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  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home

Heart - 15. Scars

Brianna poses a question to Tyson that makes him think, and he meets another important person in Vladimir's life.

"Tell me a story," Brianna, the most white bread woman in the world, was actually quite engaging when they were in the middle of therapy. "The main character is Tyson Belmont-Levitt, and the theme is the day of his discharge. How would you write this story?"

"You talk a lot of shit," Tyson scowled at her, fingering his purple-brown scars. "Why would I tell a story we both know the ending to?"

"Indulge me," Brianna could be so pushy.

"On my day of discharge, my Mum takes me home and probably hits me half a hundred times because I've made her look bad. My Dad looks at me like I'm the dog he didn't agree to adopt and eats dinner in his study while Mum and Kelly and I don't say a fucking word to each other. I don't follow up with any appointments, I don't stay in touch with anyone, and everything goes back to how it was. Mostly because Mum's in denial about everything, not because I don't want to. When people ask where I've been, I say I've been doing an exchange program in Sri Lanka or some shit - or I might tell them the truth. I dunno. Then when we all go to bed; Mum might lock my door or something, but I'll just climb out the window and drown myself in the pool. Maybe I'll break the window and cut myself again so she has to explain to all her politician mates why I've got these ugly fucking scars. I'll never see Vladimir because Mum thinks crazy people are a waste of time and resources. I know I'm not supposed to say that word in here. Crazy. But that's what Mum thinks. Maybe I'll hang myself. Maybe I'll break my neck next time I fall down an embankment."

"Do you have a suicide plan at the moment? A plan you can act on?"

"I have at least a dozen plans. How hard is it to kill yourself? Well... hah. Apparently harder than I thought," Tyson managed to use some gallows humour to lighten the mood. "It's the first thing I've ever been actually bad at."

"Now, you know I have to ask you this question, but are you safe in the ward at the moment?"

"Safe? What does safe even mean?" Tyson snapped at her, spitting out that word as though it were poison.

"You know what I mean," she replied quickly, but she'd already accidentally triggered a negative response.

"I don't think you know what you mean! Safe? Do you know what safety to me is? Not going home. Not being alive long enough to go through that shit again. Safety? I'll be safe when I'm dead. That's what it means for me to be safe. Dead. Don't rub it in my face that I'm not. Maybe your other patients don't really want to die, but I do! Stick your one size fits all bullshit!" He explained fiercely, and she waited patiently for him to finish.

"I'm sorry. It's a habit," she shrugged simply. "No, you're not like most suicidal patients. I hear what you're saying, and I apologise. So, what I mean to ask is are you at risk of self-harm while you're in this unit?"

"If I wanted to hurt myself, then I would have already. None of you could stop me!, Tyson replied, calming down slowly and letting his heart rate return to normal.

"Okay," she took that response to mean that he still intended to behave himself. "So, what if we could rewrite that story? You hold the pen in this hypothetical, Tyson. What would you change about your discharge day?"

"I want to leave this place and go right to my parents' funeral," Tyson replied shakily, unafraid to be honest. Cynthia and Brianna had always respected his right to be angry and to vent it to them rather than combating it, so he was comfortable sharing those aggressive thoughts with them. "I want to set their coffins alight until both of them are nothing but ashes. And then I don't know."

"Where would you go after their funeral?"

"I have family in Sri Lanka. Maybe they'll take me in? I don't know. I don't think about it because it's never going to happen."

"What about Kelly?"

"Who the fuck cares about Kelly?"

"Don't you?"

"No," Tyson responded defensively. "She's a fucking ventriloquist dummy with Mum's hands so far up her arse I can smell Ôad Bouquet on her breath when she talks."

Brianna took a short while to control herself - she was desperate to laugh. Tyson wouldn't mind if she did - therapy could be a tedious and depressing process without a bit of animation.

"What about when you're eighteen?" She asked, covering her mouth to hide her huge smile. "What do you plan to do when you're eighteen?"

"Avoid redundant questions," he rubbed his tired eyes. "Like that one."

"Hey. You're supposed to indulge me for an hour a day," she reminded him playfully, and a smile flickered on his face. "Did you ever have plans?"

Tyson's parents had already mapped out his future - he would choose between law, medicine or politics, and he would use that to both further his father's agenda and to enforce the far-right ideals of his family. Have a wife and children of his own, and he would serve as a great reminder of how people of colour could be a success in Australia - but only if they assimilated entirely. Tyson did not even know Sinhala - the language his relatives used in Sri Lanka. He spoke German, French and Australian Sign instead - but not the words of his background. Vladimir, however, was fluent in Russian and learned both the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets since he was a baby. Not only that, but he and his brothers were all bestowed with common Russia names! Masha had assimilated well without forgetting her roots and culture. Tyson was so envious of that. Edith was so desperate to drop the heritage she was ashamed of and embrace her new country that she lost her birth name and picked a new one that hid her parentage.

"No," he answered with a half-truth. "It never seemed important when I was going to be dead."

"A boy with your talents, smarts and education? You would have the world whole at your fingertips when you're eighteen and your life... for lack of a better word, unlocks," Brianna played with her collar while she spoke. "Quite often when we speak, I actually forget you're not an adult yet. In a few years, you will be, and your parents will no longer have any legal hold on you at all."

"Hey, can we finish this?" Tyson suddenly felt very uncomfortable, as though all his resilience was burned out and talking about himself was now rendering him vulnerable. "Sorry."

"Yes, of course!" Brianna gathered up her notebook and diary. Cynthia did the same thing, and Tyson wondered if the psychiatrist was almost like a mentor to the younger woman. "I'll be in again tomorrow to see you. Do you have any questions or anything before I go? Any requests?"

"You probably won't bring in a gun for me, so maybe forget it this time," Tyson remarked, bringing a smile to her face. She'd gotten used to his dark jokes. "Hey, why are you here every day, anyway?"

"Hm? What do you mean?" She paused after she got to her feet from that horrible squeaky chair.

"How come you're coming to see me every day?" Tyson asked her again, his eyes studying her. "You and Cynthia and Petra or... the other guy. You're all coming to see me every weekday, but nobody else in this place gets so many visits. Fucking Charlie sees a doctor for three minutes a week just for the useless bastard to say 'yep he's still fucked' and piss off out of here. What's the deal?"

"It's the private sector, Tyson," Brianna smiled at him. She was convincing, but he didn't altogether believe her. "You know how the medical and psychiatric fields are. You get what you pay for."

"That's fucked!" Tyson grumbled. "Charlie doesn't have parents. What's he supposed to do? Go between institutions for the rest of his life because nobody stepped in when they had a chance to do something for him because there's no profit in it?"

"Well, let's hope your dad doesn't win the election," Brianna replied quietly on her way out, perhaps guiltily, but definitely with a hint of anger. "I'm sorry about your friend, Tyson. But this is about you."

Ahh, Chase, Tyson thought with an eye roll. He who so tenderly calls handicap spaces "retard parking." He who often makes "jokes" about sterilising anyone with a mental illness or disability because they're "polluting our population." He who criticises "safe spaces" and "triggers" yet complains for the better part of a week when he spots a woman wearing a hijab to a restaurant while he's eating, claiming that the "scourge" of Islam is "taking over." The scary part, the one that further drove him to despair, was that there were so many people who believed his lies. Tyson had been there during rallies to support him. There was real ugliness in those people. Those who thought husbands deserved the right to rape their wives, those who believed people of colour were lesser people and those who preached that the queer community was out to morally poison or molest their children. To be a part of that movement, even unwilling, made Tyson sick.

Still, since a week had passed since his psychiatric review with his bitch mother and Cynthia, Tyson was actually starting to grow used to his situation, and the idea that there might be light at the end of the tunnel was beginning to poke through the storm clouds. There were so many people looking out for him here - people with real influence and power. And of course, he had real friends in Charlie and Vladimir. They came with their deficits, of course. Charlie was an unsettling unit with a heart of gold and a kind, considerate nature, but on the flip side, he was also unpredictable and easily triggered into post-traumatic meltdowns. Vladimir was damn near perfect, in spite of his tendency to lose touch with what was going on around him and forget which stimuli were real and which were not. Tyson knew he wasn't a flawless specimen either - he was surly, capricious and prone to outbursts. But the three of them got along. They found comfort in each other.

Tyson limped down the hallway from his room without his crutch now - Dr Okereke had taken it away. His ankle was healing, and while he still wore the compression bandage, he was able to put some weight on it. It hurt, so he made the most of it while it did, twisting it when he felt especially awful on the inside. Still, he found himself inflicting injury on his own body less and less as time went on. Perhaps the antidepressants were doing their job. He knew the benzodiazepines were. When he felt especially angry or an urge to hurt himself, his primary nurse would often bring him a dose of valium, and true to their word, he usually calmed down in around half an hour maximum. He could have up to three of those per day - often, he used between one and two. He couldn't help but notice that while the nurses let the other patients take their medications in their own time, they waited until he'd swallowed it before they left. They didn't trust him entirely just yet - afraid he might spit them out and store enough for an overdose.

The ward had lost some of its patients and gained new ones. Annie, someone Tyson had grown used to see but had never interacted with, was discharged, as was Derrick, who was probably on his way to juvie. And... whosit from down the hall. The guy with the acne. In their place came Dalton, a severely depressed fourteen-year-old boy with a nasty stutter, and Bella, an older teenager with arms covered in old scars - and some fresh ones. There were spare rooms, though, and somehow that gave Tyson a buzz of hope as he limped past. Empty rooms meant there was room for people who needed them, and they would not be sent back into the world without adequate help because people like his ignorant dumbarse father didn't care.

"Tyson! Did the appointment go well?" Sue was his morning nurse now, thanks to the rotating schedule. She must have been doing her checks.

"Oh yeah, fuckin' ace," he grumbled, still sore about the tender subjects raised in his therapy session.

"Aww, chin up, love," she smiled at him. "Sometimes if your suitcase can't hold all your luggage, you need to unpack everything and sort through it before it shuts. You know? Would you like anything from the kitchen? A scone? A hot milo?"

"I'd like to get my own stuff from the kitchen," Tyson complained, twisting his injured foot so it hurt. "Nearly everyone else can. Charlie can! Why can't I?"

"Any day now, love! We just can't let you in there without an escort until your risk rating drops," Sue spoke softly. "Do you think you're ready to go in the kitchen?"

"Yes! It's not like I can do shit in there anyway!" He folded his arms. "Everything's locked away, the mugs are plastic and the only taps are cold and tepid. If I want a luke-warm cup of tea, I should be able to get one without coming to a grown-up like a child."

"I'll pass it on to your doctor when she comes in," the middle-aged nurse promised, scribbling on her pad. "The rules do seem silly sometimes. Even for me. But they exist to make sure we're all safe, okay? Why don't you go and get some sunshine? Vladimir's out there."

The inpatient courtyard was a pretty place, Tyson had to admit. It was a square surrounded by other parts of the hospital - two corridors and the common room, all full of windows so everyone outside could be supervised at all times. A big concrete wall separated the open unit with the high-dependency unit. It was an ugly cream colour, but it was covered in paintings and murals by past patients with an artistic streak, and it was quite pretty. Ferns and other plants and bushes decorated the open space, and there was a small asphalt square with a basketball hoop on the other side, and a big shaded gazebo in the middle. Vladimir was spending more and more time out here lately - Tyson didn't know whether it was the warming weather or his treatment working its charm. Perhaps it was both. Tyson wasn't as keen on the outside, particularly since it was still allergy season, but there was nothing sweeter than swinging gently with his favourite person with a gentle breeze.

"Cuuuutie!" Vladimir called as he saw Tyson slipping through the sliding door.

"You'll change your mind when I'm snotting everywhere," Tyson warned him, but he was always so thrilled and giddy when this beautiful guy said such sweet things to him.

"You're right. You're disgusting, and I can barely stand the look of you," Vladimir teased him, but he could not hide the grin on his face. "Look at those perfect white teeth and the fit body and the pretty eyes. You're a disgrace. Shame on you!"

"Don't forget these ugly fuckin' scars!" Tyson added, hopping down on the swing chair with his friend and slipping nice and close.

Vladimir's only response was to take Tyson's scarred arm and to trace them with his fingers. Gently. Lovingly. They still itched a little bit - likely psychosomatic, Dr Okereke explained. When Vladimir sealed his acceptance of Tyson's past mistakes by kissing his wrist and smiling at him, Tyson started sniffling all over again. He had no idea why. He didn't deserve the type of love and affection Vladimir gave him. After all, everybody would see those scars for the rest of his life and know what he tried to do. They were disgusting. Shameful. Vladimir didn't think so, though. He had still never asked about them, Tyson realised. Nor did he either stare or avoid looking at them. They didn't say much to each other. Vladimir was quiet today. He didn't even hum, whisper or sing to anyone who existed only in his head. Tyson tucked himself under the older boy's arm and let himself just be content, watching the clouds above them while Vladimir rocked them gently with his foot on the ground underneath.

Life isn't so bad. I wouldn't mind going to school and doing sports and learning instruments if I could do this every day. I like the flute and the piano. Soccer is fun. School is alright when Mum's not hovering like an air strike drone. How would I rewrite my story? Mum would choose me. She would pick me and not Chase. She would leave him and realise what a fucking mess she made of everything, and she would take me with her. She'd tell me she was sorry and that she loved me and she'd hug me and kiss me and do things Mums are supposed to do. We'd go out and eat a burger once in a while and see a movie, and she'd ask me if I wanted to learn music and history and advanced calculus instead of telling me I needed to. I don't want her to die... not really. I just want her to love me.

"Vlad," Petra called from the door after a time. "You have a couple of visitors! Come along!"

"Woo woot! Hey, you're coming, right?" Vladimir asked as he got up from the seat.

"I don't know. They're here to see you, not me," the younger boy shrugged shyly.

"Yeah, right," Vladimir tried to pull him up by the arm, but Tyson was heavier than he looked thanks to the muscle he'd built from years of athletic training and sports and flopped back, turning into dead weight. "Don't make me tickle you. You know I will."

The threat when coupled with Vladimir's fingers reaching for his ribcage was enough to have Tyson up on his feet in two seconds flat, and Tyson giggled at his friend's smug grin. Their disagreements had grown considerably more one-sided these days, as Tyson was ticklish and Vladimir was not, and the Russian was not above exploiting that to convince Tyson to see things his way. Though he would never in a million years admit it to anyone, especially Vladimir, Tyson enjoyed their hijinks and found a sort of joy in giving in to his friend when they were playing around. He would fight to the death if it were anyone else, but he liked to concede to the pretty pale boy.

"Daddy!!"

The moment Petra escorted the two young men into the visitor's room, Vladimir launched himself at the man Tyson had not seen before. He was a broad, round-bellied man who stood around six and a half feet tall, with grey eyes, silver hair and peppery stubble above and below his lips. Though Vladimir and all of his brothers looked a lot like their mother, Tyson could see the differences in detail filled in from his father's features. The very round eyes and tiny upturn of the nose, and the height!

"Hello, моыа звезда," she always called him that. It meant 'my star' and always warmed his heart, even on its coldest of days. "How are you, Tyson? You're looking good on that foot!"

"Hi," Tyson replied coolly, his initial warmed heart quickly turning cold with envy and resentment. "Sorry. I didn't want to come, but Vlad made me."

"Are you alright?" She furrowed her brow - it was beginning to permanently crease in her middle years. With four boys, one schizophrenic, another depressed and a third with autism, Tyson decided she'd earned the right to a few wrinkles. "Are you having a bad day, love?" She steered him towards the couch, glancing at Vladimir and his father, who were speaking their stupid language that Tyson didn't understand.

"They're all bad days," Tyson told her bitterly, shaking her arm off his as they sat down together, him as close to the arm of the furniture as he possibly could be. "You and whatshisface don't need me here. Neither does Vlad."

"I suppose we don't need you here," she confirmed, hurting his feelings before she doubled back. "But we do want you here. All of us. If you're not feeling up to it, then we can visit you another time, okay? Don't feel left out. Vasily is very interested in meeting you."

She knew exactly what was eating at him, and she didn't shy away from discussing it. Tyson appreciated her frankness, and he was reassured by her kind and loving words that he was not intruding - though he always felt as though he was, no matter how much the entire Tchaikovsky family insisted otherwise. To have people coming in and being warm and friendly and sociable, to ask about things other than doctors and release dates and lawyers, to laugh and smile and hug - all of it felt so alien. He could not help but believe it was all too good to be true. If he set himself up for disappointment, then he could not have his heart broken.

"This is Tyson!" Vladimir dragged his father over and pointed down at the dark-skinned boy hiding next to Masha. "Tyson, this is my dad!"

Tyson's chivalry, manners and charisma immediately kicked in, and he quickly pushed all of his feelings out of the way as he got to his feet, standing straight-backed and tall - as far as tall went for the still growing boy. He extended a hand and forced a smile onto his face.

"A pleasure to meet you, Mr Tchaikovsky," he'd been practising his Russian pronunciation of that name - the differences were slight, but that was how it was meant to sound. "I am Tyson Belmont-Lovett."

"What a grip on this one," Vasily remarked with a satisfied grin, earnestly shaking his hand. "The pleasure is mine, Tyson. You can just call me Vasily - or Vas."

"Or Silly," Masha interjected, drawing a chuckle from the three Russians as Vladimir slumped down and rested his head on her shoulder.

"Do you mind having a chat with me?" Vasily asked him, his voice thickly accented, and Tyson's main concern was that he'd have to ask the man to repeat himself too many times.

Tyson shot a look at Petra, who was busy filling out superfluous paperwork, he imagined. She did not expect any outbursts or drama, even with Tyson involved, so she was giving them all space while she supervised. He shot a look at Masha, who gave a slight nod of reassurance. Vladimir was already beginning to strike up a conversation with her. Tyson sighed, but he followed the huge man to the couch on the other side of the coffee table. He already had an idea of how this might go. Vasily would interrogate him about whether or not he was suitable for Vladimir, and Tyson would tell him to go fuck himself. He already had a set of parents perpetually disappointed in him. He did not need another. He was done with not being good enough.

"It's so good to see him so happy again," Vasily remarked, watching his son fondly as he and Masha snuggled on the couch. "When I was here last, three weeks ago, he was miserable. Psychotic. He looks good. I hear you have something to do with that, yes?"

This wasn't Tyson's planned conversation, so it caught him off guard. "Um. I don't know. He's the one who cheers me up."

"Modest. I like that," Vasily turned his body. "I work offshore on an oil rig for weeks at a time. I don't get to come in and visit my boy - but he calls me sometimes, and he tells me about his friend Tyson. Blah blah blah, you can't shut the boy up!" Tyson flushed and struggled to maintain eye contact. "He tells me that this young man in the hospital, this Tyson, makes every day better for him. He says Tyson shares his chips during the meals, always. He says Tyson reads to him and teaches him the big and hard words. But my favourite part is when he says that Tyson always talks to him when he is hearing voices and makes sure he is never alone. Never. So when I come home from the rig, I want to meet this Tyson and tell him man to man that I appreciate everything he does for my son."

This isn't how the conversation was supposed to go at all, Tyson thought as he gingerly let his guard down.

"You are gay, yes?" Vasily asked matter-of-factly, and fear flickered over Tyson's face.

"I... I don't know..." Tyson stammered uncomfortably.

"Vladimir is gay. I know it since he was two," Vasily claimed, and when Tyson began giggling, he chuckled as well. "That is the truth! No joke! But you like him. Yes?"

"Is that okay?" Tyson asked quietly, his eyes shifting to the teenage boy conversing so merrily with his mother. They had a fantastic bond. Again, Tyson felt envy in his heart.

"Boys can like boys, I don't understand it, but he is my son, so I will always love him," the big man leaned forward. Ahh. So this is where he cocks his leg and sprays in the corner, Tyson thought. "You are good to Vlad. You have my blessing." Oh, wrong again. "But I wish to ask something first. Is that okay?"

Ah. Here it is.

"What is it?" Tyson asked him, meeting his steely gaze.

"Vlad's last boyfriend killed himself," Vasily whispered, and Tyson's eyes widened. "And we nearly lose him in the process. I can't have that happen again, you understand? So if you want to love my son, I ask only that you don't do that again."

He pointed to Tyson's scarred wrist, and the boy shamefully hid it from view. Tyson's first reaction was to get angry. Who was this guy to bring up this sort of shit to him? He worked on an oil rig, for fuck's sake. Tyson's second reaction was to kick that aside. He still thought it was rude of Vasily to breach that subject, but he supposed the man was only looking out for his son. If that was the only requirement Tyson had to check off for Vasily's blessing to get close to Vladimir, that was fine.

"I won't," Tyson promised, and he put out his hand to shake on his word. "Thank you, Vasily."

With a shake and a mutual smile, the two of them rejoined Masha and Vladimir, and much of the visit entailed father and son catching each other up on recent events. Tyson's head was swimming, though. Vasily was fine - much better than his own dad, at least, but he was deep in thought as his eyes studied the older boy. It wasn't just a friend who died, as Vladimir had told him. It was a boyfriend who committed suicide. He respected Vladimir's right to privacy, of course, but Tyson couldn't help wondering what else he was keeping to himself. Were there other skeletons in his closet?

Big thanks to the readers. I hope it's not a huge disappointment - I could live with "minor disappointment" I suppose.

Posted this one a day early ~ but mostly expect them on Fridays. :) (My time!) 

Copyright © 2018 AusGlitterati; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Awww this was a sweet chapter!! ❤️

Who knew Vlad's dad would be so good and know exactly what to say? Vlad is indeed lucky to have such a supportive family, despite all of their problems. 

And it seems Brianna is good at her job too. By asking Tyson about how he wished for his life to continue after being discharged, she made him realize he doesn't actually want his mom dead. He just wants her to be a better mom and to love him.

There definitely could be light at the end of the tunnel and Tyson is slowly realizing it. 

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17 minutes ago, ObicanDecko said:

Awww this was a sweet chapter!! ❤️

Who knew Vlad's dad would be so good and know exactly what to say? Vlad is indeed lucky to have such a supportive family, despite all of their problems. 

And it seems Brianna is good at her job too. By asking Tyson about how he wished for his life to continue after being discharged, she made him realize he doesn't actually want his mom dead. He just wants her to be a better mom and to love him.

There definitely could be light at the end of the tunnel and Tyson is slowly realizing it. 

Ya mental illness can strike even those with a good, healthy, loving family. ❤️ 

Tyson's still in the transition, but he's edging closer to the light! Still a long journey. :3 

Thank you super duper muchly ❤️ 

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Has Tyson really, truly, promised not to kill himself?? If he means it, that really is a giant step forward.

Excellent chapter.

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15 minutes ago, Ivor Slipper said:

Has Tyson really, truly, promised not to kill himself?? If he means it, that really is a giant step forward.

Excellent chapter.

He's working on it! :) He does mean it at this point in time. 

Thank you very much! ❤️ 

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Don't they have to report their concerns to the cps? I mean Tyson's problems exist because of his parents and if nothing changes that, they should take him away from them. 

 

I really really like this story and i can't wait for the next chapter. It reminds me of my problems in my youth where i was in a similiar institution. 

 

Edited by TimmY92
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1 minute ago, TimmY92 said:

Don't they have to report their concerns to the cps? I mean Tyson's problems exist because of his parents and if nothing changes that they should take them away from them. 

 

I really really like this story and i can't wait for the next chapter. It reminds me of my problems in my youth where i was in a similiar institution. 

 

Yes ~ main problem being that Tyson's parents are wealthy, influential people in high public standing and the type of abuse he undergoes is easily brushed off as overparenting. Plus, there is some artistic license at play so I beg you to suspend a little bit of disbelief! ;)

I'm terrifically glad you're enjoying the story! I'm doing my best to update weekly and I'm very sorry to hear of your struggles. ❤️ I hope it all worked out. :)

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1 minute ago, AusGlitterati said:

Yes ~ main problem being that Tyson's parents are wealthy, influential people in high public standing and the type of abuse he undergoes is easily brushed off as overparenting. Plus, there is some artistic license at play so I beg you to suspend a little bit of disbelief! ;)

I'm terrifically glad you're enjoying the story! I'm doing my best to update weekly and I'm very sorry to hear of your struggles. ❤️ I hope it all worked out. :)

They weren't really struggles. I got some problems in my youth to socialize but my parents just sent me away and made it worse at first, but if they didn't do what they did i wouldn't be where i am now. After all it worked out well and i'm glad my parents did what they did. 

❤️;) 

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Oh wow. Now I think I know why Vlad blames himself for his friend dying. Vasily is a wonderful father. Now a question does Tyson have phone privileges? And if not could he somehow get a reporter to interview him in an explosive tell all about the Belmont-Lovetts?

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4 minutes ago, Wesley8890 said:

Oh wow. Now I think I know why Vlad blames himself for his friend dying. Vasily is a wonderful father. Now a question does Tyson have phone privileges? And if not could he somehow get a reporter to interview him in an explosive tell all about the Belmont-Lovetts?

The truth about Alexey's death is fairly up in the air, since multiple accounts have made their way to Tyson's ears. He was murdered; it was an accident; it was suicide. Vlad tends to conflate all three outcomes at once, depending on his state of mind and hallucinations - but he always blames himself and the monster is always involved. 

Tyson does have phone privileges, but nobody to call. 😜 Perhaps he could make contact with the media, but he's just a spoiled, ungrateful brat* and his parents are powerful, influential people.* He might not even have come to that as a possibility - his first and only recognised path to freedom was to kill himself, but we're working on that! :)

Thanks for the comment! Big appreciation ❤️ 

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This chapter is a compelling exercise in juxtaposition--how Tyson envisions his life/future when discussing his situation with Brianna (representing the psychiatric establishment) and when contemplating it with Vlady and his family (representing a loving, nurturing environment). Another  dichotomy, vibrantly expressed, is the discrepancy in mental health treatment between the rich and the poor.

When talking to Brianna about his hypothetical day of discharge, Tyson exudes hopelessness and reiterates his need for death. When she asks if Tyson feels safe, he replies, “Safe? Do you know what safety to me is? Not going home. Not being alive long enough to go through that shit again. Safety? I'll be safe when I'm dead.”  When she asks how he would rewrite the scenario to provide for a happier ending, Tyson imagines his parents dead in his place, adding that he would personally burn the coffins “to ashes.” Thus, Tyson sees his life and future in bleak terms, with the only solutions being his own death or his parents’.

However, when tucked under Vlady's arm--when given affection--Tyson's view completely changes:  “Life isn't so bad. I wouldn't mind going to school and doing sports and learning instruments if I could do this [lie by Vlady's side] every day.”  What were onerous/unendurable tasks when imposed by his parents become enjoyable when he is loved and allowed make his own choices. (The safety he seeks is within Vlady's arms.)  Affection/love make all the difference to his outlook: “How would I rewrite my story? Mum would choose me. She would pick me and not Chase…. She'd tell me she was sorry and that she loved me and she'd hug me and kiss me and do things Mums are supposed to do…. I don't want her to die... not really. I just want her to love me.” With the love and praise he receives from the Tchaikovsky family, he is able to go a step further:  He doesn't hesitate to renounce his goal of suicide as Vasily's condition for loving his son, and they even shake on his promise. (Brianna, eat your heart out!)

Additionally, Tyson points out a basic inequity in mental health care:  He notes that he receives psychiatric intervention daily but that some individuals--such as Charlie--receive much less help (in Charlie's case “three minutes a week," just enough time “for the useless bastard [psychiatrist] to say 'yep he's still fucked' and piss off out of here.”)  Brianna's response is a stinging indictment: “You know how the medical and psychiatric fields are. You get what you pay for.” In other words, the care is only as good as one's pocketbook, and a patient is not guaranteed the level of care he needs. Further, Brianna suggests--in her hope that the father fails to get elected--that public funding for behavioral health care is at the whim of the government;  and Tyson is horrified to think that Charlie might “go between institutions for the rest of his life because nobody stepped in when they had a chance to do something for him because there's no profit in it.” (Of course, Tyson has already grasped this point in viewing how deplorably Vlady was being treated and in offering to pay Cynthia to provide him better care.)

While drugs may prove somewhat helpful for Tyson, his true treatment of choice is something that psychiatry simply can't offer him--something his own family withholds from him--and which Vlady and his family provide without even thinking about it.  Yet, for those who may benefit more from traditional psychiatric care, the bottom line is, quite sadly, the bottom line; and not everyone has a Tyson, or a Cynthia, to help. 😥

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Another interesting point, Tyson holds his parents responsible for suppressing his ethnic heritage--e.g., he can speak multiple languages but not Sri Lankan--while observing how beautifully the Tchaikovskys have integrated their Russian heritage into their Australian identity.  Tyson's parents have stolen a piece of who he is, and it is not something he can easily reclaim.

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