to go to school tomorrow. It’s been a full week since I skipped any lessons.

 ______________________________________

I almost bump into Samantha on my way to school. She seems happy. We cycle next to each other for the rest of the journey to school. It really is fun to not be on your own when you’re on your way to school. “Hey Sam, I was thinking,” I suddenly say. “We maybe can do something together after school?” Wait. Why did I ask her to do something. I never like to do something other than sitting at home.

Sam seems to be as confused as I am. “Wait, we almost never do anything together. You only come over when I ask for your help.” I stay silent, silently cursing myself for the stupid remark. “You know, Addy, I like the new you!”

“What!”

“You know, the happy version of you. I don’t know what happened, but it has had a positive effect on you.”

“I’m acting different?” I ask, kind of surprised. I do feel different, but I never would’ve called it a good thing.

We arrive at school. “You are. Is there someone special in your life?” she asks with a huge smile while getting off her bike.

I choose to ignore her for the rest of our walk to class. We have class together, Literature & Language. I really hate L&L. They tell us about ways to write a paper, ways to make an argument and they force you to read books written by authors who decided to throw in every word they know, most of the time in a random order. But, it’s the only class I have just with Samantha, no one else there to spoil our time alone. This is the first time I realise how much I need this time with her. And, to be honest, I think this is the class I skip the least.

Today I took my phone with me, because I planned on writing a mail to Seth during classes. I was too tired yesterday and I really didn’t want to have him wait for an answer, maybe wondering if I forgot about him. Last night, I made a plan. I’m going to give him the chance to write his own post on my blog. He said he was jealous at me for having the freedom to express my feelings, so why not share a bit of this freedom.

We are given an assignment to read some pages from a book and as Samantha always wants to pay attention in class I have enough time to send the email.

“Hey there,

I don’t know what you think of this weird plan, but after you told me about my freedom, I decided to share a little bit of it. I thought you maybe wanted to write a post on my blog? Of course you can choose the subject yourself, but I’d like you to tell us (me and my subscribers) about this feeling you have of being trapped in your community?

Tell me what you think about this farfetched plan, okay?

Thanks,

The anonymous blogger.”

I purposely made this email a little less formal. I want him to feel okay with this. Who knows, maybe he could write some others posts as well, it’ll save me a lot of time.

“What are you doing?” Sam asks me.

“What do you mean?” I respond and quickly send the email to Seth. I hide my phone in my pocket.

“You are smiling again. It’s the same kind of smile I saw on you when I told you I liked the new you. Plus, you have your phone with you. What’s happening with you, Addy?”

Okay, you could say I’m flabbergasted now. Was I smiling? “I dunno,” I mumble. “And now pay attention. Why are you suddenly talking during class? Normally you shush me all the time.”

“Don’t you try to change the subject, young man,” she says severely. We both laugh at that, get a warning from the teacher and continue the lesson in silence. After L&L we have a break. Together we walk to the cafeteria, to our usual table. On the way there I notice a particular boy walking through the halls. I’ve seen him before and I could never stop staring. For some reason I always want to look at him. He has long blond hair, clear blue eyes and always smiles, even though no one ever accompanies him. Sam, obviously not knowing I wanted to slow down to admire his beauty for longer, continues to walk to the cafeteria.

It doesn’t take long for the others to join us. First Brian, Todd and Neil arrive, then Marc, and Luca showed up. A little while later Seth joins us, accompanied by Robin and Britt; the part of the others I haven’t introduced yet. They seem to be happy about something, they’re giggling the whole way to our table. I can't help wondering if Seth has read my email yet.

“Hey guys!” Robin greets us when she gets close enough for us to hear her. “Long time no see, Addy.”

I hate it when she calls me that, only Sam is allowed to call me anything other than Adam. I nod my head to her. “Ma’am,” I greet her

“Todd told me you are sick a lot lately.”

I nod again and have to keep from looking at Todd. I don’t know what his problem is, it’s like he doesn’t want me here at all. Maybe he is trying to keep me away from the others.

Maybe I should tell you about how I got into this group in the first place. I befriended Sam right after I got to high school. Not long after that she started dating Todd. For some reason she dragged me with her. I met Brian, Neil, Marc and the girls through her. The next year, Seth came to our school. He didn’t have any friends, so Samantha decided to befriend him. Todd seemed to accept Seth pretty quickly into the group, but with me it's another story. I think that’s because whenever he sees me in the group he is reminded of his history with Sam.

Maybe I should also tell you that Sam was the one who broke up.

The rest of the break is like any other, we talk about nothing serious and laugh a lot. I see Samantha keeps looking at me every now and then, as if she really thinks I’m acting differently. When we walk to the next class, she tugs at my t-shirt to take me aside. “I don’t understand it yet, but I noticed something different during lunch at the cafeteria.”

“Something different?”

“Yeah, you were acting different again, dumb ass,” she laughs. “In a good way different, I mean. I don’t know, you actually participated in a lot of the conversation. What is going on with you Addy?”

As if he knows what’s going on and that I need to be saved, Seth suddenly appears next to us. “What are we talking about?” he asks.

“Oh no,” Sam sighs. “Is it contagious?”

Seth and I look at her confused.

“You are as awfully happy as Adam is,” she explains.

“I have a reason to be,” Seth responds, almost as if he was accusing me of not having any reason. Actually, I bet we have the same reason. Wait, what. Is the reason I’m happy the fact Seth would probably help me with my blog? Or am I happy because I thought I would make him happy? I fear that after so many years of pushing friends away, I have forgotten how to keep them. That could be the reason I don’t know how to make someone happy, right?

No! Now I’m talking like I want to keep friends all of a sudden. Of course I don’t, I want to be alone.

“Are you gonna tell us this reason?” Sam asks.

He hesitates. “I’m not sure you’ll think it’s a reason to be happy.” Then he looks at me. “Adam could be happy for me, though.”

I am, believe me, I am.

“Wow, why could Adam be happy for you while I can’t? He didn’t even know how to be happy a week ago.”

“Are you that happy, Adam? What happened, you met a nice girl?”

“Don’t change the subject!” Sam exclaims.

They are silent for another minute, until we arrive at the next class. Sam spent the whole time looking at Seth. I know that her look sometimes acts as a torture method, but Seth remained steadfast. We all have the same class and as normal we sit close to each other. Sam couldn’t just accept Seth didn’t want to talk about it, so she used every moment she could to talk, to ask about the reason I was allowed to know about it and she wasn’t.

Finally, when the day was almost over, Seth talks: “Do you know the anonymous blogger?”

“Of course I do,” she answers with a questioning look.

“What do you think of him?”

Sam takes her time to think of an answer. I wait patiently for her to reply. I wonder what would happen if she ever finds out I’m the person they’re talking about right now. “I don’t know, I never really paid attention to his stories. Why?”

“He asked me to write a post for him,” Seth smiles.

“Nice!” I say and that’s the last word I say that day, until I get home.

  ______________________________________

I didn't expect my brother to be home yet. But suddenly I hear a voice:

“Hey, Adam, how are you?”

“I think that’s what I should ask you,” I smile.

“I’m fine, some stitches, but that’s all.”

I hesitate. Since I heard he found dad, there was one question I really wanted to ask him. “Tyde, you found him, right?” He nods his head. “Can you tell me where?”

He starts laughing. “I can, but I won’t of course. Did you see what he did to me?”

I smile, but don’t mean it. “Welcome home brother,” I say and walk away.

When I’m in my room I immediately start my computer and open the picture of Yuri. I spend over ten minutes looking at his face while listening to music he once sent me. You know what I never understood, why would someone go on the internet and act as if he is someone else? It’s not like he ever wanted to meet me, at least, of course we told each other we wanted to, but he never pushed me. He never asked for any pictures of me either. So why act as if you’re someone else? Just to make yourself feel better? I can’t understand it and I want to feel like he didn’t do it for himself. No, I bet he spoke the truth when he said he had to move to the other side of the world, exactly on the same date we were supposed to meet. That’s not too big of a coincidence, is it?

I lie down on my bed, still with Yuri’s music playing through my headphones and I start fantasising about my vacation; about the freedom I’ll finally experience. I almost fall asleep, only to be woken up by a little knock on my door. I decide not to respond, because I really don’t feel like talking to my mother. Then I notice a small piece of paper being pushed through the gap between my door and the floor. I become curious and I get out of bed. Lying on the floor is a paper with an address on it. My father’s address, I know without having to look at it.

Thank you, Tyde!