I followed Mark down the stairs, but I couldn’t follow his enthusiasm. We spotted my mom on the couch, curled up with a novel, next to the fireplace. We parked in front of her, as she eyeballed us expectantly. Mark gave me a playful shove to get me to speak.
“Oh…umm. Mom. We were wondering if you could drive us to the mall later and then if I could sleep at Mark’s house?”
She looked to the sky, as if pondering the simple request. “What about your appointment with Dr. Larson? You really shouldn’t miss that.”
I responded, maybe a little too quickly. Maybe a little too happily. “Oh right. Sorry Mark. Guess I can’t do it. I’ve got to see my doctor.”
As I turned to leave, my mom interrupted, “well, let’s see. His office is right near the mall. We could bring Mark home and after your appointment, we can go back and pick him up. It would only be about an hour. Would that work boys?”
Mark responded on our behalf with a simple “yes.”
“Ok. We’ll leave in a half hour then. You should pack some things Daniel.”
“I’ll come up and help.”
We went back upstairs, still moving with our mismatched energy. I really didn’t feel much like hanging out today. I wanted to shut myself in my room with my guitar and sketch pad. The same as I have been doing for the last two weeks. No one to entertain me but myself.
“Who is Dr. Larson?”
“He’s my psycho doctor?”
“Oh. I didn’t know you had one of those.”
“I didn’t until I acted psycho. I see him every week.”
“Is he cool?”
“He’s pretty cool, I guess. We mostly just talk. He doesn’t push me too hard or like ask a lot of questions.”
“We saw a family one before we moved back from California. It was pretty boring to me. Most of the time it was my mom and dad ripping each other.”
“We did two family ones and they want to do one every month, but my dad thinks it’s pointless. He said no more.”
“Haha. Sounds like my dad too. Daniel? Do they like have you on a bunch of drugs and stuff?”
“Not really. Only one. It’s supposed to mellow me out when the shit gets too crazy in my head. I don’t know, it just kind of makes me blah all the time. Like nothing is exciting to me.”
“That sucks. How long do you have to take it?”
“I don’t know…maybe forever? My moms been on pills most of her life.”
“Hmmm. So what are you packing?”
“I don’t know. It’s not like I’m packing to be gone a week. What do I need for one night? My mom is so weird. She’s never said pack up for an overnight before. I’ll just throw some shit in the bag and I’m done.”
That’s exactly what I did. I didn’t really pay much attention to what I packed, but I’m sure it would be enough. We went down when my mom called for us, and headed out.
My session with Dr. Larson was actually more productive than usual. I opened up to him, minus some specific details, about the events of this morning. I also told him about the breakthrough I had the day before, that lead to my mom inviting Mark over in the first place.
He put my mind at ease and put some things into perspective. He explained that my moms invitation to Mark was a good thing, as it was unlikely that he would have called on his own. He assured me that even if he wanted to, his parents probably would have persuaded him not to. Telling him that I’d come around when I was ready, or that disturbing my family at this time would be a bad thing to do. My mom reconnected me with Mark, and I should be thankful.
He was pleased with my progress from the day before and told me not to get discouraged by the occasional bump in the road. At the core, my trouble resides in problem resolution. I automatically take an ‘end of the world’ approach to dealing with problems. Dr. Larson is tasked with changing my approach and offering alternative ways of dealing with issues.
Oddly, so much of what he is trying to teach me, is the same as what my uncle has been telling me for years. There are different ways to get there, and different ways to define things, but it’s not that complicated. My uncle saw the problems in me, and tried to help me become a better person. A healthy person. I truly owe that man so much.
I left my session feeling a whole lot better than when I got there. I was excited again, to spend time with my friend, Mark.
When we arrived back at Mark’s house, I was greeted at the door by a pouting Adam.
“What’s wrong Adam?”
Before he got a chance to answer, Mark pushed his way past him, out the front door, dragging me with him, backwards down the sidewalk. “He’s mad because he wants to go with and I said no.”
“We’ll be back later, k Adam?” I said, feeling a little bit sad for him.
“You staying over?”
That seemed to make him happy, as his face lit up a bit. “K bye Danny. You suck Mark.”
“Love you too bitch” was Mark’s retort.
Brotherly love at its finest.
We got dropped at the entrance and quickly ran inside. The holidays were in full swing, and the place was overcrowded with shoppers bustling in every direction. We went to the food court at Mark’s suggestion, to get something to drink. We sat there for a while and I kept noticing Mark looking past me, over my shoulder.
“What are you looking at Mark?”
“Don’t look now. It’d be too obvious, but there are these two girls behind you at a table, that have been looking at us forever.”
“Oh yeah. It’s so obvious. They’re hot too. We should talk to them.”
“Do you know them? Do they go to our school?”
“Nope. Never seen them before. Let’s go over there.”
“I don’t know dude.”
“Come on. It could be cool and maybe…who knows…maybe they’ll hook up with us.”
“Hook up and do what?”
“You know…stuff. I’d be down with anything, from either of them. Which one you want? I don’t really care. They’re both hot.”
“Dude…I don’t know.”
“I’ll wave them over and see if they’ll come.”
“Dude! They’re coming. Cool.”
I could see the excitement on Mark’s face as the two girls started walking toward our table. I finally caught a glance of them as they headed our way. They were cute enough, in that trying to look older than you really are kind of way. Dressed to kill for a trip to the mall. On the prowl, no doubt.
They took the two open chairs at our table, giggling. It was fairly obvious they had already decided who liked who, as one chose to focus on Mark, and the other on me. It was awkward and uncomfortable for all of us at first, but Mark took control of the situation, with humor and charm, and we were all acting pretty normal within a few minutes.
Mark and his girl hit it off pretty quickly, talking privately. He had her eating out of his hand. I, on the other hand, was just trying to pretend I was ok with the whole situation. Trying to pretend that I was really interested in what this girl was talking about. Hopefully this will be over soon.
“Let’s go to a movie” Mark announced, out of the blue.
“Good idea” was the immediate response from our two lady friends.
“Oh…ok” was my contribution. I was already outnumbered, so no point in fighting it.
As we walked through the mall, one of the girls asked, “what are we gonna see?”
Mark answered “who cares” which was quickly accepted as the perfect answer. A real no brainer, I guess.
We got our tickets and made our way to the dark theater. Mark led us up the steps to the back row of the auditorium. He went near the middle and plopped himself down. His girl sat right beside him. My girl left a two seat gap, and sat herself down. I obediently sat beside her.
Mark and his new friend sat there giggling and talking, having a great time, while me and my new friend sat in silence. I really did feel bad, but my heart just wasn’t in it. After a few minutes, I asked what she would like from the concession area. I figured it would break the silence, and buy me a few minutes of freedom, so I could figure out a way to deal with this.
I excused myself and had to play the guessing game, because she said she didn’t want anything. I got us a huge tub of buttered popcorn (for all four of us), a gigantic coke with two straws, and a bag of red licorice. Walking back I decided to be nice to this girl, because she seems like a nice girl. Chances are I will never see her again, so what do I have to lose by putting in a little effort? If she had other plans, or thought I had other plans, I would need to be honest, and put a stop to it. I’ve never been in a situation like this before, but I’ve heard enough about random hook-ups and what can happen. I’m not above it, but it’s not really my style. Cute boy hook-up and we can talk! Who am I kidding. I would so chicken out in that situation.
I got back and was immediately treated like royalty. Even my date seemed to relax a bit. We started some small talk, and were getting along fine. Then the lights dimmed. I became nervous, and I could tell she did too. After the previews were done, she scooted in closer to me, and whispered “I really hate horror movies. This is not good.”
“Just remember, it’s only a movie. None of this is real.”
“Thanks. But it won’t work.”
After some inner turmoil and a quick deliberation, I presented my hand to her, and said “you can take me hand, if you think it will help.”
She snatched it up like her life depended on it. “Thanks! This will help a lot. Don’t laugh at me if I scream.”
“Only if you don’t laugh at me when I do.”
We held hands the entire time, even through the not so scary, boring parts. Somehow, I think we had an understanding, even though we didn’t have a conversation about it. It seemed like we were both there in support of our horny friends.
The few times I looked toward Mark, he was involved in a lip-locked exchange with his girlfriend for a day. It wasn’t easy to watch. I was jealous for sure. I wished so hard to be on the other end of his lustful overture. To be the object of his desire. But I just don’t think that is how he is. He’s a typical, girl crazy, horny teen boy, so far as I can tell. Even with the few mixed signals he’s given me. Was he trying to tell me something, or am I creating hope for myself, when there’s nothing there. If he was truly interested in me, wouldn’t it be him and I at this movie together? Without these random girls.
I tried my best to keep from staring over at them, making myself feel even worse. Eventually he movie did end, and they were forced to break apart. We all went into the lobby, not really sure what was coming next. Then, the girl I held hands with for two hours, got a call on her cell phone.
“My dad is in the car waiting for us. Are you coming?”
Mark was draped over his girls back, hugging her in tight. She managed a disappointed and sarcastic “yee-ahh,” before freeing herself from his clutches.
As they put numbers into each other’s phones, I was offered a warm hug and a meaningful ‘thank you.’ It was a nice ending to what I had predicted to be a disastrous night.
Mark and I made our way back into the mall, to meet up with our own ride home.
“Damn! That sucks! I’m so horned up right now, I might end up fucking you when we get home.”
I thought that sounded like a brilliant idea, but what I said was “calm down there Mark. I don’t even have big boobs.”
We talked and giggled a little bit, and he confessed his disappointment in not getting at least ‘a handy or a hummer,’ and I just rolled my eyes. He talks a big game, but I have to wonder what he’d do if the situation really came up.
We got back to his place, and lounged around his basement. Adam joined us, and they started in on each other. Insults became slaps, and eventually a full on wresting match. Somehow, I got roped into it, and it was s three way, every man for himself. At one point, I was ejected from the couch and slid along the coffee table on my ass. I crashed to the floor with a half full bottle of Mountain Dew. It soaked the bottom half of my shirt, and the crotch of my jeans.
“Shit!” I said, reacting to the sticky mess.
“Ah haha! Danny pissed himself!” screamed Adam.
That earned him an over the head body slam from me, into the couch cushions. They had their fun, picking on me, but it was pretty uncomfortable.
“Mark dude. Can I take a shower? This shit is sticky.”
“Ya dude. Go ahead.”
“Ok Adam. Time to come up for bed” Mark’s mom called from the top of the stairs.
“G’nite piss boy” he said while giving me one last shot to the arm, before bolting up the stairs.
“Tomorrow Adam. Tomorrow” I threatened, as his giggles faded away.
“Cool. Looks like you caught it all. No spill on the floor” Mark commented, while inspecting the crash site.
I grabbed my overnight bag, and headed for the bathroom. After I finished my shower, I dug through the bag to find something to change into. What I found was three shirts and a pair of socks. “Shit! Nice job packing.”
I wrapped a towel around my waist and went into Mark’s bedroom. “Dude, I didn’t pack any pants or underwear. Can I borrow something?”
“Haha. Nice going dork. I’ll get you something.”
Mark went over to his dresser and tossed a pair of tighty whiteys at me. “Here ya go.”
I caught them in disbelief and said, “you’re fuckin’ kidding, right?”
“Nah. Sorry. I really need to do laundry bad. That’s all I got left.”
“How about a pair of shorts? Or sweatpants?”
“Nope. It’s that or nothing.”
“Bullshit. You just want to see me wearing these.”
We stood there in silence for a minute. I’d look down at the tiny underwear and then back at his expressionless face. I really didn’t want to put these on, but I didn’t know if I had much choice. Finally, a smile crept across Mark’s face. “Just kidding dude. Here.”
He tossed over a pair of black boxer briefs. “I’m gonna take a quick shower. Be right back.”
After he left the room, I slipped on the boxer briefs. I’d never worn them before, but they were actually pretty comfortable. A bit tight and revealing, but they were no tighty whiteys. I walked over to his dresser and saw two stacks of regular boxers, neatly folded in there as well. Hmmm…he must not like sharing his boxers, or he wants to see what I look like in something other than the boxers I normally wear. I decided to play along, and left the boxer briefs on. I laid on top of his mattress, on my back, with my ankles crossed, and waited for him to come back from his shower.