A Tormented Past
During the ride to the hospital, Carmen was crying. She kept praying in Spanish that Mehmet would be ok. I didn’t know a whole lot, but I managed to understand from what Mehmet taught me back in England.
We finally arrived, and thankfully managed to find a parking quickly. We all stepped out, and immediately Louis stood by Carmen. Ok, he was being a little too friendly with her, and that was making me think that maybe he did have a thing for her.
Entering the hospital, Carmen ran up to the receptionist’s desk. She frantically asked where Mehmet was at, while we all tried our best to remain calm for her. Me and the rest of my mates, including Louis, were all worried. Louis was surprising me at the moment, because he was showing great worry for Mehmet, and he didn’t even like him. Either he was genuinely worried about the boy, or he was somehow trying to impress Carmen for some odd reason. I had no idea if that was in fact the case, and I didn’t have time to dwell on what was or what wasn’t.
The receptionist finally told us where Mehmet was at, and the three of us headed to the elevator to the third floor.
We found Mehmet’s room and walked in. Mehmet was unconscious. A nurse was with him drawing blood. He was also hooked to an IV, and I also noticed Mehmet’s nose stained with blood.
Something felt wrong. Mehmet wasn’t one who easily bled out of his nose. He never even so much as had a bleeding problem. Now I was really worried. Actually, scared was more like it.
“What happened doctor?” I asked.
The doctor looked at me like he recognized me. Maybe he did.
“Your son had a severe panic attack and passed out” said the doctor. My mates all looked at me and the doctor. Liam sat next to Mehmet, as did Niall.
“But why is his nose bleeding?” Carmen asked.
The doctor sighed and put his notepad down. “In most cases of anxiety, sometimes the anxiety can be so severe that it can cause such things as nosebleeds and in most cases, some can even sweat blood.”
Carmen started crying, but she held it together. “What caused him to have such an attack?”
“We can ask him when he wakes up, but I’m compelled to ask, how long has your son been suffering from anxiety? Does he have a history of depression?”
“He started having panic attacks when he was thirteen years old, but he was dealing with it and he did see a counselor, but it’s only gotten worse in the last year.”
“What happened if I can ask?” the doc asked.
Carmen went on and explained about his girlfriend and Eduardo. The entire time as she explained everything Mehmet has gone through in the past year, including the bullying he’s received at school, she managed to maintain her composure. Sure enough she was worried and scared because this was her son, but she was doing a pretty good job at masking her emotions and not letting herself be ruled by them.
“I can see those things being a cause for anxiety” said the doctor. “But there’s something else I am a little worried about.”
“What is it?!” Carmen for even more worried.
“Does he have an eating disorder or anything of that nature?”
Carmen shook her head in surprise. “No, why would you ask that?”
“Because the blood tests we’ve already ran, show a severe lack of nutrients and vitamins that are not present in his system. And usually that’s an indication of an eating disorder.”
“Well thinking about it now, he has been eating less and less, but I think it’s got more to do with his depression and anxiety.”
“That can definitely be a cause. Usually people who suffer from depression and anxiety either have a bigger appetite, while others don’t.”
“Will he be ok doctor?” she asked frantically.
“He’s actually in good health Mrs. Narvaéz. But there’s also something more that is of worry” said the doctor. He walked over to Mehmet and grabbed his wrist. There I saw the cutting marks that I noticed, and that Mehmet intentionally hid from me. “Did you know your son was self-injuring?”
Tears welled in Carmen’s eyes. She had no idea Mehmet was under this much pain that he resorted to cutting himself in order to relieve the pain he was feeling inside. I started to realize that I really did screw up with him in the past. If I’d only given him the benefit of the doubt, and would have been there for him, then maybe these things would not have happened. I should have protected him more. I should have been there to help him. But I wasn’t.
“I had no idea he was self-injuring himself” she cried. “I didn’t!”
“Generally, teens hide things like these pretty well from their parents, and a lot of it has to do with feelings of shame because of the pain they might be feeling inside” said the doctor. “I would recommend that he see a psychiatrist, and that he gets counseling. I can recommend a couple places.”
“Sure doctor” said Carmen. “I will definitely consider it.”
“Well as soon as he wakes up, you can take him home, and if you can come with me to my office, I will give you the information on facilities that help at risk teens.”
Without hesitation, I followed Carmen to the doctor’s office. Entering, she sat down, and the doctor pulled out a few pamphlets that he had stashed in his drawer. He handed them to Carmen.
“How long has your son been going through this?” asked the doctor.
Carmen sighed. “For almost five years now.”
“And you never noticed he was cutting himself on purpose?” he asked, looking at her as if she was perhaps the worst mom in the world for not noticing early, that her son was self-injuring.
“No” she said, looking like she was once again on the verge of tears. “I never noticed any cuts or unusual marks on him.”
“And he never said anything that could have indicated he was doing so?” the doctor pressed.
“No, my son hides his emotions a lot. He doesn’t talk at all about what he feels, much less the things that cause him pain.”
“But you’re his mother!” the doctor pressed harder. “How could you have not noticed this self-destructive behavior?!”
Ok, this doctor was pushing on her more than he really had to. In fact, he had no right to do so.
“What are you trying to imply here?!” I demanded.
“I’m just wondering how a mother like her…” he glared. “…how it could have somehow escape her that her son was injuring himself. That’s what I’m wondering here!”
I laughed under my breath. “Just a question, do you by any chance have kids?!”
“NO!” he snapped.
“Well then I guess you don’t understand fully what it’s like to be a parent!” I threw back.
“Oh and you know what that is like?!”
“No, but I’m not the one judging here!” I said firmly.
The doctor didn’t say anything.
“Look” began Carmen, her tone gentle but firm. “I know I didn’t notice these signs in my son, and I feel bad as it is, but that doesn’t mean I’m a bad mother. In fact I have taken notice of his pain and the things he has been going through. And I’ve tried countless amounts of times to get him to see a counselor. I just didn’t think that his situation was this bad. And now I’m going to try and do all I can in my power to get him some help.”
“Well you better get him help Mrs. Narvaéz. Because I just can’t seem to understand how a parent can be this blind!” the doctor threw at her once more.
“Ok that’s it!” I got up. “First of all, drop the righteous attitude because if you don’t know what it’s like to be a parent, and clearly you don’t because you’re not even a father…”
“Why don’t you listen little kid!” he patronized, “I know you’re a big time celebrity and I’m sure that you have a lot of women around you, and who knows how many breakups you’ve probably gone through, that you have this diluted idea you know what parenting is like…”
“Why don’t you bugger off doc!” I snapped. “You don’t know a damn thing about my life or her life for that matter, and yeah I know I’m not a parent yet, but I do know a thing or two about being judged unjustly. And I can see why you’re not a parent, or married!”
“Oh so you think I’m not married?!” he challenged.
I knew for a fact he wasn’t. One, he didn’t even have a ring, and two, doctors with offices like these usually had photos of their families. This bloke had no photos of anyone. So that was an indicator he wasn’t even married. Or maybe he was at one point, but ended up in a divorce.
Not surprising if that was the case.
“How about the lack of family photos!” I snapped. “Or the fact you don’t even have a ring!”
He looked at his ring finger, and then looked at us. He didn’t so much as try to defend himself.
“Come on Carmen!” I said. “We have no need to be listening these unwarranted judgments!”
The both of us left.
“Zayn” Carmen spoke up. I turned my attention to her. “Thank for you for defending me in there.”
“Anytime. He was being judgmental for nothing.”
“Yeah, but what if he was right?”
I frowned. “About?”
“What if I’m not a good mom?”
“Carmen, you are a good mum, and even back then I noticed it from how you were always attentive to Mehmet. Don’t ever sell yourself short.”
“But I didn’t notice my son was cutting himself. How can a mother miss something like that?”
I didn’t know how to answer that. “Carmen” I sighed. “The fact you didn’t notice he was cutting himself, hardly means that you’re a bad mum.”
“But what if I didn’t pay attention to him the way I should have? What if…”
“No, don’t think like that please” I begged. “Right now Mehmet needs you more than ever.”
Carmen took a deep breath. “You’re right. I can’t drown in my own problems. My son needs me now.”
“And I’ll be there to help him. We’ll all be there for him” I smiled.
“I can’t begin to thank you for being here” she smiled. “How can I make it up to you, all of you?”
“You don’t need to make it up to us Carmen, we’ll help him get through this.”
“Thank you again. If you would have not walked in with me in that doctor’s office, I have no idea how I would have responded.”
“Just forget about what that doctor said. He’s knob!”
“A what?” she laughed.
I laughed along. “A knob, it’s almost like saying stupid.”
“I’m gonna have to learn your British slang so I can understand what you boys are saying.”
“Let’s hope so.”
The two of us walked into Mehmet’s room. He was still asleep soundly, and the nurse came in with the final results of his blood test from earlier. Thankfully, she said that he was ok, but that he was slightly anemic, and that it was a matter of him getting the nutrition and vitamins he needed.
A few minutes later the doctor who’d scolded Carmen, came in and handed her the prescription sheet for some iron tablets. He stepped out and didn’t utter one more word. I was relieved because I really wasn’t in the mood to bad mouth anyone for being stupid.
“Hey, we’re gonna get some coffee mate, want anything?” asked Liam.
“Sure” I said. “Black coffee.”
“And for you?” Louis asked Carmen.
“I’m ok” she yawned.
“Come on” Louis insisted. “I’m sure you’re at least hungry. It’s on me” he smiled.
Carmen smiled. “I guess I’ll take a bagel with cream cheese.”
“Safe” he smiled.
Harry, Niall, and Liam looked at each other, and at me. Louis was acting really attentive with Carmen, and no doubt they were thinking the same thing I was; that he fancied her. Louis kept his eyes glued on Carmen for a long time, unbeknownst to him that Liam, Harry, and Niall were staring at him with surprise for how he was acting with Carmen. Sure it was a kind gesture that he was being attentive to her, but this was Mehmet’s mom, and he was nice to his mom to where we all thought he fancied her, and yet he was the complete opposite with Mehmet? Yeah that was kind of weird when you thought about it.
Finally they left, and it was just me and Carmen. She looked at Mehmet longingly for a long time. She leaned over and tenderly kissed him on the forehead.
“I don’t want him to suffer anymore” she took a deep breath and looked at the lines of cuts on his wrist. “I never knew he was cutting himself. I knew he was affected by what happened to his brother, Dasia, and his son, but I never knew he was in this much pain.”
“Carmen, it’s not your fault. You can’t blame yourself for him suffering.”
“I know but at the same time, I feel like I should have done more to protect him” she cried.
“He and Eduardo were really close, weren’t they?”
She nodded, and wiped away more tears. “They were inseparable. Eduardo always looked out for him, and as kids he always protected him, played soccer with him, and even taught him to skateboard after he attempted to ride his board, and failed by falling and scraping his knee badly.”
“Mehmet tried to ride Eduardo’s skateboard?” I asked.
“Yes. He was maybe seven years old and Eduardo was eleven.”
“I remember when I first met Eduardo, I could see how close they were.”
“They were so attached to each other. I literally had to pry them off each other at times” she laughed.
“I’m not surprised” I smiled and looked at Mehmet, then turned and looked at Carmen. “I will be there for your son. I won’t abandon him like…” I trailed off for a moment. “Not like before.”
“I don’t think you really abandoned him. I think there was a big misunderstanding.”
I shook my head lightly. “I did. And seeing everything he has gone through, I’m not surprised he is how he is with me now.”
“But what happened?” she asked. “He never really told me what happened between the both of you. Then again, he never really talked to me. He only talked with his brother.”
I frowned. “So he never actually told you what happened?”
“Well he said Louis accused him of stealing some money, and that that had been the reason why he’d been arrested by the police. But he never said anything else.”
I sighed. I decided to just tell her everything. I could not hold this in any longer. “Louis claimed that the money that we’d all been saving to buy more instruments with, had been stolen so he called the police because we thought that maybe someone might have broken into the house because no one else would have taken it. And I remember the money had been hidden in a well hidden spot. In fact I remember that I had helped Louis hide it there in case of anything.”
“And what happened?”
I hesitated for a moment, but I could not hold back now. “I knew the money had been hidden there and no one else had gone up there. And then we all left to get lunch” I took a deep breath. “I remember that we returned and Mehmet was asleep on the couch, with his course work lying all over the coffee table, and when he woke up, he said Louis’s girlfriend Lulú had let him into the house” I said, remembering how odd it was that Lulú had been there when Louis wasn’t.
“So Lulú let him in?” she asked.
“Yes” I said with certainty now. “I remember at the time I thought it was odd she had let him in, because it begged the question on why it was that she was there when Louis wasn’t there to begin with.”
“And did she have keys to the house?”
“No” I said now. “In fact Louis never gave her any keys at all. Because while she was his girlfriend and we didn’t mind when she came over, we all made a rule that unless we all agreed to it, we would never give anyone any keys to the house.”
“And I’m guessing Lulú was not on the list?” she looked like she was suspecting something.
“No, and it was mostly due to how I never trusted her” I remembered her face, her bright green eyes, her long red hair, and the malevolent look she had.
“Why didn’t you ever trust her?”
I thought about it for a moment. “There was always something about her that seemed a little off.”
“Like crazy off?” she looked pensive.
“More like she wasn’t the harmless or sweet girl she claimed to be. I mean…” I kept thinking about her. “She always had a particular evilness that I could sense. It’s hard to explain to be honest. But my gut told me that something was off with her. However, there’s something else that’s also odd” I kept thinking.
“I gave Mehmet keys to the house, which again everyone had agreed to” I left out the fact that Louis was opposed to the idea, because we all didn’t agree to give any to Lulú.
“But yet Lulú let him in, and was there when Mehmet arrived?”
“Yes, and Mehmet had said he’d lost the keys.”
Could Lulú have set Mehmet up? Could she have really been the evil girl I always suspected her to be? Was she truly capable of stealing Mehmet’s keys, and perhaps put the money in his backpack?