How to Fix a Rose

The meaning of life was mixed in the Brisbane air of Australia. For Archie, it couldn't have been a greater time to be a teenager. But when he emerges from middle school and his sexual attraction towards men starts to affect his everyday life, he looks to an overseas stranger for guidance.


3. HTFAR | Eavesdropping

     Chapter two, the true beginning of my story. Chances are if you’re still here, I did something to make you want to stay. Unless you’re still reading because you’re interested in Archie’s life, in which case I thank you humbly. But for this chapter I need you alone and far away from others. For in the worst day of my life, lies a secret even my family has never heard. If you have a weak heart, turn away quickly; you’ll be more than happy you did. Don’t worry, I’m just kidding.

     We are taking a giant leap into the future, a whole two weeks after my graduation. By now, Noah’s question has left little Archie’s mind, and he’s enjoying what precious time he has left before high school. The day begins in my home, and remember it’s very modest. If I remember correctly, mother was making my favorite breakfast in celebration of… well, nothing at all. She must’ve just loved me like any normal mother loves her children. Weird, right?

     I crawled out of bed and made my way to the kitchen, where mother didn’t look exactly happy. But whatever, because she was making egg, ham, and cheese crepe pockets. The only thing that truly mattered was getting my hands on them.

     “Ah, yes!” I shouted in excitement.

     I reached casually to get a plate from beside her, only to have my hand slapped.

     “No, Archie. None for you!” She shouted.

     I jumped back, tilting my head in oblivion. Not only did she just tell me to get back like I was a human pet, anger certainly fueled her reaction. I rubbed my hand gently, analyzing the red mark.

     “What did I do?” I asked, still oblivious.

     Oh, Archie. Archie, Archie, Archie. If I could go back in time and stitch my lips closed, I would have. Let me give you the rundown.


     Two mornings ago, mother received a letter from Noah’s high school, which stated if he didn’t get his grades up this coming school year, he would have to leave for the year of 2013 and enter a public school. How he even got into private school is beyond me, but moving on.

     Later that morning, she confronted Noah about it who explained that he would most certainly get his grades together if she paid more attention to him outside of work. It was a huge sob story, honestly not worth you even reading about it. However, this is how I got involved. Being as Noah’s been a jerk to me the past two weeks, and the constant behavior letters sent home—I forged a letter with an updated date, which just so happened to be the one mother found in her mailbox.

     Yes, horrible I know. Taking advantage of your mother’s mental illness to get back at your older brother. Sounds just like something a little brother would do in the 80’s. But if we’re being honest, to this day I have no idea how she didn’t realize it was a fake. Like, it had no signature or stamp. If you ever end up reading this mother, sorry about that.


     “These are for your brother, you don’t get breakfast today,” she explained.

     “So, why not?” I said with tone.

                What’s her deal?!

     “You know exactly why. Just because I have been working doesn’t mean I forgot what happened two days ago. You are still in trouble, little boy.”

                Little? How am I little when I have to squat just to have a conversation with you--shorty.

     “Mom, I said I was sorry. I was just getting back at Noah. It had nothing to do with you, really.”

                You see, when I was younger I actually believed that. But seeing it typed out like this, I’m sure you’re siding with my mother on this one, aren’t you? Don’t worry, I am too.

     “You know I don’t care about what you and your brother argue about, but when you bring me into it then I have a problem,” she shouted.

     “Mom, please?” I pleaded, moving closer to hug her.

                She pushed me away and flung her arms in the air.

     “Go away, Archie.”

                I sighed, walking away and heading back upstairs towards the restroom which was occupied by my brother, Noah. I walked softly, hearing he was on the phone with someone as if he was in an intense argument. Being as little brothers are naturally noisy, I just had to figure out what it was about. That was my personal mistake. Sorry, little Archie.

     “Haha, yes man,” He responded.

                There was a brief silence.

     “Dude, mine too! My brother hasn’t even expressed the littlest interest in girls a-at this point I’m just waiting for him to come out of the closet,” he continued.

                There was another brief silence.

                The human mind is powerful. In a few seconds, it can conjure up a million thoughts and play them out a million more times. And that was exactly what was happening right now. Because you remember those what-if scenarios I was drawing up in my head a couple of weeks ago? Well now, it had just become an absolute scenario. At least for one of them anyway.

                I frowned, leaning in closer to get better audio. I held my nose to relieve myself of… well you know. I could slightly make out what his friend was saying. But since I don’t want to lie to you, I’m not going to guess what he said that day.

     “I don’t know what I’m going to do if that happens bro, like. Exactly! Like if he does it after I graduate from high school then I’ll be good. I mean he’s my brother and all and I love him, but that would definitely take some getting use to, definitely.”

                I pulled away to get a breath of fresh air, before going back to listening. Only to immediately have the door open, my body almost falling into my brother’s chest. I stood straight quickly and felt  a wave run through my body, heightening my senses. I realized later that it was adrenaline induced by my fear. He held the phone to his ear, flushing the toilet as he just looked at me.

     “I got to call you back, my mom cooked for me. Alright, ok I’ll talk to you later. Bye,” He finished, ending the call and laughing. “What were you doing?” He asked.

                He believed I fell onto the door by accident. Perfect, no explanations needed. I returned the laugh and smiled,

     “I actually don’t even know what I tripped over,” I quickly said.

                He shook his head, putting his phone in his pocket and walking around me to go downstairs. Me? I just stood there staring in the mirror, looking at the tiny details of my face. It was the first time in my life that I hated what I saw. Archie Ben, the unwanted little brother. Of course, that is not what my brother said. Don’t forget the, “He’s my brother and all and I love him,” part. But hearing the harsh reality of what you’ve dreamed up to be slightly less, takes a toll on your spirit. In this case, little Archie’s.

                I’ll conclude it there for now, with me staring stilly at my own reflection, questioning my meaning of being born. At this point I've probably motivated you to hate my brother. After all, I’ve said nothing but bad things about him, haven’t I? But don’t forget that I gave Noah my thanks in last chapter. Now it’s time to find out why.

     It’ll certainly surprise you.

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