Joe's Story

The growing pains of a teenage boy

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17. Growing up sc

Chapter 17 Growing up                        

Mum’s home after almost three weeks and there’s no baby. Rob had phoned me before she came back with the bad news, so I shouldn’t say anything as, apparently, mum had lost it. The strange thing is I’m upset. I sort of was looking forward to having a younger brother all of my own to play with. I had even been in the loft and looked for some of my old toys, the ones that Susan hadn’t got her hands on.

   The only problem was when mum woke me this morning. I reached out a hand and said “I’m so sorry and I love you, mum.”

   Her reaction wasn’t what I had expected. Instead of sitting down on my bed and letting me comfort her, she burst into tears and ran crying from the room, Susan had then dashed in and accused me of being insensitive.

   Later at breakfast, I took mum in my arms and just gave her a hug and held her there while she cried, soaking my shirt. I must admit my eyes were wet.

   After a while she stopped, dried her eyes, pulled herself together and looking at me said, “Who would have believed it? You’re really a big softy at heart. Now go change that shirt.”

 

                              ****                        

Hell, I hated hospitals, they always made me feel ill. I was there waiting with Ginger’s parents. They had told me what had happened, when they answered my call to his cell phone. Apparently, they had found him unconscious on the bathroom floor, lying half out of the shower. An ambulance had been called and although the paramedics had revived him, his blood pressure was not good. There was also some talk of a substance overdose, so they thought it best to keep him in hospital for a few days just to be on safe side.

   Ginger looked in a really bad way when I saw him I almost couldn’t look him in the eye. I knew it was all my fault. I had chosen sex over our friendship. I really felt upset now that I hadn’t been there for him

   It appears Ginger had failed to follow the safety instructions supplied with the packet of nicotine patches. He had several patches attached to his body.

   The doctor explained each patch contain several doses of a drug, it releases into the body a single dose at a time, slowly over a period of time, apparently wearing more than one patch is bad for you, as each patch releases its own single dose. In addition, wearing them in a hot shower releases all the doses at once, and that’s what happened to Ginger. He had been lucky someone had found him.

   His father arranged for him to stay in hospital, in a private room, for a few days for observation.

   It was while leaving I came face to face with Edwards, he was pushing a hospital laundry cart. I had heard, he had been given a two hundred hours of community service as punishment for trashing my house.

   “How’s Ginger?” he asked.

   “He’s doing okay.” It was the first words we had spoken to each other since forever.

   “Why did you attack me?” Edwards asked, referring to my having beating the crap out of him.

   “I don’t know I’m sorry, I over reacted.” I had lashed out and had broken his nose instead of confronting him when I had discovered him intimidating a first former. My only excuse was I was under a lot of pressure at the time.

   “Well, I won’t apologise for getting even,” Edwards stated.

   I was a Prefect now and a member of the anti-bullying squad. So far, Edwards had posed no threat to me. Maybe it was because I had helped organise the first and second formers into a defence group so they could protect themselves. They had stopped a lot of the bullying by their sheer weight of numbers.

   So when Edwards offered his hand, and said, “Quits.” I thought why not. He was past history anyway, and I had to admit I had always regretted venting my anger and my frustration out on him that day. Another thing in his favour was I had heard he was the one who had stopped the knife fight. Maybe he was growing up.

   “Okay quits.” I said shaking his hand. Funny thing, I felt better for doing so. It was like closing a chapter of my life.

 

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