by Caleb Wilson
Mitchell Winters lost his cool when the door slammed shut in his face. Without thinking he took a step back then with all his strength he kicked the door which flew open. Expecting to see an astonished boy standing in front of him, instead he saw Cobey lying on his back in the hallway. He quickly went to kneel beside the boy, who was moaning and holding the side of his face.
“Cobey I’m sorry, I’m really sorry,”
I could hear the words being said, and a pair of hands helping me to sit up.
As my senses returned I remembered the door flying open. It hit me on the side of the face as I moved forward to put the latch on, then the next thing Mitch apologising.
“I’m okay,” I mumbled, “Just leave,” I said getting to my feet.
“You sure you’ll be alright.”
“Just go will you!” And as he left I swung the door closed, the lock had be broken but luckily the hinges had held.
I phoned my mother. I asked if she could get home as soon as possible and not to waste time asking me a hundred and one questions.
She must have guessed by my tone of voice that I wasn’t in the mood to talk. So thankfully, she said she was on her way and cut the connection.
It was ten minutes later, when my mother arrived.
I had spent the time putting cold compressions on the side of my face and above the eye, hoping to get the swelling down before she returned, but to no avail.
I saw her worried look when she saw my face. As usual she asked a hundred and one questions in a raised tone, showing her anxiety at my injury.
She was still checking me out as I was explaining what had happened, omitting the sex of course, when the doorbell rang.
I followed my mother to the door to see Shawcross on the doorstep. He introduced himself to my mother and at once started to apologise to her. With his apologies finished, he stated that he’d taken the liberty to engage a tradesman to come and repair the damage to the door, and that they would meet all the costs incurred. He looked across at me and seemed on the verge of saying something, but I never gave him a chance. I turned and made my way back to the kitchen.
A couple of minutes later my mother joined me telling me that Shawcross had left and that the repairman would be here shortly.
My mother who is Eurasian, like a lot of people from the east, tends to be a bit superstitious, and while the door was being repaired, confronted me.
“We have to consider moving from this house, Cobey.”
“For what reason?” I questioned.
I frowned, asking, “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“When your father died, my brother asked me to move out of the house, which I refused, thinking that it had nothing to do with any bad happenings. For four years you never went anywhere, unless I went with you. Then, you have that argument at school after which the same boy’s security man assaults you, now you get hit in the face by the door, and that same boy is responsible.”
“Mum, if everybody were to move just because things went wrong, nobody would be living in one place for more that a couple of years.” I responded.
“Don’t try and make light of things!” she said, and raising her voice added, “You just let one more incident happen, where it concerns you, and we’re moving to Ipswich, near my brother, and no arguments!” Before I could reply, “and another thing,” she continued. “I don’t want to see that boy in this house again!”
“You won’t see him in here again. But don’t forget, it was you who asked me if I had invited him over.”
“Yes, but that was before I knew him to be such uh, uh . . .” She tried to think of a word to describe Mitch, before blurting out in Sinhala, “Hukanawa sa thu!”
I didn’t bother arguing with her, as I hadn’t the faintest idea what the phrase meant. But it couldn’t have been anything complementary, judging by the vehement manner in which my mum blurted it out.
That evening I spent watching the television with my mother, not bothering to copy the course work that I’d started on. Id had a quick look at all the pages and decided that I could get a lot of it off the net. At the moment, I just didn’t want to have anything to do that was associated with Mitchell Winters.
It wasn’t the pain of being hit in the face by the door that had made me want to disassociate myself from him. But the manner in which he’d walked off with the girls, not even glancing back to gauge my reaction. Then for him to stand on my doorstep swearing and his wanting to know why I had walked off was over the top! If he didn’t have the intelligence to figure it out for himself, I wasn’t going to enlighten him. Seems like he’s reverted to being a “Piece of Shit” again!
Sunday morning I awoke, and looking in the mirror, I saw that the left side of my face around the eye and top of my cheek, had a big ugly purple-black bruise. The swelling wasn’t too bad, and I reckoned by tomorrow it should go down. I spent most of the day on my PC studying the Bsc. maths paper.
My mother tried, after our evening meal, to dissuade me from going to school on Monday, but I wasn’t listening. I mentioned the swelling would most probably have gone down by then and it would be only a little painful, with the colour of the bruise making it look a lot worse than it was.
Monday morning I made it a point to leave the house early, making sure I had the folder that Mitch had lent me in my possession.
I must have been one of the first to arrive. After dumping what I had to in my locker, I made my way to room 3C and left the course folder on Mitch’s desk. Then went to my own, and sitting down opened my book and started to read.
It was nearly half an hour later, when the first of the sixth form students started to file into the room.
I didn’t pay attention to any of them just kept my head down, my nose buried in my book. A figure appeared by the side of my desk, and it didn’t take a lot of intelligence to guess who it was. I stopped reading and looked up. I saw Mitchell Winters wince when he saw the damage to my face.
“I’m sorry, Cobey.” he said.
Before he could continue with his apology, I interrupted him, saying, “You’ve already apologised, you don’t have to do it again. Now just leave me alone!”
I saw him clench his jaw and grit his teeth, before leaving to go to his desk.
For the next couple of weeks I more or less reverted to my previous way of life. I kept to myself, not engaging in conversation with other pupils, only speaking to them when spoken to.
The bruising on the face and eye had almost disappeared, and my facial features were more or less back to normal. Although we were now into early October, the weather was still quite warm for this time of the year. Taking advantage of the sunshine, I continued to partake of my lunch outside as often as possible. Today, it being another of those Indian Summer days, I was out sitting on one of the benches that lined the sports field eating my sandwiches.
From behind me, a voice that I immediately recognised asked, “Can I talk to you for a moment?”
I turned sideways, looked at Mitch and said, “Go ahead, you’ve got the floor.”
“I’m sorry for the damage to your face and the door. I just lost my cool, when you slammed the door in my face, so I kicked the door in. I never thought that you’d still be standing behind it.”
“You still haven’t learned, have you?” I asked.
“What d’you mean?” he said, furrowing his brow.
I stood and turned, so that I was facing him, explaining, “It wasn’t about the door hitting me in the face, or you breaking it. It was about you professing your love for me in your house. Then less than an hour later, you walked off with a couple of girls without a backward glance. You then have the gall to stand on my doorstep and swear at me, as if I was the guilty party at our separation! Do you remember when we had our first altercation on the steps in the school? I told you then, that you’ll always be what you are because of your attitude. You still haven’t learned!” When I’d finished my little speech I stood looking at Mitch waiting for him to respond.
He stood staring at me, his face drawn and his eyes tearing up. He turned and slowly walked away.
My stomach knotted up as I watched him depart. Without thinking I instinctively called out, “Mitch!”
He stopped and turned, not saying a word.
“You want half a ham sarnie?”
I saw his face break into a smile as he walked back towards me. Reaching me, still smiling he said, “God, I thought you’d never ask! I’m starving!”
I couldn’t help but laugh and jumped at him. He caught me and swung me around then placed me back on my feet.
“Friends?” he asked.
“Nope, I want to be more than friends.”
“Don’t think I’m suitable.”
“Yeah, but I’m prepared to overlook your faults.”
“You little shit! If I wasn’t so hungry for a ham sarnie, I’d walk away.”
“So what do I get for my ham sarnie?”
“Umm, what do you want?”
“Well, it wouldn’t be appropriate here, but I’ll be sure to collect at a later date,” I sat on the bench and dug out my sandwich pack, and handed a ham sandwich to Mitch, who’d taken a seat beside me.
He held my hand without taking the sandwich, just staring at me. “Missed you something terrible,” he said.
“Yeah, well why d’you think I offered you some of my lunch? Now, do you mind if I have my hand back, unless of course, you want someone to see you holding hands with a sweet innocent little boy.”
“God! Why did I ever get involved with you?” he said letting go of my hand.
“Because, you have shitty taste.” I responded smiling.
“Yeah,” he said, while chewing on a mouthful, “Then, if my taste is so shitty, how come I like your sandwiches?”
“Well, there you go. See, we’re compatible, we both have shitty taste.”
He started to laugh, nearly choking on the food, then getting it under control asked, “Maybe I’ll come home with you after school?”
“Umm, not a good idea. My mother has banned you from the house. Called you something not very nice in Sinhala.”
“What did she call me?”
“I didn’t know, I had to get the translation from a cousin. But it sounded like, ‘fucking animal’.”
“Oops, that doesn’t sound too good.”
“Not to worry, I’ll give her a bell at the next break, and tell her that I’m going to a friend’s house after school. Then we can go to your place.”
“Okay, and I’ll drop you home later in the evening.”
We sat talking a bit longer, till it was time to return to classes. I felt in a more jubilant mood and had to restrain myself from grabbing hold of Mitch as we walked back. At the next break, with Mitch at my side, I phoned my mother. When she answered, I told her that I wasn’t coming home straight after school but was going to a friend’s house, and would come home a bit later.
“Since when have you been going to friends houses after school, and who is this friend?” she demanded her voice slightly raised.
“Mum, will you calm down! If you object to my going out after school just say so, don’t ask a hundred and one questions!”
She was quiet for a moment then asked, “What time will you be home?”
“About six, just a moment, mum,” and I handed the phone to Mitch.
I heard him say, “Good afternoon Mrs. Hodson.” Then he promptly held the phone away from his ear grimacing.
I grabbed the phone from him and yelled over her voice, “Mum!” and she quietened down.
Shortly, I heard her say, “That was the boy who broke the door?”
“Yes, Mum, and I’m going to his house.”
“Why, Cobey?” she enquired.
“I’ll explain when I get home Mum, and you don’t have to worry he’ll bring me back in one piece!”
I made my goodbyes to my mother and cut the connection.
When I’d finished talking, Mitch was smiling and said, “She had a right go at me as soon as she heard my voice.”
“What did she say?”
“I don’t know, it wasn’t in English.”
I laughed, explaining, “She must have been swearing in Sinhala.”
When the bell went for the cessation of studies, I accompanied Mitch out of school and to the bus stop.
“Don’t you drive to school?” I asked.
“Nope, nowhere to park, and in any case Vince won’t allow me to drive. Says walking and getting the bus is much healthier.”
“So what do you use that car for besides going to the mall?”
“Oh, I take it for drives into the country when the weather’s good.”
“Okay then, when are we going on a drive.”
“You inviting yourself?”
“Umm, what about this weekend if the weather holds?”
“Okay, where are we going?”
“No idea, hadn’t thought about it. Come on, move it, there’s a bus coming,” and Mitch broke into a run with me struggling to keep up.
We made it in time, and after a ten-minute ride, we were getting off and walking down Willow Close.
As we arrived at number 10, Shawcross was there, opening the side gate to let us in. Seeing me, he smiled, saying. “It’s about time you showed up! Someone’s been walking around these premises like a zombie for the past couple weeks.”
Looking at Mitch and feigning incredibility, I said, “Zombie?”
“Don’t listen to what he says,” Mitch replied waving his hand dismissively at Shawcross’s remark, “He tends to exaggerate.”
“I believe you,” I said smirking and added, “others wouldn’t be so easily convinced.”
Mitch gave me a withering look and didn’t say a word. We left Shawcross to lock the gate and made our way into the house.
We made our way directly to Mitch’s bedroom. Once inside, he shut and locked the door. The next moment he’d turned and lifted me. I wrapped my legs around him, and he brought his face forward so our lips could join.
I put my hand over his mouth saying, “We need to talk.”
Mitch didn’t question me. Instead he walked over to the bed and set me down on it, then sat beside me. “What do you want to talk about?” he asked.
“You, me, us.” I said, looking at his face to gauge his reaction.
“Okay, then talk!” Mitch replied, his face still calm, not showing any signs of concern.
“Why did you dump me and walk off with those girls?”
Now his face took on a look of guilt and his voice, when he spoke, was barely above a whisper, “I didn’t fancy either of them, it was all to do with my image.”
“Image!” I said annoyed, “What the Hell have they go to do with image?”
“I didn’t realise, that you were not following. I was relishing having two girls on my arms. I was hoping that maybe someone from the school would see me and spread the word around that Mitch Winters had not one girl but two clinging on to him, so that there would be no suspicions of my true sexual orientation. It was only when we got to the bistro and took a table that I noticed you weren’t there. It was then I realised what I had done and felt really bad. As soon as they’d had their refreshment, I took them home and then headed to your place.”
I stared at him for a while not saying a word, till he suddenly grabbed me. As he lay back on the bed, he pulled me down on top of him saying, “I’m sorry Cobey, really sorry,” his voice cracking.
I lay with my head on his shoulder with tears trickling down my face saying, “You don’t know how bad I felt when you left me. I thought you’d used me and that our brief relationship was over, and I was destined to live my life alone again!”
I lifted my head off his shoulder to look down at him, so I could gauge his reaction to what I’d said.
Mitch lifted his hands and cupped my face in them. Gently, he drew my face towards his. Then he brushed our lips together before uttering the words which I will always remember, he whispered, “As long as I’m alive,” and he pecked me on the lips once more before continuing firmly, “I promise, you will never be alone again!”
I lowered my face to his saying, “I love you, Mitchell Winters,” then I brought my lips to his.
So there you have it, Cobey Hodson, fourteen years and four months old. No longer a virgin and madly in love with who, in my eyes, is the biggest and best-looking guy in the school. Who in turn, thinks the sun shines out of my posterior.
What more can I ask for!