Upon arrival at his first ever session in what he was told was called ‘Bright Side’ and when he asked why, he was hit with the response of ‘because that’s what we always have to look upon when diagnosed’ which he didn’t quite understand, several things happened.
“Hello there” a young man of around his mid-twenties with chocolate brown hair and deep sea-green eyes spoke “I’m Anthony and I run the group here, you’re new aren’t you?”
“Urm...yes” Devin confirmed, feeling timid already.
“Ahh, Devin, is it?” he said confidently, whilst consulting the clipboard that was attached to his hand.
“Take a seat Devin; you can introduce yourself in a bit!”
“Yes, sir” hurriedly, Devin meandered over to one of the chairs that sat in a circle in the middle of a room inside the town hall.
“Gather round! Gather Round!” Anthony called “take a seat” a small horde of people rushed over and collapsed on the withered looking chairs. “Okay troop, we have a newcomer today, I’ll leave him to introduce himself” he gestured to Devin and he realised that seven pairs of eyes swivelled in his direction.
“Urm...hi” the words were caught in his throat and felt trapped in there as his mouth went dry and numb “I’m Devin”
“Tell us a bit about yourself Devin” Anthony cheered in his happy-go-lucky voice. As the eyes continued to stare he suddenly had a horrible thought about whether he even knew anything about himself for certain.
“I...urm... I guess I like being outside”
“Well that’s a start, thank you Devin. Today we’re going to just have a mingling session with the other groups that go on around this time, I think one is dyslexia specific...not sure about the others...but let’s go” no one sounded too enthusiastic and pretty much everyone, excluding Devin, moaned about it in some form “come on, this is meant to be fun”
“It’s alright when we aren’t mixed with the downers, my left ass cheek has a higher IQ than those lot put together” spoke a boy with short and spiky blond hair, that seemed bigger than every other guy there, yet looked much younger and certainly not much older than Devin himself. (Who was now nine years old.)
“Alright Dean that’s enough” laughed Anthony “I’m just doing my job and it would help if you guys cooperated. I know it’s hard, I have ADHD too you know, we all do, but we’ve got to follow protocol. As boring as that is.”
“This is a stupid idea anyway” the boy Dean muttered, as he pushed past Devin.
Time seemed to go even slower in the room with a bunch of other troubled kids, that weren’t ADHD sufferers but had problems of their own. No one seemed to talk to Devin as his group was far too busy making it hell for everyone else with their hyperactive behaviour and irrational impulses. Devin stayed well-clear. Dean did too. He was hanging back from the troop, muttering to himself about how silly the whole thing was, but glancing up to see Devin gazing at him, he started strolling over to him.
“Hi I’m Dean” he greeted
“Devin” they shook hands
“Not enjoying this either then, eh?”
“It gets better, Anthony usually lets us piss about, you know, have a laugh most of the time, but they organise stupid days like this where we have to mix in with the other kids who have all sorts of disorders from depression and bipolar to... I don’t know, but you know, they don’t really float my boat, not my sort of people.”
“Nah, they’re a bunch of namby-pamby babies who think the world is coming to an end when something mildly bad happens or the tiniest thing goes wrong.”
“I’m sure they have good reasons to...” Devin whispered, regretting it instantly
“Some people suffer more than we can know” he admitted
“You’re smart, you’re alright you, I think you should come back more often, have any friends like you you can bring?”
“No, I don’t have any friends”
“Well today’s your lucky day mate” Devin wasn’t certain, but he thought he had just initiated a friendship... “How old are you anyways?”
“You look older”
“I get that a lot, ‘spose my dad’s a big bloke...not that I see him.”
“He’s a cock”
“Live with my mum, she’s an angel, she can handle me when I get...you know...when I step out of line because of the ADHD. My dad was always a bully anyway, hit my mum, but she’s a strong woman, she stood up to him and we ran away from him, she gained custardy, but he’s still my second in command...he gets me if anything happens to her. They divorced, but I’m over it. So what about you Devin, what’s your story?”
“I live with my nana, my parents weren’t doing that great of a job at looking after me so my nana gained custardy and I’ve lived with her about a month now.”
“Is that it? No crazy stories?”
“I bet you’ve done some crazy things in your time, ADHD kids always do, especially everyone at this group.”
“Once...I climbed a huge pile of broken machinery and metal and sliced my hand open.” But he didn’t add ‘because I was upset about a friend who had left me behind and I ran away because my parents were talking about me and I cried’.
“No way! That’s pretty insane”
“Yeah, I guess”
“I once choked a cat when I was mad, it died instantly.” Devin looked taken aback by this comment and wore an expression of shock and wariness. “Nah I’m kidding” laughed Dean, Devin laughed along, even though his sense of humour seemed pretty dark and amidst their brief laughter Dean added “it didn’t die” the chuckles stopped abruptly “I mean I didn’t actually choke a cat...But I did punch a hole into my wall once” Luckily the awkward tension was broken by Anthony who called them all back to their original room.
“Okay guys! Thank you for not completely destroying their souls today and I’ll see you in two weeks! And don’t forget that there are meetings every Monday if you are struggling in the meantime and that my office in Brookside is always open weekdays and the first Saturday of the month for late hour if you need a chat too.” Anthony announced
“No one ever goes; I don’t know why you still tell us.”Dean called out of turn.
“Well you are very mistaken there Deany, everyone in this room, barring Devin because it’s his first time here, have been at least once so it appears you have been misinformed and missing out. Goodnight guys, see you soon.”
Everyone shoved their deficient chairs to one side and piled out the door in delirium.
“Hey, do you wanna come back to mine for a bit?” Dean asked
“Urm...I’d need to tell my nana where I am...else she’ll get worried”
“Nonsense mate, she’ll be fine, come on, let’s go”
“Okay” although he knew it wasn’t and he really wasn’t sure that his nana would be best pleased...
“Devin!” Anthony hollered as Devin turned around precipitously “can I talk to you for a second?”
“I’ll wait outside” Dean grumbled, Devin nodded in reply.
“Ahh Devin, so how did it go, your first time here, how did you find it?”
“It was urm, it was good yeah, I enjoyed it”
“That’s brilliant news, and how about you and Dean, eh?”
“Yeah Dean seems okay”
“Not giving you any trouble then?” he chortled, Devin only really just noticed how young Anthony must’ve been, he had no creases in his face like his nana.
“Not at all”
“Dean’s a good kid; he’s been through a lot, like most of the kids here. But you must be alright Devin” he waffled on “...Deangelos...I’m sure I’ve heard that name somewhere before.” Devin stood slightly uncomfortably in front of him whilst he gathered his thoughts. “Oh I know! Deangelos industries! Don’t suppose your family has anything to do with that?”
“Yeah...My dad owns it”
“They sell machine parts right, for farming vehicles and large modes of transport?”
“So you come from a rich background then, I’m impressed”
“I live with my nana, they couldn’t look after me”
“Oh, I’m sorry kid”
“Well anyway, we’ll see you next time?”
Wandering outside he was greeted by Dean who immediately piped up.
“What took so long? It’s bloody freezing out here!”
“We were just talking about if I enjoyed it”
“Urgh, he always does that with the newbie’s. What did you say?”
“Good shout” he said sarcastically
“You don’t seem to like Anthony very much”
“Well...I do...he’s done a lot for me and puts up with me and deals with me better than my dad ever did”
“Is he like a father figure to you?”
“No!” Dean said defensively “he’s just like a mate, an annoying, cheery, care bear cuddling mate, that’s all” which made Devin think otherwise.