Chapter: 6 of 43
Other Info: Sequel to Walls
Warnings: Drug-usage, cursing, violence etc
Excerpt: “Mom, you don’t understand. I’m not trying to say you don’t know what you’re doing…” Ike was getting frustrated. He was trying to talk to his mother, and it was all coming out wrong. “That’s not what I’m saying at all. But he’s just hiding from everything, going further and further in, and you guys are just sitting there letting him do it!!”
He was about halfway down the hall when she snapped to her senses. Taking off after him, she grabbed him by one of his drenched shirt sleeves and pulled him towards her.
“Let me go!” He shouted, glaring at her.
“NO! You are turning your little fanny around, you are…” She held up her hand as he began to protest. “You are taking those filthy clothes off, and you are getting back into that shower. You’re already up, you’re already wet, so it won’t hurt you one bit.” She began to pull him back towards the bathroom.
“MOM! YOU CAN’T MAKE ME DO THIS! JUST LEAVE ME ALONE! I’LL TAKE A SHOWER WHEN I’M GOOD AND READY TO TAKE A SHOWER!” He tried desperately to pull away, but she held him tight. In desperation he lunged, but only succeeded in landing on his butt.
She stopped, arms crossed. “What are you doing? Get up off the floor, for heavens sake Taylor.” She pulled him up by his sleeve. Reaching the bathroom door, she came up short when he stuck his legs out and pressed them against the doorframe, attempting to stop her. This antic landed him on the floor again. He was scowling, the stubborn look on his face beginning to severely try her patience.
“Taylor, you’re being ridiculous. This is a shower, not a torture chamber, although I’m beginning to think it should be. Now come on. Get up.”
Taylor crossed his arms over his chest and pouted, not moving.
Diana nudged him with her foot, “Get up right now.” She was no longer yelling, she didn’t have the strength. “Taylor, don’t make me pick you up, that’s likely to land both of us on the floor. Come on now, what’s the problem?”
Sighing, Taylor dragged himself to his feet. He wasn’t sure why he’d been fighting in the first place. Whatever his reason had been, he’d forgotten it. He’d been fighting with Ike, but couldn’t really remember what that had been about either. He knew Ike had manhandled him though, and he was going to get him back. If he could just figure out why Ike had been mad at him… He was so sick of this, his mind wouldn’t connect one second to the next.
He stood there, eyeing the shower. He vaguely wondered how long it had been since he’d taken one. His skin felt crawly. He’d probably forgotten. He forgot everything. Still he thought he knew enough to shower on his own, and this whole situation was pissing him off. Dragging him in here just wasn’t right. He stood there, staring blankly, as his mind wandered…
“Out of those clothes right now.”
Taylor jumped, having forgotten his mother was in here. He stared at her.
“What? With you in here? NO WAY!”
“Taylor, I am your mother. Believe me I have seen you naked before. Now you have two seconds to get out of those clothes, or so help me I am gonna take you out of them myself.”
He gave her a disgusted look. “Can you at least turn around or something? I mean some privacy would be nice.”
Diana eyed him, then slowly turned her back. She tried not to laugh as she heard him muttering some nonsense about being forced to take a shower and there should be laws against it as he shed his clothes.
He quickly jumped into the shower and slammed the stall shut.
“ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?!” he yelled over the pounding water.
“Yes, I am,” she replied smugly. “You clean up. I’m going to get you fresh clothes.
One hot shower and fresh set of clothes later, Taylor stomped out of the bathroom and down the hallway. He plopped himself onto the sofa and flipped the TV on. Restless, irritable, and mad as hell that his family had humiliated him that way, he couldn’t begin to concentrate on the program.
“Not…” he thought “that I’d be able to concentrate on it, anyway.” Finally giving up in frustration, he flung the remote aside, and sat brooding. He could hear voices coming from the kitchen, voices that were growing louder and more tense with each passing moment. Curious, he edged over, hoping to hear better.
“Mom, you don’t understand. I’m not trying to say you don’t know what you’re doing…” Ike was getting frustrated. He was trying to talk to his mother, and it was all coming out wrong. “That’s not what I’m saying at all. But he’s just hiding from everything, going further and further in, and you guys are just sitting there letting him do it!!”
She eyed him, her face telling him nothing. “Isaac, we were told to let him alone. So we’ve been letting him alone. Do you really think that yelling at him, calling him names, and throwing him in a freezing shower, did any better by him?”
He slammed his hand down on the table, “Maybe not!! But I don’t know what to do!! Mom, don’t you even care what happens to him?!”
She leaned closer to him, she was getting angry. “Ike don’t you even dare to insinuate that we don’t care! We are every bit as worried about him as you are, probably more. But I’d like to know just what you think we should do! Drag him out?! He doesn’t want to go, Ike! How would you feel if you were him?”
Ike nodded. “Yeah I know. I know. But he can’t just lie there, he can’t…” He was interrupted by the kitchen door banging open.
Taylor slammed into the room. He’d had enough. They had no business talking about him behind his back. He stomped over to the table and threw himself into a chair.
“Maybe you’d like to talk about me with me here, so I can defend myself.”
The pissed off look on his face was the last straw for Isaac. He got up, sneering.
“Forget it, I’ve seen all of your face I can stand. Mom, I’ll talk to you later. Do something about him.” He stomped out of the room, slamming the door behind him.
Diana was near tears. He was right, but he’d never been like this with her. She glanced over at Taylor, dropping her eyes hurriedly. She didn’t want him to see what she was feeling. He didn’t need that. She got herself together, and spoke to him softly. “Tay, I want to talk to you. Why don’t you go get some shoes on. I’ll take you out for lunch.”
He shook his head. “No, I don’t want to go anywhere, but you can talk to me here.” The look on her face was rapidly diffusing his temper. She looked ready to cry.
Feeling responsible, and hating himself for it, he reached out for her hand. “We can talk, mom, if you want to talk.”
She shook her head. “No, not around here. Not with Isaac and everyone else apt to butt in. I want to talk to you alone. Just us. Now go get something on your feet.” He started to protest, but she cut him off. “I’m not inviting you, I’m telling you. Now go.”
Seeing that there would be no point in arguing, he got up silently, and did as she asked.
Taylor watched nervously out the car window, at the people gathered at the foot of the driveway. She reached over and patted his knee… “Don’t worry, they never bother us. I think they’re just…”
He nodded. He knew. “They’re all here ’cause of what I did… I know.”
She shook her head. “You’re giving yourself too much credit. Most of them are here because you’re home, that’s all. They’re here because they like the band. But you’re right, some of them are here because they’re morbidly curious. It’s faded a lot though. The numbers have dropped so much…” Her voice trailed off. There wasn’t much to say really. They rode in silence for a while. She glanced over at him, wondering how he was feeling. His face didn’t give much away.
He watched the familiar streets unwind before him passively. She couldn’t tell if he was happy to see them or not. She pulled into the parking lot of a restaurant she knew he liked, and glanced at him questioningly. “Tay is here okay?”
His eyes flicked briefly to the sign over the door, and then away. “Oh whatever, I don’t mind.”
She laughed. “You don’t mind? Is it okay or not?”
He nodded. “Sure it’s fine. I don’t really want to go in anywhere though.”
“I know. But you’re going to. You’re hiding, Tay, and there’s a world out here. It’s time you rejoined it.”
His response was a grunt, he wasn’t buying it, she knew. But when she got out of the car, he followed.
Now, outside of their house, seeing him as other people saw him, her heart sank. He looked like someone who’d been through a war, and come out the losing side.
Pale, and much too thin, eyes sunken and black circled, he looked to her to be in the grip of some catastrophic illness. Worse than that was the way he carried himself. Formerly confident and outgoing, willing to make eye contact with anyone, a ghost of a smile always on his lips, he now clung to the shadows, eyes downcast, seemingly trying to disappear from everyone’s sights.
Sighing deeply, she put a hand on his shoulder, guiding him inside. Hopefully he’d perk up a little in this familiar environment.
The argument had been going on for ten minutes and she was sick of it. Such a simple thing. “Taylor, look, you’re in a restaurant for God’s sake, now what do you want to eat?”
“Nothing. I’m fine.”
She was ready to throw the menu at him. He refused to tell her what he wanted, she’d already sent the waitress away twice. Unwilling to give in to him and leave, the response she was sure he was looking for, she poked him in the chest. “Look, it’s not going to work. We’re not leaving. Now what do you want.”
He sighed. “If you really want to you can get me whatever you get.”
She nodded, encouraged. It was a switch from “nothing” anyway. “Well Tay, what if I get something you don’t like?”
He shrugged. “It doesn’t matter, I’m not gonna eat it anyway. But if it’s going to make you feel better, go for it.”
Her irritation sharpened. She’d about had it with him. He was arguing for the sheer sake of it.
The waitress chose that moment to amble over, again. She was looking perturbed. All she wanted was the little punk to order, or else get out. She had a living to earn and him taking up a table and not getting anything was really irking her. “Kid thinks ’cause he’s famous the world should revolve around him,” she thought bitterly as she stopped at the table. “Are you ready now?” she asked, not masking the annoyance in her voice.
“Taylor? Are you ready?”
“Mom, I already told you I wasn’t going to eat. Why can’t you comprehend that? I don’t wanna eat. If you want to order for me I said that was fine. But you can’t make me eat it. I won’t eat it, so why waste the money?” He slumped lower in his seat and made a face at the table top.
Diana turned and gave the waitress a harsh glare. “Give us another minute, okay?”
The waitress raised her eyebrow and just stared at Diana.
“Hey lady, can you hear? She said give us another minute! It’s English not Swahili,” Taylor grumbled. He hated the way the woman was looking at his mother. He hated the way everyone was looking at them. He wanted to go home, there were just too many people here.
“Taylor! Enough! I’m sorry, but please, just a few more minutes.”
The waitress stormed away, thoughts hostile.
“Damn kid. He looked like hell anyway, kid probably didn’t want to eat because he felt as bad as he looked. Great, not only was he a pain in the ass, he was probably contagious as well. Wishing that people just knew enough to stay at home,” she moved to check on her other tables.
“Taylor, why are you talking to her like that? That was totally uncalled for. I can’t believe you were so rude. Where do you get off talking to people that way?” Diana was exasperated. She had no idea why he was making this so difficult. She didn’t think to wonder why she had let it turn into a power struggle.
Taylor was starting to feel stressed. He just wanted out of here. He didn’t have the words to explain why, his thoughts were too jumpy and unconnected for him to put what he was feeling into any kind of sense. He couldn’t tell her that he felt too exposed, as if everyone was staring, that he felt as if every person in the restaurant must know what had happened, what he’d done. That they were all passing judgement as he sat there. All he knew was that he was scared, and confused, and needed to leave. Why was she making him go through this? What did she want?
He took her hand, and looked at her pleadingly. “Look mom, let’s just go okay? Can’t we just go? I’ll eat something at home. I don’t wanna stay here anymore! I just want to leave. Can’t we leave? You said you wanted to talk to me, and you’re not saying anything anyway!” Taylor’s voice was rising with each statement, as his heart started racing, and adrenaline began surging through him. The people at surrounding tables were beginning to stare as his tone became near hysterical.
“Taylor, calm down. What’s wrong with you?” Diana was baffled. He was being ridiculous. It wasn’t as if she’d asked him to get up and perform for the room, all she was asking him to do was order his meal.
Again, it never occurred to her to wonder why it mattered so much that he do it.
“Well why can’t we just leave? Why are you forcing me to do this?” He didn’t understand, she’d never been so blind, couldn’t she see he had to leave? Had to? “I don’t want to be here! This is stupid! I already did what you asked me to do today, so why are you pushing me?” In his helplessness and anxiety, he resorted to the one statement he felt might have some power over this situation. “The doctor said to give me space! That’s what he said! Now I want to leave! NOW!” He slammed his hand down on the table, making their water glasses jump.
Diana reached out quickly, catching one before it fell. Brow knit, she looked up at him. “Taylor, you need to calm down. All you’re being asked to do is sit here, like a normal human being, eat lunch, and talk to me. There’s no earthly excuse for all of this… Now knock it off, or so help me God, you’re walking home.”
Taylor frowned. Why was she doing this to him? By now everyone in the small restaurant was looking at him and he suddenly felt very stupid, as well as completely defenseless. Pouting, he took the menu Diana shoved at him and glumly opened it up. Diana motioned the waitress over and said, “Taylor tell her what you want.”
Defeated, and too tired to continue the fight, he crinkled his nose and flatly said, “I’ll have a cheeseburger and fries.” He threw the menu back onto the table and slouched even further into his seat, trying to hide his face.
Diana ordered and the waitress left. “There, now why did you have to make such a big deal out of that? Huh? Was it really killing you to order a burger?”
Taylor fought the urge to say yes, and just nodded his head, refusing to meet her gaze. He didn’t understand why she was doing this to him. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t told her he didn’t want to come here. Why was she trying to force him? She’d never acted like this before… He could feel the adrenaline surging in him again, and just prayed that this would all be over soon.
Diana didn’t notice Taylor’s increasing distress. Why he was acting this way was beyond her.
Some time later, tired of watching him push his food around on his plate, and feeling more that a little guilty that she’d let herself be caught up in a senseless fight with him, Diana spoke up.
“Tay, can’t you eat just a little?” He shook his head, and she saw real unhappiness on his face. “Honey, why not?”
He only shrugged. “I don’t know, I just can’t. Please don’t make me…” He sounded near tears, and she was baffled. His moods changed so quickly. Looking up, he caught her eye. “I’m sorry…” His voice was soft. “I didn’t mean to be such a…”
She cut him off… “It takes two, hon, I could’ve shut my mouth as easily as you. Forget it.” She glanced at the ice choked coke sitting next to him. “Can you at least drink that?”
He looked up at her, and favored her with a tiny smile. “Yeah, that would be fine.” He sipped the drink for a few moments, waiting for her to tell him what was on her mind.
Diana glanced over at her son, dozing in the passenger seat. This just hadn’t gone right. She’d hoped that getting him out would make some difference, that it would put a damper on the excess emotion he’d been plagued with, and let him really communicate. It hadn’t happened. She had the feeling he’d really tried, but he’d just been too defensive. Every thing she’d said to him, appeared to strike him as an accusation, and he’d withdrawn further and further, throughout her attempts at conversation. By the time she’d finally given up, his responses had become monosyllabic grunts. He’d even stopped his incessant pleading to go home. Feeling more than a little like a bully, Diana had finally called a halt to the whole affair, and led him out of the place. Noting the way he kept his eyes averted, refusing to look at anyone, she felt a huge ache inside. The thought. “We have really ruined this boy…” cycled round her head infuriatingly. The one up point of the whole outing was the fact that, as he’d been avoiding with her questions, he’d been absently munching his fries. He didn’t seem to realize he was doing it, and she hadn’t told him. Now seeing him, wan and pale, sleeping beside her, she wondered how they were ever going to salvage this. She’d hoped that being home would somehow do it. But it was worse. Granted he wasn’t spending all of his days in a chemical induced stupor, but he was every bit as withdrawn, more in fact. Sighing, she turned her attention back to the road, wondering.