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

Heart - 2. Uno

A visit from his mother triggers Tyson's explosive temper, and Vladimir reveals more about himself.

Vladimir, quick as a snake, threw his card down and began to speak, but Tyson was much too fast for him.

"Uno!!" Tyson yelled loud enough to draw attention from the whole unit. Vladimir's jaw dropped.

"You're too good at this!" The bigger boy sighed and drew two cards from the pile. "I should have won like, six times now!"

"Well, I have to be good at something! I guess Uno is it!" Tyson shrugged, holding his stacked hand. He had twelve or thirteen cards at this point. He was better at Uno than Vladimir was, but the other boy must have played every Draw Four in the goddamn deck at this point.

"You're great to sleep on!" Vladimir giggled and played one of his cards. "So that's two things."

"You would know. You drooled all over me," Tyson teased him, and Vladimir slapped him on his forearm.

"Shut up! I did not!" The pale boy whined, and the two began to laugh together. Man, it was good to laugh. It had been a while since something he'd had much to enjoy or laugh about. "I am sorry about that, though, but in my defence, I did warn you that I would fall asleep!"

"It's fine," Tyson's brown skin began to glow pink underneath. He was doing that a lot since he made a new friend. A new friend who cuddled him in his sleep!! "You can sleep on me any time."

Tyson cursed himself. Why did you say that? Stupid! Stupid! Argh. He's gonna think you're super creepy.

"Relax Tys!" Vladimir laughed at how embarrassed his friend seemed to get. "I'm the loser who fell asleep all over you so you're not the one who should feel like an idiot."

"I dozed off too," Tyson played another red zero. All his cards were red, and Vladimir wanted to change the suit to yellow. He couldn't let that happen.

"Mum's coming to see me tomorrow!" Vladimir's joy turned into a sigh of exasperation as he was forced again to draw from the deck. "Do you wanna meet her?"

"Your mum?" Tyson was puzzled at Vladimir's offer. Why the hell would this guy's mum be interested in seeing Tyson? "I dunno. She's your visitor, not mine."

"She'll want to meet you! But if you don't wanna, that's okay," the older boy didn't seem offended at all. "I know she'd love to see you, though. She loves it when I make friends and stuff. Does your mum visit?"

"Mmm yeah, every day. Just Mum. Never Chase," Tyson wasn't much looking forward to seeing her for his daily self-esteem shake-down. She came after work, never bringing his sister Kelly, who was completely ashamed of him. "I don't think you'd get along with her, though. She thinks everyone here is batshit or something and if she knew I was talking to you, she'd freak."

"Oh... I get it," Vladimir shrugged. "I've been in places like this since I was little, so I'm used to it and so is my Mum. Are you sure you don't want to meet her? I already told her about you on the phone, and she wants to see you. She won't judge!"

"I'll think about it."

Tyson had already decided he would, but he didn't want to appear too eager. After all, he and Vladimir had only known each other for two days at this point. Still, they'd barely spent a moment apart since their awkward beginning at the lunch table. Alice occasionally snatched one of the boys to take their pulse and blood pressure, but the two sat with each other during their class. The education unit, something Tyson would have put in quotation marks, was pathetic. Easy stuff. Basic mathematics and English skills to keep the kids' brains active while they were out of school. Some inpatients, like Heather and Emre, weren't functioning well enough to work on their own and had one-on-one support with their primary nurses. Charlie attended, but he never participated.

The boys' favourite game at this point was Uno. Tyson was surprised at how much fun he had with his new friend Vladimir wasn't very good at Uno, but the blue-eyed bastard seemed to get all the lucky draws and eventually faked Tyson out to win the game. It would be nice with more people playing, Tyson thought. Maybe he'd asked some of the other kids to join them. Not Charlie. He didn't want wet fingers all over the cards.

"Tyson!" Petra, a pretty, petite young woman with beautiful green eyes behind rimless glasses and a long, black ponytail came for him. Tyson liked Petra a lot - she was a friendly and cheerful person, but he was growing to hate her by association. He knew why she was here.

"Do I have to?" Tyson moaned with his shoulders slumped.

"I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't encourage you to see your Mum when she visited, but it's not mandatory," Petra reassured him, crouching down to his level. All of the staff did that. They didn't stand over him. "She seems like she's looking forward to seeing you! But if you'd rather not, I can tell her to leave instead."

"I'll do it," he sighed heavily and struggled to his feet.

Petra took hold of his hand and helped him up. He wished she wouldn't. He hated people touching him, especially now that he sometimes needed help to stand. Rather than thank her for her assistance, he irritably snatched his hand from her.

"Good luck! You know where to find me!" Vladimir waved him off, and Tyson smiled in spite of the mixed feelings swarming around inside him. He hobbled slowly towards the visitor's area. Petra noticed how glum he looked.

"Is everything alright? Does Mum make you feel anxious?" She asked him, slowly walking beside him as he lumbered forward, unable to put weight on his busted ankle.

"Yeah, no shit," he snapped, not wanting to look at her.

"Since you got here? Or is it all the time?" Petra inquired, opening the door to the corridor for him.

"All the fucking time!" Tyson growled in frustration, before realising what he said and how he said it. "Sorry."

"You're stressed. I get it," she soothed him. "Now, do you want me to come with you to see Mum? I can be there, or I can leave you two alone."

"Please come," Tyson begged her, hobbling through and making his way down to the visitor's lounge.

Petra put a comforting hand on his shoulder. On his way, Tyson continually put pressure and weight on his injured ankle, relishing in the pain that shot through him. All he needed to do for some painkillers was ask for them, but he always chose not to. The pain was amazing. A rush! Tyson self-harmed a lot. There were a few scars on his thigh where he'd cut himself, and he sometimes clawed at his arm with his nails, tugged on his hair and punched his legs. It made him feel... not good, but better. It satisfied him that though his parents controlled every single thing in his life, there wasn't a damn thing they could do about him hurting himself. At the moment, his primary source of pain was his sprained ankle, and as he slowly limped towards the visitor's area, he made sure he put some weight on it.

Tyson remembered the night he'd been wheeled into the psychiatric unit. After repeatedly denying that he was attempting another suicide attempt, Edith hired Cynthia Ellicott, reportedly the best pediatric psychiatrist in the area, to "fix" her son by any means necessary. Cynthia had been alarmed when she finally managed to coax Tyson into admitting that it was the fourth time in six months he'd made a full suicide attempt. She explained the situation to him, and to his irate, confused mother.

"We'll do everything we can to protect your dignity and freedom, Tyson, but you have to make a decision. I'm going to organise to keep you in hospital for a little while so we can work out why you're resorting to this type of self-destructive behaviour. I can admit you as a voluntary patient if you like. That means we can keep you in the general ward, and we'll work with you to decide how we can best move forward. If you don't want to comply, then I'm afraid I'll have to detain you under the Mental Health Act. This means that your treatment team, including myself, can and will make decisions about your wellbeing without your consent."

Edith's ears pricked up at that - an opportunity to further control her defiant, rebellious child. "Admit him involuntarily, then. It sounds a lot easier."

"It's up to Tyson," Cynthia replied to her coolly, directing her attention to the poor kid on the hospital gurney. "What do you say? I know I'd be much happier to work with you as a voluntary patient. I understand that you're upset and I know this is difficult, but we have to intervene before you or someone else gets seriously hurt. You were lucky you only hurt your ankle when you tripped down the hill. It could have been your spine or your neck! Today it's a crutch for a few weeks, but next time it might be a wheelchair for the rest of your life. Do you see where I'm coming from?"

Tyson often replayed that conversation in his head a lot. While Edith fretted about publicity and why he was making things so difficult and what lies she could tell to mitigate damage, Cynthia sat down with him and spoke for a long time - mostly, she listened to him. She was able to win his trust, and he tearfully agreed to enter the AIU as a voluntary patient. As he entered the visitor's room and saw his mother there, waiting for him with cold indifference on her face, he remembered why he hated her.

"Hello, Tyson," Edith was aloof in her manner when she spoke to him at the best of times, but there was not a shred of warmth in her right now. Just disappointment. She didn't get out of her chair to greet him. She stayed right where she was; arms folded, legs crossed. She and her son looked a lot alike. They had the same olive tinged brown skin, the curly black hair, wide mouth and dark brown eyes. "Are you well?"

"I'm awesome! That's why I'm chilling here in the nuthouse," Tyson smirked bitterly as he sat down.

He looked for Petra, and she was observing from the doorway, smiling and waving at Edith. The two women didn't get along. He knew that from experience. In fact, Edith was a nightmare for all the staff at the AIU. If Tyson didn't get attention and appointments all day long, she complained until she was blue in the face. She paid a lot for her family's medical insurance, and if Tyson didn't get the best of everything, she would make sure their malpractice lawyer heard about it. Tyson had no love for most of the staff either, but he wished his mother would leave him alone. She wouldn't understand that her oppressive influence was a huge part of the problem.

"Again with the attitude! What's with you? All this attention isn't enough for you?" Edith gave him a stern glare.

Tyson already felt his blood beginning to boil. "Mum, I can't be bothered," he snapped at her. "If you're gonna be a bitch, can you at least do it over of the phone?"

"Tyson, I'm here because I worry about you," Edith's honeyed words did little to mask the acidity present in her voice. "I don't appreciate your tone one bit, though. I'm your mother, not your friend. You'll watch your mouth when you speak to me."

"Yeah, don't I know it," Tyson folded his arms in a huff.

Without the difference in gender and the twenty-three years of difference in age, the two of them were identical. They looked the same, they sat the same, the same when they ate, drank, laughed, spoke, sulked and the two even pulled at their ear the same way when they were telling uncomfortable. It was a shame that they had so little in common on the inside. They were very different people. She wasn't a bad mother in every way. He did respect her. She made sure he had the best of everything. He had his own private tutor, Wendy. He spoke four languages - English, German, French and Australian Sign. He was well ahead of his peers in his education, and he was very fit, exercising every day and playing soccer. Yes, he had a lot going for him, but he wasn't happy. He hadn't been happy in so long. He was lonely and sad and completely burned out. Edith didn't agree. She thought he was lazy.

"Are you going to your classes?" The older woman asked, almost like an accusation.

"Yeah. It's kid's stuff though."

"Tsk," Edith sucked her teeth the way she did when she was irritated. The same way her son did. "I hate to think how far behind you're getting in your studies. I wish you'd let Wendy tutor you. You're too smart for a place like this. Think of all the time you're wasting in here! You could be using it to better yourself!"

"We can organise a tutor," Petra interjected, looking keenly at Tyson, not his mother. "But that's entirely up to Tyson. With respect, Mrs Belmont-Lovett, this is supposed to be a safe place, so we try to avoid duress where we can. This can be a distressing environment for anyone, especially someone so young, so we will not force him to push himself. The standard class is fine."

"Yeah. No tutors," Tyson was very appreciative that Petra took his side, but Edith's expression darkened. She didn't like people disagreeing with her.

"So what's going on with all this free time, then?" She snapped, but this time she directed her question to Petra. And just like that, Tyson was an afterthought. His opinion never carried any weight.

"There are a lot of activities to keep the day going as smoothly as possible. It depends on how Tyson wants to spend it," Petra rerouted the question back to involve him.

"I made a friend today," Tyson decided to take a chance and talk about Vladimir, who had already talked to his own mother about their new friendship. Vladimir! Just the name made him feel giddy inside. He couldn't wait to return to his friend. He wondered what Vladimir was doing right now. Would he maybe want to watch something else and fall asleep together again?

"A friend?" Edith turned up her nose at the very thought. "I don't think that's a good idea. You won't be here for very long. There's no sense in making any attachments. And you know what these children are like."

"He's really cool," Tyson ignored her. It wasn't that he thought she was wrong, it was that he needed comfort right now. "We like all the same stuff, and he's in the room across from me. And he's from Cook Bay!"

"No friends! I don't want you getting close to anyone from this place," Edith dismissed him immediately. "There are some truly deranged people in psychiatric wards. Don't get mixed up with them."

"Hey, um, fucking Earth to Mum!" Tyson yelled at her, his temper dangerously close to exploding. "I'm a deranged person! Right here! In a psychiatric ward! Did you forget?"

"Okay, let's slow down! Inside voice please, Tys," Petra gently warned him, but he barely heard her. When these particular gears began to spin in his head, they only went one way. Calming himself down never seemed necessary.

"How could I forget you're deranged when you continue to speak to me like that?" Edith lost her snide, arrogant tone in favour of a shrill yell. "It's disgraceful, Tyson! You've had everything - everything! I don't understand where this attitude comes from!"

"Because you're a fucking bitch!" Tyson slapped the pot plant sitting on the coffee table as he shouted the last syllable to make his point. Petra was already calling for assistance. "You see this?" He pointed the underside of his left forearm at her, showing her the three angry scars from his second suicide attempt. "It should have been you!"

"I've had it! This facility is a fucking joke!" Edith was storming out of the visitor's centre the moment her son began yelling and throwing things. "I expected better results from you!"

Tyson threw his crutch at her, but she'd already vanished through the doorway. Petra was trying to talk to him, but he didn't want to hear her. Anything he could get his hands on, he threw or broke or tore up. Magazines, crayons and even the coffee table itself. Had he been able to walk, he might have tried to destroy the whole room, but his busted ankle kept him confined to the chair he was sitting in. People were saying his name, but he shouted over them.

"Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! I hate this! I hate her and I hate this fucking place! I'm going to kill myself, and I'm going to burn this fucking place to the ground!" Tyson screamed at the top of his lungs as he raged on and on and on and on.

"Tyson!" Neil, the nurse that took over Tyson's care when Alice clocked off, so rarely raised his voice, but it was what finally got through to him. If Neil shouted, there was trouble. "Tyson," Neil repeated much quieter, but very firmly. Petra was by his side, as was a member of the security team, a huge, burly man with a beer belly but a chest so full of muscles that the two seemed even in proportion. "Tyson. Are you done?" Neil asked in that tone that really got under Tyson's skin.

"Oh, fuck you!" Tyson hissed at him.

"Wrong answer," Neil warned him, holding his finger up.

One strike. Two and he was out. Not three. There were only two strikes in the AIU. If he did not calm himself and comply with Neil's orders, he would be locked back in the quiet room. This security man would have no trouble dragging him there. Oh, no. Tyson did not want to go there again, but... but... he was so angry! Why was his mother such a fucking bitch? Why was Neil such a douchebag? Why was this place such a goddamn prison? But the memory of that soundproof door locking shut behind him, seeing those scary restraints on that bed and the way everyone looked at him through the window... no. It couldn't happen again. Neil was nice, but a lot stricter with the rules than Alice. He would not hesitate to put his patient in the quiet room if he was disturbing the ward.

"I'm sorry!" Tyson yelled, tears beginning to well in his eyes. Neil wasn't moved. Not an inch.

"Nope, that's not good enough, buddy," Neil waved that finger around. "You're on the right track though, so I'll give you one more go."

"I'm sorry," the angry, scared young man took one big, deep breath and exhaled. "I'm sorry," he repeated, and Neil's face relaxed, as did Petra's. The security guy's face did not, though. He looked mean on purpose, Tyson was sure. Intimidation and coercion. Disgusting.

"Alright. Apology accepted," Neil lowered his hand.

He believed Tyson was in the clear, but he was still maintaining vigilance. Neil was a cutie, as far as Tyson was concerned. He was a young man, in his early twenties with braces on his teeth, kind brown eyes and his long, blond hair tied into a bun. Being cute didn't mean the man wasn't a bit scary, though. Alice and Sue made exceptions to the rules based on their judgement, but Neil was rigid and very rarely strayed from the regulations.

"You've managed to make a bit of a mess here, hey Tys? I reckon we better get you back to your room for a few minutes of peace and quiet and we'll have a chat, okay?"

"Okay," Tyson wasn't going to argue. He was embarrassed about what he'd done. "Does this mean I have to go to the other wing?"

"No!" Petra and Neil both reassured him at the same time.

"No no," Petra took over while Neil retrieved the crutch so Tyson could walk on it. "But if you keep getting violent like this, Tys, then yes, we would probably transfer you. It's not a punishment, alright? It's just the place where we treat people who behave in dangerous ways. Do you think you're dangerous?"

"No!" Tyson was appalled that people might even think that.

"Then this needs to stop happening, mate!" Neil handed the scared, subdued boy the crutch that he'd thrown. "You're quite fortunate nobody saw you throw this at Mum because then you wouldn't get it back. Mate, you've gotta let us know when you think you might do your block, okay? We'll do whatever we can to help you out, but you have to do your part too."

"Alright," Tyson meekly responded and began to slowly hobble.

The man from security would likely escort him all the way to his room - in front of the whole ward and everyone in it, even Vladimir, which was so humiliating - and remain there until he was given the all-clear. Petra vanished, probably to write up a report of what happened. Neil didn't touch him, though. He walked by his side, and Tyson appreciated that. Never in front or behind. Always beside. Tyson didn't look at anyone while the two men escorted him through the central area into the corridor where his room awaited him. He sat down on the mattress and sniffed sadly. He was going to behave himself. He was, he was, he was! It was Edith's fault for being so horrible to him all the time!

"I can give you a little something to calm you down if you like," Neil offered, crouching down so that they were at the same eye level and brushing a lock of sandy-coloured hair behind his ear.

"No!" Tyson feverishly shook his head. "No needles!" He hated them. He looked to the doorway where the security man was keeping an eye on the situation. The man's presence scared him.

"No injections! I know, mate," Neil smiled at him. "Nobody here will ever give you a needle. I'm talking about a pill that can help settle your feelings. I'm not going to force you to take it, alright? If you're sure you're okay, then I trust you, but if you think you might get angry again, then I think it's a good idea. It's up to you, Tys."

"No. I'm okay. I am," Tyson decided. He didn't like the calming down medicine much. It made him too sleepy, but not the right kind of sleepy.

"Do you want to talk about your visit with Mum?" Neil asked. He always wore latex gloves. Apparently, he was a massive germophobe.

"No," Tyson brushed tears away, and his chest began to heave. "Can I please just be alone for a while?"

"Sure you can," Neil stood up with an excessive groan of exertion. "Come to me or any of the other nurses if you need anything, alright, big guy? Door shut?"

Tyson nodded, and Neil closed the door for him. Tyson used the privacy to have a proper weep. He was tired of being stuck here, but he didn't want to go home either. Home was full of stress, exams, swimming, soccer, the piano and flute, expectations, rules and responsibilities. But this place was full of noise, nurses, pills, therapy and people being scared. There was no way to win. All he wanted was to die. How was that such a problem? He'd find a way, though. He always did. It was about choosing the right moment. A knock on his door surprised him and took him away from his spiral of thoughts.

"I'm fine!" He called out, expecting it to be Neil, but the door did not beep and click open like it usually would.

"Hello?" A quieter, shy voice peeped from the other side.

"Vlady?" Tyson wasted little time in hoisting himself up with his crutch and going to open his door. It was indeed Vladimir. Cute as a button, of course! "Hey."

"Is this a bad time?" Vladimir asked nervously. He'd put on a cardigan over his shirt and some socks as well. The warmth of the late summer day had gone to chill surprisingly quickly.

"Ehh probably, I lost my shit again," Tyson glowed pink and slumped against his crutch. "I'm not gonna bam you if that's what you mean."

"I wasn't asking that!" Vladimir leaned against the doorframe, letting a smile cross his lips. "I just wanted to make sure you're okay and stuff. You looked really sad."

"I'm a fucking psycho!" Tyson growled, dejectedly walking back to his bed and falling down on it. "A psycho who wants to kill himself. So I get if you don't wanna talk to me and shit. I'm an epic loser."

Vladimir didn't reply for a short while, but eventually, the slight, pale boy gently approached and sat down on the side of the bed. Tyson was feeling so defeated. Nothing ever goes right. I can't even kill myself.

"I like you though," Vladimir mumbled, and Tyson's ears pricked up. "I know you have stuff going on. That's why you're here. I have stuff going on too. Would you want to stop talking to me if I have a bad day?"

"I guess not," Tyson admitted, rolling over so that Vladimir could see him. The boy instantly smiled, and Tyson couldn't help but follow suit in spite of how neurotic and muddled he was feeling. "Can I ask why you're here, Vlady? Is it the spacing out thing?"

"Oh," Vladimir looked away guiltily. "I've been coming to these places since I was five or so. I have schizophrenia."

"What does that mean?" Tyson asked him curiously.

Chase had invariably asserted that people with schizophrenia were the craziest of crazies, a waste of resources, that they were no good and always ended up homeless or in prison and costing the taxpayers. But Vladimir didn't come across that way, and if Tyson were completely honest with himself, his father had a penchant for bullshitting. If the voters knew who he really was, rather than this solid bloke who raised two brilliant mixed-race children with his hyper-conservative values, they'd likely think twice.

"Um, well, I hear voices a lot of the time. I see things, and sometimes, I feel things on my skin. My brain, like... has trouble knowing what's real and what's not. And sometimes I just... I don't know. Turn off. Space out. Heh."

"Wow," Tyson murmured softly. Cynthia asked him questions like that; did he hear voices, did he believe that he wasn't in control of his thoughts, did he think people were conspiring against him? He told her a firm no. He wasn't crazy.

"So... does that scare you?" Vladimir asked timidly, looking down at his hands.

"Nah," Tyson reassured him, and he was speaking the truth. Vladimir wasn't some raving lunatic who had to be tied up in a straitjacket to keep him from murdering people. He was just another kid whose brain wasn't working correctly. "I'm just sorry you're here."

"It's not so bad anymore!" Vladimir's beautiful smile returned, and Tyson felt himself grow fonder with the gorgeous boy on his bed by the minute. "I have you!"

"Yeah, of course!" Tyson sat up and, without thinking, enveloped Vladimir with his arms and hugged him. "Thanks for coming to see if I was okay."

"Thanks for not being scared of me!" Vladimir laughed and hugged Tyson back, his arms around the darker boy's neck.

It wasn't long before Neil came to check on his charges and quickly ordered Vladimir out of the room - he wasn't supposed to be in there. But the affection was sweet while it lasted! Tyson wasn't sure what was going on. He just knew that Vladimir made everything better, and he was glad that Vladimir liked him back.

Maybe they'd both be okay. For Vladimir, he certainly hoped so.

Thanks to anyone who reads my stories. ❤️ It means a lot. Love you all!

Copyright © 2018 AusGlitterati; All Rights Reserved.
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This story is so sad and beautiful, you cant help but be concerned for the boys and wish them to get better.

It is so good that they found each other and have this unconditional friendship between them. The last paragraph is especially beautiful, filled with so much hope. ❤️

Keep on writing, friend! 

Edited by ObicanDecko
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Such a great story, sad and beautiful at the same time. Vladimir and Tyson are lucky to have found each other, you have to be concerned for them, but hopefully they can help each other get better.

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19 hours ago, ObicanDecko said:

This story is so sad and beautiful, you cant help but be concerned for the boys and wish them to get better.

It is so good that they found each other and have this unconditional friendship between them. The last paragraph is especially beautiful, filled with so much hope. ❤️

Keep on writing, friend! 

The boys have a long journey ahead of them, but having a friend can make it a much less daunting one! :)

Yes, both of them are hopeful about their futures - even if their brains are working against them. 

Thank you dearest ❤️ always and forever!

 

18 hours ago, chris191070 said:

Such a great story, sad and beautiful at the same time. Vladimir and Tyson are lucky to have found each other, you have to be concerned for them, but hopefully they can help each other get better.

Aww thank you so much friend! ❤️ That means a lot. Yeah, the boys are both very unwell in their own ways, but having each other's support is bound to make a world of difference!

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9 minutes ago, Ivor Slipper said:

I really feel for these two. Hopefully they can help each other.

They will! :) It'll be a hard road, but you have my word. x 

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I am really liking your characters and their story! I don't know much about mental illness, but hopefully having a friend will benefit both of them. I wonder if the staff would talk to Tyson's mom about her being part of the problem? Good story. Thanks.

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On 9/5/2018 at 7:59 AM, JeffreyL said:

I am really liking your characters and their story! I don't know much about mental illness, but hopefully having a friend will benefit both of them. I wonder if the staff would talk to Tyson's mom about her being part of the problem? Good story. Thanks.

Aww thank you so much buddy! :) Part of the reason I wrote this was to represent mental illness - it's very important to me. :) Yeah, the boys will absolutely be good for each other. Tyson's family issues will certainly be addressed, but the staff are making sure he's stable for the immediate future. 

Thanks! ❤️ 

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This chapter could be entitled “The World According to the Belmont-Lovetts,” or perhaps “Clash of the Titans,” as mother and son square off on multiple levels.

 

Tyson is actually upset by his parents’ daily visits--what he calls his “daily self-esteem shake-down.” (Poor Petra: She is Pavlov’s bell, as Tyson has learned to “hate" her for announcing the arrival of a parent. However, he is grateful for her willingness to chaperone, which is itself a sad commentary on the state of his relations with his parents.)

 

Tyson acknowledges to Petra that his parents cause him constant anxiety. (That he is forced to call his parents by their first names downplays the parent-child bond.) In fact, he purposely inflicts pain on himself as he walks to meet his mother. While reveling in the pain, he discloses that he cuts himself in addition to his attempts at suicide. At least he has enough insight to ask himself “why do I feel this way?” However, while he realizes that his parents are antithetical to his self esteem, that they “afforded him no privacy or time to himself,” he fails to see his suicide attempts as a way of escaping their abuse. (Sadly, he accepts that he is at fault for not living up to their expectations: Despite speaking four languages and achieving sundry other accomplishments, he sees himself as a “loser” by looking through their eyes. He rebels against their tyrannical rule but has internalized their view of himself!)

 

Edith is not a heart-warming figure:  She “was aloof in her manner when she spoke to him at the best of times, but there was not a shred of warmth in her right now. Just disappointment. She didn't get out of her chair to greet him. She stayed right where we was; arms folded, legs crossed.” Her “honeyed” words are stated with “acidity.” Her view of reality is skewed 180 degrees from Tyson’s: “He hadn't been happy in so long. He was lonely and sad and completely burned out. Edith didn't agree. She thought he was lazy.” What’s more, her view is self-centered: “She was still angry with him for embarrassing her in this way. Making her look like a bad parent.” She is completely dismissive of his making a friend. While Vlady makes Tyson happy, his mother unleashes his temper and makes him lose control.

 

Of course, the biggest difference in their world view (at least at this time) is how they perceive people with mental illness:  For Edith, the mentally ill are damaged goods--a liability. However, when Tyson looks at Vladimir, he sees "Vlady"--an “awesome" boy who makes him happy.

 

No doubt, Vlady and Tyson are good for each other, providing each other some normalcy/validation. (When Vlady says, “thanks for not being scared of me,” I couldn’t help but cry.) As Tyson says, “It doesn't matter to me that he hears things. He's my friend. He makes me happier!”  

 

And isn’t that what counts.

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On 10/2/2018 at 12:10 PM, travlbug said:

This chapter could be entitled “The World According to the Belmont-Lovetts,

Lmao this bit had me totally stumped until I remembered that was Tyson's surname!! I was staring like "I don't get it" hahaha

 

On 10/2/2018 at 12:10 PM, travlbug said:

Poor Petra: She is Pavlov’s bell

At least he's not salivating on her! ;)

 

On 10/2/2018 at 12:10 PM, travlbug said:

However, while he realizes that his parents are antithetical to his self esteem, that they “afforded him no privacy or time to himself,” he fails to see his suicide attempts as a way of escaping their abuse. (Sadly, he accepts that he is at fault for not living up to their expectations: Despite speaking four languages and achieving sundry other accomplishments, he sees himself as a “loser” by looking through their eyes. He rebels against their tyrannical rule but has internalized their view of himself!)

He's pretty lost. :( Much of the cause behind his emotional outbursts have to do with being unsure of how else to express what's going on inside and how to appropriately handle the unusual situation he's in - largely because of the ignorance of his family. It doesn't help that Edith thinks she can book him in to the repair shop and have him back good as new in a few days like he's a car with a broken engine. 

 

On 10/2/2018 at 12:10 PM, travlbug said:

He's my friend. He makes me happier!”  

 

And isn’t that what counts.

Yes! ^_^

 

Thank you very much for the comments! You know they make my day! 

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One of the first things Tyson needs is a new family -- my God, the kid is a genius... four languages! Hell, I have trouble with one! it is obvious that his mother does not recognize she is one of the problems in his life. It is good that he has found a friend, perhaps they can help one another.

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On 5/17/2019 at 1:53 AM, Yeoldebard said:

Aw, Vlady is so adorable!

He certainly is! ^_^ Thank you for the comment!

14 hours ago, Will Hawkins said:

One of the first things Tyson needs is a new family -- my God, the kid is a genius... four languages! Hell, I have trouble with one! it is obvious that his mother does not recognize she is one of the problems in his life. It is good that he has found a friend, perhaps they can help one another.

Heh he's incredibly clever - but his home life is painfully unbalanced. A friend is just what he needs! Thanks for the comment! 

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