When I walk back to my bike, my phone starts ringing. I don’t know the number, but I do answer it.
“Adam?” I hear a voice.
“Yeah, who’s this?”
Todd? Why would Todd call me.
“You’re not at school,” he says.
Okay, this day can’t get any weirder. “Todd, I know you don’t like it when I’m not at school, but you really don’t have to call me every time I have to go somewhere and thus can’t be with you guys.”
“Firstly, you know just like I do that there is no reason for you to skip school, you just do. And secondly, I’m not calling for you. Sam was very quiet today, something was up and I know it has something to do with you.”
How can people expect me to answer to things they say, if they all keep saying things I don’t see coming. “Why’d you think it has something to do with me?”
“I stood behind her, but apparently she didn’t know. She was writing a text, it was meant for you, Adam. She didn’t send it, though.”
“You sneaked up on her?”
“Call it whatever you want, Adam. She wanted to text you to forgive her. Why?”
That’s something I didn’t expect either. “Forgive her?”
Todd sighs. “You heard me right. What did she do to you? Why is she so sad?”
“I seriously don’t know, but I’ll visit her right away. Is she at home right now?”
“She should be,” Todd responds and hangs up.
Sam is home indeed. I ring the doorbell and wait for her mother to open it. “Adam,” she says, looking a bit surprised.
“Didn’t expect to see me here?” I ask and smile to her.
“Not really.” And she adds with a softer and more sincere voice: “I heard what happened between you two. I bet you both are confused. It doesn’t matter, as long as you work it out. You are good friends, don’t throw that away, Adam.”
I’m not a friend to anyone at all, I think, but of course I don’t tell her. I walk past her, up the stair and before I’m aware of it, I knock at her door.
“Mom?” I hear Sam ask.
“No, it’s me.”
“Adam? What are you doing…” she opens de door. “here?”
Past Sam I see Seth, again sitting on her bed. For some reason he looks a little sad as well. “I wanted to talk.”
“Come in,” she responds, trying to smile.
Why did I kiss her? What did I try to prove? I know I’m gay, and although no one else has to know, I shouldn’t kiss girls. But, still, I felt something for her. Is that even possible? Am I bi?
“I should apologize, Sam. I shouldn’t have kissed you.” In the corner of my eye I see Seth flinching at that statement.
“No, it’s my fault. I told you I like you, I never meant to.”
“I think… I think I like you too. But to be honest, I’m scared.” I decide to sit down on Sam’s bed as well, next to Seth. Sam takes places on her chair. Will this work? Maybe this way I’m able to keep my freedom, no one will know about my sexuality, I’ll keep her as my mask to cover up the fact I don’t want any friends and she won’t be hurt.
“What are you scared for?”
I think back of what Sam said the other night. She told me she knew I had secrets, she even found out I only befriended to not look lonely. “I never really show myself to anyone, my real self. I have many secrets. I don’t feel like I belong, it’s sometimes as if I’m only here because survival of the fittest isn’t a thing anymore. I know I can only love someone if I’m able to share the real me, and I don’t think I can do that.” I notice Seth was very fast to look for his phone when I quoted his post. He sighs when he finds out his blog post wasn’t online yet, and I wonder why he didn’t want me to upload it in the first place.
“Not yet,” Sam adds.
“Not yet,” I agree. “So kissing you was a mistake.”
“It felt great,” Sam whispers like she doesn’t want me to hear it.
“I’m not going to make any promises, Samantha, and you shouldn’t wait for me, but if ever I want to share myself with others, you’ll be the first. But in the meantime, look around you. You are a beautiful and a nice girl, the boys are falling for you when you enter their view.”
She smiles. “Thank you, Addy. I honestly think you shouldn’t fear showing yourself, but I think I can understand your feeling.”
“So,” I turn my attention to Seth. “How’s your post going?”
“I… uhm… the blogger read my post and told me it wasn’t good enough,” he says with a shaky voice.
I raise a brow, like I saw Sandra doing when she caught me spying on them. “He doesn’t seem like a person who would do that.”
“Well,” Seth responds, straightening his back. “We don’t know him, do we. We don’t know what kind of person is the writer of the posts.”
“You’re right, Seth,” Sam says. I immediately wonder if she knows why Seth asked me to not upload it. They’ve been very close, lately.
The rest of the afternoon we spend together. Seth still was a bit sad, but Sam however, she was back to her old self. Now I know what I did is probably not very ethical, making her believe I can once like her like she likes me, but let me be real honest; I kinda liked kissing her, even though I’m pretty sure I’m only able to love boys. And because of that, I just needed to keep the possibility to get back to her. I don’t feel good about this, hell, I won’t ever admit it, but I really want to be able to ‘do’ things with her without it getting serious. Ughh, I should undo that thought in my mind.
It’s about dinner time when I leave. I give a soft kiss on Sam’s cheek when I leave, making her giggle. I say goodbye to Seth and go home. When I arrive there, I find my mother in the kitchen. She just started making dinner.
“Hey Adam,” she says with a huge smile. “Do you want to help me making dinner? We’re gonna eat Mexican tacos.”
Of course I’d like to help her. I start dicing some vegetables, when she suddenly asks: “So, where have you been today?”
I know better than to lie to her without making sure she doesn’t know too much. “Why?”
“I got a call today. From school. They wondered where you were.”
“O,” I manage to say. “Yeah…”
“Are we going to have this conversation again, Adam?” she asks.
“If you don’t start it with saying should I be worried about you then maybe, I’ll listen to you.” That forces a little smile out of her. Fortunately, because otherwise this could’ve been very nasty.
“I won’t. I’m sure you know what’s best for you and I can’t afford to worry about you as well. But whenever you need help, ask me please. I’ve seen your mood change a lot lately, so I know something is up.”
“I will, mom. Thank you for not being an annoying mother. What did you say to school?”
She takes all the pieces of vegetable away from my cutting board and throws them in the pan. “I told them I kept you home because you didn’t feel well.”
With that I hug her. “Thank you.” I want to ask another thing, but I don’t want to give away what’s been keeping my mind busy. Maybe she’ll start interfering again. Finally, I decide to ask her, I need to know. “Uhm… Mom, why exactly did dad leave us?”
She turns away from the taco sauce. “Why are you asking this?”
“Because, I don’t know. Tyde’s meeting with dad kept me busy,” I tell her, not 100 percent honest.
“But you already know. He left because he didn’t want to be with your brother.”
But that’s not all, and I know it. He left our broken family to be part of another broken family. Something happened, and I need to figure out what. “And that’s all that’s to it?”
“Yes, Adam. What else could’ve been a reason for him to leave us?”
“I dunno. I always felt a little, you know, confused. I can understand he left us for Tyde, even though I think it’s a little extreme, but why didn’t he tell me about it? Why didn’t he ask me to go with him?” I see my mother’s reaction. “I didn’t want to go with him, but I just wonder why he didn’t consider taking me with him.”
“Maybe because he knew you didn’t want to?” she tries.
“Did you guys ever talk about trying to get Tyde away?”
My mother shakes her head. “He is our son, and a good parent never abandons his child,” she turns back to the food again, which means she doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.
And still I think my dad isn’t a bad parent.
My brother gets home just in time for dinner. He was probably at Dean’s again, like always. I don’t mind though, I like being alone with my mother. It bugs me, though, because for some reason he always seem to behave with his friends. Like he is able to lock his autism away, while here at home, he doesn’t even try. It’s like he thinks family will be there for him no matter what, whilst friends you have to actively keep. Dad should’ve made clear that even family won’t back you up whatever happens, but that lesson Tyde never learned. If anything, he just blames him.
Dinner is going pretty well. Tyde even praised our food, which is something he almost never does. I love food, but I hate the fact we’re always obligated to have it together. I’d prefer to take it upstairs, so I can eat while writing for my blog.
“Adam, have you ever had sex with someone?” my brother suddenly asks.
I try hard to keep from choking. Where is this coming from? He is trying to do something, I’m sure of it. “No,” I say. “You?”
Our mother doesn’t say anything, but I can see she is wary.
“Yeah,” he says with a smile. “This week, at the party of Dean.”
Wow, I didn’t expect this to happen. My mom didn’t either, I see. “Are you serious?” she asks. Tyde nods. “Did you do… did you do it safe?”
“Of course, mom,” he sighs.
“And, what did you think of it?” I ask, trying to smile as if I’m happy for him. But the only thing I can do is feel sorry for the girl he was with.
“It was great!”
“With who?” my mother asks.
“Her name is Leona, but I don’t think you know her.” He is randomly picking in his food, obviously not aware what mom was aiming for.
“Ah, but you did know her yourself?”
“Yeah, I met her a week before. She is really hot.”
I have to keep from sighing out loud. My brother could be so simple-minded sometimes. And even if I want to disapprove of being simple-minded, in reality I’m just jealous. I kissed a girl I know my whole life and can’t sleep for a few nights, while he is able to sleep with someone he doesn’t know very well, and talk about it while having dinner.
“Did you drink?” I ask, helping my mother achieving what she is looking for. Not very long ago we talked about Tyde and his inability to feel love, at least, that’s what I think. My mother disagreed with me.
“Yes, we both were drunk,” his smirk only grows.
“And did you… you know… kiss et cetera?”
My brother’s smile is quick to change into a face I can only describe as disgusted. “Kiss? No, we didn’t go that far.” He almost finishes that sentence with saying iewl.
“What do you mean?” my mother asks.
I don’t give Tyde a chance to think of an answer, because I ask: “Just to make sure I understand what you mean,” I say, almost on a formal way. I manage to quickly glance at my mother, and I see a look on her face that I don’t see often. It’s her I-admit-you-were-right-face. “When you meet a new girl, in what order do you do things with her?”
He shoots me a confused look. “Now, first you, uhm, you know, feel her, you touch her et cetera. Then, if she lets you, you can have sex. When you really like a girl, you can kiss her.”
I know autistic people sometimes don’t really know what is wrong and right. Some social skills everyone just knows, they have to explicitly get taught. So far I understand, but who in hell ever taught my brother to have sex with someone without kiss her? How could he manage to do this, why did this Leona accept my brother… into her. Only the thought is able to make me sick.
My mother spends the next few minutes to explain to my brother about foreplay and about accepting a girls wished. She tells him it’s very important to always make sure the girls want it and to stop whatever you want to do whenever you have the feeling something is wrong. It appears this girl was pretty drunk herself, she didn’t even remember any of it the next day. That is a real relieve, let’s hope she is not going to find out soon.
When my mom is done teaching my brother how to be human, she asks him to clean up the table. Without protesting Tyde does what she asks. When he cleaned up almost half of all the dishes, he walks away.
“Tyde, you’re not done yet,” she calls out to him.
“The rest is for Adam, mom. I did my half.”
I sigh. I expected this to happen. I already get up to clean up the table, but my mother gestures me to sit down. “Adam helped me with the cooking, so you have to clean up.”
“But he likes cooking, so it doesn’t count,” my brother calls out from the hallway. He still keeps walking, on his way to his room.
I’m on my way getting up once again, hoping I’m able to stop a fight from starting. My mother is about to gesture again to sit down, but I say: “Mom, it’s no problem. I’m happy to help out.”
“No,” she says. “You don’t have to do whatever your brother tells you to do.”
“I have to do whatever it takes to have a relaxed evening with you.”
“I know, Adam. But I have to raise him, I’ll always have to. I can’t just let him get away with this.” She walks to the hallway. “Tyde, get down now and clean up the table.”
“It’s not fair!” he almost screams. “Adam could do something he liked and I have to do something I don’t want to do. It’s not fair.”
Ugh, if there is one sentence that’s able to deliver me nightmares, it’s the sentence it’s not fair.
“So you can help me make dinner tomorrow, but right now I want you to get downstairs.”
I sigh. My mother watches me with sympathy, almost wanting to apologize, but I know she was right. Of course she has to do this, I only wished I didn’t have to hear the fights all the time.
“What did I do to you to like Adam more?” he shouts again.
“I’m getting upstairs,” mom says as much to me as to Tyde.
“Okay,” I respond. “I’m going out for a walk, see you in about an hour or so.”
My mother looks at me again, and right before I shut the front door behind me, she says: “I’m sorry, Adam. I’m sorry for everything.”