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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Luke Hanson's Mind & Punishment: A Teen in Despair - 6. Chapter 6 - Being Me | A Twilight Hours Special

 

Friday 2:26am - Luke


 

Four Days Later.

 

Another bad night. Laying in bed, I don't know what to do with myself. But I know what's triggered it this time. My mind got fixated on the visit to the fair coming up in just one and a bit days now. It's been on my mind constantly, but I've had it under control.

Will I be able to go? Will I look normal in front of my friends? Will it be obvious that I am looking for him on every ride, every stall? What if I see him. Will he remember me? I don't think I want to see him because I'll be in love instantly, and then comes the conversation of how complicated I am. I'm running away too fast with the what-ifs, but that's how my mind works tonight.

That smell, that face, that smile... Jesus, and his voice. So boyish and gentle. He's a gipsy; he's supposed to be a bit rough around the edges, a bit weird, but no, not him; he's different. 

Urgh, why am I so fucked up? I feel like I'm in love with this guy, and we met for about five minutes, but I can't get him out of my head. No one has ever made me feel the way he did in those brief moments of time. Those images of that night at the fair with my Dad are scarred in my memory. 

I don't want to see him because there is a ninety-six per cent chance he's straight anyway, which will crush me. So that's why I have stayed away. Better not to know. Better not to put yourself in that situation, right?

I wish I could tell Taz or even Lee how this makes me feel. Why don't I just come out with it and say, " Look, guys, I don't want to go to the fair with you because I'm scared I'll see Wonderfuckingboy and have a meltdown!" I should tell them, they know I struggle with mental health issues. God, it's such a lonely world at times.

~

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~

I've laid here long enough; I have to get up, which I do. In nothing more than my boxers, I head downstairs, unlock the back door to the yard and walk out onto the cool lawn in my bare feet. The grass underneath tickles my toes, and I get down onto the ground and lay flat on my back as the bright security light comes on and lights up the whole garden. The air is still and the night silent.

I hear a creaking sound from up above. "Luke? Why are you laying on the grass with nothing on?" comes my Dad's voice in a loud whisper.

I sit up, rub my hairy tanned legs, and look up at the window. "Sorry, I just needed some cool air. Sorry to wake you."

"It's two a.m. are you okay? Look, never mind, I'm coming down."

"Dad, I'm fine."

~

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~

We all do it, don't we?

'How you doing?'

'Yeah, I'm good, thanks.'

No further questions, your honour.

Most of the time, we will be just that: alright; fine; okay. Good, even.

Sometimes though, we won't be. Sometimes we might feel that our whole world is falling apart. But, still, 'I'm alright.'

But sometimes, all we want is for someone to see. For someone to break through and ask, 'Are you sure?'

Why do we say we're fine, even when far from it? I think it's hard-wired in us. I speak from the perspective of being a fit and healthy young guy on the outside, that being the only perspective I have because that's what I am. At least, it was the last time I checked.

I do need to check occasionally. I try to be very open about the struggles I've had with my mental health, especially with my Dad and Taz. Lee? not so much. I don't know why; it's just how I've written it through the journey of time. I write and speak about feelings and emotions, all of those scary things that us men aren't supposed to talk about. Hell, I even write poems. So now and again, I need to check in on myself. Yep, Luke, you are okay. But am I? 

And yet, still, people will ask... 

'How you doing, Luke?'

'I'm alright.'

Even for someone so open about my previous difficulties, it's hard to open up. It's hard to admit to how I am feeling when I am struggling. Why is this?

For me, I guess I don't want people to worry. I don't want people to think I'm looking for sympathy. I don't want people to feel uncomfortable around me and not know what to say. As a guy, and guys in general, when faced with a problem, our brains head straight for, 'I must find a solution!' We don't know what to say or do if we can't. I know this first hand.

I think this is part of why people find it so difficult to speak to somebody who is struggling: they don't know how they can solve it. The truth is, they can't. But what they can do, and what can mean more to that person struggling than possibly anything else at that moment, is to show that they care. Like Taz, for instance. I'm really lucky to have someone like him who is constantly dialled into my body language and the words or comments I make. 

Battling with your mental health can feel like the most lonely, most isolating thing that you could ever experience. This is compounded when nobody else seems to 'see' your suffering. When people accept your, 'I'm fine's and go about their day, while you wonder how you will be able to face another one.

So we hide. We pretend we're okay if we can. I can't do that, for me; my low moods seem to radiate from every pore of me, so I hide myself. I hibernate, and I avoid people. I want to be on my own, and not pollute others with how I'm feeling. 

But really, I don't want to be on my own. All I want is for someone to notice. For a friend to say, 'I don't know how it feels or what you're going through, but if it helps to go out for a drink, or even to sit in silence, I'm here.' So I'm very lucky that I have those people in my life.

~

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~

So it looks totally fucking weird, but if the neighbours were up, they would see me sitting almost naked on the grass with my concerned father sitting next to me in a lit-up garden at two a.m. 

In his bathrobe!

"I think we need to get you to see a Doctor, Luke, this is getting silly. You're not getting the sleep you need."

"Dad, it's just now and again, I can catch up on sleep. And I've been to the Doctor, he just said to simplify my life which I think I have. Perhaps I should start going to the gym in the week."

"That Doctor is crap; he should have at least referred you to see a specialist."

"Dad, I'm fine, really. I'm more worried that you're not getting enough sleep. You're very old obviously and need more care to your body than I do."

Dad looked at me and grinned. "Very old? Well thanks! Perhaps I should go into an old folks home then, yeah?"

"Sorry, you know what I mean. You're old in my world anyway."

Dad rolled his eyes. "Kids!"

"Erm, I'm technically a man now. Oh by the way, rent money is in the fruit bowl."

"Oh really, finally paying your old man are you?"

I giggled. "buy yourself some slippers."

Dad looked at me serious for a moment but didn't talk straight away. It was almost like he was trying to put his following words into the correct order.

"You erm, you do know I'm here for you, don't you?"

"Of course," I replied, wondering why he said that.

"It's just, sometimes with the gay thing and the other issues you face, I dunno if I'm doing a good job. I wish your Mum were here. She would probably be better at this stuff."

I stretched my mouth and tilted my head. "The gay thing? Dad, come on!"

"You know what I mean. I suppose I'll never understand it, but I support your decision to like men. I mean, I have gay friends at work; it's cool; I think they're great."

I grinned. "My decision? Dad, I didn't choose to be gay. Jesus, you old people really need to educate yourselves."

"Sorry, I worded that wrong."

"Yeah, that hole you're digging is now near the earth's core."

"What I mean is I'm not anti you being gay, and I support your... your, well, lifestyle, I guess. I'm grateful to have a Son, and the fact he's gay, I'm fine with it."

I looked up into my Dads face and put my hand on his knee. "You've never talked like this before. You're not dying again, are you?"

Dad shook his head in disbelief. "You've been saying I'm dying for about two years now. I'm still here."

"You just talk about feelings a lot more now. Usually, men of your sort leave it until they are about to announce a terminal disease, and they need to say everything."

"No, it's nothing like that. But it would help if you stopped joking about me dying. One day I will. I'm talking to you more about this stuff because I realise without your Mum around, I have to be your Mum as well, and I know you probably feel lost without her to talk to about certain stuff."

"Meh, Taz is my Mum; you're fine, Dad.

We both laughed, trying not to wake to neighbours.

"So, what are your plans for the weekend?"

"You're asking because you want to know if the house will be free, right?"

"Am I that shallow and easy to read?" Dad asked, looking sheepish.

"You and Elaine having a night in?"

"We'd like to. But, listen, why don't you join us, give her a chance?"

"I'm actually going to the summer fair this Saturday with Taz, Lee, Leo and Lee's new girlfriend."

"Oh right, that's the fair I took you to once, yeah? The one that visits every summer on Freeman's farm fields?"

I tensed up. "Yeah, that one."

"Best you leave your phone in a bag or something," Dad sniggered, "Remember when you lost it in the ghost train, and that guy had to..."

"Yeah, Dad, I remember," I said, cutting him off.

"I wonder how many phones and personal items that guy has had to fish out."

"Can we stop talking about this, please?"

Dad looked at my tense body and glum expression and fell silent for a moment.

"Sure, erm, well, shall we go in? Friday tomorrow... or today, should I say. Last day before the weekend. Go get some sleep, or you'll be knacked at work tomorrow."

We both got up and headed back to the house. The floodlight went off, no longer able to sense anyone in the garden. I locked the back door.

~

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~

Back upstairs, I slid into bed again and pulled the sheet over my body, banging my head down on my pillow, just knowing it was going to take ages to get back to sleep after being out in the cool air and chatting to Dad. I picked up my phone and decided to watch a few Tiktoks to make me sleepy. Yeah, I know, phone screens and sleep - bad idea.

I saw messages from my stalker on the screen and decided a bit of comedy might take my mind off my rather tense mood.

[02:45] Stalker: How was the garden? Your bare chest and legs were driving me wild.
[02:47] Stalker: I saw your dick flapping about as you got up. We do need to meet so I can swallow that meat!

I got the phone right up to my face. "What the actual fuck!" I said out loud, rushing over to my window and darting my eyes about all over the lawn and fences that he could have been looking over. I felt violated, scared, and angry. 

He's been at my fucking house?!! At two a.m.?

I got back on my phone.

[03:01] Me: Look, I dunno who you think you are, but this stops now. We ain't at school anymore. We did something once. I don't know you and what you just sent me was sick and you could be locked up for this. Stay away from me.
[03:02] Stalker: Don't you like me anymore? x

The text response caused me to throw my phone across the room. Again I slammed my head down on the pillow, now a few steps away from panic overload. I didn't know if my phone was broken. I'd check in the morning. Shit, it is morning, and now I am panicking because I've got to be up in a few hours, and I'm not falling asleep fast enough.

I get up and march into my Dad's room.

"Dad, sorry, have you got a sleeping pill I coul....

Dad turns the lamp on, and I immediately eye a sleeping Elaine in my Mum's bed. 

"They're in the bathroom cabinet, Luke. Please try and settle dow..."

I walked out, bemused. We were sitting in the fucking garden talking for ages, and he omitted to mention that Elaine was even here. So is this how it's going to be now. It should be me sneaking boys in, in the evenings. But no is my fucking sixty-one-year-old father doing it.

I get to the bathroom and lock the door, sit on the toilet with the lid down and angrily wipe away a tear that has made its way to the corner of my eye.

I try not to ever cry. It reminds me of feeling self-pity, which I try hard not to fall into. But at this point, yes, I did feel sorry for myself. I'm trying to be normal and non-normal shit is happening around me. And yeah, my brain thinks it's deliberate. It's intentional to push me over the edge.

We'll see!

Copyright © 2022 James Matthews; All Rights Reserved.
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Trying a different style and a couple of new things in this book and my only benchmark on how that is going is you, my loyal readers. So I have a small favour. Please do click a like if you're enjoying the story and please do recommend the book. If you have a thought or comment I'd be made up to hear what you think. All feedback is relished and of course I do love hearing your ideas, opinions and banter. Many thanks, folks! Now, let go forth on to the next chapter :) 

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments

3 minutes ago, pvtguy said:

I agree with @drsawzall!  However, I also understand the irrational logic he is using.  Having been a counselor for 36 years, I have dealt with this behavior before.  It's hard to convince someone who follows this type of logic.  Still, he is smart enough to block a number, but that might lead the stalker to get more aggressive too.  Great writing, Mr. Matthews!

Wow, I didn't know that about you. For clarity, I have never had a stalker, i'm just not that important! :D However If I have given an accurate account of a stalker victim from your professional opinion, I am truly humbled by the compliment. :) 

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