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 Chapter 36: Staying Fed

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Kell
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Join date : 2008-10-05

PostSubject: Chapter 36: Staying Fed   Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:15 am

Noah



"How have you been Noah?" Mr. Jeffers asked me as we sat down in our respective beanbag chairs in his office.

"I'm good."

"Yeah?"

"Well...I'm still having nightmares but they're pretty rare. They don't happen all that much."

"But you do still have them?"

"Yeah," replied.

"Ok. Well, how often you have them will probably go down after some time but there's a chance you may always have them. They just might not happen often at all. Does that make sense?"

"Yeah. I just wish it weren't true," I said, rubbing the back of my neck.

"So do I. Here," he said, handing me what looked like a lemon-shaped orange with spikes that he pulled out of a brown paper bag he had been carrying.

Wrinkling my brow, I cautiously took it from his hand. It was cool & slightly moist.

"What IS this...?" I asked, looking over it as if it were some strange alien life form. And to me, it might as well have been.

"It's a kiwano."

"A who?"

"A kiwano. It's also called a horned melon. They're a kind a fruit from Africa."

"Fruit. You want me to eat this?" I said flatly.

"Yes, I do," he said as-a-matter-of-fact.

I scoffed in speechlessness.

"What's it taste like? And it has spikes! How can I eat something that looks like it wants to impale my esophagus?" I laughed.

"They're not syringes Noah, hahaha. Just try it, they're good."

I gave him one last skeptical look & then looked at the demonic fruit in my hand. I wasn't sure I could even EAT the skin but if Mr. Jeffers was really dead set against me NOT eating it, then I guess it wouldn't KILL me. Even though it looked like it was born to.

I brought it up to my face & smelled it. It didn't really smell like anything so slowly, I opened my mouth & bit into the kikicoconut or whatever he called it. As my teeth broke the skin, I felt a gush of cool juice seep into my mouth. I bit off a chunk & pulled it away from my mouth to see what the INSIDE of it looked like. It was green & full of little white seeds. In fact, the inside looked like a cross between a kiwi & a cucumber.

Even the TASTE reminded me of a cucumber, but sweeter...& yet, also more sour? Was that...banana I tasted as well? But I could also make out an almost lemon flavor too. I don't know, it was weird. But it was GOOD weird. I took a few more bites of the interesting piece of food & swallowed it down. It was cool, smooth & tasty. I didn't like how there was a splash of sour in it, but the sweetness made it worth it.

I looked up at Mr. Jeffers, who had a smile on his face. I stopped eating all of a sudden.

"Wait, this isn't gonna make me like, crazy or addicted to weird exotic fruits or something is it?"

"No of course not," he laughed, "nothing like that."

"Oh," I said. "Then what's it for?"

"Some people believe that just the sweet taste of something they've never tried before is enough to brighten their day, even if it's just for a split second. It's like a snowball effect."

"But I was already in a good mood."

"Is a little bit of extra happiness a crime?"

I grinned as I kept sinking my teeth into the juicy fruit.

"Plus, I got this," he said, getting up & walking over to his closet where he took out a large glass oven plate that had tin foil covering the top. He brought it over to us, set it on the floor & then went to his mini fridge & took out a gallon of whole milk. He grabbed a a couple cups off a nearby counter & came back to sit across from me in his beanbag chair. Pouring us each a glass of milk, he handed my glass to me & then took the tin foil off the plate. My eyes bulged.

"Brownies?!"

"You bet. I love brownies. And with whole milk? Even better. Go ahead, have some."

I grabbed two & nearly stuffed them down my throat. I took a couple gulps of milk as I reveled at the utopia in my mouth.

"They're special brownies, with a secret ingredient," Mr. Jeffers then said as he poured himself a glass of milk.

I froze.

"Special brownies?"

"Yup," he said, looking up to see my reaction. "You're not allergic to cinnamon are you?"

"Oh," I breathed a sigh of relief. "No, I'm not. I just...never mind. No, I like cinnamon," I said, taking a bite out of another brownie.

"What did you think was in these?" he laughed.

I shook my head. "Never mind, don't worry about it. It's dumb."

"C'mon, tell me. No thought is stupid in here, remember?"

"I dunno...just, the term 'special brownie' I thought always just meant like, brownies with pot in them," I shrugged.

"Hahahahaha well yes, that's true in many circumstances but not here hahaha."

"Told you it was dumb."

"Yeah. Noah I would NEVER give you drugs."

I smiled.

"Selling them...well that's different of course," he winked at me.

I gulped down another swig of milk with a smile.

"Shouldn't you NOT be hinting that you'd be willing to sell weed to your 16 year old patient?" I chuckled.

"Pish posh," he smiled as he poured me some more milk.

Damn these were good brownies.

"Seriously though Noah...have you ever done anything like that? Drugs, drank, smoked, any of that?"

I shook my head as I swallowed some more brownie.

"Nah. That stuff's not for me. I try to stay away from all of it. I don't plan on trying it but I'm not gonna completely rule it out. I mean stuff happens at college..."

"Well that sounds very honest of you. What about alcohol?"

"Same deal. I'm not gonna promise that I'll never have a sip of alcohol when I'm a bit older but I don't exactly plan on getting wasted every weekend night."

"Ok then. And smoking?"

"Ugh," I made a face. "Never happening. EVER."

"Fair enough. So why do you think I brought drinking, drugs & smoking into today's talk?" he asked me.

"You didn't. I did, because I thought maybe you spiked my food."

"Ok, well then why do you think I CONTINUED conversation about these things."

I thought about it. Nothing. I shrugged. "Why?"

"You're still fairly young to be getting this talk, but because you've been through so much & you're very mature, I thought I'd give you a little heads up on how to deal with things like stress, depression, anger, things like that."

"Ok."

"As I'm sure you know, sometimes when people are going through rough times, instead of either facing or treating their problems, they simply try to mask everything with things like alcohol, drugs and sometimes hurting themselves, like cutting. And I don't think you will with what's going on in your life now, but I just wanna make sure of that. Whenever you feel stressed or anxious, there are simple little things you can do that help you instead of hurt you & I thought maybe we could go over those."

"Waaait a second," I smiled, holding up my hand. "What was your ORIGINAL plan for the day before I mentioned anything about weed?"

"I was gonna talk to you a bit about you & your father. But we can save that for next time."

"Ok. So what are we doing now?"

"Well, I thought we could go over some breathing exercises, physical exercises, things to think about when you feel stressed or upset in any way. I know, I know, these things are usually pretty stupid. But the ones I'm gonna teach you are ACTUALLY kind of neat AND they work. I promise you. And if I promise you that, you have to promise me something."

"What's that?"

"That, even though I know you never would anyway, you'll never hurt yourself in any way when you're upset. I don't need to hear about one of my favorite patients overdosing or drinking himself to death or something," he replied with a heart-felt smiled that warmed my heart.

"I promise."

"All right," he said. "Now, here's what I want you to do first. Take your finger..."



**********

Jaden



I watched him as he ate his bologna sandwich & laughed with our group of pals at lunch. It was just so natural...and yet, I knew that there was so much more behind that laugh that could ruin a day, a week, a year, a life. Noah was happy for now. And honestly, I was beyond happy for him. But I just couldn't imagine how awful his life must have been for him & yet still be able to smile at times. If I had gone through what Noah had been through over the last several weeks...I just couldn't keep going. And I admired him so much for that.

Besides myself, Collin & Mark, nobody else from school knew what had really happened. As far as I knew anyway. I trusted Mark, but Collin, as great as a friend as he was, could slip up every now & then & tell someone something they shouldn't know. So I wasn't sure. But most people who knew Noah was going through some rough times were under the impression that his grandparents had been killed in a car accident. If only they knew that it was so much worse than that.

Later that day, I dropped my stuff at the front door the moment I got home. Quickly getting a bag of BBQ chips from the kitchen, I made my way downstairs to my room. I had always found it humorous that Noah's room was the attic in his house & mine was the basement here. I plopped down on my couch, which was where I slept, & turned the tv on. There wasn't really anything good on so I shut the tv off & started doing some reading assignments for homework at my desk.

About an hour later, as I was getting close to finishing, my cell phone rang. I dug it out of my jeans pocket & answered it.

"Hello?"

"Hey snot-face."

"Hey Jackie," I said to my sister. "What's up?"

"Jenna & I are coming home for the weekend. Can you drive up here & pick us up from school?"

"Sure. Do mom & dad know you guys are coming down?"

"Yeah."

"Jackie..."

"Ok look, not that it's up to you at all, but we're gonna be good & clean up after ourselves ok?"

"You better. Last time you guys came home you left the place a mess & mom & dad made ME clean everything."

"Just come get us, all right?" she said, clearly irritated.

"Fine. When?"

"Well, it's like a two hour drive so now would be nice."

"Ok. See you then."

We hung up the phone & I picked up my book to finish my assignment.

**********

"So how's it going pal?"

"Pretty good I guess," I said as I sat down. I was at my therapy session for the week. For the past year or so, I had been seeing a weekly therapist. We had become fairly close friends over time but I had kept my therapy a secret from my friends, even Noah & his dad. The only people who knew were me, my parents & well, obviously my therapist.

"Yeah?"

"Yeah. My life has just been so quiet lately, but it's Noah's life that's crazy."

"Right. Are you sure you still wouldn't wanna try a join session at some point? You two may not be a couple anymore but I still think it might help if you could both tell each other what's deep in your minds."

I shook my head.

"He's got so much shit on his own plate right now, I don't think I want him to have to deal with any of my own."

"Well," he tilted his head.

"You're right, any of my own that I WAS going through."

"You can tell me if you think you're still having any kinds of concerns."

"Yeah I know. But I really think I'm good now."

We talked a for a while about other stuff going on in our lives, but my mind soon wandered off to Noah & my other problems. I wasn't sure how much time had passed when I started thinking of the reasons I told him, & myself, why we weren't meant to be for now.

Wanting to play a bigger part in the community at school & elsewhere: I guess you could call it my "publicly official reason" for having troubles with Noah when we were going out, but it sure wasn't the only reason. I had told him that I was having some of my own personal issues that I couldn't resolve if we were still together. It pained me that I felt uncomfortable talking to Noah about my problems. And sometimes I felt guilty about not wanting to be with him, especially now with everything he was going through.

In addition to that, there was an issue at home that I was going through. My parents, who were already causing a world of problems with their talk of separating, were treating me differently now that I was the only child in the house. While it's true that they babied me as the youngest of three, that was only true when my older sisters were still living at home. It wasn't immediate, but slowly, my parents had begun to treat me differently. They often compared me to them, saying that *insert any example here* proves why they were able to make it into college, & therefore making me feel dumb at times. They were feeding themselves on their beliefs that I would be able to meet the same expectations when I knew that that just wasn't real for me. Jackie wanted to be a corporate attorney while Jenna wanted to be a neurosurgeon. I on the other hand would be fine with being a garbageman as long as I could pay the bills. And with that kind of mindset, my parents found no trouble in pointing out their pride in my sisters, leaving me to work three times harder to get their approval so they didn't think of me as "...the one who doesn't want a future apparently."

West had also managed to poke his face back into my life. He had been harassing me for quite some time & I had managed to keep his attention focused on me, in hopes that he would leave Noah alone. Part of me wanting to be more involved with the GSA at school, which I was already the president of, was to get West's attention. The bigger scene I made, the more he went after me. And it was only when I realized that pushing Noah to join me would put him in more danger, that I realized I had to stop pressuring him. From rolling his eyes at me to sneezing in my direction to an "accidental" shoulder bump in the hallway to looking at me & then laughing with his other friends to spitting at me outside of school...while West wasn't giving me an old fashion knuckle-sandwich behind the school with a crowd around us in a circle, he was bullying me nonetheless. How he ever pulled a biblical reason to hate Noah & me was beyond me. West's family went to church a lot & he did too, but he constantly complained about it. I wondered to myself often why West would cite religious stuff when I knew he wasn't religious at all...there had to be a reason. But what? Maybe he had pretended to be AGAINST his religious upbringing to fit in with us & not seem so...Jesus-freakish? I didn't know. Maybe I would find out the reason dome day...

But wondering what was going through West's head didn't compare to what was going through my own. And it was one reason in particular that had set my life off course for quite some time more than any other reason.

Soon after I started working at Dade's, there was a certain female customer who came in every Wednesday from 2:30 to 3:00 & ordered the same coffee every time, followed by an orange smoothie as she left. While she sat & drank her coffee however, she would always take out her book to read, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." She was a cute girl. She was around my age, short, with long wavy brown hair & a small button nose. Her eyes reminded me of a puppy begging for a treat. I didn't know where she was from, nor did I even know her name.

After some time, Tom, the owner of Dade's, changed my schedule so I wasn't working the same days anymore. And for some time, I thought I wouldn't see the girl anymore. But one day she came in & recognized me behind the counter when she ordered her usual. Since then, I've seen her at the same time every day I work. Which was a problem...

...because I had developed feelings for this girl.

For Noah to know that while we were going out I had feeling for another person, especially a girl, could've shattered his heart. And that was the last thing I ever wanted to do in this world. I was ashamed to both keep it from him, & to even feel that way at all. What would he think? What do *I* think? Was a really gay? WAS Noah & me just a phase? Was I bi? Was I still gay but had that one girl in my heart? Did I want a relationship with her? Or was I just sexually attracted to her? Did I LIKE her, or was it just a crush? Or was I in love with her?

I didn't understand any of it, & no matter how comforting Noah would be, I knew that deep down, his poor heart would be ice over if he knew he wasn't the sole interest in my life anymore. It wasn't something I could work out with him however. As long as I felt this way for some girl, I couldn't be sure if Noah was truly my one & only love...

"Jade?"

"Oh, sorry. What?"

"You ok?"

"Yeah. I was just thinking..."

"About what?"

"Nothing, it's fine."

"Jade," he chuckled, "I get paid to know what you're thinking about haha."

"I was thinking about that girl."

"Ahh ok. Thinking about her in what way?"

"Just in general & how it SUCKS that I don't even feel I can talk to Noah about it..."

"If you did talk to him, what would you say?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, would you tell him that you had a crush on this girl? That you had fallen in love with this girl? That you fantasized about having sex with her?"

"I don't know."

"Are you still masturbating to thoughts of her, or having sexual dreams about her?" he asked me.

"I haven't in a while," I said, blushing at his question.

"What's a while?" he said with a raised eyebrow.

"...two weeks maybe..."

"Not sure if I'd say that's a WHILE...but if you're still thinking of her sexually & fantasizing about her, then maybe there's a real chance you could have legitimate feelings for her. I'm not saying you're in love with her, that would be up to YOU to decide."

"I guess so..."

"We can talk about her some more next time...unless you're tired of her haha, since she's been the main topic of our sessions most of the time."

"Can we?" I said apologetically.

"Of course buddy, everything we do here is up to you, not me. I'm here to help guide the ship, you're the one steering it."

"Ok," I replied dumbly.

"So you wanna talk about her some more next time?"

"Yeah."

"Ok," he said, starting to stand up, "Well, our hour is up for today. So we'll talk again next week ok?"

"Definitely," I smiled.

"All right. OH! Before I forget," he said, running over to the fridge he had in his office, "I got something if you want them."

He pulled out a tray covered with tin foil over the top, walked over to me & handed it to me.

"Here you go pal."

I took the tray & looked underneath the tin foil.

"Brownies? Thanks," I grinned from ear to ear.

"No problem. My last patient didn't wanna bring them home," he laughed.

"Cool. Thanks again. Bye Mr. Jeffers!" I said, walking out of his office.

I heard the door close behind me.

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Chapter 36: Staying Fed
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