We walked back to Sam’s house in a thick silence. It wasn’t the silence I was used to at Gerard’s; warm and comforting, wrapping me up whole like a blanket. Rather, it was an awkward silence, one that I had to jam my fists into my pockets in some hope of keeping warm from the chill in the air, cast by Sam and Travis’ glares. When they did break the ice they had created by opening their mouths, it was small indignant comments about school or their parents. And they only seemed to be talking to each other. Sam was on the outside of the wall we were creating as we walked next to each other, but as he glanced over, Travis’ tall stature seemed to block me off from them and the rest of the world, as far as I was concerned. I knew I needed to get out of my house, Gerard’s home, and just be with my friends for a while. Gerard had been trying so hard, but his lessons still weren’t working and he was letting me down. I had hope in the back of my mind that maybe I could learn something with Sam and Travis, but as all their conversations ran around in circles, I highly doubted that. Besides, how could I learn if my supposed teachers weren’t even looking at me?
Sam was not my teacher, nor had he ever been. He was of a sounding board of information, dictating what to do in certain situations or being an example to follow. Never once in my life, I began to realize as I walked with them, had I ever led anyone anywhere. Even with Gerard, when he forced me to break out of my shell, I had been following what he told me to do. He wanted me to paint; I painted. He wanted me to bring in my guitar; I brought it. Even though I had started to play the instrument when I was younger, I was still being led by my father, then gave up after a short time. It seemed giving up was the only thing I was good at leading. And even then, no one would follow me. I had even tried to give up my friends, and here I was again, walking right next to them, a pleased smile on Sam’s face.
Sam possessed arrogance, much like Gerard had, but it came off in a much harsher manner. He was smug, snide, and bitter about everything. He wanted to be the best, and in his head, he was the best. He was a sadistic narcissist and he sought refuge in the pessimistic masochist. We, essentially, were the perfect match, at least for a psychologist. Despite his aura of vanity, Sam got possessive, angry, and furious even when his high status in his mind was questioned. He’d lash out, proving himself through his fists and versatile screaming voice. Sam was right; there was no other option. Only his option, and that was to follow him wherever he went. I was good at following.
With Gerard’s arrogance, there was a softer edge to it. He was merely confident, full of himself, and proud. But, he wanted you to be the same way. He’d encourage you to be different, and proudly use himself as an example, but not the example to follow. With Sam, it was him and only him. He had to be put on a pedestal. Gerard could be put on that pedestal, but he didn’t mind if you were right next to him. And though, most of the time he didn’t want to admit it, the people he cared about the most he wanted to be placed even higher than himself. He had told me, very early on in our relationship, that he had never drawn himself because he didn’t know how other people saw him, but more importantly, he didn’t want to know how to see himself. Looking back just then, as my thoughts wandered while my feet were forced to stay in a straight line, I wondered just why Gerard thought that.
He seemed so sure of himself, but yet he could not muster up the courage to put it down on paper. I began to think of all the times he broke in front of me – just a little – unraveling his entanglement of confidence fibers bit by bit. He wasn’t as arrogant as he played himself off to be. He just came off that way, because he had to. He had been rejected, made fun of, and given up so many things in his life, his aura of pride was the only thing he could hold onto. And the only thing he could control. He needed this to latch himself onto, so people would be drawn to him and maybe identify with him. It was hard to identify, however, I began to realize with some sadness, when the person wasn’t even sure who they were. I sighed and kicked a pebble as I drew the final conclusion in my mind.
Gerard was just as scared as I was, and though it made me feel a little better that I was just as good as the man I admired, it made me weak inside. How the fuck was he supposed to help me now?
But as I looked over at Sam as we turned the corner, heading up his driveway, I saw the exact same thing in his off center countenance. He was using his arrogance as a ploy to cover up just how scared he was. He was a small boy; not much taller than me and certainly skinnier. He was ugly, in a way, though I found nothing ugly at that point; just feelings. His nose seemed to be pressed into his face, as if he had broken it a few too many times and it had refused to heal properly. His cheekbones were the same way; soft and pudgy, with no definition. His dark brown hair was long and thick, clumping together when he didn’t take care of it properly. His voice was strange; reaching high octaves at a moment’s notice before deducing itself lower. Sam was fucking weird looking, and yet he had this confidence about him. He needed this confidence to shrug people away who thought he was ugly. He needed this narcissistic edge to himself, so he could ignore the ugly comments without crumbling to pieces. He beat people up to challenge his notion, because deep down inside, he knew they were right. He was ugly, weird, and a freak.
I kept staring at Sam, watching his every move; his awkward steps, his fumbling hands as he opened the door to his house, and I was utterly amazed. I had managed to compare Sam and Gerard in the same light, exposing both of their weaknesses. And they had come out being the same thing, and using their confidence as a ploy. Maybe that was why Gerard seemed to challenge the young teen so much, and why Sam got so mad in the first place. They were so similar – too similar to ever get along. And perhaps it was why I found myself being directed by either one or the other. I suddenly didn’t feel so bad for being led, because now they to had a flaw they were hiding. I smiled as I watched Sam open the door, then cast an ugly disheartened gaze upon me.
“What are you looking at, fag?” he shot at me.
My smile fell immediately, along with my gut to the floor. Sam and Gerard may have had flaws, but they still both controlled me. And they knew my biggest weakness.
I was a fag. I had to get used to hiding that fact.
Sam immediately saw my face fall and rolled his eyes, stepping into his darkened house. “Jesus Christ, Frank,” he bellowed, walking right in, not even bothering to hold the metal door open as Travis and I stepped inside. “I was only kidding.”
I nodded, not even bothering to kick off my shoes in the main hallway, but I knew that Sam was still very serious. Gay by association was still a very high threat. They still had to get me decontaminated from the fag I was and the first step in that was name-calling. I swallowed down my foolish pride at my orientation, knowing that I just had to get used to it. It was part of the real world. I had to learn; this was my first lesson on the outside, no matter how harsh.
Swallow all feelings, all reminders of the person you used to be. And then, get over it.
I wasn’t doing too bad so far. It was only the first day in my new environment, and I had already found my first lesson. Now, I just had to heed to it.
Travis was more comfortable in Sam’s house and walked right inside while I sort of hovered in the hallway, glancing up at the smoke stained walls that were synonymous with living where we lived. Sam’s house, like many on the block (including mine), was the pure epitome of Jersey. There were fake flowers, still somehow wilted, in the corner of each room, resting on dark wood end tables, stained with water rings from late night drinking on hot summer days. There were velvety Jesus paintings or old family photos lining the wall and describing a fake history of events, that Jesus plus family equaled smiling couple. There was an old wedding picture to start the chain of events off, Sam’s mother dressed in an old fashioned long sleeved lace gown, the slight ridge of a bump showing beneath her dress. Sam was born a mere three months after the photo was taken, and his baby picture adorned the wall right next to the wedding he was already present at.
Looking at Sam’s picture as Travis and I made our way inside the house, I couldn’t believe that the Sam I saw just then, yelling up the stairs to his mother about some infernal business was the same kid in the picture. His face was still screwed up and mushy, but he was a baby; weren’t they all supposed to look like wrinkled old men? Sam just hadn’t grown out of it yet, and I didn’t think he ever would.
One other thing about the house was that despite the light from the sun outside, and the lights that were on, the house still seemed to possess this dark aura. Perhaps it was due from years of smoking, and the gray smoke clouds just always hung in the furnishings and on the walls, or perhaps it was the bleak atmosphere of the house that gave it its shading. Sam’s parents were not in a happy marriage, to say the least. When you’re forced to wed for a child, especially one like Sam, it can never be a happy union. Sam’s parents had a few siblings after their first son, but despite the amount of supposed love they showered on their children, none of it went to the other spouse. The two never divorced and never would, saying it was for the children. That way, the parents didn’t have to fight over who had to have them, and the kids got off without having their feelings shot. The divorce never really got off the ground, because some people like to live in their own self-induced misery, just to have something to complain about.
The dark aura of the room not only affected my sight by, but my hearing as well, because the next thing I knew, we were outside again, my lungs breathing in clean air and Sam pushing in into the front of his mother’s car.
“Get in!” he enunciated, urgency present in his voice.
Travis was already perked up in the backseat, seatbelt off and hands poised on the two heads of the seats by the time I got into the vehicle. I was surprised I held the coveted position of shotgun, but I realized that with Sam, he kept his friends close and his enemies even closer. I knew that I frightened him with my encounter with the fag artist and the fact that I could easily find someone new after leaving them, and he wanted to keep me close, instead of shoving me away. He wanted to break me down all over again, building me back up to act the way he wanted me to. He had already put his plan into action only moments earlier by getting me to agree to come to this get together.
I had never been to a get together without Sam, Travis and I as the main characters, so I knew this was going to be interesting. I just didn’t know what kind of interesting it would be. And though Sam was afraid of me, he still yelled just as much, willing that fear away, but only succeeding in instilling the same fear he had in me.
“What’s your rush?” I asked, doing up my seatbelt tightly as Sam jammed the keys in the ignition. I knew from experience, that you definitely wanted to be safe when Sam was driving, so seatbelts were key. He had gotten his license as early as he could, and I swear his instructor must have been blind. He was an awful driver. He knew how to work the car well, but he would cut people off, run red lights, and randomly speed up. Surprisingly though, he had only been in one accident and it was merely a fender bender that was someone else’s fault.
Music blasted into our ears as soon as power was given to the car, causing me not to hear Sam mumble his answer, which was something about his mother. I put two and two together, figuring that he had stolen the car briefly, just for a night. He was one of those kids who asked for something, but essentially, regardless of the answer, took it anyway. I shook my head, smiling a little, managing to find some humor in the situation. Though I had changed tons, unraveling and re-rolling layers on top of layers, Sam had not changed one bit. I began to find it comforting and I didn’t miss being around Gerard as much. I hoped that he would miss me that night, as horrible as that sounded, but I really did. It seemed that all the time, it was me coming to him, me doing things for him, and always me who was completely and utterly enthused. He expressed himself sometimes, but he managed to turn everything into a lesson, somehow desensitizing it. With me, when I could manage it, I bared my soul down on the table for him, spilling it out bit by bit. Gerard could miss me doing that for one night, and maybe, by the next time I saw him, he could do the same for me.
Besides, it was spring break now; I had a whole fucking week to myself. I could go to see him in the early tomorrow morning if I really wanted to. Maybe this time apart would be good for us, I told myself, my eyes focusing on Sam as he drove the car and banged his head along to his music. If you loved something, or someone, weren’t you supposed to let it go? And if it was meant to be, it would come back to you? That was probably what I was doing then, I thought to myself, convincing my psyche that everything would work out and be okay. I could get through one measly social gathering. It would be one night, I would enjoy myself, and then see him in the morning. It seemed like a fool-proof plan. Even if I was still slightly mad at him, I couldn’t help but be accustomed to him by now. I had seen him every damn day for weeks, even months now. Gerard was a hard habit to break.
I shook my head subconsciously, trying to redirect my thoughts. I was with my friends now. It was a normal and healthy thing to do – if I could get into it. I began to watch Sam drive, the music still too loud for any kind of other potential conversation. Defeating my purpose, I remembered only the day before when Gerard had started to teach me to drive and how elegant his movements were as he checked the mirror and switched gears. Sam didn’t even check the mirror, let alone look graceful. He was too short at some points, having to reach his head around and steer, but not really giving a fuck as his gangly limbs moved over everything awkwardly.
“I’m learning how to drive,” I mentioned easily, the words rolling off my tongue without much thought. A slower song had come on the radio, making it easier for my statement to be heard. My confidence in the act I was learning came back to me, sure that Sam would be proud of me. He had been egging me on for ages to drive, especially since he had gotten his so early. It was usually me who beat Sam in school (though that wasn’t saying much for either of us) and it was huge to him to have something before I was even close.
In contrast to my thoughts, Sam was not proud of me. He wasn’t even happy. His body stiffened, fear coursing through his bones yet again.
“Did that fag teach ya that, too? Along with the gay? Oh, I mean guitar.”
He pushed down on the gas pedal, and turned the corner, making the car feel like it was going to tip over. Travis snickered in the background, not doing much of anything else, while I felt another piece of everything fall away. I just sat there, not knowing what else to do. I had forgotten that, yet again, my friends didn’t care about my accomplishments.
Along with seeing Gerard every day, another thing I had grown accustomed to was speaking my mind. If I saw something that sparked conversation, I said it. It didn’t have to have a point, and Gerard didn’t even have to respond. He sometimes didn’t say anything back to me, just to see what I would do. Most of the time, my frivolous mentions were of bands that he had never heard of, and he would nod his head and smile, either leaving us in silence, or something I said reminding him of something completely different to talk about. No matter what he did, redirect or ignore my statement, he had never, ever insulted me.
Conversations with Travis and Sam were different. They had to have a purpose in mind; Sam’s purpose. He didn’t care about me driving. He didn’t care about anything other than breaking me down. I didn’t even know what he was breaking down; if there really was anything wholesome left inside of me. There was no real me. It was either Gerard or Sam’s ideal of me; never my actual self. If there had been, I may have been able to say something back instead of sitting there like an idiot, playing with my hands and tightening my seatbelt more.
A few moments later, I hadn’t moved as Sam leaned forward to turn down the music. He didn’t say anything, but it worked just as well to snap me out of my thoughts. I glanced out of the window, realizing that we had been driving for quite some time, and that I didn’t even know where the fuck we were going. As I took in a sight of the highway, lanes of traffic stretched out among us like pinstripes on Gerard’s jacket, I knew and could feel the dread deep down inside of me. We weren’t just going to a friend’s house.
I glanced over at Sam, who had begun to laugh as he drove. I had been sitting up straight from my hunched stature, pawing my way at the window and craning my neck to see where we were. Now, I just shot him a glance, my eyes full and questioning what my body was expressing.
“Don’t worry, Frank,” Sam chided, shaking his head and his clumpy hair falling into his face. He laughed again, sending ripples of it through my skin and shaking the bone as he repeated his lie. “We’re just going to a friend’s house.”
“A cabin up North,” Travis answered, his solid voice startling me. I had forgotten he was in the back seat.
“What?” I scanned the two boys between blinks. “How long?”
“Few days, maybe,” Sam answered, waving his hand nonchalantly as he drove. He shot me a side smirk all of a sudden, increasing the speed of the car once more. “Won’t it be fun?”
How could they have not told me about this? I only thought we were going to hang out. If I had known more, I would have… I trailed off inside my head, my frantic thoughts ceasing to make sense. I looked down at my feet, taking in my backpack and thought of all the things I still had to do. I had to tell my parents where I was going, I had to get proper clothing – I only had what I was wearing. But most of all, I still had to see Gerard.
“I’m not ready yet,” I begged them, listing off the things that had come to my head, omitting Gerard for obvious reasons. I turned to Sam, watching the amused smile grow on his face as he saw me squirm in the passenger seat. I could hear Travis giggling in the background, but I didn’t care. I needed to get Sam to stop, go back, something - anything - so I could get out of this. None of my pleas seemed to be working, until in one desperate act, I leaned forward and grabbed the sleeve of his plaid shirt.
“Fuck off,” he shouted at me right away, swerving the car and almost hitting someone as he did. I backed away like a kicked puppy, hunched into my seat again. Though I kept my head down, I could see his twisted snarl, followed by another eye roll and remorseful annoyed sigh. “Just fucking deal with it, Frank. You’re going. Grow up.”
I swallowed hard, nodding my head as his words stung me over and over again. He was right; I did need to grow up. I needed to stop being a fucking baby, mourning the temporary loss of Gerard in my mind and go out with my friends. I needed to stop over analyzing situations, perking up with random comments, and being a nuisance. I didn’t need to comply to Sam or Gerard’s images of who I should be. I just needed to fucking grow up. It had been something I had been trying to do for so long by that point, I had forgotten the goal I was going for. I had been failing all this time, instead of growing, and now, I was sick of it.
As the car drove at a steady pace, past the open fields and towns dotted with houses and department stores, Sam blared his music. He only interrupted the steady beats to mention the names of the people we were going to be chilling with for the next few days and just how sweet the cottage would be to smoke up in. And I did what I had to do, nodding at the appropriate times and coming in with appropriate comments. I was growing, but it only felt like I was heading down.
The rest of the car ride was awkward at best, but it was all on my part. Sam and Travis were having an okay time, casually leaning back in their seats, Travis’s foot kicked up on the emergency break in the center of Sam and I, as he tapped along to the beat of the songs on the radio. The two exchanged casual conversation nonchalantly, ignoring my presence or occasionally directing a comment my way. They never asked me questions, perhaps because there was nothing to ask, and because I could barely think of something intelligent to say to their wonderings. I was used to not understand what someone said – but that had been with Gerard’s constantly theories on art. Travis and Sam weren’t speaking of philosophical viewpoints. They were carrying on normal teenager conversation and I had not been exposed to that in such a long time. It was like another fucking language. I couldn’t think of anything to say; I couldn’t think of anything to do for that matter. I just sat in the car, my hands on my knees, grasping the fabric hard as I felt my blood pump in my heart.
As I stewed in my own misery, a random childhood memory popped into my mind. I could remember way back in grade four, when we were given the lecture on how to use dictionaries. We were supposed to use them if we couldn’t spell a word, and in all honesty, I could never see the point in that, because if we didn’t know how to spell the thing, do you think we would be able to find it in a huge book that weighed more than some kids’ brains? I didn’t think so, but the teachers never considered that aspect. Perhaps the dictionary weighted more than their brains, too. We were also supposed to use this giant book to look up the meaning to words they gave us in our first novel study. During the first lesson, when I was still keen on the idea of reading, I had flipped through the M section, looking for marigold, or something equally stupid. But what I could remember finding was the word maladroit instead. And for some reason, that word had always stuck with me. I liked the way it rolled off my tongue, even if I was pretty sure I was saying it wrong. And though I read the definition beside it, and even wrote it down in my notebook, I didn’t understand its meaning until years later. That moment, in the car with Sam to my left and Travis constantly kicking my seat as he bobbed to the music, I found its real true meaning.
By technical terms, maladroit meant to be clumsy or awkward in speech or behavior. I repeated the definition over and over again in my mind, along with the rhythm of Travis’s feet on my back. Fuck, it fit so well. This whole situation was the epitome of awkward. I kept probing and applying, and it ended up being more than that. I was the epitome of awkward. I had forgotten to be a teenager. I had forgotten how to talk to my friends. The only people I had interacted with significantly over the past month or so had been adults; Gerard and Vivian. They talked in more diverse terms about more diverse subjects. They didn’t worry themselves with drugs or alcohol or teachers at a school they were graduating from and would never see again. They talked with you, having an actual conversation, whereas Sam and Travis talked at me, merely talking to themselves, but forgetting the whole reciprocal listening aspect to conversation.
I had forgotten everything about that lifestyle right then, and the only thing I could remember was this fucking term that described everything around me, instead of helping me with what was going on. An added bonus to the word was its French sound, and then me linking it to Gerard all over again. I heaved an aggravated sigh. It was a fucking vicious cycle and God, I wanted it to stop.
In an attempt to re-socialize myself, I began to listen in on Sam and Travis’s banter. I cast my gaze their way but Sam was too busy driving and talking, throwing in the additional swear here and there, to even notice I had changed my focus. And Travis, well, he didn’t care much. I began to gather clues about where I was going and who would be there. There would be pot there, of course; it was pretty much the sole contents of Travis’s deep pants pockets. There would be alcohol, too (another staple in gatherings like this and in being a teenager in general), but that would be brought by the other parties in exchange for the weed. I didn’t think it was that fair of a trade off, but I kept my mouth shut. I knew the other people were only using Sam and Travis for the drugs, but then again, we were using them for the alcohol and the cottage to stay in. As far as I could tell, there were three distinct groups of people going.
There was the three of us (the weed), another group of three guys – who may or may not be bringing girlfriends - (the alcohol), and then a brother and sister team who owned the cottage, and then some more stragglers of girls. The leftover girls didn’t have anything tangible to trade (unless condoms counted?), but they were probably going to be used for sex or clumsy handjobs in the backseats of cars. Neither Sam nor Travis mentioned this part of the deal in logistics terms, and probably because they would never get any, anyway.
“I’m going to get laid this week, mark my fucking words,” Sam enunciated, countering my thoughts. He took his eyes off of the road and left one hand on the wheel as he leaned back and pointed at Travis, actually marking the words. He gave him a clenched teeth smile, as he gazed back with a heavy sigh. “I’ve waited too fucking long for this.”
“I just wanna get stoned,” Travis said.
No matter how many times I reminded myself that he was behind me, and how many times I had heard his liquid voice before, it was so loud most of the time, it always managed to scare me. I jumped out of my seat a little, but shifted my weight, bypassing any embarrassment.
“I’ve been too stressed,” Travis concluded, taking his feet off the emergency break and sitting up again.
“About what?” Sam shot back at him, his voice reaching higher.
There was a pause for a moment as Travis thought, then a snigger as he answered. “About getting laid.”
Sam laughed right back there with him, passing his hand over to the back seat to slap him a high five. I smiled a little, but didn’t really find it all that funny. I was mostly smiling for the irony of the fact that I was the only one in that car that was not a virgin. I couldn’t share this fact with them without getting killed, but I took amusement in my own head.
As Sam reached his arm back to its original place, he nudged my shoulder and looked over at me wide-eyed, almost like he forgot I was in the car. “Oh,” he uttered, his face dropping then rising quick again as a thought came to his head. “You better get laid this weekend.”
I laughed again. I loved irony.
“I’m serious,” Sam interjected again, his voice resonating seriousness. I was still smiling, but trying not to show my amusement as much, just in case they asked questions.
“You better get laid,” Sam repeated, intensity rising. He looked over at me as he drove, increasing the speed. My hands began to fiddle with the seatbelt, making sure it was still on my body. I stared right back at Sam, pursing my lips together a bit.
“Why is it so important for me?” I asked. Sam had only joked around about fucking something when it was his dick he was concerned over. Now that it came time for me to be thrust into the possible fucking spotlight, my dick seemed to take precedent over his own. I couldn’t understand why at first, especially since I was not a virgin anymore. Sam didn’t know that, but he was still selfish. He came before anyone else. I would have thought this area would apply even more so, considering getting laid is the only thing most high school boys want.
“Because when you get laid, you will thank us for it and maybe come around here a little more often,” Sam concluded with a sharp and articulate tongue. “We need to get what’s left of that fag off of you. He’ll never give you what we can. Unless,” he paused for a second, a small gleam in the back of his eye, igniting and sending rivulets of fear coursing through my body.
Oh, fuck, I said in my head. Will this ever stop?
“Unless he taught you a little more than just driving.” He paused again, cocking an eyebrow. His voice started to build in stamina, build in ferocity, and he kept pounding the insults into me, the insinuations and completely berating my self-esteem and any part of the person I used to be. “What do you say, Frank? Did he teach you a little more in the backseat of his car? A private lesson for you to recall later in your wet dreams at night? Huh, Frank? What exactly happened?”
“Shut up!” I nearly yelled, my hands hitting the dashboard with a loud thwack sound. My breathing was hard and heavy, anger flushing my face. I looked over at Sam in the driver’s seat, who had stopped talking, but his face remained in that sardonic twisted sneer.
“Is that a yes or a no to the question, Frank.” Sam finished his stab at me, and the laughter began to erupt louder from both of my friends in the fast moving car.
I was really beginning to hate this, and I couldn’t fathom how his stupid jokes could manage to be funny over and over again, when they were essentially the same thing. It was beginning to grate on my nerves, making me want to tear my skin off and throw it at them. I sunk back into the passenger seat, my body rigid and still pissed.
“Fuck off,” I stated harshly, almost growling at them. When as I said my next words, I didn’t know if I was more angry at myself than them. “I’m not gay.”
“Oh? Then why are you getting so defensive?”
Fuck. It didn’t matter what I said to them, or anyone for that matter. Once you were labeled as gay, even if you weren’t, you might as well be from the way people treated you. From the way your fucking friends treated you. I was damned if I did, and damned if I didn’t. But I did do it. I was gay, and I figured I just better shut my mouth before I let all of my secrets spill forth at once and drown me.
I hadn’t felt like I was drowning in so long; not since nearly losing myself in Gerard’s eyes and figuring out what the fuck I felt for him.
“That’s what I thought,” Sam concluded, smug smile on his face as he gazed out on the road once more. He mumbled something quick to Travis about how we were almost there, then turned his attention back to me, repeating his stock phrase for the third time. “You are getting laid.”
“Fine. Whatever,” I agreed, crossing my arms over my chest and pouting slightly. Neither of them ever thought they would see the day where a teenage boy was pouting about being forced to get laid, but there was a first time for everything. Too bad I had already had my real first with Gerard…
“Is that the only reason I’m here? To get laid?” I asked after a while, a thought occurring to me.
In this group of people we were all driving to see, we weren’t really all friends. We were merely working together; working as parts of a machine, bringing each aspect that we needed to get a house party underway. Sam and Travis were the drugs, the three guys were the liquor, the brother and sister were the house, and the girls were the action. We weren’t friends, but we were dealing with each other for all of this to happen. I knew that even though I called Sam and Travis my friends, they really weren’t. Not while I was in this stuck state of awkwardness with them and they flung out insults like that, at least. I still had to deal with them, live with them for the next few days though, because I had to get used to this world and now, we were all cogs in a machine perfecting each of our jobs. But I didn’t have drugs, alcohol, a house, and I wasn’t a piece of meat. How the fuck did I fit into all of this?
Though I had voiced my question out loud, asking if I was just there to get laid and desensitized, no one seemed to hear me. Sam and Travis didn’t even flinch.
“Am I just there to get laid? Why am I even going?” I asked again, my voice louder and becoming more frantic. Again, I got no response out of anyone in that fucking car. They didn’t acknowledge me, they didn’t even look at me, probably because we all knew the answer.
I was only there out of convenience, out of pity, and probably to be made fun of. And just as we pulled up in front of the small brown cottage that I would serve my duty in, I knew there was no escaping and no looking back.